The insightful approach of "The Sex Offenders Among Us" (11/9/07) refutes the "one size fits all" premise currently implemented by the state Justice and Corrections departments. There are degrees of severity of offenses as there are degrees of danger to society posed by sex offenders.
The financial cost of treating all offenders the same way is prohibitive and could easily be decreased by analyzing the supervision and regulation of each offender as the degree of the crime mandates. An appropriate and therapeutic sex-offender program would give a licensed therapist the tools to provide this analysis and evaluation.
Unenlightened, punitive and demeaning programs aimed at sex offenders are not helpful, but are the only programs the state provides. Ignored are the excellent 12 Step programs, which give the offenders badly needed insights and understanding of their behavior.
The Sex Offender Registry is certainly punitive and could also be adjusted: Length of time on the Registry should be decided by the degree of the criminal act. Punitive discrimination and tracking of a sex offender regarding employment, residence and personal movement may be appropriate for a small percentage, but certainly not for all.
It begs the question: After the offender's incarceration and probation, couldn't some of these discriminatory practices be viewed as harassment or even lacking legal merit?
Gloria J. Myer
I never will understand why so many liberals consider sex offenders as victims and the crime victims and legal system as the bad guys. Nathan Comp's overlong plea for the "poor predators" was exhibit A of an agenda-driven rant pretending to be balanced reporting.
What is the recidivism rate of sex offenders? How many sex offenders reside in Madison and Dane County? What do judges, police/parole officers think should be done with sex offenders?
What do sex offenders themselves think should be done? What do their victims think about these dirt bags living in their city or neighborhood again? How do they feel when they accidentally run into someone who raped them, fondled them, stole their innocence and their sense of trust?
Don't ask Mr. Comp. He doesn't even attempt to ask any of these questions. It appears his solution is "Slap a leg bracelet on them and turn 'em loose!" Oh, wait, that is what County Executive Katherine Falk and Sheriff David Mahoney are doing now.
Bill Richardson, Middleton
Offenders come from our own communities, not from a mutant petri dish. This doesn't mean we should tolerate sex offenses. But if we want a healthier community, we have to heavily fund programs that are engaged in community reintegration.
There are strong but underfunded models out there that cut recidivism. We also need to acknowledge and talk more about the fact that offenders are from our families and sometimes our own homes.
Do we need to just chill out about the 85% of sex offenders who probably won't reoffend? No. Even with a good screening system, the reoffending 15% don't come explicitly marked.
If state Rep. Mark Pocan wants to cut funding for a labor-intensive, technology-heavy system that isn't working, that's great - as long as the money is invested in other methods that have been proven effective elsewhere.
So some local scientists are eager to tout their relationship to the Nobel Peace Prize shared by Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ("Madison's Peace Prize Winners," 11/9/07), claiming there's a synergy between these political evangelists and scientists. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A scientist is not afraid of debate, nor threatened by facts or contrary views. A scientist is critical of his own work and welcomes opposing viewpoints. A scientist knows that consensus is not an argument for the truth of an idea, and that scientific debate does not simply end when some majority claims the debate is over. Above all, a scientist does not exaggerate nor misrepresent what he knows.
On all these counts, Al Gore and the IPCC represent the opposite approach. Gore and others declare that the debate is over, and smear as "deniers" those who disagree. Just days before Gore was awarded the Nobel prize, the London High Court found that Gore had created a "context of alarmism and exaggeration," and was factually incorrect on at least nine points, including his central thesis regarding the correlation between CO2 and warming.
The IPCC has systematically weeded out those scientists whose views do not fit the dominant view and has misrepresented and distorted the views of scientists to appeal to a consensus of political and scientific entities.
If scientists don't start standing up for science, they may find their entire field discredited and themselves mere pawns of political propagandists.
Theory and fact
Roney Sorenson (Letters, 11/23/07) suggests that since evolution and creationism are theories, he prefers the one over the other.
For Sorenson to offer creationism as a theory comparable to evolution is simple ignorance of how a theory works in science. Creationism is not a theory but a revealed doctrine believed by untold millions who learn the doctrine of the revealer's preaching.
Unfortunately, preaching is not teaching. It is belief. The church of intelligent design is not a university of independent learning.
Daniel J. Guilfoil
I was amused by Roney Sorenson's claim that creationism is more credible than evolution because the "complexity of the universe...points to a very intelligent designer." Would not that putative designer be even more complex, requiring a designer himself? You see where this leads.
Sorenson's concerns can be resolved once he understands that "God" is just a nickname for a guy whose real name is "I don't know." Give it a try. Where did everything come from? Who answers prayers? What causes lightning? (Oh, right, that was Zeus.)
Richard S. Russell
A scientific theory is a systematic and formalized expression of all previous observations, and is predictive, logical and testable. As such, scientific theories are essentially the equivalent of what everyday speech refers to as facts.
It is not the same as our general use of the word theory. Therefore, contrary to what Mr. Sorensen claims, evolution is directly proven, and not faith based.
Evolution is a scientific concept, and as such should be taught in a science class. Creationism is a spiritual belief, and should be taught in a religion class. Period, end of story.