If this isn't "punishment", then what is?
This is an article proposing barring sex offenders from celebrating and participating in Halloween.
I know that there are similar laws out there in other places, such as in Missouri:
I really don't understand this line of thinking. Are we Americans that naiive in thinking that if all sex offenders don't decorate their houses for Halloween and don't hand out candy we can let our children go trick-or-treating unescorted, perfectly safe?
When I was a child, my brother and I would go trick-or-treating with or without friends, but never with adult supervision. It's amazing we survived because we really didn't live in that great a neighborhood.
When I grew up and began having children of my own, I realized the potential dangers out there - not just creepy sickos but speeding motorists and kids getting lost or disoriented or scared or bullied by older kids out to cause havoc. I have always accompanied my children while trick-or-treating and when my two older girls got old enough to ask if they could go without me, I informed them that they were then too old to go trick-or-treating.
I believe it is the parent's responsibility to protect their children. I cannot imagine - and don't recall - ever seeing a young child trick-or-treating unescorted.
So, considering that, where is the danger if a child unknowingly visits the home of a sex offender while trick-or-treating? What is the offender going to do? Grab your kid and jerk them into the house with you standing right there? I hardly think so.
And suppose the offender has a family. A spouse and children who are excited about celebrating Halloween. What are they supposed to do? Not participate just because their family member is forbidden to celebrate? What if the children bring home handmade Halloween decorations that they made in school? Is it really fair to tell them they cannot put the decorations up on their house? Can you imagine the sad and heartbroken looks on their faces?
One woman posted on the first link above that people shouldn't marry sex offenders in the first place. I responded that sometimes they're already married when these laws go into effect and asked her if she thought they should get divorced and asked her if she thought that children of sex offenders should never have been born?
She at least acknowledged that it was a problem on both sides of the fence. I admit, I don't relish the thought of my child visiting the home of a sex offender on Halloween night, but I also can say with confidence that even if she did, nothing would happen because I would be with her. She is far less safe in other scenarios.
One person left a comment that I hadn't even considered. What if a non-offender person is away from home or just doesn't want to celebrate Halloween? Then, every person who passes by that home would then conclude that a sex offender must live there.
When we examine this proposal, what then do we really see? There is no need to protect children that are otherwise already protected by accompanying parents. All this law would do is PUNISH sex offenders AND their families. There have been absolutely NO reported incidences happening of a sex offender harming a trick-or-treating child on Halloween night. Where is the basis for this law?
Our U.S. Constitution says that we cannot continue to punish offenders once their time has been served and their debt to society has been paid. Now we are continuing to punish offenders - so far JUST sex offenders - and we are punishing people for crimes they may or may not commit in the future, which again is unconstitutional.
Just another nail in the coffin as American's rights are being stripped away.
Fortunately, for me and my family a law such as this would make no difference where we live. We are so rural that no one ever comes trick-or-treating at our home anyway. When I take Maddie trick-or-treating, I have to drive her to the nearest "neighborhood" which is about five miles down the road.
Even so, I'm against this proposal based on the principle alone. Hands down, the best way to protect the public is for them to be responsible enough to protect themselves AND their own children. No law could ever measure up to that kind of success.