Sunday, November 15, 2009

WARNING! Viewing This Blog Could Land You in Prison

That's what happened to a Buffalo man, who was sentenced to one to three years in state prison for "viewing the Web sites of nudist colonies."

Yes, the man is a convicted sex offender, and I am certainly not defending his admitted criminal behavior, but one of the downsides to living in a so-called free society is that people are generally going to say and do things that are offensive to other people.

There is nothing illegal about being a nudist, engaging in social nudism, possessing nudist and naturist materials, and viewing nudist web sites.

I don't know the terms of this man's probation. Was he also barred from bookstores, museums, watching television, going to the movies, reading magazines, or going to the Sports Illustrated web site to view the swimsuit models? It's rather difficult to avoid sexually-charged material in today's culture.

This is a major red flag for nudists and naturists everywhere, that at least one judge considers the lifestyle to be sexual, a magnet for pedophiles, and a possible catalyst for illegal and criminal behavior.

When faced with sexual crimes, society seems to be more than willing to sacrifice freedoms in return for some sort of false reassurance that the government is providing protection. The fact is that the government cannot protect the population against everything - already 1 out of every 100 citizens is incarcerated in America, the highest in the world. 25% of the world's incarcerated people are in the United States, which contains only 5% of the total population on the planet.

It seems that we are more than willing to criminalize just about everything that scares us just a wee bit. 500,000 people are in American jails for drug-related crimes alone. A male living in the United States has an 11.3% chance of going to prison during his lifetime.

It's clear that this process of throwing people in jail for all of society's ills is not working. The recent case of Anthony Sowell who is accused of the serial murders of several women in Cleveland, Ohio, clearly illustrates the failure of the system on all levels.
With education, job training, mentoring and substance abuse programs in short supply behind bars, it is a challenge for inmates to clean up their acts and improve their situations. When they are released, ex-felons face an uphill battle to land even the most menial, low-paying jobs. This nation continues to punish the formerly incarcerated after they have paid their debt to society. Many professions and employers bar applicants with a criminal record, and many public housing and college loan opportunities are beyond reach.

Not surprisingly, many ex-cons cannot care for their families or become productive members of society. But they do manage to hone their skills and become better criminals.
And now we're locking up people for their sexual urges, which only further serves to frustrate and bottle up a sex drive which will eventually find a means of expression, often in a violent manner.

Taking someone who is getting sexual gratification from web sites and throwing him into the realm of prison sex, with rape, slavery, violence, and homosexuality, is not going to solve the problem. Once he's back out, he's likely to be in much worse sexual health than when he went in.

I certainly don't have the answers, but it seems to me that the punitive actions society is inflicting on people for real and perceived sex crimes is actually making the problem worse. In the case of sexting teens, who exchange nude photos of themselves with cell phones, charging them with felonies and putting them on sex offender registries is absolutely going to ruin their lives and encourage real criminal behavior in order to survive in a hostile society.

So this poor schmuck in Buffalo who exposed himself to some boys in 2002 at a YMCA camp, and fondled another, doesn't have a chance at rehabilitation. Many will argue that he should be locked up for good. But since his original violation, if the worst thing he did was look at some nudist web sites, then this illustrates our society's deep-seated fear of sexuality and the human body, and its cavalier willingness to discard human beings onto this virtual trash heap we call the justice system.

It's no longer about what is fair, or best for society, it's about money and politics. The recent case of the cash-for-kids scandal in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, shows how incredibly cold and cruel we can be to our own children when there's a buck to be made.

Prison is big business, and big business needs customers. Don't think for a second that YOU are not on their radar.


Jim H said...

Something that has come up in several missing children cases lately has been the presence of large numbers of registered sex offenders within one or two miles of the home. Someone needs to do a story on how many of these people are real threats and how many are victims of the "Moral Majority"'s push to criminalize everything sexual. It takes resources to track these people, and flooding the system with large numbers of low threat cases makes it more likely that a serious threat will slip through the cracks. The prinicipals and prosecutors who use the threat of prosecution to attack sexting annd streaking are actually serious threats to the integrity and effectiveness of the system.

Tom Roark said...

There's a quote bouncing around that's supposed to be from the Gospel of Thomas. If you use your genius it will save you, if you don't it will ruin you. Am I going out on a limb by saying that part of the human genius is our sexuality, and sexual predators are where the ruin happens? Can we do anything about the ones who are already ruined? Dunno. Let's just ruin as few more as we can.

IronBear138 said...

Part of it is our dumb drug laws. There are plenty of non violent guys in prison for weed. Makes no fucking sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Not that this guys behavior is excusable but like so many other things, we have too much government. There are way too many laws on the books and they are way too vague. By some estimates (, the average American unknowingly commits three FELONIES every day. We need to get lawmakers at every level to shape up and start doing something useful.

Anonymous said...

"the tigher you squeeze your fist the more that will run through your fingers"

Criminalizing everything freezes the economy and makes offenses laughing stock. Officers don't know most laws, hiring more makes a police state.