You know, I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same thing:
A Texas father who said he witnessed his 4-year-old daughter being molested beat her alleged attacker to death with repeated punches to the head, police said Monday.
A relative of the 23-year-old father, who was not identified by local reports, said he was later remorseful for killing the suspected predator, who was also not named pending notification of his death to his family.
“It was an accident,” the young girl’s grandfather told the Victoria Advocate newspaper.
Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon said he doesn’t expect the father to be arrested in Saturday’s incident, and that no evidence so far has led investigators to doubt his version of events.
The entire story has yet to come out. But if this version of events is correct, I can not imagine a Texas grand jury handing down an indictment or a Texas jury convicting him of anything. Maybe littering if he left the body blocking a public road. I’m not saying vigilante justice is awesome, as you’ll see below. I’m saying that any dad who caught someone molesting his 4-year-old daughter would hit the rapist until he stopped moving. No man can exercise restraint in that situation. No man should.
On the flip side, however, you have this illustration of why sex offender registries have gone too far.
A Washington man accused of fatally shooting two convicted sex offenders on the Olympic Peninsula indicated he did not plan to stop with two, a prosecutor told a judge on Monday.
Patrick Drum, 34, of Sequim, remained jailed without bail after a Clallam County Superior Court hearing.
A signed note Drum left in a rental car said he hated sex offenders and ‘it had to be done,’ the county sheriff said Monday.
So what these two monsters do? Was it as bad as what happened in Texas? One was guilty of third degree rape. I’ve read the statute but I’m still not clear on what that means. The other was convicted of child rape. But according to his wife, this meant he had consensual sex with his freshman girlfriend when he was a senior in high school. Neither of those things should be legal (I’m in favor of Romeo-Juliet exemptions, but four years is beyond the limit of most). But did either of them deserve to have a big bullseye painted on their homes? This is not the first time this has happened. Sex offenders — including those convicted based on public urination, prostitution, consensual sex with slightly younger partners, accidental exposure — have often been threatened, assaulted and even murdered. The system does not discriminate between the fiend that just got what he deserved in Texas and the two men who got something completely undeserved in Washington.
The murderer does appear to have mental and behavioral issues. But did the government really need to dangle a red flag in front of him? And what was accomplished? Read this article from the economist:
Georgia has more than 17,000 registered sex offenders. Some are highly dangerous. But many are not. And it is fiendishly hard for anyone browsing the registry to tell the one from the other. The Georgia Sex Offender Registration Review Board, an official body, assessed a sample of offenders on the registry last year and concluded that 65% of them posed little threat. Another 30% were potentially threatening, and 5% were clearly dangerous. The board recommended that the first group be allowed to live and work wherever they liked. The second group could reasonably be barred from living or working in certain places, said the board, and the third group should be subject to tight restrictions and a lifetime of monitoring. A very small number “just over 100” are classified as “predators”, which means they have a compulsion to commit sex offences. When not in jail, predators must wear ankle bracelets that track where they are.
Recidivism rates for sex offenders are low, mostly because, according to Georgia, at least two-thirds of them are not really dangerous to begin with. And children are far more likely to be molested by someone who is not on a registry than someone who is. We’ll see what facts come out about the Texas case, but I would be very surprised if the … victim? … of the beating was registered.
The middle ground is obvious. For the 65% that pose little threat, remove them from the registry. For the 30% that are potential threats, track and monitor. For the 5% who are dangerous, put them back in jail. We can toss out a few pot smokers to make room. Or maybe send them to the nice warm permanent cell some would-be-rapist is now in.
Update: More details have come out and it seems like one of the dead men had sex with a disabled girl when they were both 17, hence the third degree rape charge. The other, however, did, in fact, rape young children. My point stands. Under a sensible system, these two men would not be treated equally.