Dwight Watt - Watt Thoughts #152 3/5/2008

#152 - Signs that follow us (Watt Thoughts)

Have you ever wondered what people mean by certain signs or if they really say what was intended?

There is a sign on a lot in Rock Spring, Georgia that says “For Sale Bye Owner”. Is the owner selling it or is someone else doing it for the owner and the owner cast a bye, i.e. didn't care? I wonder.

Sign in Wal-mart a few weeks ago on an automated checkout line by the area where money is inserted read “Don’t take coins”. I think they meant the machine would not take coins, but I was not sure if the coins given back were covered in drugs or were miniature bombs or what and they were warning me. I wondered for a moment and then went ahead and took my coin change but wondered rest of evening if my pocket may catch fire or what or if marked money and they are following me.

Have we gone to making people convicted of sex crimes wear signs, maybe like the A in “The Scarlet Letter”. If someone is convicted of anything that had sex attached to it now we say they must register so everyone knows who they are and where they live and in some states say they cannot live anywhere near where children may gather (School, church, bus stop- most school buses I see today pick up at driveways and no longer at corners every few blocks like when I rode bus in school, pools, rec fields, etc.).

I do not see the states doing similar on other crimes. Someone convicted of killing does not have to register and is not blocked from living within a certain distance of humans. Will Michael Vick be prohibited from living anywhere near dogs the rest of his life? Are those convicted of DUI prohibited from driving or living near where alcohol is sold, or do we require them to forever to have a large tag on their car identifying them as having a DUI? (I have heard it proposed though). Assume someone does make a mistake and tries to be a good citizen and decides a need to warn others. We have had a president and a prominent senator/ex-governor since 2000 who had a DUI when they were young. Did that stop Miller and Bush from leading good lives after and achieving high offices? We had a former president impeached by congress for lying about sex, if they had convicted should he have had to go on a sex offender register?

Do we as Americans no longer believe in people changing and overcoming mistakes and problems? Have we forgotten that general human principle that is also deep in Christianity of forgiveness? WWJD? While we are worried about whether certain psychological or mental treatment of terror prisoners overseas is torture, is the treatment we give sex offenders torture? Are we the same as people that we consider barbaric (earlier such as Romans in Roman times or Nazis in 1930s and 40s or the Muslims following Sharia law or other groups today) in killing people for sex crimes or beatings of them. Consider the adulteress in the Christian Biblical Gospels who was to be stoned, or Mary (mother of Jesus) that Joseph could have had stoned for getting pregnant while engaged to him, or the lady who was raped and then faced severe punishment recently in the Middle East for being with a male friend.

We need to look at the degrees of sex crimes and decide who is someone that would be a permanent threat and who should be as good as any other ex-prisoner. Killing has several degrees of murder, manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Do the lists really prevent future sex crimes or just after a repeat offender for us to say he/she should have been on list and registered so everyone would be warned, or did we prevent the repeat crime? Does the sign of the register accomplish what we want or is it a sign that may torture and punish the convicted forever and their friends and family? Or if it is really effective should we not consider it for killing, dog fighting, shoplifting, etc? These are serious crimes and need just punishments but we also need to consider rehabilitation. If you ever were caught cheating in school (and studies say most students admit to cheating at sometime) should you be considered for ever that you will cheat at whatever and be on a list on the web so that all will know you were cheating and your future teachers can watch more closely?

Signs, do they really mean what we mean them to?



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