Skip to comments.THE NEXT TRAGEDY
Posted on 05/23/2003 1:43:12 PM PDT by ElkGroveDan
With 33,000 Megan's Law sex-offenders missing in California, another tragic child abduction is a virtual certainty.
All across California loving parents will tuck their children into bed tonight and marvel at the joy and happiness that such a tiny person has brought to their lives.
Somewhere in California tonight a twisted and depraved individual will entertain dangerous thoughts that grow more real in his mind every day.
All across California today parents will beam with pride as they review a glowing report card or watch their child's sporting event or dance recital. At the end of the evening those parents will smile and hug their child with an outpouring of love and joy that only a parent can know.
Somewhere in California tomorrow a child predator, already known to the authorities as a dangerous risk, will sit in a parked car watching unsuspecting children play and walk home from school. He will sit and wait perhaps day after day in front of different schools and different parks, waiting for just the right moment.
All across California this week parents will go to work and stay long past quitting time to gain an edge, a promotion or just a few hours of overtime to earn that something extra for their family, an innocent smiling face grinning back at them from a portrait on the desk.
Somewhere in California all too soon a great evil will burst into the headlines as a child predator finally crosses the line. A young boy or girl will fail to return home on time and the evening news will be filled with images of distraught parents and family.
Somewhere in California goodness and sweetness and innocence will meet evil, depravity and horror as a happy family is destroyed and waves of anguish ripple out to terrify thousands of families.
Somewhere in California there is a child whose name will be added to the list of those all too familiar to us now: Adam Walsh, Polly Klaas, Amber Swartz, Anthony Martinez, Courtney Sconce, Xiana Fairchild, Danielle van Dam, Samantha Runnion and so many others.
It will happen again. The unfortunate facts tell us that there are many thousands of sexually violent predators roaming freely in our midst.
After the abduction and murders of Danielle van Dam and Samantha Runnion in 2002, several concerned legislators began an ongoing series of measures to protect children from predators, called Project KidSafe. Two of five Project KidSafe bills were signed into law last year. Assemblyman George Runner's Amber Alert (AB 415) has been perhaps the most well known. The Amber Alert system is credited with saving more than 20 children's lives in less than one year's time.
The other successful Project KidSafe bill last year was mine, AB 1858, to expand Santa Clara County's Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Teams statewide. SAFE Teams track known sexually violent offenders required to register under Megan's Law and enforce conditions of their registration. Unfortunately, before SAFE Teams was signed into law, majority Democrats stripped out all the necessary funding for the measure.
The urgent need for SAFE Teams was highlighted in January after an article by the Associated Press revealed that fully 33,000 of 76,000 sexually violent felons required to register under Megan's Law in California are missing from the system. More than 40 percent of those required to register have slipped between the cracks, their whereabouts unknown. SAFE Teams would provide local law enforcement the means and the resources to track down and keep tabs on each and every known sexually violent predator in California.
Project KidSafe continues this year with 12 new child safety measures. The first of these was SB 52, which would restore the necessary funding to implement SAFE Teams statewide. The attorney general has estimated that it will cost $15 million to locate the missing sex offenders in California. With a budget in excess of $80 billion, it is clear that a lot of money is being spent on many different priorities, yet what could be more important than protecting California's kids from child predators?
Unfortunately, funding for SAFE Teams is once again being held hostage by the majority party. SB 52 languishes in the Senate Public Safety Committee for want of two votes. In fact, nearly all of the Project KidSafe bills have been buried in committee by majority Democrats. These include measures to crack down on Internet luring of minors, one-strike for sex offenders who target minors, the death penalty for the murder of children under 14, and increased penalties for the possession of child pornography.
Somewhere in California a child has made it home safely from another day at school, eager to share with his or her parents the events of the day in wide-eyed excitement.
Somewhere in California a very dangerous monster has returned from a day lurking near schools and parks watching children. He probably has served time in prison for sexually violent crimes. The authorities once knew where he lived and worked, but that was long ago.
Somewhere in California, a preventable tragedy awaits.
Hollingsworth is a Republican state senator from Murrieta and the Senate Republican Caucus whip.
I've pondered this question for many years. They are clearly neither stupid, nor uninformed, nor insane. The only remaining possibility is, that they are evil -- conciously, knowingly, willfully evil. To quote Rian Malan's description of the brutal trekboers, "They styled themselves bringers of light, but in truth their hearts were dark, and they knew it, and willed it so."
Why is it always "for the children" until it's something that can really help them?
Because it isn't really "for the children", it's for power.
If you had ever been up in Sacramento and watched a hearing on legislation you wouldn't say that.
This is not a screw up. This is intentional and organized oppostion to any measure that enhances penalties or cracks down on violent crime. It has been going on for years.
In the hearing for SB 52, Hollingsworth's SAFE teams bill, Senator Gloria Romero from Los Angeles actually said that poetry readings in schools were a higher priority for her than tracking down known recidivist sex-offenders.
Ask the parents of the kids listed above who sat through an entire day of legislative mayhem and they will disagree with you. Brenda van Dam, Kim Swartz and Mark and Cindy Scone walked out of the Senate public safety hearing April 1st, shaing their heads in dumbfounded disbelief over the liberal oppostion to these bills.
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