“WASHINGTON, April 5 — The Department of Homeland Security’s deputy press secretary appeared in a Maryland state court on Wednesday and refused extradition to Florida, where he faces charges of using the Internet to seduce someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl.”
I have a 14-year-old daughter. Since she first began using a computer, we have impressed upon her the importance of not believing anything that anyone says online, unless it’s someone she has met in person and knows fairly well. Otherwise, anyone who speaks to her electronically could be just that — anyone. With any sort of motive and any sort of intention.
I’m not a fan of capital punishment. It’s my opinion that the worst possible punishment would involve being locked up, alone, in a small space, with only those items necessary for reasonably humanitarian survival, with no human contact whatsoever, for the rest of the criminal’s life. This is the punishment I’d like to see meted out to murderers and others who commit heinous crimes against society and humanity.
But what is the appropriate punishment for a middle-aged man who makes every effort to become sexually involved with a just barely teenage girl — who involves her in graphically detailed phone conversations about sexual acts a 14-year-old should only know about through her sex-ed class; who sends her pornographic materials; and who urges her to obtain a web cam (thus suggesting that he’s perhaps also into child pornography)? What to do with a person who would apparently have no hesitation in trying to morally corrupt, physically seduce, and psychologically scar my daughter?
This is the sort of situation where my overwhelmingly liberal leanings are overridden by my sense of personal outrage. My immediate reactions are reminiscent of prisoner treatment at Abu Ghraib, involving such possibilities as hanging him from a hook by tender parts of his anatomy. Then there’s my all-alone-in-a-cell-forever scenario, but given the likelihood that a person convicted of this sort of crime will be walking the streets again some day, I think his treatment while incarcerated should be more, um, intense and personal.
I’ve heard that criminals who engage in crimes against children are at the bottom of the prison hierarchy, presumably because even hardened convicts may have children on the outside whom they miss and love. Maybe sexual offenders should be handed over to the general population at federal maximum security facilities, and the word spread that they shouldn’t be permanently harmed or disfigured but that they need to be taught a lesson. Brian J. Doyle: once Department of Homeland Security deputy press secretary, now cell bitch for oversized men named Killer and Guido. Yes … that punishment just might fit the crime.