Monday, October 31, 2011

My editorial on Halloween Laws


Below is a brief editorial on Halloween Laws I wrote for a class. Since people stated it was good, I decided to share it here.

I was a child of the 1980s, and like most children, I went trick-or-treating. Outside my own little world, a new era of Predator Panic was forming. Missing children were plastered on the milk cartons in the fridge while local daycare centers were searched for underground tunnels, pentagrams, and literature from the Church of Satan. When we got home, mom and dad would confiscate our bags, and, much to our dismay, some choice candies were taken to “test for poison.”
Like the poison candy and the Satanic Ritual Abuse reports of the 1980s, our current laws targeting sex offenders are based upon urban legends. Much like the claims of high recidivism rates, as mentioned by Blathers, the myths of Halloween being a “sex offender smorgasbord” is based on fear rather than fact.
There are much more real threats to your children on Halloween night than the remote chance of a sex offender targeting your child on Halloween. Recent reports have discovered that traffic accidents with child victims are at their highest during Halloween. Should we ban all cars from driving because they pose a greater threat during Halloween than people on the public registry?
The problem with Halloween laws, as with many sex offender laws, are based upon wrongful assumptions and thus do not work as intended. Halloween laws were created to combat a virtually non-existent threat. After all, there is a definitive lack of reports of sex crimes committed by convicted sex offenders occurring on Halloween. So if in previous years there were no sex crimes committed by registrants, and I pass a new law to ban all registrants from participating on Halloween for this year and no sex crimes were committed by registrants this year, can I assume the laws had any effect on a non-existent problem? I think not.
It is time we as a society look at issues in our society from a rational standpoint and put stop scaring people with urban legends. If a sex crime is to occur on this night, it will be far more likely to occur within the child’s own home by a loved one not on the list. If you are worried about your child’s safety on Halloween night, then go with them, or take them to the many Halloween parties run by local churches or civic groups. And while sifting for those non-existent poisoned candies, try not to be as greedy with the choice candy as your parents were.

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