I agree with your outrage over this series of convicted pedophiles abducting and killing children. What is wrong with our judicial/prison system? Maybe, as we discussed on “DaySide” Friday, it's time for legislators to lengthen the prison sentences for child sex offenders. Considering their tendency to re-offend, why shouldn't we think about keeping them in prison longer? I wonder what Jessica Lunsford (search) would say if she could speak. More on this later in the blog, but suffice to say we'll stay on the Sarah Lunde (search) case for Monday's "DaySide."
Here's what else we're planning. In Florida a new law has just passed that says residents will be allowed to kill in self-defense when attacked on the street; critics argue this will bring a "wild West" mentality to the state and result in innocent deaths. It's called the "Stand Your Ground" bill (search). Proponents of this new measure say it will protect innocent life and could help reduce crime in Florida, one of the most violent states in the nation. Where do you stand? E-mail your comments to me at email@example.com.
Also, have you heard about Internet hunting (search) in Texas? Apparently a rancher has a website called Live-shot.com that allows people to shoot animals on his property. What do you think of this? This week, a Republican Congressman introduced a bill that would make it a felony for anyone "point and click" shoot animals across state lines.
Now, back to the pedophilia problem we have in this country — and the infuriating ease with which convicted offenders seem to be able to get access to children.
Many of you wrote in with great insights:
There is no cure/effective treatment for pedophilia. There is only monitoring and/or incarceration.
—Leo D. Bores, M.D.
I was watching your show today on the story of the missing Florida girl and all of this just makes me sick. What is wrong with our justice system? ... How many more children have to die before we wake up and admit the truth about these sick people?
—Linda Decker, Fairport, New York
In the past few weeks there have been a variety of suggestions to increase the penalties/controls for pedophiles. Yet no one has dared suggest the penalty of chemical castration for repeat offenders. Perhaps the time has come.
—Len & Joan Nixon, Molalla, Oregon
With many years of Law enforcement experience behind me, I have to say that I don't think Megan’s law goes far enough. I agree with Judge [Napolitano] that the Police cannot do it all, and that is why we need to have the public's help. I think that Megan’s Law should add the requirement that Public notice be given when a convicted sex offender establishes residence and registers, regardless of the extent of his crime. A pedophile is always a pedophile. Every mental health representative I have talked with over the years has said there are only 2 cures, castration or death. I don't think we need to wait until a murder is committed to get notice of a pedophile on the loose in our neighborhood. Maybe putting them all in a colony like they done with lepers would be a solution. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.
—Bob Stowman, retired police chief
But what about those who have never been convicted? Read on:
Many sex offenders DO NOT go to prison. It is not uncommon for sex offenders to be sentenced to probation, and worse, deferred adjudication. As a child advocate and former investigator, I've stood in court chin dropped to the floor as judges sentence the guilty to nothing more than a slap on the wrist and children left at risk for further harm. These were cases in which the offender LIVED with the child and released to move right back in with the victim... Out of the approximately one million cases of child abuse confirmed each year, 750,000 of those are closed without further action. No wonder offenders are able to molest over and over....
—Kimmie Blake, Houston, Texas
And this comes from a victim:
Pedophiles should be executed! If they are not executed, they should be locked away for the rest of their lives. As a survivor, I can testify to the irreparable damage childhood sexual abuse does to the victim. Counseling helps the victim realize it is not his/her fault, but it cannot change what happened nor can it change the effects on the victim's life. It cannot restore trust. It cannot restore the child's innocence. Those innate qualities are gone. Thanks for letting us have our say.
But what about parents? Many of us watch our kids like hawks when they're outside, but are some folks not doing enough?
I hate what is happening with this wave of child taking and murders, but when are we going to start revealing the basic blame for almost every one of the crimes? ... When are we going to put the real blame where it goes... unlocked doors, parents or usually parent not home or etc.
—Bert Hanwell,Orlando, Florida
I'll close with an e-mail that I hope you all will read:
I am writing you to discuss the topic of Orange County Texas Most Wanted Fugitive Marlon James Winters. He molested both of my girls in 1998; he has 5 counts of aggravated sexual assault with a minor and 2 counts of indecency with a child. But unfortunately he jumped bail in June of 2000. He has been running loose ever since. This makes me so mad. I have two wonderful daughters that had their whole life changed when they were only 9 and 6. They are now 15 and 13. My 13 year old still sleeps in my room with me because she is so scared that he will come and get her. He made so many threats against them that they still feel it is possible for him to get them...He will hurt more children as long as he is running free. If you could help and get his picture out there maybe my girls dreams and mine will come true about finally getting justice for my daughters. I will do anything to catch this beast.
—Anita L., Texas
Anita's story is a painful reminder that there are MANY of these cases around this country. If by some miracle any of you have information about Marlon James Winters (search), PLEASE contact America's Most Wanted or the Orange County, Texas sheriff.
See you all Monday.
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