Use protection – at the ballot box

Sam Foreman

Until you have witnessed the destruction that the rape or molestation of a child brings, then you won’t fully appreciate why some fight so hard to protect children by keeping sexual predators out of societal circulation.

Can somebody please explain to me why on God’s green earth sick people (and I mean that in the clinical and colloquial senses; both apply) continue to be allowed to prey upon the weak of society, especially children?

It would seem to be common sense that someone who has violated the innocence of a child would be removed from society, at least temporarily. If not at the first offense, at least repeat offenders should be restricted in such a way that they can no longer prey upon the weak. But we live in a day and age where common sense is apparently no longer commonly found in the rulings of some judges.

Regardless of your political affiliation, I hope that we can all agree on the absolute right of children to have their innocence protected. We as a society should be doing whatever we can to ensure a safe environment for children. Schools should have buffer zones, sex-offender registries should be publicized and enforced and penalties for those who violate the dignity of a child should be structured to reduce the likelihood of repeat offenses to a minimum.

The amount of research documenting the physical, mental and emotional damage to children that have been victims of sexual crimes is voluminous. Yet for some reason, those who perpetrate crimes of this nature seem to be acquitted or receive light sentences, such as probation, with increasing frequency. Is ours becoming a society where the villain has more rights and protection than the victim?

Perhaps you don’t believe in punishment as an effective deterrent to crime. Perhaps it’s not. But allowing offenders to circulate in society without meaningful corrective action often sentences the victims of those crimes to continued fear and repeat victimization. In addition, those who perpetrate these crimes often commit similar crimes again. The system must adapt to correct this serious problem.

There is an apparent belief by some judges and elected officials that it’s all about them, an egocentric view of the universe that contributes to a level of arrogance that distances and disconnects so many public servants from the people they are supposed to be serving. This environment is fostered by an electorate that has itself become disconnected and disenchanted to the point most voters are so apathetic they don’t cast an informed vote, if they even vote at all.

So what’s the answer? Judges need to understand that they are accountable to the people, and they will be held responsible for failure to fulfill their duties. This will only happen when voters become more engaged in the political process and better informed of the actions of those elected and appointed to serve them.

Use protection at the ballot box – stay informed about how local judges are behaving so that you can determine whether they deserve to be retained. Also, be sure to pay attention to this issue when voting for your elected representatives – they make the laws that are to be enforced and are responsible for appointing judges in the first place. Please, use protection when you vote. The future really does depend on it.

Sam ForemanWashburn student