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Moral panic over sex offenses results in cruel and self-defeating overpunishment

I can think of no area of the criminal law, except perhaps international terrorism, into which contemporary American society has terrified itself into more ignorance than this. One of the guiding principles of western philosophy, etched in same Greek language spoken by Socrates and Plato into Apollo’s shrine at Delphi, is the maxim “Know Thyself.” When it comes to the darker side of human sexual conduct, we’d rather not. To do so will almost certainly force us to reckon with the fact that many of us aren’t the neat and tidy sexual beings we’ve convinced ourselves we need to be. Full Opinion Piece

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  1. Harry

    “…fact that many of us aren’t the neat and tidy sexual beings we’ve convinced ourselves we need to be.”It is a fact the ones that pushes and screams the loudest about being tough on RC are those whom have the dirtiest closets. Another, very good article.

  2. ab

    Great opinion piece and it is personally relevant to how I got in legal trouble. Forget the fact that I didn’t know I was doing anything illegal and I did not view the images and videos on my computer screen as being sexual. There was plenty of adult content within my grasp for that sort of enjoyment if I wanted it. Put simply I had questions about certain things and processes that I was seeking to answer. To date nobody has ever heard, read, or seen anything from me regarding exactly what I was up to. Partly because these are extremely difficult subjects to read, talk, or hear about without upsetting anyone by “framing something in a way they don’t agree with”. Mostly though very few people are ready to approach these topics with the required candor and non biased points of view that will lead the way to meaningful and long term solutions.

    If one person is drawn to one thing more so than another person figure out why. Don’t say oh because they are sick, perverted, ill, evil, whatever poor ass excuse someone can create. Truth can be painful, but clearly by forbidding anyone from researching what the truth might be we as a species are feeding into the problem rather than possible solutions.

  3. Mike

    The article talks about Judges and Legislators who campaign on how tough they are on SO’s. California had a candidate in our last election running to sit on the Board of Equalization (one of our state taxing agencies) who’s campaign centered around his stance against SO’s which is a very significant qualification to being able to oversee statewide taxation policies!!! Go figure…

  4. amom

    Very good article, indeed! Human beings can be rehabilitated and our society has to put attention to helping rather than taking revenge! Who is committing crimes against whom? I thought we were a country known for our human rights! Is this what this country has come to “An eye for an eye”? In SO’s case it’s “your whole mind, body and soul for life”. It is appalling for our “advanced civilization” to act as we do. Anyone looking from the outside would think we have no clue how to conduct ourselves..

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