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It’s for the Children

This law could be the bane of dirty old men in malls in the State of Maine.  Dr. Helen talks about whether this law, which basically seems to outlaw staring at children, won’t have unintended consequences.  Here’s my scenario:

A man is caught starting into a park with a set of binoculars where children are known to be congregating.  Surely that’s enough to creep out any parent who might come across it?  The police are called, and arrest the man for “visual sexual aggression”, in the face of a crowd of angry parents demanding something be done.  The man, a member of the local ornithological society, claims he was tracking a rare Rufous-capped Warbler.  The police don’t buy it, and he’s arrested and charged.  He’s ultimately acquitted in a jury trial, but the legal fees force him into bankruptcy, and he loses his life’s savings.

People need to develop a healthy skepticism of what those in power suggest will protect their children.  Legislators can pass laws.  That’s all they can do.  When your only tool is a hammer, a lot of things start looking like nails.  Voters need to consider that the legal system can ruin the lives of the guilty along with the innocent.  The reason I oppose this Maine law is the exact same reason I opposed the “Lost and Stolen” requirement.  We set the state’s burden of proof high for a reason, and we should look most skeptically on any proposal designed to allow the state to divine that a person clearly must be guilty, and to give the state tools to make an easy conviction based on that cognition, without having to meet the burden of proof for the more serious, but more difficult to prove offense.

UPDATE: Illspirit points out that the actual bill is not nearly what the reporter has lead us to believe.  After reading the actual text, I have no problem with said bill.  It only goes to show you should never believe anything you hear from a reporter.

5 Responses to “It’s for the Children”

  1. Tom says:

    Does anyone know if York Police Chief Doug Bracy has any children or is he just using the collective (read communism we’re headed towards) “our”?

    Just what the hell is “visual sexual aggression” why would that kind of nanny state big brother bullshit NOT apply to strip clubs? Would staring at “children” of the highly valued minority classes also constitute a hate crime, or maybe a new ” ocular racism” crime can be created?

    Loophole? Those things USED to be called freedom.

    Maybe BHO’s racist pastor was right…”God damn the united states” just for the wrong reasons.

  2. illspirit says:

    It appears the journalist in the linked article left out a few details. Namely, that the law in question is about looking at naked children and/or exposing oneself to them. The amendment (underlined bits in .pdf) seem to indicate this somehow wasn’t illegal in a public place before.

    http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/billpdfs/LD207901.pdf

    That said, I’m also guessing there was more to the guy-watching-kids-in-a-bathroom story than the original article is telling us..

  3. Sebastian says:

    Oh dear, it would seem I’ve been mislead by bad reporting.

  4. Tom says:

    Well, the “authorized journalists” strike again. Shame on us for biting…again. It seems that 90+% of “news” is lies of omission and only useful for keeping us out of an ice age.

  5. illspirit says:

    Don’t feel bad. I was quite disturbed by the story when it was posted at Fark the other day, and was about to rant about it before someone linked to the bill in the comments.

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