“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Got rope? bumper sticker- ugh.

I was back in America for 10 days recently to visit friends and family (and go shopping). It was a great visit, overall, and I intend to post a bunch of fun photos I took while there. But first, I have to get this out there:

As I was driving through Fargo one afternoon, I saw this bumper sticker on the back of a truck:
It's a bit hard to read, but it says "got rope? Hang a sex offender".  Which is funny, considering that the term "sex offender" is used. This word is so much nicer than "rapist", "pedophile", or other less polite terms.  "Sex offender" sounds like it was an accident... "sorry lady, I didn't mean to sex offend you."  instead of a violent crime.  But violent crime is in fact what the sticker is advocating- hang someone with rope. Why not drag him behind the truck with the rope while you're at it? Here's some more irony for you: If you look carefully at the car dealer decal above the S10 logo, it says or said Friendly, and on the North Dakota license plate it says "discover the spirit".  Yes, the spirit of... hate? 
OK I'm from North Dakota and don't mean to criticise or offend anyone who lives there, just this person with this truck. What a jerk. Even if you or someone you love had a "sex offense" done to her/him, how does promoting violence change that? Does this person feel more powerful by hoping that someone may actually follow the advice on a truck's bumper sticker?  On the other hand, I guess I appreciate that this person is honest about his/her feelings- just so there's no confusion, in case you were wondering about their opinion of sex offenders.
It's easy enough to find pedophiles that are living in your neighborhood in the USA. In California, the Attorney General's office has a searchable database online, here. You can find out exactly where they lived.  The website says over 63,000 sex offenders are required to register in CA as sex offenders.  Many other states have searchable databases. Wikipedia cites a research review of recidivism rates, and sex offenders (9%) were less likely to re-offend than other felons were to commit any new felonies (and get caught, of course). Maybe the reason is that the sex offenders have been removed from society by hanging from a rope?
I have recently read the book The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and the author portrays rape and violence in the story. It definitely made me squirm, watching the film, but in the context of the book, it's easier to handle. I have seen so many people reading this book lately, and it was given to me as a gift (thanks Dad!). The author's perspective is probably quite comfortable with the above bumper sticker.
I'm reading a book now called Caveman Logic, which is pretty good.  The author really puts superstitious thinking into perspective. I think the author struggles quite a bit to provide evidence to support his conclusions. Which is ironic, since he obviously supports the scientific method.