"Naming and shaming" needs to stop
July 30, 2000 5:50 PM   Subscribe

"Naming and shaming" needs to stop is being claimed by groups who are meeting with News of the World executives. These groups claim that releasing information about pedophiles to communities is degrading and sparks more violence than good. They beleive making jail sentences longer will become a better alternative to hilighting offenders, and help to reform them to the point where the information is not needed by those around them.
posted by tomorama (17 comments total)
There was a story about this in Jacksonville's Folio Weekly just recently and I found myself fairly disturbed in reading it... the author seemed to be in part appealing for more prudence in releasing the names of child molesters, but while relating *all* the details of the case of one such man who lives in Jacksonville, and making no special attempt to elicit understanding or sympathy for him either. I wonder if the author thought he was doing the guy a favor?

I don't know what I think on the issue---can see both sides---it's a troublesome issue and the Folio story seemed to perfectly illustrate that.
posted by Sapphireblue at 7:44 PM on July 30, 2000

If you mean longer jail time like 75 years fine, Ill agree with you. That opinion aside I think people should be naming and shaming, it is a very powerful deterrant that is proven to work. Do you have any children? Would you want one of these PREDATORS living in your neighborhood? If they were wouldnt you want to at least know about them, so you could keep your eye on them? I think the only people that could possibly take their side are ones that are engaging in the same activity. I am all for personal liberty and have voted for the Libertarian candidate in the last 3 elections. I dont care what you do but if you prey on children that crosses a line that is TOTALLY unaccecptable. It bothers me that you would even be sympathetic to their cause. I hope my kids are never raped by one of these assholes because if they were I would scour this planet with only one objective in mind. That would be hunting them down and exterminating them after I tortured them of course because blowing their brains out would be letting them off lightly. Then I'll be sitting in jail for like 6 years or something as long as I dont have any crack on me when the man catches me,then it would probably be 20 to life or something. Then will you come to my aid and cry out against my harsh treatment being incarcerated? yeah I thought so. Youd be to worried about some low life predator scumbag. Raping children is one sure fire way to make the rest of their life a complete nightmare and ruining it for good. Whose side are you on anyway? I will never have sympathy for predatory pedophiles who put their orgasm before ruining another human beings life. You should rethink your position and try to help some people who are truly hurting.
posted by Wedge at 11:04 PM on July 30, 2000

What a recactionary load of old crap.

In Britain where this naming and shaming exercise is taking place, it is already proving to be a disaster. Many pedophiles whose whereabouts were previously known have disappeared in the last week. Innocent men have been attacked by mobs because they look a bit like the photos in the papers.

I'd also like to point out that the Murdoch press, particularly the tabloids, have an incredible reputation for getting their facts wrong. One thing they don't get wrong however is circulation figures and they're soaring up and up.

This past week more has been written in the press about this issue than the Concorde disaster and as they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity. Of course some people would say that it's morally wrong to profit from the death of Sarah Payne in this cynical manner. Clearly Rupert Murdoch would disagree.

Anyway I'd personally be more in favour of a naming and shaming of drunk drivers who have killed more children than pedophiles every year but, since some newspaper journalists might have to be included in the list, that probably won't happen any time soon.
posted by dodgygeezer at 1:38 AM on July 31, 2000

I wish people would be less hysterical when it comes to attacks on children by strangers. Sure, it's not pleasant, but as the last poster points out, there are a lot more important dangers; things that affect adults as well.

No doubt there's a good biological reason for parents to be irrational about the safety of their children, but that doesn't mean we all have to behave like headless chickens...

posted by andrew cooke at 3:29 AM on July 31, 2000

Hahaha... Yeah, let's put them in jail for longer, where their survival rate is even worse then in regular society. In the hierarchy of prison, the child-molester is at the very bottom of the scale. Inmates hate them. Look at what happened to Jeffery Dahmer. Murderer? Yes. But he targeted young teenage boys and men.

Of course, he may have had a contract out on him... but I digress.

No sympathy at all for these monsters and freaks of nature.
posted by da5id at 3:44 AM on July 31, 2000

Thanks, Wedge, for that reasoned and intelligent response... Adults who take advantage of children are bad; adults who react like ignorant children in a situation where adult responses are called for are far, far worse.

As if we needed any more evidence that actively publishing this information about people who have already served the sentence given them was a really crappy idea...
posted by m.polo at 4:59 AM on July 31, 2000

Wedge, people such as yourself who fly off the handle aren't helping anyone.

Longer jail sentences aren't going to work. Jails don't work, period, for a whole host of reasons. And no, I don't believe 'naming and shaming' is neither fair nor effective. Although problematic, I'd suggest the criminal justice system consider chemical castration of convicted sex offenders. Seems like a good idea to me.
posted by claire at 6:34 AM on July 31, 2000

Castration is a good idea. But they should do it with a sledgehammer. heheheh.... But seriously... Can't we just kill them all?
posted by Nyarlathotep at 7:51 AM on July 31, 2000

I'm still not totally sure how I feel about this. If the offenders drop into hiding, it's not the publication of their whereaboutes that's a problem. That means we need to keep better tabs on them. People who are attacked because they look like the offenders are certainly innocent victims as well, but I can't beleive that hilighting the real offenders doesn't do a certain amount of good. Longer jail sentences could work, if not to reform them, then just to give them a taste of their own medecine since the other inmates will make their lives a living hell.
Personally, if this happened to my chilrdren in the future, I would probably find the monster myself. I'm not saying that's right or moral, that's just what I'd probably do.
posted by tomorama at 9:44 AM on July 31, 2000

A very good point's been glanced off the edge of, here, that I made recently in a conversation with a friend, who has a 4 year old and an 11 year old.

I'm firmly convinced that more damage has been done to more children by forcing them to believe that *every human being they meet* -- no, let's call a spade a spade, shall we? -- *EVERY MALE HUMAN BEING THEY MEET* is trying to kidnap them and molest, abuse and kill them...

... than has *ever been done*, in aggregate, to actual abused children.

For the love of *christ*, people, if we raise an entire generation of kids who don't feel they can trust *anyone*, we're gonna have street gangs running rampant, kids injecting bleach into their mothers' veins, serial killers, guys blowing up day care buildings...

... oh. Never mind...

(My friend, she agreed with me, BTW)
posted by baylink at 4:09 PM on July 31, 2000

Violence against children is always such a hot-button topic. Mention a crime, and most people will shake their heads and say, "that's a shame." Mention that the victim was a child, and the level of outrage and disgust increases dramatically. It's because many people instinctively feel much more protective about children because they are so much more defenseless (in most cases). I know the preceeding paragraph holds true about me. I will likely become even more reactionary if/when I have a child of my own.

Despite how I may feel about child molestors, I'm torn over the issue of Megan's Law. One the one hand, I would like to know if the people around me have been found guilty of crimes that can put me or my family at risk.

On the other hand, just how long are we supposed to go on punishing someone, once they're served their court-assigned time/rehabilitation/therapy? Additionally, why is there no similar law to cover DUI, drug offenses, or assault, which are also known to be habitual crimes?

Sex offender databases are a different matter. Regardless of whether anyone supports these databases or not, the information has always been a matter of public record. It's just that now it's so much easier and many more people are aware of how to get the information.

I'm not too thrilled with the databases either, for many of the same reasons. Another thing that bothers me about these databases is the wide range of offenses that fall under 'sex offender.' In some instances, being drunk and peeing off your front porch where your neighbor can see you will result in a sex-related charge that can land your name on one of these databases, along side that of a serial child molester.

I also don't like hearing that innocent people have been assaulted because of mistaken identity. The witch-hunt mob mentality is scary in any circumstances.

Overall, I see Megan's Law and these databases much more as an ongoing punishment than as a deterrent. After all, if the threat of punishment was an effective means of preventing crime, we'd not have an overcrowding problem in our prisons right now.
posted by phichens at 4:32 PM on July 31, 2000

I'd also like to add that chemical castration isn't really much of a preventative at all. While a male may not be able to 'get it up,' there are numerous other ways to molest/sexually assault another person. If someone is disturbed enough to sexually objectify a child, the problem is more mental than physical anyway. Additionally, what good does chemical castration do about female molesters? (They may be rare, but they do exist.)
posted by phichens at 6:11 PM on July 31, 2000

Point taken, phichens. But I was under the impression that chemical castration goes beyond simply limiting one's ability to (as you say) 'get it up'. As far as I know, it reduces the offender's entire sex drive by altering hormone levels in the body, and consequently the 'urge' to engage in sexual activity of any kind is thwarted. This would be enormously effective in preventing the other kinds of assualt you refer to (just take a look at the former eunuchs of Asia). While I admit there are many ethical issues to be considered, I think chemical castration is something society should at least look into. Any criminologist worth half their salt knows that jails don't work (the archaic idea that jail "teaches 'em a lesson" lapsed a long time ago), so I guess we need to explore alternatives if we're really serious about solving this problem.
posted by claire at 3:40 AM on August 1, 2000

The simplest solution to this conundrum is truth-in-sentencing life without possibility of parole for anyone who preys on children. And whatever happens to them happens, and may G-d have mercy on their souls.

Jail isn't always about "teaching a lesson." Sometimes it's about punishment pure and simple. I'm hard pressed to think of anything, save murder, that deserves a greater punishment than child molestation.
posted by Dreama at 11:02 PM on August 1, 2000

In reply to dodygeezer, your getting sidetracked and not seeing the issue, you seem to think it's ok to be a pedophile as long as you dont kill anyone. Pedophiles dont kill children, they force them to have sex with them.The concorde has had 1 major crash in 30 years, an almost spotless record.Why would want to see more stories on that? You are siding with people that RAPE children. God help you. I dont know what recactionary means, is it a British term? And of course drunk drivers are a hazard,but my post was regarding pedophiles. And Claire your living in a fantasy. Chemical castration? Really now, when you're raped are you going to still think that is a good idea? You probably think guns are responsible for shootings too. Last night I laid a bunch of tools around the broken car in the garage, when I woke up in the morning them tools were still sitting there and the car wasn't even fixed! Dammit!
posted by Wedge at 12:20 AM on August 2, 2000

Why is harming children worse than harming adults?
posted by aaron at 7:05 AM on August 2, 2000

Because, plain and simple, I can introduce said criminal's face to mr. cement, where a child is a little more handicapped in the defense area (assuming, of course he's not sporting a gun, but still, if they're close enough to someone to sexually assault them, an adult has a better chance of wrestling the gun away and escaping).
posted by tomorama at 11:53 AM on August 2, 2000

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