The Future Depends on What We Do in the Present
by Chas. Anderson
It is unlikely that Gandhi was referring to the present state of affairs in Wisconsin and the U.S.A. We find ourselves in a local midterm election race that portends to repudiate the war-mongering of George W, Bush and contrasts two local politicians in a battle for governor.
One of them, Rep. Mark Green of Green Bay is surely proud of his Two Strikes legislation in Congress and the other, James Doyle, presided over the expansion of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections and the implementation of 5980. All of these measures promise to siphon off precious funds from both the federal and state budgets in an infamous "war on crime" effort. Actually, it is an attempt to punish crime rather than forestall it. (read: 9/11.)
I realize much of this legislation is aimed toward protecting our most valuable resources, no, not timber, cheese, or oil, but our children. Not even a few years removed from childhood, however, the current war in Iraq threatens to decimate a new generation. With 2800 dead and tens of thousands injured, we are not yet approaching the levels of Viet Nam (60,000) but the results will be the same: a total waste of human life and effort.
At all costs, we have protected these young men from sexual abuse as youth and then sent them off to Iraq to be executed by insurgents. We have also sacrificed family men in the fray, former reservists, leaving women and children without their parent (Breadwinner) for long periods of time, some never to return alive or intact. How does this protect our children?
In Wisconsin the hysteria directed at sex and other offenders has resulted in scarce budget resources being diverted to the Dept. of Corrections at the expense of UW and local school funding, while transportation and DNR budgets have also suffered. Social, services has also been affected as SRSTF now eats UD a disproportionate amount of DHFS costs.
Does any of this national or local campaign really protect our children and enhance their future? Kids are still being victimized in many ways. Has any of this effort prevented gross physical abuse by distraught mothers or sociopathic step-fathers or boyfriends, sometimes resulting in death or severe injury (shaken baby syndrome?) Much of the public effort, aimed at stranger sex abuse is misdirected (including sex offender registry) since this type of event accounts for only 6-7% of sex offenses involving children. * CPR Newsletter, Santa Fe, NM 10/06
The Adult Diagnostic & Treatment Center in Avenal, NJ reports recidivism rates of 13% for untreated sex offenders and 9% for those completing treatment. *ibid This rate is clearly less than drug offenders, not in the crosshairs of political effort.
Prof. Thos Zander (Marquette Univ.2005) questions the propriety of trying to single out certain sex offenders based on controversial diagnoses whereas most offenders confined under §980 could be supervised intensely under house arrest while participating in the Thornton program via closed circuit TV or Internet.
This essay is not to be construed as me trying to evade responsibility for my criminal behavior. I pled guilty and served 13 1/2 years of a twenty year sentence, finishing in October,2005.
What we are doing in this country and state is mortgaging the future by our recent, actions in the present. We are stressing punishment and conflict instead of emphasizing education, recreation, enrichment, and responsible adult interaction. Currently, only half of Black and Hispanic kids graduate from high school in the U.S.A.*CBS news 10/23/06
These children are our endangered future.