"These lists were originally conceived by most of the voters who cheered them on as lists of people who had some sort of psychological compulsion to sexual predation," explains Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. People assume anyone on it is "a permanent menace."New Outrage: Sex Offender or Teenage Jerk?
These guys are more like Dennis the Menace, which is why we have to change the criteria that land folks on the registry. These young men were never "predators." And as the years go by, the idea that they pose a danger to children will become even more ridiculous. When you're 20, 30, 40 -- 80! -- you don't do the things you did as a 14-year-old trying to impress your buddies. Why is Megan's Law blind to human nature?
If it were making kids safer, maybe we could overlook how obtuse it is. But a 2008 study found that, in New Jersey at least -- where little Megan Kanka, for whom the law is named, was murdered -- the law showed no effect in reducing the number of sexual re-offenses or reducing the number of victims.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.