Sunday, 1 April 2007

So children are a priority?

March 31, 2007, 6:21PM, LETTERS

So children are a priority?

TEXAS legislators lack credibility when it comes to protecting our children.

The Texas House recently passed a bill (HB 8) that would increase penalties for people who molest children, and the state Senate is considering a similar bill (SB 5).

Although I support efforts to protect children against child molesters, I oppose these bills because they might actually prove harmful to children and to law-enforcement efforts.

I also oppose these bills because they include a provision that allows juries to give the death penalty for second-time child molesters.

Children can be protected by long-term incarceration and treatment of child molesters — our death penalty in Texas doesn't need to be expanded!

And, such expansion might prove to be unconstitutional, anyway.

I am concerned that these bills are motivated more by politics than by a genuine concern for our children.

My skepticism is based on statistics published by Texans Care for Children, which say that among the 50 states, Texas has one of the highest child-poverty rates. It also ranks near the bottom in terms of dollars spent per child to prevent child abuse and neglect. It is clear that Texas politicians have failed miserably when it comes to helping and protecting our children.

The politicians who want to enact harsher punishments for child molesters should first demonstrate that they are concerned about the thousands of children who live in poverty, who don't have health insurance and who are living in abusive and neglectful homes.

These politicians then might have more credibility when it comes to passing stronger laws to protect children from child molesters.


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