Saturday, April 16, 2005

More Abuses for A "Great Cause"

The ever popular "To Protect The Children" meme is rearing its head again. In addition to making yet more mandatory sentences (I'd really like to see some "activist judges" strike those provisions down as damaging to separation of powers), there is one passage that strikes me as particularly chilling. From H.R. 1528 "Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2004," by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.):

Create a new three-year mandatory minimum for parents who witness or learn about drug trafficking activities, targeting or even near their children, if they do not report it to law enforcement authorities within 24 hours and do not provide full assistance investigating, apprehending, and prosecuting the offender.

It is the "learn about" clause that tells me that Sen. Sensenbrenner does not care about the indirect consequences of this bill. It brings to mind those "Parents: The Anti-Drug" commercials where parents are encouraged to keep close tabs on their children. In that respect, it is exactly what parents should be doing. Combine that with this legislation, however, and it forces the parents to become another branch of the police. It will hardly encourage teenagers to go to their parents with concerns about their friends when their parents would be required to report the conversation to the authorities.

Evidently, family is a very important thing to Republicans, unless it becomes an issue of Protecting The Children, in which case, all bets are off.

Link via Radley Balko

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