It's time we stop the madness and protect our children from predators in our midst. The rape and murder of seventeen year old San Diego high school senior Chelsea King, has sparked national outrage over the ease at which a convicted, registered sex offender moved back into the very neighborhood where he had struck before. None of the residents was ever alerted that a predator was living among them. He allegedly attacked at least twice before being caught again.
I last wrote suggesting that GPS devices should be placed on convicted sex predators as a condition for their release from prison. My argument was this: we routinely see GPS chips in phones and cars, and microchips in our pets - why not use them to track the movements of predators as well? Many people have questioned how this could work, with some calling it just a knee jerk reaction to yet another convicted monster falling through the cracks of an admittedly over-stressed and under-funded system.
We have Megan's Law, Jessica's Law and Amber Alerts. How many more children have to die to prompt new legislation aimed at ending this madness once and for all? I say the time has come and we have the means to make it happen and keep our kids safe.
If you drive a current model GM car equipped with OnStar - and you are involved in an accident deploying your airbag, a central station is immediately and automatically alerted so help can be sent right away. Air traffic controllers are familiar with crash avoidance systems which sounds an alarm if two planes are about to collide. Why can't a similar approach be used with predators? James Gardner III, who is currently held without bail in Chelsea King's rape and murder, was staying with his mother - not at the location he gave to authorities miles away. That home is the very same place where Gardner lured a thirteen year old girl inside in 2000 and beat and molested her. It is also just 1,000 feet from an elementary school, and a school bus stop is right outside the front door. Imagine if an alarm were triggered if this convicted molester ever came within a half mile of a school.
Some people have dismissed the idea by suggesting that monitoring would be too complex - crossing city, county, and state lines. So what? When airliners fly cross-country they are routinely handed over from one flight control center to another. Electronics make it a fairly straightforward operation. There can certainly be a federally funded national system to monitor the movements of these predators. Critics may cite the cost - but I say that cost of doing nothing or maintaining the status quo is even greater. The family of Chelsea King would most certainly agree. Their daughter did not have to die. The monster in their neighborhood should never have been free to roam and stalk, and potentially attack on a whim.
Once an offender is convicted of a sex crime I say they they must be required to satisfy this condition for release: accept a lifetime tracking system or remain in prison. Don't whine about civil rights. I say the rights of our kids are more important. Everything is a balancing act and things are out of balance the way they are. Besides, these creeps gave up certain rights when they violated a child. I called the tracking system a digital scarlet letter: "P" for predator. Now, I suggest we offer them a choice. Trail them or jail them.
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