Monday, March 8, 2010

news flash: neighborhood watch isn't working

Lately, there has been a ruckus in San Diego over all sorts of things- racial tensions at UCSD, lack of funding for the public school system, all the way down to not-so-important issues like LT leaving the Chargers, and poor sleep-deprived students surviving finals week (me included). Another disturbing story to add to the mix is the discovery of the bodies of Chelsea King and Amber DuBois. Sadly, their stories hit closer to home than the many hundreds of other cases that occur each year. The close proximity of sex offenders to where we all live, work, and play has made me aware that these stories don't just happen to the people we see in the news-- it could happen to any one of us-- scary thought.

I find the deaths of these innocent girls extremely disturbing- also because of the lax sentences that are given to these sex offenders. John Albert Gardner III, who was tried last week for the rape and murder of Chelsea King, is registered as a sex offender. He was released from prison in 2008, serving only 5 of his 6-year sentence. Originally, the psychologist hired for his case recommended he be given a harsher case, but that obviously didn't happen. This brings up the question of why these offenders are not given harsher sentences that they obviously deserve, as well as the validity of life sentences without parole and the death penalty.

There is much controversy in the use of the death penalty- who are we to say who can live and who can't? But in situations like these, I don't see what society would be gaining be keeping child sex offenders around. You put them in jail, let them out, and they do the same things over and over again, hurting innocent members of society, and in this case, children. Why
not take them out of the genetic pool? They've obviously proven themselves useless in the responsible citizen category. The other option? Keeping them in jail (for life, preferably) with our tax dollars. I know it takes many more tax dollars than necessary in giving someone the death sentence, but sometimes aren't sacrifices necessary?

Of course, this is a democratic country and realistically death sentences issued on mass-scale would never happen. These are just some thoughts- I don't even know if I fully endorse the death sentence in all situations, especially where those who are wrongfully sentenced are involved-- i'm just trying to process these events in my mind and make sense of the system that governs it. If you have any perspectives on this issue, please comment, because I'd really like to hear your side of it.

When it comes down to it, the entire situation just makes me uncomfortable. Think of it this way: while these offenders are released back into communities, your sisters, friends, and neighbors walk to school with eyes wide open.


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