An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Where does it stop?

Child molesters are among the most heinous villains in our society. They should be harshly punished and kept from ever having the opportunity to commit their crime again. The punishments they receive these days probably do not go far enough.

A piece about Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida signing legislation that would increase the penalties for molesting children included the note that it would increase penalties as well as "...requiring many of those released from prison to wear satellite tracking devices for the rest of their lives."

This reminds you at all of the article posted here last July about Mexican authorities having microchips put beneath their skin for security clearances and tracking purposes.

Now truth be told, many of us had a slight chill run up our spine when we heard about monitoring bracelets for convicts under house arrest for the first time years ago. And the exponential increase in the data on private citizens held by the government and big corporation makes privacy experts and average citizens alike a bit nervous. A lot of Americans are probably also not thrilled with the proliferation of video cameras in public and private spaces.

Where does this end? Won't some law-and-order politician or interest group feel the need to push broadening the monitoring provisions down the road to other classes of criminals? If we agree that this tracking should be done on child molesters, what about rapists? What about violent criminals of any type? Where does it stop?