Friday, January 30, 2009

Tom Pauli

Dear Tom;

I wanted to thank you for your thoughtful piece about the tragic death of Tom Pauli.

As you point out, this is a difficult subject. The laws governing the behavior of sex offenders are draconian and more the result of political hysteria than thoughtful consideration. I pity anyone who gets on this list, because their life is essentially over in any normal sense of the word. They are the 21st Century lepers, and if it happened to me I would see no choice but to leave the country.

As you noted, you will probably receive letters saying he deserved to freeze to death. Recidivism is clearly a problem for some sex offenders, who have what can only be called a disease. However, I suspect many of them are normal people who made a stupid and reprehensible mistake and are punished for the rest of their lives.

I hope you have the opportunity to follow up on this and see if tragically stupid laws like the one that kept Pauli out of a shelter can be changed. Unfortunately it takes something like this to make politicians realize the impact of what they do. There is no lobby for these unfortunate people and I'm not sure if anyone is brave enough to take up their case.

No comments: