Letters to the Editor 5/20/10
The pill, problem properties and sex offender laws
JUBILATION OR SHAME?
Recently I read an article (Guestwork: “Golden anniversary of the pill,” IT, May 13) commenting on 50 years of “The Pill” which presented the fact as a cause of jubilation for all the benefits it brought for women. This opinion was presented in an article format as if it presented a commonly accepted fact in our society, not as an opinion of no more value than mine, one of millions of Americans. Only at the bottom was the author identified as a paid Planned Parenthood employee. Biased press? I think so.
Either the author is too young to have seen the negative social changes which have occurred since “The Pill” came into use, or has not connected the dots from the statistics about our society in the past 50 years. In my 70s, I am aware of the changes which have occurred.
Check the incident rate of most of our social problems since the introduction of birth control as an accepted concept, on a timeline going back at least 75 years, also noting the introduction and use of “The Pill.” A society which casually will end the life of its most innocent and defenseless, unborn children, should not be surprised at a lack of concern about the lives and concerns of those who have been born.
We, the citizens of the United States, have 50 years of shame.
Merle L. King
I write regarding the article last week titled, “Steal these ideas: Springfield should copy what works in other towns,” which included the suggestion that the city do more about problem properties. Let us be careful not to do harm to some poor guy who has just gone through a foreclosure because he has been unemployed for a long time. If he lost his home and job, most likely he couldn’t keep up with the maintenance. I hope we don’t add to his problems by making him a criminal!
There is nothing wrong with taking care of our neighborhoods, but let us not do harm.
SEX OFFENDER LAWS
Regarding sex offender laws [see “Sex offender laws won’t help,” May 13], research has proven over and over again that the public is more at risk from friends and family than from convicted sex offenders. Current laws are so out of control that sex offender registries are filled with citizens who are not, and have never been, a threat to society. In fact, 80 to 90 percent of sex crimes against children are committed by a relative or acquaintance who has some prior relationship with the child and access to the child that is not impeded by residency restrictions.
Only parents and caretakers can effectively impede that kind of access. Current sex offender laws are “failed by choice,” offering little protection to society, are a huge expense to the taxpayer and have done nothing to promote healing for victims. Registries are bloated with those who offended once and pose no threat whatever to the community.
To learn more about the policies that legislators implemented to fail by choice, read Dr. Richard Wright’s book, Sex Offender Laws: Failed Policies, New Directions. He states: “American policy responses to prevent or address sexual offending, particularly those enacted within the last 20 years have largely failed.” They have not reduced sex offenders recidivism rates, not provided safety, healing, or support for victims, not reflected the scientific research on sexual victimization, offending and risk, or not provided successful strategies for prevention. “These policies have failed by choice. Policymakers choose to focus on the most heinous sex offenders while ignoring the most common sexual threats that people face.”
The GOP could perform a great community service by conjuring up the political will to do the right thing by reviewing the research, introducing legislation that is in the best interest of public safety and reducing the cost to taxpayers that is incurred by having thousands of citizens register as sex offenders when they pose no threat to the community.