Monday, March 12, 2007

When Bad Legislation Happens To Good States

Everybody hates a child molester. Except, presumably, child molesters. They're an easy and convenient political target because really, who's going to stand up for them? Certainly not me...

So with that being said, Senator Doug Jackson (D-Dickson) is prepared to propose a piece of legislation that, if passed, would endanger the life of every child in this state. Not that it's not intentional--- But the road to hell is paved with good intentions and bad legislation.

From The Tennesseean via Braisted:

Tennessee could be one of six states that allow child rapists to face the death penalty if lawmakers pass a bill sponsored by state Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, which would allow capital punishment for repeat offenders.

I'm all for tough sentences for repeat offenders, but the death penalty?

For the moment, I'll set aside all questions about whether or not the death penalty is right. We'll pretend, if only for the moment, that I believe the best way to put the exclamation point on the phrase "Killing is wrong!" is to whack somebody.

How shortsighted do you have to be to believe that the sentence for raping and killing a child and the sentence for raping a child should be the same? What possible motive would someone that rapes a child have for leaving their victims alive at that point?

Statistically speaking, somewhere out there, a man has just raped a child. He knows he might get caught. As it stands right now, the penalty for being a child killer is much steeper than the penalty for being a child rapist, so he doesn't kill the child.

If this shortsighted piece of legislation passes the Tennessee State Senate, he has no such assurances. He has absolutely nothing to lose by killing the child--- In fact, it would make it easier for him to get away with it if the victim is dead and can't identify him.

I certainly admire the drive to protect children. In fact, I felt compelled to write this by my own drive to protect them--- From bad legislation that would leave their very lives dependent upon the good nature of someone that's raped a child.

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