Hi, everybody. It’s been a long hiatus. Hope everyone’s well, and ready for Christmas.
There’s a lot going on right now, news-wise, what with health care reform coming down to the wire and all, and much of the folderol has indeed been deeply stupid, but today’s winner — #1 with a bullet! — is the residents of the state of Michigan.
It’s really not fair to single out Michiganders. Americans in general are deeply stupid about this. Michigan just happens to be displaying it at the moment.
Anyway. Here’s the deal.
In 2003, the state of Michigan convicted Matthew Freeman of sexually assaulting a minor and sentenced him to probation and 10 years on the state’s sex offenders list. Earlier this year, the police arrested him again, this time for being within 1000 feet of a school — a place persons on the sex offenders list cannot be. Freeman now faces up to a year in jail, and will be on the sex offenders list until 2028.
Why was Freeman within 1000 feet of the school? Because he was playing basketball. In the driveway. Of his mother’s house.
“Well,” you may say, “he knew the rules. And he is a pedophile, after all.”
Not so much.
See, the minor he “sexually assaulted” in 2003 was 15. Freeman was 17. And her boyfriend. And, according to her own mother, who’s the one who called the cops in the first place to try to break up her daughter’s relationship with Freeman, the girl was entirely a willing participant in the “sexual assault” Freeman committed upon her.
So now Matthew Freeman is 23, a convicted sex offender, probably about to be convicted of a second crime that labels him a pedophile, and has no high school diploma (though he’s working on his GED). Try getting ahead in life with that baggage. Try getting a job (he makes $130 a week). Try getting an education. Try getting a mortgage or a small business loan or probably most any other kind of credit. Try meeting the opposite sex or having children of your own.
What kind of people is Matthew Freeman going to be around for the rest of his life? People who don’t care that he’s a convicted pedophile, that’s what kind. Other than his immediate family, who’s that likely to be? Not the pillars of the community, that’s for sure. Not anybody you’d list on a resumé or a college application.
In 2028, Matthew Freeman will be 42 years old, and he will have been a registered sex offender for 25 of those years.
Absent herculean effort and some extreme good luck, what’s his life going to look like then? Not yours or mine. And for what? Because blind panic and wishful thinking convinced millions of grown men and women that a 15-year-old high school student couldn’t possibly want to have sex with her boyfriend. (Meanwhile . . .)
People be deeply, deeply stupid.