Thursday, March 19, 2009

Extending the law...

Looking at the sex offender registry, one must wonder what the true purpose behind it is. It does not make the society safer (see numerous studies, including peer-reviewed studies on the subject prepared for Congress itself) nor does it reduce crime. It targets a specific class of persons, but is constantly expanding.

The politicians argue that this is not punitive, that it is a civil measure, designed to protect society from the dangers presented by these persons.

However, this protection is painted with a far broader brush than many would believe, and offers dubious protection, if any. The offenders that choose to reoffend do so anyway, without regard for registries or laws, and many of the registrants go to prison, not for reoffense, but for the myriad changing laws over which they have minimal control.

It is just that society presents its distrust for these offenders, but it is unjust to present it in ways and means that are detrimental to the ends of that society. The coin of punishment, that harsh payment in the coinage of years can never be undone. It was the objective of our society to institute that punishment in lieu of things that could not be repaid in the coin of the land, and thus to have an end of things.

But when, under 'civil' registry, new requirements, new restrictions, new blockades ensue daily, we find ourselves in a changing world. If misdomeanors can be placed on that same registry, and even accusations, in what direction are we headed, as a nation, and as a people?

Could we not equally declare fines, penalties, fees, and restrictions for murder? Some would say that is a good thing. Drunken driving, indeed, is a plague... but you also open such fines, fees, and restrictions for things like disturbing the peace, vandalism, and all of the infinite other misdomeanor crimes out there in the world.

At which point, if a civil registry can accomplish all that, will not all law go to civil registries, enforced by the punishment of crime? If a civil law, imposed by congressional declaration, can impose fines and fees upon any class of citizen, regardless of past criminality, can it not be equally imposed upon... all? Can they not suddenly equally morph the law for all citizens, all states? Can they not alter the nature of your rights, privileges, and immunites, your freedoms and your liberties, simply by declaring that they believe that a potential threat is there... even if it never materializes?

Should we chase that willow-wisp, we run head-long and uncaring of the destinations directly into the heart of the bog of totalitarianism.

If the government can impose, via a 'civil' registry, utterly outside of the rule of law, new restrictions, new fines, new fees, determine how any individual can travel, where they can work, where they can live, whether or not they may have a family, and must request permission to serve in churches, to associate with others in society, are barred from places within that society, without the intervention of the court...

Is that not the very definition of slavery? Do they not exercise many, if not all of the rights of ownership, from the disposition of that property, to the destruction thereof?

And if they can do that on misdomeanors... can they not equally do it on any crime, of any stripe? From felonies to simple traffic violations, we have opened the door to allow our doom in, with a welcome, a hand shaking, and then loaded their gun and placed it at our temple, and opened the safe of liberty for the ransacking.

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