Do Miami-Dade politicians really care about children or are they more about pandering to voters and punishing sex offenders? We are about to find out…
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving; in 2011, 226 children were killed in drunk driving crashes, teen alcohol use kills about 4,700 people each year and about one-third of all drivers arrested or convicted of drunk driving are repeat offenders.
According to the National Center on Child Abuse Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, over 1600 children die each year from parental abuse or neglect.
Injuries from firearms send an estimated 7,000 kids to the ER every year, and an additional 3,000 children die from gunshot wounds before they can get to a hospital, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. Every day we hear about children killed from gang-related violence and over three quarter of a million children in the US are involved in a gang.
Then there’s the threat which the Miami Herald, just three months ago, called “the most prolific killers of children in Florida”. In 2013, more high school seniors regularly used marijuana than cigarettes as 22.7% smoked pot in the last month, compared to 16.3% who smoked cigarettes!
Florida has a history of passing laws in the name of children killed by sex offenders; the Jessica Lunsford Act and Megan’s Law to name a couple. These laws impose draconian restrictions on where former offenders can live or be present, it shames them by having their pictures on publicly indexed websites and isolates them from family, living or employment opportunities.
But as heinous and tragic as the underlying crimes were, these are extremely rare occurrences. Children are exponentially more likely to get killed by a DUI offender, gun offender, from gang violence or drugs. In fact, sex offenders have the second lowest rates of recidivism among all crimes!
Even after experts in sex offender management have studied the effectiveness of these laws and found them to be ineffective, these laws get passed and draconian punishments get imposed on the platform of, “…if it saves one child…”
Well, if the policy of “if it saves one child” is the justification for the restrictions on sex offenders, why don’t we establish a registry for those convicted of drug offenses, gang members, gun offenders, domestic abusers or people who’ve gotten DUIs? After all, our children are all more likely to get killed from these crimes and shouldn’t parents know if their neighbor had a DUI before they let their children ride their bikes outside? Why don’t we have them identified by a map along with their picture and address? Why would they be permitted to live within 2500 feet of a bar or establishment that serves alcohol and why don’t we brand their licenses with ‘Drunk Driver”?
If it’s being done to sex offenders, we should implement the same to all offenders, especially where our children are more susceptible to harm. We should implement them immediately! We should impose the restrictions against anyone who ever got a DUI, no matter how long ago it was. We should name the law after a child killed by a drunk driver. They may not have been covered so prominently in the news, so you may not know their names, but there are hundreds of prospective names to chose from yearly.
A Texas Organization; Family Action Network (no affiliation with the Florida Action Committee) sent an email to every district in Miami-Dade County yesterday, challenging legislators to close the gaping loopholes in the Lauren Book Act by applying the same restrictions and 2500 buffer zones to those convicted of drug crimes, DUI, assault, gang offenses, domestic violence and more. After all, if children are exponentially more likely to die because of these monsters, wouldn’t it make sense to include them in the Act? If it saves one child it would be worth it!