Sex

Vigilantes Check Online Sex Offender List, Hit Wrong House

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They set a fire in the driveway of the wrong guy.

I suppose the victim in this case could consider himself lucky. He could have been murdered. More fun with sex offender registries and mistaken identity here.

NEXT: Not Hot for Teachers

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  1. Soon we’ll have a trend. Like school shootings!

  2. This is easily fixed with a registry of the vigilantes who attack people on other registries. That’ll fix everything, right?

  3. Wasn’t just this scenario played out on an recent episode on one of the many varieties of Law & Order?

  4. See? Wrong address can happen to anybody.

    Now leave us alone, Balko.

  5. Haven’t these clowns ever watched the Oxbow Incident?

  6. This is such a BS topic. Lists don’t kill people, humans do. Yes, humans have used these lists and killed people. Humans have also used cars and guns to kill people. Are you in favor of outlawing cars and guns?

  7. Butch,
    Maybe we need list permits. You must go through a background check and be registered before you can carry a list.

  8. Butch,

    So you wouldn’t mind if a government website published your name, address, and social security number online? After all, it takes a human to use that information to actually do you harm.

  9. Butch makes a good point. Yeah, the list sucks. But what sucks more is that we have brainwashed people so much on sex offenders that apparently a good number of people think it is okay to just shoot anyone branded a sex offender. That is a pretty disturbing and a lot more disturbing than the existence of the lists.

  10. I knew this was coming. The United States has gone insane. Here’s some more sex offender hysteria from the today’s Detroit Free Press.

    Late last year, the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office accused a West Bloomfield couple of doing something very bad to their autistic 14-year-old daughter.

    Today, more than two months after the girl’s father was jailed without bond, an accumulating body of evidence suggests that it is the Prosecutor’s Office that has been bad and the parents who have been the victims of a breathtakingly unprofessional witch hunt.

    The autistic 14-year-old at the center of the case cannot speak, write or sign. The allegations police attribute to her were made with the assistance of an adult facilitator who helped her type them on a keyboard.

    Need I say more?

  11. J Sub D,

    Happens every day in this country. Go talk to any defense attorney who works in the field and they will all have a story of an innocent client who went down. Talk to a defense attorney about other kinds of cases like drugs or assault or murder or DUI and they will almost never have a case where their client was actually innocent. But sex cases? Hell yes. It is absolutely terrifying what is going on.

  12. Butch,

    It might have something to do with the fact that even innocuous behavior can get you on the list.

    For example, in the 1960’s in California, homosexuality was agaisnt the law, and the police would run sting operations in bathrooms. You didn’t have to do anything. Merely conversing politely with the undercover officer could land you in the clink.

    Most people faced with prosecution under this statute chose to plead no-contest, to avoid the scandal of a trial. They paid a fine, and were placed on the sex offenders registry, with a code of 182 (I believe) by their name (the number of the statute they had violated).

    Fast forward 30 years, and homosexuality is made legal. But the poor souls who were on the list were not removed. Even worse, the code number ended up being assigned to pederasts (you know, the guys who rape children).

    So now, you have these guys who have never actually harmed a soul in their entire lives, some who are merely guilty of not telling a gay guy coming on to them to go to hell, and any time some kid goes missing, any time the police run their ID’s, they find themselves being treated like shit, having their homes tossed, and even being beaten up by cops who view them as being the lowest form of scum.

    Tehy can’t even sue the owners of the list for falsely reporting them as being child-rapists. Nor do the owners of the lists face any liabilities for errors such as wrong addresses etc.

    So a list, in theory, not a problem. A list where the owners face no liability for making false reports, big problem.

  13. I blame the media for this. You have to understand that vigilante behavior is not irrational. Vigilantism is an entirely rational response by populations when the government is unable to protect them or administer justice. If the government won’t do anything to stop criminals and punish them, the population inevitably will.

    The problem is the media by sensationalizing every case of sex abuse in this country and uncritically reports every goofball claim made by every agenda driven child welfare organization has created the impression that sex abuse is rampant and the perpetrators are everywhere and rarely punished. The population has rationally concluded, based on the information provided by the media that the government cannot protect them from sex offenders and is resorting to vigilantism. It is both predictable and understandable given the kind of disinformation the media has been putting out over the last 30 years. If the media would start acting responsibly, you would see less vigilantism. But since the chances of that happening are right about zero, I expect to see more and more of this kind of thing.

  14. What is particularly disturbing about the idea of registering “sex offenders” is that we can expect the list of registerable crimes to expand over time.

    Think of it as the “broken window” theory of human sexuality, where the more things we criminalize, the safer we our children will be.

    Before long it won’t just be rapists and child molestors. It’s going to be clerks in video stores convicted of promoting obscenity. And then it’s going to expand to include schmucks who solicited prostitutes. And people who wear vulgar t-shirts. And homosexuals.

  15. John,

    Well Satanic ritual hysteria is out of fashion now, so guess we need a new witch to hunt.

    But y’know, if you’re at all concerned with blaming what influences people to act in a vigilante manner, you can’t take the sex offender lists out of equation. They’re practically a invitation to vigilantism by implicitly but clearly telling people that the government has indeed not finished the job on these folks and it’s now up to YOU. You can blame the existence of the sex offender lists on media hysteria too, if that makes it more palatable.

  16. So you wouldn’t mind if a government website published your name, address, and social security number online?

    My municipality’s cable station lists job opportunities, upcoming events of special interest…and the names, photos and addresses of all the city’s registered sex offenders. It’s on an endless loop, 24/7. It’s the 21st Century answer to the pillory and just as sickening.

  17. It’s going to be clerks in video stores convicted of promoting obscenity.

    Are you sure it’s not already? I’m pretty sure it’s already more than rapists and molestors.

  18. this seems to be the basic attack that reasonblog and hit and run uses against policies or institutions they dislike. find an (often isolated or rare) example of how the institution (in this case – SO registries) was misused, or abused, as some kind of “proof” that they are bad ideas/policy.

    of course, one could do this with ANY policy/institution etc. whether you are for it or against it.

    a more LOGICAL and REASONed approach would be to at least look at how often (iow, how many RSO’s are attacked by vigilantes – per capita rates etc.) . the same could be said for the search warrants where they go to the wrong house. how MANY search warrants are there vs. the bad house ones.

    it’s just as silly as if an anti-gunner uses an isolated example of a kid shooting himself with dad’s gun (VERY RARE) as “proof” that right to carry is bad policy or people who abuse medical marijuana as “proof” that medical MJ is unworkable policy.

    just as outliers do not define a population of people, examples such as this say exactly ZERO about RSO programs.

  19. No Fyodor, the lists do not help. They are ghastly. But sadly, they are only part of the problem.

  20. This vigilantism is a feature not a bug, and collateral damage is an insignificantly minor side effect.

  21. “They set a fire in the driveway of the wrong guy.”

    Cause if it had actually been the sex offender it would be alright. I just wish there was some place we could isolate sex offenders from society for a predetermined amount time, and then let them go once they’ve been properly punished for whatever violation of human rights they’ve committed. That would be much better a list.

  22. McFlame, it’s called prison, but then where would we put all the pot smokers?

  23. a more LOGICAL and REASONed approach

    Drink!

  24. We should make a pot smoker registry. Then I’d know where to get the good stuff, so that I’m trashed by the time Bill O’Reilly’s on.

  25. The allegations police attribute to her were made with the assistance of an adult facilitator who helped her type them on a keyboard.

    Does the McMartin case ring any bells, here?

    And how exactly do you “help” someone type when they can neither speak nor write?

  26. Are you sure it’s not already? I’m pretty sure it’s already more than rapists and molestors.

    I think that it might have been one of the provisions in the Adam Walsh act that states will be required to register those convicted of “obscenity” to be registered. (I read an article about this a few weeks ago on AVN.)

    So a clerk, making minimum wage at a novelty store in a shopping mall, who rings up a vibrator to an undercover cop will be registered as a sex offender. (Notice how the terminology has gone from “predators” to “offenders”?)

    God bless America.

  27. find an (often isolated or rare) example of how the institution (in this case – SO registries) was misused, or abused, as some kind of “proof” that they are bad ideas/policy.

    Wrong is wrong, despite being a small percentage of cases. That’s like me saying, “sure, I broke into a few houses, but look at how many houses are in the U.S. It was only a few isolated incidences of burglary.”

    Rule of law is the basis for a representative republic. One case of wrongdoing out of 300 million is still a case of wrongdoing.

  28. I oppose the lists.

    However, unless they have been sealed for some reason, criminal convictions are a matter of public record (afaik). Thus, ANYONE could compile a list of sex offenders and publish it. You wouldnt have their current address (which is the big problem with the lists, as seen above) but with some searching, could probably track down many of them.

    That still doesnt mean what the states are doing is right, either in publishing the websites or requiring sex offenders to register addresses or in banning them from living in certain places.

  29. The first step, and something that might make the list in some way useful, is to remove the 95%+ folks who are not in fact “child sexual predators.” Like the people who as a seventeen-year-old slept with a sixteen-year-old fifty years ago.

    The warning used to be “sixteen will get you twenty.” The stakes have been raised enormously.

  30. The allegations police attribute to her were made with the assistance of an adult facilitator who helped her type them on a keyboard.

    Does the McMartin case ring any bells, here?

    And how exactly do you “help” someone type when they can neither speak nor write?

    And yet we feel so smug and superior when we read about Africans killing witches, tossing children out into the streets for being a witch. I figure we have a lot of defective mirrors in America because we can’t see ourselves clearly.

  31. Blew the ol’ blockquote thingee again. Oh well, y’all can figure it out.

  32. “Wrong is wrong, despite being a small percentage of cases. That’s like me saying, “sure, I broke into a few houses, but look at how many houses are in the U.S. It was only a few isolated incidences of burglary.”

    wow. way to stunningly miss the point. the point is as a matter of policy (And constitutional law) SO registries may be bad (policy) or unconstitutional.

    the fact that a vigilante MISUSED the SO registry to commit a crime says exactly zero, especially without a frame of reference as to HOW often this happens.

    it’s like gun control. you could just as easily use the case of a 16 yr old who unintentionally shot his hand off as “proof” that we need trigger locks and gun control.

    it’s not an argument. it’s using isolated anecdotal examples to try to make a point. even if the underlying point is a good one, the example doesn’t prove it.

    you can do this with ANY policy.

    that’s what you are missing.

    it’s also as dumb as using an example of a guy who misused medical MJ laws to “prove” that medical MJ is bad policy.

    this is what i have noticed in a lot of reasons blog entries.

    support or don’t support SO registries. but the fact that this incidnet happened says little about whteher they are good policy or not.

    the arguments about people who are not “classic” sex offenders (e.g the 17 yr old who had sex with the 15 yr old (in the state where age of consent was 15) as a ‘sex offender’ otoh are rational arguments.

    trying to define deviancy up is just as bad as defining it down. note that the domestic violence industry does this all the time as well – defining insulting language, controlling behavior, etc. as “domestic violence”. it defines deviancy up in order to justify more programs, more govt. money and more control. similar arguments are well placed against RSO programs that include such “borderline” sex offenses as mentioned (17 and 15 yr old), or guy who streaks naked could conceivalby (in some jurisdictions) have to be a registered sex offender for a harmless prank

  33. this seems to be the basic attack that reasonblog and hit and run uses against policies or institutions they dislike. find an (often isolated or rare) example of how the institution (in this case – SO registries) was misused, or abused, as some kind of “proof” that they are bad ideas/policy.

    If incidents like, say, SWAT Teams raiding the wrong house were as vanishingly rare as you’d like them to be, Radley Balko would not have been able to build a career out of reporting on such occurrences.

  34. Query for the list defenders:

    Just what purpose are these lists supposed to serve? Who is being protected by them, and how?

  35. RC DEan,

    98% of the cases involve a family member or a friend. Kids are almost never involved with strangers. I could see if I was say a single mother with an 11 year old daughter, I might want to run any potential dates names to see if they are on the list. A lot of molestation is the result of boyfriends and step parents. If you want to molest kids, dating single mothers is the way to go, sadly. Also, if someone volunteers to coach my kid in little league baseball, perhaps I might want to run their name. The MO of molesters is to get close to kids and seduce them. They generally don’t troll the playgrounds. I could see where the lists would be valuable tool in the situations I describe.

    The problem of course is that the lists are rendered useless because they include people who have committed crimes like sleeping with a 15 year old when they were 18, that are not synonymous with pedophilia.

  36. “If incidents like, say, SWAT Teams raiding the wrong house were as vanishingly rare as you’d like them to be, Radley Balko would not have been able to build a career out of reporting on such occurrences.”

    do you have ANY idea what %age of search warrants DO hit the wrong house?

    we know that balko has reported on some bad ones.

    but are there 10,000 per year. 100,000. 50,000. etc?

    how can you come to any kind of REASONed and rational analysis of whether this is rare or not, without knowing the frigging sample size? of course you can’t.

    which is my point. bringing up anecdotal incidents of bad application/misuse of policy X does little of anything without AT LEAST a frame of reference.

    there are about 500 aspirin deaths per year. balko could make a career of those too.

    but when you look at the %age of people who take aspirin vs. those who die of it, you get a clearer picture.

    there were always be misuse of ANY practice or policy that is implemented to any significant degree. cause humans are fallible, and sometime evil.

    rational discourse assesses relative frequency of occurence, risk, etc. whether you are talking guns, marijuana, search warrants, sex offender registry abuses or whatever.

    hearing about the latest atrocity du jour without a frame of reference and then drawing inferences and conclusions WITHOUT a frame of reference is EXACTLY what you and other accuse the mass media of doing – sensationalizing.

    how ironic

  37. The point of lists is to make people aware of who is potentially dangerous in their neighborhood. The problem with this is if the person is dangerous because of a prior offense, and it is commonly understood molesters are repeat offenders or have that potential, WHY LET THEM OUT OF THE FUCKING JAIL?!

    There would be no need to register a “sex offender” who was 18 and horny sleeping with his 16 year old and horny girlfriend because the purpose of the list is to protect people from actual danger. It doesn’t work. The system that lets a rapist or child predator free before the day he is placed in the ground is a fucked up system. (By rapist, I mean someone actually convicted and guilty of real rape, not the statutory version that is bullshit like that poor kid in Georgia whose white girlfriend blew him and he got ten years for being black.)

    THAT is racial injustice for anyone that’s keeping score from the other thread.

  38. The major part of the problem is the relatively high level of recidivism of sex offenders in comparison to other crimes. You have enough cases of people who have “paid their time to society”, let out, and then who do it again. Hence, demands for a list. Demands for the list to be publicized.

    Which leads to an interesting question: how “probable” does a criminal act have to get before locking-the-guy-up-before-he-commits-his-crime starts to make sense, from a social cohesion point of view? We already lock up people who make assassination threats against the POTUS and don’t consider it “free speech.” I myself am for locking up abusive spouses who have made death threats against their partners. (My argument is from a viewpoint of efficiency. Usually the abusive spouse is male, ends up killing his wife/ex-wife, and then kills himself. Even if we ended up locking up the guy away for life beforehand, it seems to be better that only one life gets ruined, rather than two.)

  39. ” I myself am for locking up abusive spouses who have made death threats against their partners.”

    rightly or wrongly, “true threats” (im not going to get into involved discussion about the difference between true threats (criminal) and non-criminal) are already illegal.

    in some states, what you describe is ALREADY a felony fwiw.

  40. I used to agree with you guys but 9/11 the birth of my precious baby changed everything! Lynch all of the monsters and to hell with due process!

  41. Usually the abusive spouse is male, ends up killing his wife/ex-wife, and then kills himself.

    I doubt if its usually the case that death threats end in murder-suicides. Sometimes, sure. Usually? Probably not.


  42. do you have ANY idea what %age of search warrants DO hit the wrong house?

    There’s more to it than this. The tactics matter. If the tactics are utterly unnecessary than even a small percentage of bad raids are unacceptable. It is also unnecessary to have exact numbers to analyze the potential for disaster from a particular tactic, such as relying on nothing more than a criminal informant’s word before executing a raid. If the methods are unnecessary and dangerous that alone is a reason to oppose them.

    However, another point can be inferred from Balko’s reporting. Certainly he doesn’t catch every case, so the number of bad cases is higher than he documents. In order to reduce even the limited number of cases he catches to a tiny percentage of the total requires that the total number of military-style SWAT raids be very high. So either his cases are a significant percentage, which speaks for itself, or they are a small percentage but then we’re left to wonder why the hell do we need such a massive numbers of SWAT raids in the first place? Why allow so many raids that even the “small” percentage that go wrong amount to a lot of ruined lives? Is our existence in such imminent danger that we really need the police acting as a quasi-military breaking into homes all over the country?

    The answer is, no, we don’t. The only reason to use those tactics ought to be when someone’s life is in immediate danger, such as a hostage situation or some other equally significant danger. Some guy growing pot in his garage, or playing poker should never, ever be subjected to such tactics. If he weren’t we would not have any of these botched raids and yet law-enforcement would still have plenty of ways to arrest and search these “dangerous” people to keep us all safe.

  43. whit: “do you have ANY idea what %age of search warrants DO hit the wrong house?”

    I shouldn’t presume to speak for Radley here, but the point of his reporting seems to be that milataristic SWAT raids are seldom necessary to nab the Bad Guy. Arguing about percentages is moot. These raids put (often innocent) citizens and our LEOs in grave danger, while other, safer, means are available to sucessfully serve arrest warrants.

  44. I saw an article recently detailing how it is now official city policy in some S. Fla. community to have the sex offender registrants live under a certain freeway overpass, because there is literally nowhere else they can live and comply with the city’s ordinance. Tell me how this encourages them to live law-abiding lives and forgo their impulses? Their only two alternatives are to become hobos or to go underground.

  45. Or, perhaps, “militaristic”.

  46. And I see Mr. Courts already addressed this.

  47. ChrisO –

    One of my “causes” is to treat those who have served their sentences to be treated as full members of society. It seems to me that policy would be more likely to reduce recidivism than creating huge groups of second class citizens.

    I actually believe that rehabilitation is possible and many learn from their mistakes. Call me a bleeding heart liberal.

  48. re: Mcmartin preschool case.

    And yet we feel so smug and superior when we read about Africans killing witches, tossing children out into the streets for being a witch. I figure we have a lot of defective mirrors in America because we can’t see ourselves clearly.

    Hey, when we wrongly lynch our accused sexual predators, we do it with the full weight of the justice system behind us.

  49. look, i am the first to admit that swat teams are OVERUSED in raids. iow used when lesser force would be more appropriate. i think the data is clear that overall, swat teams have been a major boost in increasing officer safety, suspect safety, and citizen safety. looking at enforcement actions pre-swat makes that pretty clear. but using swat in non-swat situations can make the situation worse, not better.

    note also that many (non-swat) cops are ALSO against the overutilization of SWAT. it has as much to do with internal dept. politics/power issues as anything else.

    that’s tangential to my point.

    similarly, i think that RSO lists are sometimes overutilized in terms of marginal offenders being placed in them. but the idea that because an occasional vigilante misuses the lists, that the lists themselves are therefore flawed is in itself a flawed argument

    fwiw, ALL criminal (adult) convictions and (generally) arrests are public knowledge to – for vigilantes and everybody else. we don’t get rid of aspects of our free and open society because an occasional vigilante misuses that info

  50. ” shouldn’t presume to speak for Radley here, but the point of his reporting seems to be that milataristic SWAT raids are seldom necessary to nab the Bad Guy.”

    first of all, the issue is not NECESSARY. the issue is OPTIMAL. it is seldom necessary for cops to handcuff middle aged soccer moms. but they do so anyway in the rare instance than same will go ballistic in the back of the police car.

    the issue is – is the use of SWAT in any particular instance proportional to risk (usually determined with a risk matrix assessment sheet). iow, does it FIT the circ’s.

    in some circumstances, CLEARLY they are used when they shouldn’t be. i don’t argue with that. heck, many cops feel the same way. i’ve been on dozens of warrants myself. in some, SWAT was used where i thought it was overkill. the point is does the agency have a RATIONAL and REASONABLE way to assess when they are and aren’t SUITABLE (the issue is suitable, not NECESSARY, which is a higher unreasonable standard).

    using SWAT is a use of force. like ANY use of force it must be REASONABLE for the facts and circumstances. certainly, using TOO LITTLE force can often be as much, or more , dangerous than using TOO MUCH. the issue is what are the criteria for assessing the suitability of SWAT in a given warrant (or other) situation.

    but because on RARE occasion, the cops go to the wrong house – whether through procedural error or unforeseeable circ’s – is not much evidence that SWAT is overused, nor is it helpful to mention these examples WITHOUT giving perspective as to how many thousands of search warrants DO go to the right house. because ANY assessment of a “problem” needs to put it in perspective. RELATIVE risk. we get po’d at congress etc. when they take away civil rights to “protect the children” and due to overblown hysteria about risk, but it’s no difference when some blogger does the same by using isolated examples (im reminded of the AER’s when congress tried to ban the sale of ephedrine as a supp (contrary to DSHEA) that were INCREDIBLY exaggerated and takne without perspective.

    ” Arguing about percentages is moot.”

    hardly.

    ” These raids put (often innocent) citizens and our LEOs in grave danger, while other, safer, means are available to sucessfully serve arrest warrants.”

    sometimes true. i agree. but without assessing HOW OFTEN this happens relative to warrants in general, it fails to even ASSESS the severity of the problem, which is key to determining what exactly IS the problem.

    see my aspirin example.

  51. i think the data is clear that overall, swat teams have been a major boost in increasing officer safety, suspect safety, and citizen safety. looking at enforcement actions pre-swat makes that pretty clear.

    Linky-link?

    similarly, i think that RSO lists are sometimes overutilized in terms of marginal offenders being placed in them. but the idea that because an occasional vigilante misuses the lists, that the lists themselves are therefore flawed is in itself a flawed argument

    See my previous post.

    ALL criminal (adult) convictions and (generally) arrests are public knowledge to – for vigilantes and everybody else. we don’t get rid of aspects of our free and open society because an occasional vigilante misuses that info

    The data is available, yes. Broadcast on cable tv 24/7? Letters sent to every neighbors home? Registration with the state for life? Nope, just “sex offenders”, who can’t be rehabilitated, right?
    Why the hell are they out of jail then?

    You’d never know it, but I used to respect LEOs. I’ve never been arrested, have received a sub-normal amout of tickets, and no longer respect, or even like, cops. Think about that.

  52. J sub D:

    I think that adding more words in all capital letters to your postings would help your arguments. It’s the hallmark of calm, measured thoughtfulness.

  53. J sub D

    I’m in the same boat; outside a few tickets for moving violations, I have never been in formal trouble with the law. Most of my interactions with the police have been in situations where they are practicing crowd or traffic control, or trying to “help” me (when I pulled over on I-95 to retrieve my wallet from the roof of the car).

    Every interaction with LEO’s in the past decade has been more offensive than the previous one: increasing levels of arrogance, guys exploding in rage if I didn’t enthusiastically obey confusing or even contradictory orders usually spoken by guys who sounded like they had marbles in their mouths. Mind you, it’s not like I’m trying to cop an attitude. But when a guy starts screaming at you when you say calmly, “Sir, I understand now that the road is closed. As soon as you let me go, I’m turning around and going the way I came. It’s just that there is no sign back there, which is why I’ve got all these cars pulled up behind me,” you start thinking that hey, maybe the problem isn’t with your attitude. (The sign had been blown off the road by high winds BTW).

    I live in a pretty nice town, and we have a few older peace officers left, like the guy who was slowing traffic down on Concord ave telling people, “I don’t want to give you a ticket, the speed limit is 30, and there are kids living here.” But they are slowly retiring and being replaced by guys who dress like they’re going into combat, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear one of them say “It’s Giuliani time!”

    It’s to the point where I think long and hard before calling 911 for emergencies. I view police officers like unstable doberman pinscher’s. Yeah they can help you out, but they can also turn on you in a heartbeat.

  54. tarran | February 6, 2008, 10:14pm | #

    I view police officers like unstable doberman pinscher’s. Yeah they can help you out, but they can also turn on you in a heartbeat.

    tarran,

    That is the best descreiption I have heard in a long long time.

  55. gotta run now. spelling test.

  56. The major part of the problem is the relatively high level of recidivism of sex offenders in comparison to other crimes.

    Recidivism for sex offenders is exaggerated for politcial effect. The numbers show otherwise. Also, the numbers are eaggerated because ANY crime where a minor is a victim is considered a sexual offense.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_offender

  57. “I think that it might have been one of the provisions in the Adam Walsh act…”

    So, how much more shit does the country have to put up with because Mrs Walsh couldn’t be bothered to look after her child?

  58. So, how much more shit does the country have to put up with because Mrs Walsh couldn’t be bothered to look after her child?

    Thank Gawd somebody finally said it. While we’re at it, have you noticed how any kind of draconian law can get passed if it is named after a child (that’s where the Bush administration blew it with the Patriot Act; they should have called it “Timmy’s Law”)…

  59. Also, if someone volunteers to coach my kid in little league baseball, perhaps I might want to run their name.

    Every youth program I know of routinely runs a background check on anyone within ten yards of the kids. It usually works. It has nothing to do with the public sex offender registry, though.

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