Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Megans Law - Protection More Important than Privacy Essay -- Argument
Megan's Law - Protection More Important than Privacy In 1994, twice-convicted sex offender Jesse Timmendequas raped and murdered Megan Kanka, a seven-year old girl who lived across the street. In reaction to this emotionally-charged crime, Megan's home state of New Jersey ratified a community notification bill - dubbed "Megan's Law" - just three months later. This fall, a national version of the law went into effect, mandating that all fifty states notify citizens in writing of the presence of convicted sex offenders within their communities. Certainly, society has a responsibility to protect children from sex offenders, and many feel that Megan's Law is the best course of action. However, others feel that it is an unwarranted intrusion into the rights to privacy of individuals who have already paid their debts to society. Megan Kanka should still be alive today, and, as a society, we have an undeniable responsibility to keep such tragedies from taking place in the future. We must not merely respond when sex crimes occur but must, instead, take an active role in preventing them in the first place. Megan's Law is an effective attempt by legislators to help us achieve this goal. Indeed, it helps to prevent these crimes by protecting children, our most defenseless citizens, from those who are most likely to endanger them. Megan's Law operates under the logic that responsible parents, once notified that a designated "high risk" sex offender lives nearby, will be able to prevent their children from becoming the victims of another attack. One of its primary motivations is the high recidivism rate associated with crimes of sexual molestation. Without even considering the large number of sex offenses that go unreported each ye... ...nity. For this reason, under the Freedom of Information Act of 1974, criminal records are a matter of public record. Megan's Law can be thought of as a logical extension of this Act, channeling information to those who need it most. Criminal records have to be brought to light where the well-being of others is at stake. Privacy is a valuable privilege, but it is not a right which overrides the common good of our society. In the end, the debate over Megan's law reduces to one issue: how can we best ensure the safety of our children and the security of our communities? Because of the extremely high recidivism rate associated with sex crimes, because society has a duty to protect those who can not protect themselves, and because concerns for the good of our society as a whole outweigh any individual right to privacy, it is imperative that Megan's Law be maintained.