Higher courts should protect people, not criminals
Registered sex offenders who have been banned from social networking websites are fighting back in state courts.
Sex offenders have successfully challenged many of the restrictions, arguing that the laws infringe on free speech and their right to participate in common online discussions.
The legal battles in Indiana, Nebraska and Louisiana pit public outrage over sex crimes against cherished guarantees of individual freedom and the far-reaching communication changes brought by Facebook, LinkedIn and dozens of other sites.
The bans generally forbid offenders to join social networks or chat rooms or use instant-messaging programs – just a few of the online tools that civil liberties advocates say have become virtually indispensable to free speech.
Authorities insist the bans are needed to protect children from pedophiles who prowl online hangouts.
And we agree with the latter opinion.
If you look at recidivism rates – or talk to any law enforcement officer, district attorney, judge or other law-related individual – pedophiles never abandon their disgusting ways.
American law needs to recognize that pedophiles abandon many of their rights and freedoms when they choose to sexually harm another person. This country is amazing because of the many freedoms we enjoy; but it’s also sad to see so many who do not deserve those freedoms living a carefree life.
Lawmakers are not infringing on freedom of speech; a sex offender being banned from social networks does not mean he cannot express himself or his opinions. It simply means society recognizes him as a monster that hunts and attacks innocent people. A sex offender does not need social networks to exercise freedom of speech; sex offenders have had that right since before social networks were even formed and they weren’t crying about the issue then.
However, social networks can be used to locate previous and potential victims. Does that not violate the rights and freedoms of the innocent victims? Shouldn’t law-abiding citizens – or at least those who have not committed sex crimes – be protected from having offenders seek them out through online communication?
Our higher courts, which ultimately interpret laws, spend so much time ensuring defendants’ rights are upheld that it seems they create most of the problems we experience with sex offenders.
Sometimes you have to wonder what the point of being a law-abiding citizen is if predators receive the most protection.
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