Long time readers know that I have devoted a large chunk of my life (and income) to aiding innocent people gain the skills they need to fight their way through a violent criminal attack. I count it as my life’s work.
Obviously, I have a great deal of concern for the welfare of anyone who is a potential victim. Children in particular. As civilized people, we have a duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
But this admirable desire to protect children can lead to some extreme abuses of government power.
Case in point is this news article, which discusses a proposed law in Maine. If it passes, then “visual sexual aggression” against children will become a felony.
“Visual sexual aggression”? What does that mean? It means you can go to jail if you are observed to look at children in a public place.
Dr. Helen, who first blogged about this article, asks some very pointed questions. What is the difference between simply watching children in a public place, perhaps at a mall or city park, and actual visual sexual aggression? Who determines that, exactly?
Dr. Helen also points out that women will probably never run afoul of this law, since it is a treasured myth of our culture that women are never guilty of sexual abuse. But what about men like me, a big ol’ hairy-scary guy who is physically confident, and who always tries my best to be aware of everyone in sight? Do I have to start staring at the ground whenever I’m out in the open air, eyes demurely downcast like a woman in a country where Sharia holds sway? Do I have to wear a burkha next?
How in the world do you defend yourself against the accusation that you were gazing at a child with “visual sexual aggression”? “Sure, officer, I was watching the kids. But they were getting pretty close to the edge of the frozen pond, and I didn’t see their parents around. What was I supposed to do, just walk away and trust that Darwinian forces would strengthen the species?”
Many of the rights taken for granted by the general population are forever denied to those convicted of a felony. You can no longer vote in a national election, for example, and most state and local elections are also closed to the convicted.
What is worse in my eyes is that it becomes a crime to possess a firearm, the very tool needed to protect yourself and your loved ones. I don’t object to this restriction where violent criminal offenders are concerned, but to forever be made helpless because one was seen to be gazing at children in public? Might as well start locking men up for walking down the street, simply because they are men who have the gall to wander around in public spaces, and stop all pretense of trying to actually protect anyone from crime.
I don’t think anyone here will be surprised to find out that the state Representative who proposed the law, Dawn Hill, is a Democrat.
(Hat tip to Glenn.)