December 19, 2008

Operation Santa Claus squelched.

Because the Post Office discovered that one guy -- who probably only wanted to do a good deed -- was -- like 644,000 Americans -- a registered sex offender.

26 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Zero tolerance = zero thinking.

siyeh pass said...

Registered sex-offenders should really refrain from "sincerely trying to do a good deed" when it involves children. The PO knee-jerked, at first, but seems to be coming around.

Darcy said...

I agree with siyeh pass. Further, I am very far from accepting that a registered sex-offender "probably only wanted to do a good deed", sorry. They don't get my benefit of the doubt.

tim maguire said...

siyeh pass and Darcy, you might want to look a little deeper into the sorts of activities will land a person on the registered sex offender list. You just might be shocked at how many of them you've done in your life.

Andy said...

too bad they can't get a declaratory judgment on whether operation santa is a privacy violation and whether they would be held liable if it the program ultimately facilitated some kind of abuse.

jimbino said...

This is a modern-day Pied Piper tale. When the society continues to do the wrong thing, their most prized possessions--their very children--are the ones who end up suffering.

Poetic justice.

Darcy said...

I will do that, tim. You don't think that in this case, involving children in a very vulnerable situation, that registered sex offenders should be barred from participating? That's what I meant about the benefit of the doubt here - not in all circumstances.

TMink said...

Darcy, I think Tim's point is that people are put on the offender list who did not offend. 18 year olds who have consenual sex with their 17 year old girlfriend for instance.

Tim, I think you will agree, that real sex offenders are not to be trusted.

I support keeping the sex offender roles for you know, sex offenders. But then I also support putting real sex offenders in jail for life, so their would be no need for the offender list anyway.

Trey

JohnAnnArbor said...

Such a program is ready-made for a pedophile: vulnerable children, complete with names and addresses. Just go to the post office and find one near you! Sounds like the post office is just trying to make the program safer. Sad, but necessary.

And we have no idea if he wanted to do a good deed. It's not like he'd admit he just found the newest way to find prey from the NAMBLA newsletter.

Darcy said...

Thanks for the further explanation, Trey. Yes, I understand what tim is saying, and it's a good point. I would say protecting children in this scenario is above worrying about who is who on the list at the moment.

But both of your points, again, should concern all of us. And you're so right about the punishment aspect. The true offenders often don't do enough time, hence, the list.

Darcy said...

And I should have just agreed with my neighbor JohnAnnArbor on this.

UWS guy said...

Yes! Yes. Johnanmarbor! How will pedos find children if not through the post office! Rawr! Think of the children!

UWS guy said...

Jimino: what exactly in your mind is society doing wrong? I'm interested in what you mean by poetic justice.

Ann Althouse said...

What about those charities where you "adopt" some child in a poor country? Should those be shut down? God forbid anyone should know the name of a particular child.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Darcy, as others have pointed out there are many people who are "registered sex offenders" who have never had any contact with children and many of the offenses are trivial.

Unfortunately, the system we have makes no distinction between the really bad people (rapists, pedophiles) and some 18 year old kid who dated a slightly younger girl with disgruntled parents, or the guy who had to take a leak alongside a road or in a State Park and was accidentally observed, or the college student who streaks through the quad on a prank or the high school teacher who might be falsely charged by a student.

The system does us no good when we unfairly punish the trivial with a life sentence being labeled as a sex offender and are unable to pick out the really bad apples.

I don't know what this guy's offense was, but to lump all offenders as pedophiles and rapists is unfair and does us in the public no good.

Darcy said...

Yes, Dust Bunny Queen, I agree with you...we don't have a fair system. I amended my original comment to mean in this case, I think it's prudent to go overboard protecting children.

I did not mean to imply that I agree that everyone on the list deserves to be there. I don't know enough about it to say that, and you, Tim and Trey make great points. We need to fix the list, clearly. I still don't think I'm going to automatically assume someone on the list, signing up for a effort such as this "probably only wanted to do a good deed".

I think that's fair. Where am I wrong in that? I mean that question sincerely...I appreciate the debate very much.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Where am I wrong in that? I mean that question sincerely...I appreciate the debate very much.

I think we don't have enough information to make any opinion on this particular case. I mean....what was his offense? running naked with a pumpkin on his head? lol

It is this immediate condemnation of registered sex offenders as all being dangerous that bothers me. This is the same issue (in a slightly different format) that we discussed in the police report on campus about a "black man" being suspected of a crime and then extrapolating that ALL "black men" are guilty or were criminals.


Serious offenders should of course be prevented from having information that might lead them to have contact with children.

The Santa program, as it seems to have been conducted over the years, hasn't had problems with pedophiles attacking children, at least to our knowledge. It seems that we are over zealous when it comes to some things. Sort of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

JohnAnnArbor said...

What about those charities where you "adopt" some child in a poor country? Should those be shut down? God forbid anyone should know the name of a particular child.

The child, in that case, is not local.

Fix the list if it's overloaded with frat boys who ran the Naked Mile in college.

Cedarford said...

As DBQ and others have said, there is just about zero tolerance of intelligent thought in "bundling" all morals, indecent exposure, inappropriate touching, porn, rape, child molestation" cases all together into one generic "sex offender" category that demagoguing politicians seek a variety of "tough lifetime restrictions" after court-ordered punishment is over.
Supposedly in the name of public safety .....but, with the complicity of an ignorant public...an exercise in rank stupidity.

One of the heights of stupidity is living and employment restrictions.

You know, started with dumb war on drugs dictats that said no drug convicted person could live within 2,000 feet of a school or public playground. Which then forces cities to send their public housing inner city pervs and druggies to live in scattered housing in the suburbs. Since no project is more than 2,000 feet or a mile..from public schools...ummm...By Fucking Design!

And work restrictions where no person caught urinating in public can have a job that places them "in a position of close contact with kids". As if pissing in public and pedophilia are synonymous.

A general word of advice is to ensure if you are ever arrested, that a lawyer be retained to try and stop any effort to get the arrestee to bend over and cop to what seems a reasonable plea. A plea that may seem acceptable - but like Sen Craig, agreeing to admit "guilt" actually sets the person copping to even a no-fine, no-jail minor misdemeanor offense up for lifetime punishment, stigma.

Eli Blake said...

Keep in mind that in Oklahoma you can get on the 'sex offender' list for urinating in public, and in most states you can get on it if you get caught with a prostitute in your car. And it goes without saying that in most of them any woman who has ever been picked up for being a prostitute is defined as a sex offender.

Now, I'm not condoning any of the above, but the truth is that only a minority of registered sex offenders meet the stereotype of the child predator.

JohnAnnArbor said...

All very interesting. Fix the list, then.

From the story: A Postal Service official in Washington, after an initial, limited acknowledgment of a “privacy breach,” said that at one of the programs, not New York’s, a man whom a letter carrier recognized as a registered sex offender had “adopted” a letter. When postal officials confronted the man, the official said, he said he was sincerely trying to do a good deed, but postal inspectors nonetheless retrieved the letter and notified the family of the child.

I'm guessing the carrier recognized the guy from his past offense, not as a generic "sex offender" he saw on a list. What, he memorized all the "sex offenders" on his route? Very doubtful. But a carrier might recognize the neighborhood's convicted rapist or pedophile, who moved in after getting out of prison. Carriers easily learn stuff like that from chatting with people on their route.

So I think it's VERY unlikely this was a minor offender, given the whole story.

blake said...

siyeh pass and Darcy, you might want to look a little deeper into the sorts of activities will land a person on the registered sex offender list. You just might be shocked at how many of them you've done in your life.

Sounds like fun reading. Gotta link?

reader_iam said...

The program (an honorable one which has been around for something like a century) was shut down across the entire country.

Repeat:

The program was shut down across the entire country.

Oh, well, whatever.

reader_iam said...

You can suggest that I don't care about, don't understand or don't get how horrible the sexual abuse of children is, if you like, but it's a non-starter. Full stop.

This was an over-reaction on a system-wide basis to what was (thank God, procedures, instinct and whoever and whatever else!) a local flag of an individual. It's not particularly helpful, that over-reaction, in the area used as its justification, and it's definitely hurtful in others. Or doesn't any of that matter?

Oligonicella said...

JohnAnnArbor --

All very interesting. Fix the list, then.

Glad to see you're for throwing it out, because that's the only way to fix it at this point you know.

... letter carrier recognized ... trying to do a good deed ... a carrier might recognize ... from chatting ...

So I think it's VERY unlikely this was a minor offender, given the whole story.


Based on what empirical evidence?

Oligonicella said...

Darcy --

I think it's prudent to go overboard protecting children.

One perchance, half a million children do without. Don't care for that kind of prudence.