Monday, July 04, 2005

Hurricane Shelters Bar Sex Offenders

As if we didn't have enough to worry about in Florida with the prospect of hurricanes bearing down on us like a fully dilated pregnant woman. Now comes the news that some hurricane shelters are planning to put out their UNwelcome mats to the local sex offender community. I realize with the recent high profile sex crime cases it probably seems like the sex offenders outnumber the normal people in Florida. Which would technically make the sex offenders "normal," but never mind. And really, I do draw a distinction between younger men who make a bad judgment call with a teen pretending she's older, and the weirdos with the long rap sheets who run around menacing little boys and girls. The thing is, last year's hurricane season was so roof-collapsingly horrific, that Hurricane Safety Plans are no longer theoretical exercises. We actually have to worry about who shows up at the shelters now that we've experienced three major hurricanes in two months. We have also discovered there is a need for shelters for pets, since pet owners don't like leaving them home to starve or to be pureed in the hurricane. There are no Storm Surge statistics on the amount of Florida carpeting ruined by pet urine. And for reasons ranging from allergies to legal liability, pets cannot simply accompany their owners to a shelter. So you can see we are dealing with some serious technical and personal issues as we approach the height of the 2005 hurricane season. Getting back to the sex offender problem, it seems that the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has adopted a policy prohibiting sex offenders from seeking safety in an official storm shelter. They are even planning to send letters to each and every one of the approximately 1200 registered sex offenders and predators in that county to warn them to make other arrangements. Now don't be thinking I'm about to go soft on sex crimes. But part of me is wondering what this policy could lead to. Do we really think Florida's natural beauty will be enhanced by having pieces of sex offenders blown all over the state, stuck in treetops, hurled into scenic waterways or impaled on your local gas station canopy? I think not! This would make the sex offender problem even more obvious, as teams of forensics experts would try to re-assemble the offenders via matching DNA. After all, sex offenders are no more likely than average citizens to use their common sense and evacuate in the face of an impending hurricane. (And a significant percentage of "average citizens" feels it can evacuate within 30-60 minutes of hurricane landfall!) So maybe we need special shelters set aside just for the sex offender community. Ideally these would be located at the local J-A-I-L. I mean, why not? A lot of them would find it a familiar setting, and there would be no one to molest except other offenders. According to the St. Petersburg Times, Sheriff David Gee has no plans at the moment for alternative shelters to house sex offenders. "They can take care of themselves," he reportedly said. I've come up with a humane idea that would afford protection for the sex offender crowd, and provide a service to the rest of the community. We could designate special shelters for pets, and have the registered sex offenders stay with them! They could be in charge of feeding and entertaining the pets, and walking any dogs outside as the eye of the storm passes over the shelter. Remember the eye is the calm part, so we would not have to worry about dog urine accidentally soiling Georgia or Alabama. Then the only thing we'd need to worry about is any offenders with a predilection for bestiality.


Blogger kalisekj said...

Cool Blog, I never really thought about it that way.

I have a Hurricane Katrina blog. It pretty much covers hurricane related stuff.

Thank you - and keep up the thoughts!

10/03/2005 07:35:00 PM  
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