Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Who You Calling a Clown?

So people often deride many proposed laws as being unnecessary or overreaching. And while I can see their point at times, I tend to be of the position that it is better to be safe than sorry. One example of this is a bill that my friend Rep. Kevin Joyce had that would make us the first state in the country to background check carnival workers. Today's Daily Herald has a story on the issue here.

In my opinion, the need for the checks is further bolstered by this tidbit from today's Chicago Tribune story on the same subject,
In running background checks at five events, the Illinois attorney general's office and Cook County sheriff's department found that among 179 carnival employees, there had been 556 arrests and 125 convictions, according to a letter sent to law enforcement agencies.
The industry predictably says that the bill is unfair to them, but history would dictate a need for knowing who is coming into contact with our children. As Rep. Bill Black, a co-sponsor of the measure stated,
"I hope we get through this without somebody being killed or getting raped. I'd recommend you stay with (your children) every ride and every attraction on the midway. Your child could be getting on a ride that is run by Charles Manson."
Yes I understand that we can't, and shouldn't, micromanage every potential danger in life. But say what you will, I am sure that, god forbid another child gets attacked at a carnival or fair, legislators will be tripping over themselves to file the same bill that Kevin did. I say let's act rather than react.


At September 6, 2005 at 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are we going to legislate everything?

At September 6, 2005 at 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Fritchey on this one. If a kid gets molested at a carnival by a convicted child sex offender, the public will be up in arms that the person was allowed to work in such close proximity to children.

Think about it, if you're a sex offender, you can't live within 500 or 1000 feet of a school, but you can work right next to kids? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

These folks tend to be habitual offenders. Prevention of a crime is going to do a whole lot more than counseling a child afterwards.

At September 6, 2005 at 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pasing all these laws must be fun!
How about an alternate law?

No children are admitted to any state fairs without being accompanied by their parents.

If there parents are present how can they be assaulted?

And I would pass a law that makes it illegal for any convicted sex offender from going within 500 feet of a child. Why is this even allowed?

At September 6, 2005 at 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous -
while i wouldn't want a convicted sex offender near my child's park or school (and the law currently prevents this), you can't legislate an offender's every move. what if they want to go to the grocery store and a child happens to be there?

At September 6, 2005 at 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is a school or park or a state fair different that a grocery store? A child can be molested anywhere. By allowing convicted sex offenders to go within 500 feet of a child ANYWHERE, you are putting all of our children at risk, since most are repeat offenders.

Do you find that risk acceptable?

I fear for your children if you do.

At September 6, 2005 at 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're missing my point - I'm not saying a grocery store is any safer. I'm saying that under your proposal, a convicted sex offender would be confined to his own residence, since there are likely to be children in any public place. Schools and parks have been legislated as obvious gathering places, but we'd have to restrict offenders from going to the store, the bank, restaurants, the post office, the hospital, polling places, etc. Again, I'm not condoning predatory behavior - I fear for my children as well and support strict penalties. Yes, many are repeat offenders, but there's a fine line to draw between rehabilitation and ongoing penalties. Don't forget that even convicted felons, after serving their time, are regranted their protected, personal liberties.

At September 6, 2005 at 12:52 PM, Blogger Bill said...

How could anyone be against this bill. I would rather not have any carnivals in this state than put one more child at risk. Let them pay for their background checks. If they cannot afford them then don't do business in Illinois. This is the first (and probably the last) time that I have agreed with Black. It must be Fritchey's non-partisan influence.

At September 6, 2005 at 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>I'm not saying a grocery store is any safer [Than a state fair]

Then why have a special law singling out state fairs? Our children are at risk at state fairs, so we pass a law. Yet they are just as at risk at the grocery store. Or the mall. Or the candy store. Or at little league. Or at girl scout meetings. Yet we do nothing about those circumstances.

Why don't we have laws protecting them at those places? What makes the state fair so special that it needs to be singled out by Springfield?

Our children are at risk everywhere. This risk can, and should be legislated away.

At September 6, 2005 at 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just tuned in and thought I would offer my two cents:

-Little League usually takes place at a park. It's covered y'all.

-Carnivals are geared toward children (and first dates). That's why we regulate them and not the Piggly Wiggly.

I say, "parents, watch your kids." There are plenty of crazy people out there who are about to be kidnappers or sex offenders who haven't been convicted yet and we can't protect you from them.

I see where you're going, but there are obvious issues with trying to legislate all risk away.

At September 6, 2005 at 3:17 PM, Blogger Highland Pundit said...

I'm suprised. Rep. Bill Black does not usually resort to exaggeration to make his point.

At September 6, 2005 at 3:46 PM, Blogger Amy Allen said...

Kudoes to Reps. Fritchey, Joyce, Black, et.al. for their attention to Illinois youth.
Mr/Ms HP: Doesn't resort to exaggeration? Does that mean he's really going to crawl across the House floor on his hands and knees if Bill X doesn't pass?

At September 7, 2005 at 6:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, they came for the smokers. But since I hated those people, I cheered.

Then, they came for the perverted carnies. No one liked those freaks, so I said 'Take 'em away boys!'

Next were the people who drove and talked on cell phones. They were the *most* despised of all.

Then the only people left were the ones like me. And that was exactly how it was meant to be.

Keep passing laws, gang.

At September 7, 2005 at 6:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>Carnivals are geared toward children (and >first dates). That's why we regulate them >and not the Piggly Wiggly.

Ok..what about private gymnastics and swimming coaches? Municipal park district employees that teach summer programs? Camp counselors? Youth ministers? Bus drivers? Ice cream truck drivers? Youth soccer coaches? Employees who work at McDonald's kids night? Employees at Illinois zoos? Library staff that work in the kids section? Toy store employees? Anyone who works at a shopping mall? Animal shelter employees? Pet store employees? Boy scouts troop leaders? Girl scout troop leaders? Tennis coaches? Horseback riding instructors? Children's clothing store employees? What about regular amusement parks...Like Six Flags? Will that be covered? All the pervs have to do is get a job there to get their rocks off if Six Flags is not covered by this law. And museums, too. They are packed with kids on field trips in the summer time. How about umpires and referees?

How can you possibly think the law that is being proposed goes far enough?

At September 7, 2005 at 7:24 AM, Blogger Amy Allen said...

Anon 6:56:
Sir or madam, this may not be a good place to stop, but it is a good place to start.

At September 7, 2005 at 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the previous poster, (whose post has since been deleted), 1. Your information is wrong on all counts. 2. Don't say that you weren't given fair notice. 3. Timing is everything.


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