News Media needs to shift its focus to Really Dangerous People

It seems like Sex cases always go viral. But an extremely high number of children die even more horrible deaths from other non-sex related criminal acts and you never even see a blip on the radar screen, and then something like what happened to Sierra Newbold happens and the radar screens light up like the 4th of July.

A friend of mine, let’s call him John for his own safety, related a story to me. He said that he had a vivid memory of an example of just this set of circumstances that happened to him and his family back in 2004, it was about six months before he was charged with his offense, he and his family were living in a rural area at the time.

His sister witnessed a horrible drunken driving accident that cost her some good friends and killed an entire family. They were all on their way home from the kids soccer game, the mom and dad and three kids were all in their mini-van out on the rural gravel roads leading to home. His sister wasn’t much further behind them because she was going over to visit, she was the soccer coach for their team. The family was going thru an intersection where they had the right of way, the corn was grown up way high so they never saw the big old 2 ton work truck coming that ran the stop sign and broadsided their mini-van. The driver of the truck was a three time DUI offender this was his fourth, he was knocked unconscious and in a coma for awhile but survived.

John’s sister got to the scene shortly after the accident, she had seen it happen from a half a mile or so back and called 911. The mom and one of the kids had been killed instantly. The dad was still barely alive but died before the ambulance arrived. The van was so mangled there was no way to get any of them out. So all she could do was hold the dads hand while he was alive thru the broken out drivers side window and watched helplessly as the other two kids gurgled blood as they were breathing their last breaths. John was sitting there choking back tears just remembering all his sister told him about it and the little article he read about it in the paper. He said that he couldn’t imagine what it was like for her to witness that and for their other extended familys’ and friends to go thru,  and this incident wasn’t even mentioned on the TV, just in a local newspaper.

John told me it’s just as hard to not have tears in your eyes when you hear about a little girl getting raped and murdered and then tossed in a ditch like a piece of garbage and then imagining what if that was my little girl this happened to. John said his little girl is now 16 and he is not a part of his daughter’s life now, but hearing about cases like this still make him scared to death for her, regardless of whether or not these cases are rare.

John said he can completely understand the outrage and even how hard it may be for some legislators to not want to pass emotional legislation after something like this, but regardless of that they have a trusted position and a responsibility and need to simmer down and think level headed about these things before reacting.

Later that same year after that drunk driving accident that didn’t even make a blip on the radar, after John had been charged for his sex offense he was sitting in jail watching the TV when he heard about Roger Bentley brutally raping and killing 10 year old Jetseta Gage in Cedar Rapids Iowa. Within 2 days it was on TV all over the country and Iowa was preparing emergency legislation which was passed within a month.. Now what would’ve happened if this drunk driving issue would’ve prompted the legislature to act so quickly in creating a registration and community notification for people with DUI’s and this farmer would’ve been on that registry , would that have saved this family’s life? Probably not.

The standing re-offense rate for people that drink and drive is now, and has always been, over 50% in comparison to that of registered citizens at 1%. About one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders, 31% of fatal crashes during the weekend involve a drunk driver, every day in America 28 people die as a result of a drunken driver and every 90 seconds someone will be injured by a drunk driver. Some where between 50 and 75% of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on suspended licenses. This would seem to be a section of the population that is even more dangerous to children and communities, yet there is no registration, and there is no community notification. In fact, while sex offender laws have been an passed at a rate of 100% per year, laws involving drunken drivers are only enacted at 18% to 24% per year. Considerable discrepancy when compared to sex offender laws, considering drunk  drivers are over 20 times more likely to re-offend and kill someone including children.

Understand I do not agree with the victimization of any child or adult, but I have to ask this question. Who do you think is more traumatized a person who sees someone urinating along the road or for that matter is exposed to a flasher or streaker . How about the person who have consensual sex under age. Does this compare to that of a child or adult in a vehicle that has been hit by a drunk driver, who sits helplessly and watches people that they love and care about dying.  If were talking about the trauma of a act I would say that people who survive drunk driver accidents are far more traumatize physically, mentally and emotionally than what happened to a person that has caused somebody else to be added to the registry. yes of course there are extreme cases of sexual victimization. But a drunken driver accident affects not only the crash victims, but the people that respond to it and any innocent bystander that sees it.. The number of victims cause by a drunk driver is incredible.

So if we are to have a registry that is to help protect people especially children then it needs to include everyone, that is an actual danger to the public. (you would think that people would want to know that the soccer mom that is driving 4 extra children to games has a high tendency to drink or use drugs and drive). And of these registries and community notifications should include anyone convicted of a DUI, DWI, selling and distribution of drugs, domestic violence and physical assault. Now if our legislators are unable to justify requiring the same requirements and restrictions that are now placed on sex offenders than they are admitting that the only reason for these laws have been passed are to re-punish people that have paid their debt to society because of some peoples hate and bigotry.

The question becomes if legislators can’t place these same restrictions on the truly dangerous people in our society who have a re-offenses rate of over 50% per year. Then how do they justify placing those restrictions on the group that has a re-offense rate of less than 1% in a year?

Sex offenders laws
in 2010— 80 bills were proposed in 28 states—– 80 bills enacted in 28 states – (100%)
in 2009 — 130 bills were proposed in 41 states ——130 bills in 41 different states (100%)

Drunk driving / impaired driving laws
in 2010 — 309 bills in 43 different states —— 60 bills enacted in 28 states (19.4%)
in 2009 — 242 bills in 47 different states——- 59 bills enacted in 29 states (24.4%)
in 2008 — 315 bills in 42 different states——- 59 bills in 24 different states (18.7%)

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