Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 16, 2013/ 6 Iyar, 5773

25 years on a predators' list for being a jerk!?

By Lenore Skenazy



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | An out-of-town golfer puts a $5 tip down the shirt of the 17-year-old young lady washing the clubs. Obnoxious? You bet. Humiliating? Most likely. What kind of punishment do you think the guy deserves?

Be forced to make a public apology? Do some community service? Maybe walk around for a day with a sign on him: "I'm a sexist tool."

I'd endorse any of those. What I can't endorse is the actual sentence he received when this case went to court. He was put on the sex offender list.

For 25 years.

That was the mandatory sentence the judge had to give him after a jury found him guilty of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct — the lowest charge possible. The judge didn't want to give him any jail time or a fine. But he had no choice when it came to the registry.

Which is why the registry laws must be reformed.

Now, I'm pretty sure we all agree that we do not want sex offenders preying on children. But I hope we all agree, too, that that goal is not being achieved here. There is a difference between sexually tormenting little children and being a class-A jerk for a minute or two. The law fails to make that distinction. It's like the zero-tolerance laws that can't distinguish between a Pop-Tart bitten into the shape of a gun and a loaded Smith & Wesson.

Putting plain old jerks on the sex offender registry is pointless when it comes to child safety. There's zero evidence that this man is a pedophile. So to stigmatize him for 25 years feels like a far greater crime than fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. It feels like cruel and unusual punishment. A quarter-century on the registry is a quarter-century when a person is a pariah, legally forbidden to go near any place kids congregate — parks, bus stops, school, the Y. Being on the list is dehumanizing.

Though the trauma and embarrassment of getting a tip down one's shirt isn't trivial, chances are it will not emotionally scar the young lady for life. Why do we punish the deed as if it will?

For this, we must thank, in part, our talk show culture. Years of focusing on misery have taught us to be sensitive to harassment, which is good. But we also have been taught that victimhood lasts forever, which is — thank goodness — usually not the case. If people manage to leave a trauma behind, pop culture tells us not that they are resilient but that they are "in denial." But actual studies of resiliency find that the majority of folks can lead happy, productive, normal lives after very real traumas, including abuse, violence, war — you name it. Humans are stronger than our culture leads us to believe.

But of course, the courts are part of our culture, as are our lawmakers. That's the only way to explain why one person's moment of humiliation would seem to merit another person's decades-long punishment. The court or the lawmakers must believe that any emotional damage, big or small, is forever crippling.

Add to that the fact that being on the sex offender registry is not officially considered punishment — as far as the law is concerned, it's merely "alerting" the public — well, that's cruel beyond belief.

Most of us fervently want to keep kids safe. Excessive punishment of non-predators is just not the way to do it.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Lenore Skenazy's column by clicking here.

Lenore Skenazy Archives

© 2013, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast