Green no longer means go, apparently

“State Sen. Kevin Coughlin’s plan to identify sexual predators with license plates is simply brilliant. After all, who will oppose him? Coming out on the side of sexual predators would be career suicide. When it comes to sexual predators, things like constitutional rights take the back seat, as do concepts of rehabilitation and restorative justice.”

State Sen. Kevin Coughlin’s plan to identify sexual predators with license plates is simply brilliant.

After all, who will oppose him? Coming out on the side of sexual predators would be career suicide.

When it comes to sexual predators, things like constitutional rights take the back seat, as do concepts of rehabilitation and restorative justice.

Sexual predators serve as perfect vehicles for political grandstanding. They are the ultimate boogeymen.

If you’re disgustedly writing me off as a wacko liberal, hear me out.

If you’re wondering how someone with children could possibly defend sexual predators, stop.

In fact, I am against Coughlin’s plan because I have children. And common sense.

Consider this typical scenario.

Members of the Parent-Teacher Association at a local elementary school look up sex offenders who live in the community. They print out their pictures and show them to the students so they can protect themselves.

The ominous warnings go something like this: Joe Shmoe is a sexual predator. He lives at 1000 Main Street. Beware!

They might conclude with, Booga, booga! but there’s no way to know for sure.

Children should be aware of their surroundings, of course. If a child molester lives down the street, I don’t want my son offering to shovel his sidewalk.

It’s just not clear how his bright green license plate will protect him.

There are two main reasons why the license plate system is a red herring.

For one thing, do people still envision a sexual predator as the creepy old man cruising around in his sedan, offering candy to vulnerable children? That’s really the only way a bright green license plate will be effective.

What happens when the car with the bright green license plate is in the garage? Or in the shop? Poof. There goes that sense of security, which didn’t actually exist in the first place.

Second, children should be wary of strangers, period. Steering them clear of the child molester who lives around the corner is smart. But that doesn’t mean that the person who lives next door to the registered sexual predator is not a threat.

When Richard Allen Davis raped and murdered 12-year-old Polly Klaas in 1993, her parents were unaware that he posed a threat. After all, he would not have been labeled a sexual predator.

Davis happened to be a felon, however, and the case helped fuel California’s three-strikes law. But the car Davis drove to the Klaas home the night he abducted the young girl would not have had a bright green license plate.

Threats exist in our communities. Sometimes we can avert them through vigilance and safety precautions. But there are instances we simply cannot prevent.

And bright green license plates wouldn’t have made a difference.