Thursday, February 5, 2009

LETTER: Armstrong betrayed?

"This is one of the things too that makes it so difficult to want to go to bat for these guys. I mean, here's Armstrong, out fighting to fix the system for these guys, and this idiot, one of the guys Armstrong went to bat for, can't even keep it in his pants (so to speak) until Tom gets through the process. Sad."

EDITOR: The letter refers to the Intelligencer Journal Feb. 5th article "Sex offender charged again; Suspect had lived in Armstrong's home." With all due respect, we think the letter writer may miss the point.

It is not former State Rep. Tom Armstrong's contention that there will be no recidivism with those labeled as 'sex offenders.' But the percentage is significantly lower than for those who conduct other forms of felonies, including assaults and murder. And we don't deny them housing and publicly brand them as ex-cons.

Secondly, making lewd remarks to adults is hardly a reason for imprisoning someone for years. A half century ago the response would have been to slap the fellow in the face, if she paid any attention whatsoever.

The conduct is reprehensible and sad, albeit a manifestation of addiction. (So is getting publicly drunk.) But it hardly should be interpreted as a repudiation of Armstrong's brave and noble efforts. The accused didn't molest any one. He just made a fool of himself.

The guy may need ongoing counseling. He probably needs a social life. But when society makes you a pariah with no opportunity to move to a new town, find a job, make friends, and have a fresh start, that isn't likely to happen.