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Registering only the deserving few

Posted Thursday, February 28, 2008, at 9:42 AM

It appears that the state is going to add an animal abuser registry in Tennessee to go along with the sex offender registry and the online list of convicted felons.

The proposal has already been passed by the state Senate.

I agree with the sex offender registry, and tend to agree with the animal abuser registry.

But how many types of registries should be set up? Is it going to lead to DUI registries, as State Sen. Mae Beavers wants for repeat offenders?

Registries of speeders? Archives of images of traffic-light runners? (Cameras, with no mention of archives, are being set up now in Murfreesboro to catch violators.)

Serious criminals and long-term serious traffic offenders need to be make known to the public. Let's hope, though, the registries are limited to only those who are a real threat.


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A DUI registry might be the first step in controlling folks who sell their vehicles, or those who 'lend' their vehicle to a known DUI offender.

I realize that DUI offenders have a problem, but their weapon needs to be taken out of their control. We try to limit possession of a weapon from felony offenders, so why not do the same for DUI?

If we hold the sellers or 'lenders' liable, in addition to the driver, then maybe we can get their attention and slow this threat to our community.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 10:08 AM

May I add in a comment?

If this does take place the law would need to be changed, big time! As a repeat offender is truly not a repeat offender.

Did you know if someone got a DUI on the first offense and never drank again can still get a repeat offender?

So if that one DUI can do that, how is he a habitual offender? Because they lump all traffic crimes together.

For example, if that person had a restricted driver's license and he stopped at a gas station and put gas in his car while on his way to work, that is considered driving on a suspended license. That is classified as a DUI if you previously had one.

Basically, you never pay for your crimes, they keep coming back to haunt you forever.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 10:29 AM

I do agree with the animal abuse registry. Psychologists have long said that the majority of violent offenders have a history of abusing animals. Something is seriously wrong inside the head of someone that is willing to abuse an animal. I'm not talking about someone that has animal control called on them because they have "too many" dogs or whatever, I mean people that seriously abuse animals. Those people need to be kept track of. But only if they're convicted. If they're acquitted on an appeal they should be taken off of the list.

-- Posted by Thom on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 10:35 AM

Medical professionals tend to have access to lists of known drug abusers.

Bar tenders and liquor store owners,in certain circumstances,can be held accountable for the actions of their customers.

If these registries are used to heap abuse on those listed,they are inappropriate.

If they provide the information needed to protect the public,that's another story.

The registries would not only be a clear message that such behavior is not acceptable but the fear of being so stigmatized might cause more rational persons to get help to control any negative tendencies before they bring damage to themselves or others.

As I mull this prospect,I think of two things:

1. The relative unwillingness of people to consider that people might be innocent of the charges made against them or may have turned their lives around.

Do they (and their families) need to be permanently defined by one tragic act?

2. If the list of registries grows,might some people take the example of the "Scarlet Letter"'s Hester Prynne to a less tasteful level and make their own "offender" labels as folks have parodied honor student and "Baby on Board" signs?

It's way too easy for our culture to trivialize all the significance from a message if they become jaded from its overexposure.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 10:48 AM

"It appears that the state is going to add an animal abuser registry in Tennessee to go along with the sex offender registry and the online list of convicted felons. "

Really? I'd have to say that I'm inclined to think that this isn't a bad thing.

-- Posted by cfrich on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 11:05 AM

EM, so let's say I go out and get drunk, get a DUI but decide from the drunk tank to never do it again. Well, I don't do it again but I do get one of those driving on suspended charges that so frequent the jail intake....does that really get classified as a DUI? The reason I ask in b/c obviously #1 I'm curious and this is the first I've heard of this and #2 I know someone who was put in a similar situation. The law was to be charged as a habitual motor offender you must have three of the same serious violations. This person had 3 wreckless drivings and one wreckless endangerment (b/c his friend was in the car when he was acting like a moron.). BUT one of those wreckless drivings he was charged with was of the same incident with his friend in the car. I was pretty sure they should've only charged him with the more severe since charging for both seemed kind of redundant. It's like pulling someone over for DUI, charging them with that but b/c he was outside doing the sobriety test you charge him with P.D. too?? Just kind of odd to me. Anyway, they charged him as a habitual motor offender. The judge suspended his license for 3 years and vowed that if he was caught driving in that time period he would get sentenced as a habitual offender, oh and he ordered him to get rid of his mustang. Since he was a good boy for 3 years though that has been taken off his record. I know that's way off topic but Evil Monkey intrigued me and seems to know what he's talking about in this area, well more so than I, so I thought I'd ask if that seems right to you?

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 11:17 AM

ACK!! You took my animal post for the day....~just kidding.

As Thom said, there is a link associated between violent crimes, abuse, and animal abuse. They are going to use this registry as a cross reference. I think this is DEFINITELY a good thing.

-- Posted by cherylrichardson on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 11:35 AM

Laura,

I don't want to hijack this thread, you can call me at 931-536-1279, its local. I can explain it.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 11:53 AM

Evil Monkey, I'll do that this afternoon. Or you can email me at rfsmomma@yahoo.com.

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 12:03 PM

Maybe,we should ask if we'd want someone who had an accident due to falling asleep,epilepsy,heart attack or distraction from cell phones,passengers,etc. to wear these labels.

The drunk driver might know very well he shouldn't be behind the wheel when intoxicated.

Should a worn-out,sick or frazzled driver not know to abstain from driving until they feel better?

Shouldn't anything that keeps a person from paying attention on the road or making appropriate responses be dealt with in a similar manner?

(Remember the medicines that warn "Do not operate heavy machinery while using this product.")

There are plenty of accidents that come out of nowhere.

Any causes we could predict and avoid (weather,impaired driver,unsafe vehicle,etc.) should be taken into account.

Unexpected problems could be designated as unfortunate but not preventable.

In cases where the lack of an accident would constitute a miracle,the driver (or anyone who knew they,the car or road conditions were unfit for travel) should have a high degree of accountability for any mishaps.

The question would be whether they showed a deliberate disregard for the well-being of others or if they were even able to act in a safe manner.

If a driver isn't putting people or property at risk,no problem.

If a wreck is unavoidable,he bears no blame.

If he is allowed to put his convenience above the public welfare,he and anyone who permits his driving should reap the consequences of that selfishness.

There is no shame in sobriety and there should be no shame in handing over the car keys,pulling over and parking or asking for a safe ride home when the alternative could be so much worse.

Alternatives for getting to work,etc. would eliminate a lot of the restricted licenses or temptations to be on the highways.

If the law is going to let a driver use his car for necessary travel,it should expect the need to stop at a service station on occasion.

That's assuming he's not issued a solar car or a chauffeur to pull in when the needle reaches "E",a tire goes flat or the brakes start to fail.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 12:13 PM

I think they would primarily use the animal abuser registry to track puppy millers and cruelty acts. Ex.: If I was interested in purchasing a dog/cat from a breeder, I could check out the registry first to make sure the breeders were reputable, and I could quickly see if they had been convicted of any cruetly acts.

-- Posted by cherylrichardson on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 1:23 PM

Evil Monkey-

May I pass your number along to Bedford Co. Animal Control? You were the one who volunteered to help with some web services right? They are needing a redesign and were looking for a way to contact you.

Sorry for the momentary hijack.

-- Posted by cherylrichardson on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 1:25 PM

I love that it would be used for animal vendors and exhibitors as well as unfit persons who might purchase animals or harm an animal in general.

The premise that animals are mere property has been a dangerous one.

The neglect or torture of a beast has been seen as no worse than damaging an inanimate object.

This has lead to dehumanizing those we respected no more than our animals.

Now that cruelty defines the perpetrator as a monster (instead of looking at the status of the victim),we can get all our "equal opportunity destroyers" at one lick.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 2:06 PM

Cheryl go ahead.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 2:30 PM

Sex offender, child abuse, and animal abuser registry all sound good to me. I'm on the fence where a DUI is concerned since you CAN get a DUI for some over the counter cold medications.

-- Posted by Disgusted on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 2:59 PM

You can blow over the limit if you have diabetes too.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 3:01 PM

Never thought about that, makes sense though!

-- Posted by Disgusted on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 3:19 PM

I wouldn't have a problem with any of these registries if they only registered the deserving few. However, that isn't the case with the registry they already have. All of the people on the sex offender registry aren't violent criminals, such as 20 year olds who had sex with their 17 year old girlfriend. Are those people a big enough threat to society that we need to track them for the rest of their life? I don't think so. Yet, they have them listed on the same registry with pedophiles and violent rapists.

-- Posted by Richard on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 3:51 PM

Richard

I do agree with you on that. If you have a 16 and 17yr. old dating, the 17yr. old will become a legal adult so then what?

-- Posted by Disgusted on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 4:16 PM

The diabetics need a different response if they were healthy and just got high numbers on a test versus if their sugar was so high or so low that they weren't safe to drive-or if they had a heart attack,stroke,poor vision or nerve damage that interfered with their performance behind the wheel.

The important issue with any driver would be whether he had a reasonable expectation that he wasn't safe to be out on the road (for any reason) and got out there anyway.

As for sex with a minor,if the underage person lies while getting the marriage license,the state would have to prove the adult knew their true age instead of being defrauded.

They *would* be getting wed before they had sex,right?

(That's where the "Does any person have just cause why these persons should not be wed?" part comes in.)

If someone won't go out in public with their partner as a couple.won't let them meet family and friends and generally acts sneaky,then maybe one party or another is being exploited.

Check them out and make sure the relationship is out in the open.

That keeps things safer for everyone.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 7:21 PM

If you have a 16 and 17 year old, they shouldn't be dating unless they're in West Virginia.

-- Posted by Thom on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 10:05 PM

16 and 17 year olds[or younger] used to get married and start families 100+ years ago... What kind of thought process makes you think they shouldn't even date now?

-- Posted by jesuslovesevery1 on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 10:29 PM

C'mon, it was a joke. What was said originally was "If you have a 16 and 17yr. old dating". This, to me, indicates that they are speaking to the parents and THEY have a 16 and 17 year old...possibly brother and sister (or whatever combination satisfies your sexual orientation)...which means that they shouldn't be dating (unless you're in West Virginia). Ok, it was a twisted thought process, but it's mine...all mine...mwah-hah-hah.

-- Posted by Thom on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 11:35 PM

Thom, I got the joke. Never fear, there is always someone with the same twisted sense of humor....

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Fri, Feb 29, 2008, at 7:38 AM

I guess I should have been more specific.

-- Posted by Disgusted on Fri, Feb 29, 2008, at 7:58 AM

I am very much in favor of the sex offender registry,I also think the animal cruelty registry is a pretty good idea,BUT why in the world would we start an animal abuse registry BEFORE a child abuse registry?????Don't get me wrong I love animals but what about our children?????

-- Posted by Cindy Munsey on Fri, Feb 29, 2008, at 8:29 AM

I am very much in favor of the sex offender registry,I also think the animal cruelty registry is a pretty good idea,BUT why in the world would we start an animal abuse registry BEFORE a child abuse registry?????Don't get me wrong I love animals but what about our children?????

-- Posted by Cindy Munsey on Fri, Feb 29, 2008, at 8:29 AM

Good point.

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Fri, Feb 29, 2008, at 8:39 AM

The only problem with a child abuse registry is that there are so many things that are left to interpretation as far as what constitutes "abuse".

I know that the sex-offender registry definitely needs to be re-worked so that they are listing the offenders that have actually committed crimes, not just "infractions". I totally agree that any sexual offenses that are violent should be included, but what about the situation that Disgusted was referring to (that I twisted)? Upon the 18th birthday of that 17 year old, should they be arrested because they're dating a 16 year old (that they've been dating for a year or two or more)? That would be crazy. Unfortunately it happens, then that 18 year old is convicted and listed as a "sexual offender" and, most likely, is still dating their "victim". Some states do take these situations into account.

In Tennessee (TN Code 39-13-506) the offender has to be at least four years older than the "victim". Other states have different requirements that are, in some cases, rather disturbing to know.

-- Posted by Thom on Fri, Feb 29, 2008, at 9:39 AM

Thom, I was just going to bring up the four year difference. I have been faced with this situation personally, though my parent's liked the fellow very much when I was 15 I was seeing a young man who was 18, that was only three years and not enough of a time span but he was supposed to turn 19 quickly. He, of course, was concerned but my parent's assured him it would be no issue. Unfortunately, he passed away before his 19th birthday rolled around. I'm pretty sure though if they thought it was a problem or just got bored the state could have taken up charges on their own.

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Fri, Feb 29, 2008, at 9:51 AM

Yep, the state will (in some cases) take it into their own hands. There was a case a couple of years ago that had a 19 year old charged by the state (a different state) for dating a 17 year old. Both sets of parents knew, and had no problem with it. The girl's parents even told the state that they didn't want him charged. The school that she attended alerted the police to the fact that they were dating and, they assumed, other things. The state convicted him of statutory rape. He was put on house arrest (with one of those ankle monitors). At this point he was living in the house with his girlfriend, or "victim". How ridiculous is that? Now he's branded as a child molester and they're married. Now, is that the school looking out for the children, or sticking their noses into business that the parents had a handle on?

-- Posted by Thom on Fri, Feb 29, 2008, at 10:53 AM

If you have a 16 and 17 year old, they shouldn't be dating unless they're in West Virginia.

-- Posted by Thom on Thu, Feb 28, 2008, at 10:05 PM

Thom I got the joke and had myself a good chuckle, although I didn't know that happened in West Virginia, that seems more of an Alabama thing ;)

-- Posted by Disturbia on Fri, Feb 29, 2008, at 1:33 PM

I think the child welfare people stopped considering parental preference when children under thirteen were dating and even marrying and having babies with adults older than their mothers and fathers - all with parental knowledge and consent.

This isn't the same as when young people were betrothed early but didn't marry until they were able to function as adults with the support of their community.

The modern version made for good tabloid television but lousy child-rearing.

It smacked of pimping out young people to folks who wanted them because they were unworldly and vulnerable rather than in spite of it.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Sat, Mar 1, 2008, at 8:13 PM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.