Implant microchips into sex offenders
published on Wednesday, April 7, 2004
The State Press
Arizonans are tired of not knowing who is a danger to them and their children, especially where sex offenders are concerned. On Tuesday, Camelback High School officials warned students that older men have been cruising by campus, exposing themselves and harassing young girls.
This kind of thing warrants attention and careful management of those with known histories of sex offenses. After all, these people have no rights after what they've done, and we have a right to be informed of their histories and whereabouts at all times. They have no place in civilized society.
Once a criminal, always a criminal.
It's hard not to get sucked into thinking like that. No self-respecting person can be against protecting innocent victims, right? That's why we have derivations of Megan's Law all over the country requiring past sex offenders to register wherever they reside. These laws inhibit citizens' privacy and ability to find work or build community ties, ultimately preventing them from moving on with their lives.
Nevertheless, many people -- if not most -- would agree that such restrictions are necessary for the public good and probably don't go far enough. Take the Arizona Legislature for instance.
The Senate Family Services Committee unanimously supported a bill last week requiring any registered sex offender to carry an ID at all times and to have it updated annually. The bill, which has already been passed by the House, stipulates six months in jail for violations.
The idea here is to facilitate quick background checks for "suspicious" people illegally searched and detained by the police to determine if they pose a threat. Never mind the fact that the Supreme Court is currently presiding over a case that asks whether refusing to identify oneself to the police is sufficient cause for arrest.
Speaking about the questionable practice of this law requiring sex offenders to carry ID, Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, justified it to The Arizona Republic by saying, "These are some pretty bad guys. This isn't Joe Citizen." Apparently, perceived threats based on past behavior, whether real or imaginary, override protection against invasive searches and seizures.
Pursuant to that logic, anything done to address society's fear of unknown people is well within the confines of the Constitution. Civil liberties be damned.
If this is the road society really wants to go down -- and it seems that it is -- we might as well go full-bore and do it right.
If we're going to require sex offenders to carry an ID at all times, let's at least require it to be an "I'm a sex offender card," and make them wear it around their necks. Or maybe a scarlet letter tattooed on their foreheads would do the job. Then we might have to make wearing a hat to cover up your tattoo punishable by six months in prison, too.
Better yet, let's embrace more technological solutions being pushed by companies like Applied Digital Solutions. ADS is a manufacturer of microchips and radio frequency tags that can be implanted in humans under the skin. The chips can store a wealth of data and be accessed by scan because of the signal they emit.
By making it mandatory for sex offenders to have such implants, we could not only track their movements but quarantine them into whatever section of town we want by making entrance into school zones subject to a data scan.
There's no need to limit this procedure to sex offenders. There are plenty of other people who pose a danger to society as well. What we really need is a national ID card and a chip implanted in every American that contains a psychological and criminal history. Every public area would, of course, require a scan for admittance. Those with questionable pasts would either be subject to supervision or simply denied entry into that particular area.
You know, just thinking about it makes me feel safer already. I'm off to write a letter to my congressman.
Scott Phillips is a justice studies senior. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and read his blog online at asuwebdevil.com.
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