Saturday, November 18, 2017
Jeff Edelstein applauds the fact the US will mark passports like the Nazis and Soviets used to do
What's one of the recurring themes at the Shiitake Awards? Those who use the term "convicted pedophile" is generally reason enough to get a nomination. Well, here we are.
Over 23 years later, Megan’s Law is still expanding, this time worldwide
(JEFF EDELSTEIN COLUMN)
By Jeff Edelstein, The Trentonian
POSTED: 11/18/17, 12:37 PM EST
It’s hard to believe it’s been 23 years since the death of Megan Kanka, the Hamilton 7-year-old who was raped and murdered by a twice-convicted sex offender. It is, without question, the most heinous and brutal crime in modern Mercer County history. It’s something no one who lives around here will ever forget.
Of course, the tragedy eventually led to the creation of Megan’s Law, first here in New Jersey, and then across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The premise of the law is simple: When a convicted child sex offender moves into town, they have to register with local authorities and people in the neighborhood are notified by their presence.
I’m all for the law, for the record. It’s just a shame we need it. Because if it was up to me, anyone convicted of molesting a child would never get a chance to “move into town.” Life imprisonment is fine by me. Heck, you could convince me of the death penalty in certain cases. My rationale is simple: If a society can’t effectively protect its children from predators, it has little business calling itself a society. I harbor no love in my heart for any human who would sexually molest a child. As such, I don’t care about the rights of these people. I don’t care about the fact they’re forever marked wherever they go. They should be marked. The end. (NOTE: OK, maybe not “the end.” I’m writing this part after original publication, after it was pointed out to me I’m painting with a broad brush. Who I’m talking about specifically, and who I’m talking about after this note, is the true scum, the true pedophile. I’m not talking about 18-year-olds who hooked up with a 14-year-old and are branded sex offenders. That’s not right, and they don’t belong on any list. I’m talking about evil predators. Moving on, then.)
But not everyone agrees. Like the United States Senate. How else to explain the nine years(!) it took Congressman Chris Smith to pass International Megan’s Law, a bill introduced six times before finally being signed by President Barack Obama in 2016. And how else to explain why it took over a year for the passport identifier portion of the program — in which convicted child molestors have the following imprinted on their passports: “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor and is a covered sex offender pursuant to 22 United States Code Section 212 (c) (i)” — to finally happen?
“We got our foot in the door in New Jersey, and now we’re worldwide,” said Richard Kanka, Megan’s father, a statehouse news conference Friday. “This is a very important day, and I’m excited we’re taking another step forward. It took nine years, and it’s something that’s long overdue.”
In short: Megan’s Law is now a worldwide phenomenon.
If a convicted child sex offender is seeking to travel overseas, they must register with the State Department so they can be vetted and so that the State Department can, at their discretion, warn the country the offender is seeking to travel to.
Since the signing of the law, the United States has warned over 100 countries that over 3,500 convicted pedophiles were trying to get in their country, and over 2,000 of those people were denied entry.
Foreign countries have reciprocated 100 times.
And that’s the next step for Smith and Kanka: To get the rest of the world on board with the plan.
“We’re trying to get other countries to replicate the passport process,” Smith said.
As well they should. We’ve got enough American sickos as it is. We don’t need any foreign pedophiles.
“This is a big step in protecting the children of this great country, as well as the children of the world,” Kanka said. “When we started this back in 1994 we just didn’t stop there. We worked on this. And now this train is rolling again, and it’s rolling quicker.”
I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a child, nevermind to lose a child in such a horrible way. Tremendous credit to Richard and Maureen Kanka for spearheading Megan’s Law, and even more credit for not stopping, some 23 years later.