Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How to treat humans like non-humans

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Georgia has some of the harshest laws in America, particularly when it comes to sex offenders and how to deal with them. Recently, a story erupted over how a group of such offenders, who aren’t allowed to be within a thousand feet of any public areas where children gather (including schools, churches and parks), were forced to live in a makeshift tent city in the woods.

What’s even more fair than to cast these people out into the woods (literally)? How ’bout this: they’re now being expelled from the woods, even if they aren’t even allowed to actually live anywhere else, either.

William Hawkins, 34 (convicted at 15), next to his tent in the woods MARIETTA, Georgia - Georgia probation officers tried to line up temporary housing on Tuesday for nine homeless sex offenders who were kicked out of a makeshift tent city behind a suburban Atlanta office park where state officials had directed them to live.

State officials ordered the offenders to leave Monday night after The Associated Press reported details of the unique arrangement, said Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren. Many met with their probation officers Tuesday and were told that authorities were trying to find them hotels, shelters or other temporary places to live.

And, of course, they’re obligated to notify state authorities of their new residence after moving. Despite them not having any, which doesn’t count as a valid excuse.

For that “human factor”, let’s profile one of these homeless offenders. Here’s an account of what William Hawkins, currently 34 years old, has gone through thanks to these draconian laws and measures:

Hawkins, who was in prison for violating probation by failing to register as a sex offender in Georgia, and others had tried to make the muddy camp relatively comfortable. They cooked food on a donated grill, took showers under a bag of water they filled up at the office park, and were storing away wood for the coming winter.


"He's constantly in my mind. I always wonder where he's going to get his next meal, where he's going to shower," [his wife] said. "I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy."

And what did Hawkins do to merit such a pitiful existence?

The former truck driver has been on the registry since he was convicted of attempted sexual battery of a 12-year-old in 1991 when he was 15.

Yes, in the minds of the heartless and amoral politicians who peddle these heinous laws “to protect the children”, anyone who does something stupid at 15 years old – because, you know, 15 is the universal age for committing stupid acts – basically has the rest of their lives ruined, like this. The guy made one stupid mistake (of which we don’t know any details, mind you) at an age known for being where people make stupid mistakes, and now, nearly two decades later, he’s still homeless, despite having a wife, a family, and a perfectly suitable support system available back home.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, and people should be screaming it from their rooftops: justice has left the Justice System, along with morality and humanity. How else can one explain their treatment of humans, even criminals (who may or may not deserve the title of “sex offenders”), as mere junk to be thrown away at their leisure?

(via The Agitator)