by Chris Haire
The Post and Courier reports on a proposed bill that would determine exactly where convicted sex offenders could live.
The bill would stop sex offenders who have committed sex crimes against children from living within 1,000 feet of a school, day care center, park or recreation area. The first two offenses would be misdemeanors and the third a felony.
It would not require sex offenders who already live close to those places to move, nor would they have to move if a school, for example, is built sometime in the future near their home.
Two Lowcountry mothers who took their children on a weekly play date to the Northwoods Mall earlier this week said they support the measure but weren't sure the 1,000-foot restriction goes far enough.
"It's still too close for my comfort," said Mary Lee, a mother of two from Goose Creek.
Now, considering that most children who are sexually abused are done so by family members or close family friends, I'm sure the dangers are a lot closer than most would like to think. I'm not trying to scare here. Not at all. The point is to show how misguided legislation like this is. It will do very little to stop child sexual abuse. And even less to drive abusers out of your neighborhoods.
Congratulations are in order to the staff of the P&C for winning The American Society of Newspaper Editors Jesse Laventhol Prize for deadline news reporting by a team. As it usually does with these sorts of things, it was a competition of tragedies.
Finalists in the competition included The Washington Post for its reporting on the Virginia Tech shootings that left 33 dead in April and The Omaha World-Herald for its coverage of a December mass shooting at a Nebraska mall. The competition was open to all daily newspapers and wire services, and some 50 entries were received for the deadline writing contest.
WCBD-TV 2's Tim Gehret has a pretty clever opener in his report on the Peer Assistance Leadership student patrol program, the one where college kids patrol the streets of downtown Charleston looking for wobbly legs and hand out tickets for free taxi cab rides:
"Their uniforms are not bulletproof. Their weapons simply tickets for a free taxi."
The program is designed to curb alcohol abuse. How? I'm not sure. Yeah, it may keep kids from getting behind the wheel and provide a safe ride home for those may be stumbling blind drunk back home. And that's a good thing. Not going to knock it. But as a tool to encourage responsible drinking? Unless the PAL squad is going to stop drinkers mid Irish Car Bomb, it won't do much. In fact you could say it gives students more incentive to get blotto. At best, they'll be less urine in the streets.
The P&C reports that the Charleston County Sheriff's Department is interested in buying robotic patrol drones. Now the two drones would cost $75,000. I couldn't tell you if that's steep or not when it comes to these matters, but I can say that the cost of the robo copters won't end there. One, somebody's got to fly these things. Two, these things break down and new parts have to be bought. Three, somebody's do to perform maintenance on these suckers.
Little Rock, Ark., already has a robo-copter in use.
We, like most cities, have areas of town that are prone to street crime, drug dealing and the associated violence that goes along with it," North Little Rock Police Chief Danny Bradley said. "You have some success with patrols and undercover surveillance, but those people quickly learn to identify the officers."
Bradley said the helicopters could help with surveillance.
"Also, just the effect that you are using it could have a psychological effect on the wrongdoers in the community, because they would not only have to look up and down the street, but overhead," he said.
Obviously, Bradley never saw Goodfellas.
There were two short little gems on the letters page of the P&C on Sunday.
Since primates evolved into mankind, I check every day to see how far along my French poodle is toward evolving into a beautiful French woman. No luck so far, but I will keep checking.
The study about the dangerous rural roads certainly raises some fear. What if there was a conspiracy of these killer roads and their pals, the live oaks, to harm humans? But worst of all, what if our cell phones and vehicles have joined in. Poor us.