Wednesday, September 23, 2009


The Sacrificial Lambs

Fantastic piece on the societal criminalization of teen behavior; the left and the right have managed to brand participants in once-normal sexual experimentation (or even juvenile pranksters in some cases) into permanent "sex offender" pariahs.
It takes so little for this happen to a child. A girl in school has oral sex with a boy in school. She becomes a sex offender for the rest of her life. Streaking a school event, as a practical joke, becomes a sex crime in the new America. Two kids “moon” a passerby and are incarcerated in jail as sex offenders, where they may well learn a lesson or two about rape. A teenager, who takes a sexy of photo of him, or herself, is paraded around the community as a “child pornographer” for the rest of his or her life. Two kids in the back seat of a car have fumbling sex. The law says one is an offender because the other is a “victim.” One week later, a birthday passes, and it is no longer a crime. One week’s difference and a life is ruined. In other cases an act that is legal on Monday is illegal on Tuesday because the older of the two turned one year older. That becomes enough to qualify him, or her, as an offender.


These laws are not so much protecting children from predators as they are turning them into predators. Look at this chart. Individuals who are legally defined as sex offenders. When you look at the ages of the offenders you see that 14-year-olds are apparently the most sexually dangerous group in America. The rate declines from there, but throughout adolescence the law is far more likely to deem kids as offenders. You may imagine the dirty old man down the street. But with age people are less likely to “offend”. One reason is that they are more mature. But another reason is clear. Once you reach a certain age, having sex with people your own age is normally not considered a crime. The explosion of “youthful sex offenders” is not the result of our kids becoming perverts. It is the result of the law criminalizing what is a normal part of growing up.
Read the long, powerful post. Sad and scary stuff. (Via Radley Balko and Andrew Sullivan)
Follow-up post here.

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