JWR publishes hundreds of right-thinking columnists and cartoonists. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.
Jewish World Review July 18, 2005 / 11 Tammuz, 5765

Bill O'Reilly

Bill O'Reiley
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Protecting the kids

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Here's the stark truth in the land of the free: Many American children under the age of 10 can no longer play on their front lawns unsupervised for fear they may be abducted. Time after time we read about young kids being snatched, raped and murdered by known sexual offenders, and our society seems powerless to stop the madness.

The latest is the horrific case of Joseph Duncan, a convicted child rapist who apparently murdered two adults, a 13-year-old and a 9-year-old boy in Idaho. When police arrested Duncan, he was having breakfast with the murdered boy's 8-year-old sister, who told authorities Duncan had brutally molested her for weeks.

Duncan was free to do this because of Minnesota Judge Thomas Schroeder. Last March, Duncan stood before Schroeder charged with yet another child molestation. The monster had already served 16 years in Washington State for raping a 14-year-old boy and admitted to 13 other child rapes. He even talked about them on this website. Yet Judge Schroeder set Duncan's bail at just $15,000. A friend of Duncan's gave him the money, Duncan paid the bail and then skipped town.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports Judge Schroeder was aware of Duncan's past, and even if the judge didn't know, he could have easily found out by having the prosecutor call the FBI's Crime Information Center in Washington. Schroeder has no excuse. He's a disgrace.

But there are many disgraceful judges, either too lazy or too apathetic to protect children. The solution to the problem is to take the power away from the judges altogether. It is not a hard thing to do.

First, every state in the union must pass a criminal statute like Florida's Jessica's Law. That calls for a minimum 25-year-to-life prison term for a first offense sexual assault conviction against a child. And second, if these predators do manage to leave prison, they have to register their addresses with the federal government so a national database can track their movements. Any failure to do this — 10 years in federal prison.

Basically, that would take sentencing discretion away from the judges, but the nation would have to depend on prosecutors to aggressively pursue those involved with child molestation. Something that has not been done in Jessica Lunsford's case.

Donate to JWR

So the solution is there for everyone to see — why then do our elected officials fail to enact it?

Only 13 states currently have mandatory prison sentences of 10 years or more for convicted child sexual offenders. The other 37 states are mostly chaotic in the way they adjudicate these cases. My staff contacted all 50 governors, and their interest ranged from intense (Gov. Rick Perry of Texas) to ho-hum (Gov. Don Carcieri of Rhode Island).

The bottom line is that Jessica's Law could be and should be enacted quickly in every state. There is an urgency to this. And if your governor doesn't get the urgency, give him a call and let him or her have it. Enough is enough with the brutalizing of American children. Every one of us must hold the lawmakers accountable and demand protection for the kids.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

Bill O'Reilly Archives


© 2004 Creators Syndicate