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July 28, 2005

Intriguing reaction to sex offender panic

This letter, headlined "Drunken drivers vs. sex offenders" and appearing in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, makes a number of interesting points in response to the sex offender panic which is producing "get-tough" sex offender legislation at the federal, state and local levels.  Here's the lead paragraph:

There are many more unmonitored, lethal, habitually drunken drivers in our midst than there are unmonitored, lethal sex offenders.  Drunken drivers maim and kill more children, adolescents and adults than do all of Florida's sex offenders.

July 28, 2005 at 07:09 AM | Permalink


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Drunken driving is viewed as an "Everyman" offense. No matter how much the public may hate a particular crime, people are reluctant to crack down on an offense that in the backs of their minds they could see themselves committing. But sex offenders are as far from Everyman as can be, so there's no reluctance to unleash maximum fury at them.

The irony is that precisely because drunken driving is an Everyman offense, it is probably one of the few crimes where general deterrence would be highly successful. Imagine how many lives would be saved if only drunken driving carried a year in prison on the first offense. It would be worth it, in my mind.

Posted by: Matthew | Jul 28, 2005 5:03:43 PM

The sex offender licence plate,idea is a bad idea because people will assume that when they don't see a special plate on a car driving through thier neighborhood,that everythjng is ok. I'm sure I could think of other reasons,but I think you can see where I'm going with this.

Posted by: Richard Pruett | Mar 7, 2007 11:50:47 PM

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