May 13 buzz: From Wall Street to O.C. parks, watching for the bad guys
On hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam's conviction Wednesday, the editorial board writes:
The sad truth about Wall Street is that big hedge funds such as Galleon and major financial firms have a huge advantage over everyman investors. Their relationships with the corporate world give them valuable insights about companies, trends and potential market-moving events, and they have the resources to hire consultants to dig up more information gold. The Rajaratnam prosecution showed, though, that paying people for access to company secrets is not "research." That point is underscored by the feds' ongoing investigation into "expert network" firms that allegedly plied technology industry workers with cash in exchange for inside information. Even if the playing field will never be truly level on Wall Street, it's good for prosecutors to remind people that the rules of the game apply to everyone.
Most commented and shared: Orange County's war on sex offenders
Orange County politicians are pursuing a pointless crusade to bar those convicted of sex crimes from parks, writes the editorial board. You read that correctly: It's pointless. (And probably just a way to get in with voters.)
The Orange County ordinance, too, may well be unconstitutional. More important, it is unfair and ineffective. Registered sex offenders aren't all child molesters; some men are on the registry for having sex with underage girlfriends when they themselves were still teenagers. Though some sex offenders are incorrigible, many have done their time and turned their lives around. Should all be permanently forbidden from taking their own children to the zoo, or the beach? And will keeping them away from parks really protect children? An estimated 90% of sex crimes against children are committed by family members or acquaintances, not perverts on park benches.
Here's what readers think of the ban. Surprisingly, we didn't get as much backlash as we thought we would. Not to say there isn't any.
Preferable idea: Ban sex offenders from churches
Since a potential sex offender is more likely to be in a church, then in a park, lets see the fascists pass an ordinance restricting sex offenders from attending a church, and watch the churches (especially the Catholic ones!) […]
This is a better priority than banning smoking in public spaces
[T]here is quite a movement to ban smoking cigs in parks. As evil as smokers have become (in theory), how can any rational society ban puffing away in public, without first addressing how to treat true criminals in public spaces that children should be free to roam? Banning smoking is constitutional, but banning peds is not? No wonder kids are still being molested.
Sex offenders have already served their time
This is a stupid ordinance. Public lands are for public use. They don't make this kind of distinction for violent offenders, so why just for sex offenders? It's OK to have someone on the beach who was convicted of robbery and aggravated assault, but a sex offender, no? This is poorly thought out, nigh-unenforceable, and prone to all kinds of blowback. If they have served their time, they are free. […]
--Markoff Chaney The Second
Still uncomfortable with idea putting kids at risk
While I applaud the Times for its courage to argue for the rights of an especially marginalized minority, perhaps we should remember that every single one of these sex offenders CHOSE to become a part of that minority, and at present there is no consensus as to whether prison time truly prevents recidivism for these individuals.
Intriguingly, the Times' editorial coincides with a report from The Daily Breeze about a sex offender in the city of Torrance who openly stated to police that he could not guarantee that he would not again molest a child in the future. At what point do the rights of that individual trump those of his neighbors? In that sex offender's exercise of his rights to visit the local park is it also fair for him to create a climate of fear among his neighbors?
I work for a public school and am entrusted with the safety of over 1,000 children. Would the Times next tell me that in the interest of non-discrimination I should hire this registered sex offender to work at my school?
Find another way to protect the children
[I]f you want to ensure your children's safety, don't let them run around unsupervised. It wasn't a good idea 80 years ago, and it isn't now. It's the child molesters you don't know about who are the real danger.
--Alexandra Le Tellier