Burt Prelutsky

As a general rule, I try to make allowances for human failings. That’s because, more often than not, they do no lasting harm. On top of which, they’re usually pretty darn funny.

But there’s one subject which simply has no amusing aspects. If you thought I was going to say child molesters, you’re only partly right. For as vile as pederasts, pedophiles, bottom-feeding scum-suckers, are, there are others who are even worse, if only because they are far more numerous.

For openers, there are the lawyers who use all their guile to con juries into letting these freaks run loose. I have no idea how these shysters sleep at night, knowing full well that their children and grandchildren could be the creep’s next prey.

Next we have the judges, the parole boards, the ACLU and the legislatures, who are all in cahoots to pretend that these perverts are just like other criminals. It’s just not so. Sentence a burglar or a thief to a few years in jail, and there’s always a chance he’ll come out a changed man. He may not be a saint, but it’s just possible he’ll decide it’s not worth knocking over a 7/11 for a few hundred bucks if it’s going to land his sorry butt back in the clink.

But there is no group of evildoers with a higher rate of recidivism than those who brutalize children. In order to live out their sick fantasies, they would risk being drawn- and-quartered. There is a very good reason that parents don’t want them moving into the neighborhood once they’re out of jail. Parents instinctively know the truth about them, but unfortunately parents do not make the laws or determine the sentences.

The question with these devils isn’t whether they’ll strike again, but only when. I hear some of you demurring. What about those, you ask, who somehow see the light? Is it fair that they don’t get to prove they’ve had an epiphany? Is it fair that they don’t get to prove they’re rehabilitated? Yes, it is fair and just and moral. For one thing, if they fool us, the price of their freedom is far too high. Far better for them to rot in jail than for one child to be at risk. Besides, how many chances should anyone have to brutalize a three-year-old?

Some years ago, a man abducted a young girl, raped her, and then, just for the hell of it, chopped off both her arms. I wonder how many other people, like me, were amazed when a few years later we read that he had served his sentence, moved to Florida, and been arrested for murdering a woman. For God’s sake, what the hell does a guy have to do in order to spend the rest of his miserable life in jail?