Columnists, Criminal Justice, Featured, Jon Caldara, Uncategorized

Caldara: Sex offender board virtue signals past meaningful reform

The Denver Gazette did a fine job rightfully excoriating the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board for their “person-first” reclassification of sexual offenders to “adults who have committed sexual assault.”

The Gazette called this person-first language, “well intentioned.” I disagree. It is part of social justice propaganda.

This first started when we were ordered by the elite to cram the five-syllable “person of color” into our mouth to replace the one-syllable “black.”

It has now grown out of control to “person currently experiencing homelessness,” (13 syllables?) instead of “bum” (Back off. I’m talking about the ones choosing that lifestyle).

“Person-first” would make sense if we spoke Spanish. In the Spanish language the modifier comes after the noun. They don’t say, “I’ll have a hot coffee.” They say, “I’ll have a coffee hot.”

In English the modifier comes before any word we want to describe. But elites know word control is the first step toward thought control, which is why the left propagates, under the very real threat of being canceled, victim-centric, overly-wordy language.

You’ve heard me talk about my son who is a Down’s kid. I just committed a hate crime there. According to person-first language I don’t have a Down’s kid, I have a “kid with Down’s.”

It’s entertaining that the left hasn’t quite figured out the transgender version. “Person of transgender?”

Read your George Orwell and you’ll understand why today’s newspeak is happening.

What the Gazette editorial didn’t address was the honorable goal the Sex Offender Management Board wanted to take on — lessening the lifetime injury the registry does to those who really aren’t sexual offenders, but through a failed system were forced on to it.

The Board should have taken that issue head-on. Sadly, they played the woke, virtue-signaling game of word warfare.

The fact is there are people who aren’t sex offenders but are on this public registry and their lives are ruined because of it.

Not everything in the 1970s was awful. It brought forth Led Zeppelin and the fad of streaking. There was even an awful hit song about it, “The Streak.”

Think of the high school streaker today who runs across the football field in nothing but his high-tops. He risks a spot on the registry. Give the ‘70s its due; kids still listen to Zeppelin, and still streak (as eye-witnessed by my teenager).

Way, way back in the day a ski instructor buddy of mine celebrated St. Patty’s Day by painting his entire body green and skied his fastest, coldest ski run of his life. Could have put him on the registry.

While not quite achieving the stature of the “Running of the Bulls” tradition in Spain, the “Naked Pumpkin Run” in Boulder came close. After midnight on Halloween, well after the kids were safely in bed, silly adults would go downtown, wear a pumpkin on their head like a football helmet and run naked through town.

This fun-loving tradition was exterminated. Some buzzkill cop decided to give all these irreverent people citations. They all pleaded down to a lesser offense to avoid getting on the sex offender registry.

None of these are sexual, no less a sexual offense.

Other incidents do have to do with sex, but are they really offenses? Teenagers sharing nude pictures of themselves can be a sex crime, especially if shared across state lines and thus wandering into a federal jurisdiction.

According to an admittedly out-of-date report by Human Rights Watch, in 29 states teenagers who have consensual sex can find themselves on the offender registry.

Colorado wisely changed our laws to fix those problems.

Hiring a prostitute can be a registering offense. (It’s legal in many parts of Nevada, if you must.) Can any consensual act by adults, or even near-adults, rise to the level of a lifetime punishment? There might even be some non-consensual cases that don’t reach that level.

One 11-year-old boy in Michigan touched his sister’s genitals. After a conviction, move to a foster home and a three-year sentence, he was put on the registry which followed him through adulthood. Is this appropriate punishment for a crime committed at 11?

The Sex Offender Management Board’s ham-handed attempt to reform speech, instead of the registry itself, does nothing but insult real sexual assault victims. Nor does it help those who shouldn’t be on the registry in the first place.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


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