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Opinion: Place focus on worst sex offenders

State legislators should review laws regarding our sex offender registry in order to allow law enforcement to focus on the most dangerous.

We have no empathy for those individuals who committed violent sexual acts against any adult or minor.

But the requirements of sex offenders to register keeps local law enforcement officers checking up on some people who pose little risk to the public. Full Article

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  1. Anonymous Nobody

    The gist here that minor or lesser offenders should either not be subjected to SOR at all or for much shorter periods is good. But I am very highly offended by the assertion that that should be “no empathy for those individuals who committed violent sexual acts against any adult or minor.” And I see that line of thinking raise its ugly head too often, even in other threads at this Website.

    To my mind, empathy should apply to all. This is not saying to be reckless if dealing with someone prone to violence. This is to say that everyone is a human being, and all human beings deserve empathy. And thus, you should never just throw the key away for someone who has committed a violent sex act — or multiple such. No matter how heinous.

    This is not saying to be stupid and allow them to be free and roam at will if there really is reason to believe they are not truly reformed, or “cured.” Yes, all that is a tricky thing to determine accurately, but the point is about whether there should be empathy, not whether people will be stupid about it. Yes, empathy has to be balanced with common sense.

    These kinds of arguments of the kind that undermine the entire fight over SOR — all you are doing with that is feeding the beast you are trying to fight. If you advocate no empathy for violent offenders, I don’t see how you can ask for any empathy for anyone. Why should anyone have any empathy for any “criminal?” I don’t see how you can advocate against empathy for violent offenders and ask for empathy to relieve someone convicted of misdemeanor indecent exposure from SOR. As “criminal,” they are all bad seeds. You’re trying to split hairs, but the public just doesn’t want any bad seeds around, that’s why they have classified them as criminals in the first place. When you justify lack of empathy for violent offenders, all you do in the public mind, or logically, is justify lack of it for all “criminals.”

    You just simply cannot advocate to lessen or eliminate SOR while at the same time advocate lack of empathy for anyone. I have spoken about strategy in other threads, and this is just another example of bad strategy. This feeding of the best is just another example of how maybe one incremental benefit now and the handling of it can thwart the main goal.

    (I will note, so readers know I am not speaking to benefit myself: I have never been convicted, accused of or ever done a violent offense or any violent incident.)

    • Janice Bellucci

      Empathy and/or compassion is a necessary element in every society. It is also the highest goal in many wisdom traditions, such as Buddhism. We may not be able to achieve that goal in our lifetime, but it is still a worthy goal. And it is important to practice empathy and compassion on ourselves when we make mistakes, whether large or small as well as on others.

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