I despise those Dateline shows about sex offenders. Not because I think sex with minors is okay, not at all. I despise them because NBC is obviously using these men to gain ratings. It's vile.
If some 19 year old girl who looks 13 wants to lure men to their homes where cops are waiting to arrest them, fine. What do I care? But why does this need to be on TV? Are other criminals plastered all over TV specials like this (other than COPS, that is)? Why are we only exploiting the sex offenders who have done nothing more (that can be proven, anyway) than chat with a 13 year old online and show up at her house? I don't know if this is true or not, but I heard these men that are caught don't even go to prison, because they can't convict them based on the circumstances. Dateline is basically doing these shows to destroy these people. Who is Dateline to do that? It's the job of law enforcement to take care of criminals, not Dateline.
I'm not defending these people. I think the whole thing is disgusting and wrong, and think that these men need help in the worst way. There's obviously something wrong with them. Most know they know they have a problem, and will admit they need help.
I guess it's the same way I feel about the sex offender list. If these men (and women, I guess) have done their time as dictated by our justice system (cough), why are they on a list? Why aren't murderers on this list too, or other criminals? Is it worse to live next door to a sex offender, or a murderer? Wouldn't you want to know about both?
If there's something wrong with our justice system (again, cough), and these folks aren't being kept in prison long enough (or, god forbid rehabilitated), then let's fix that, not put out lists for all to see. It's ridiculous.
Plus, what if someone is wrongly convicted? It wouldn't be the first time, that's for sure. Then their name and reputation have been compromised for life. I know someone in this situation. He was in college, and a girl accused him of rape. He claims it didn't happen that way at all, but was found guilty anyway, and now, though he has a wife, kids, and a house in the suburbs, his name is forever etched on that list. He's a good guy, one that takes care of his family and is a great father, but because of this is so limited in terms of jobs, and everything else - and constantly gets dirty looks and threats from neighbors.
I guess it all boils down to this - until we can have a system that works (I'll even settle for most of the time), it's not right to do this to people. Same with the death penalty. If there's even a slight chance someone isn't guilty, how can we say it's okay to kill them? If our system allows innocent people to be wrongly convicted (and the guilty to run free), we can't have a death penalty, and we shouldn't have a list.
Just my humble opinion. Blast me if you want - I've thought long and hard about this, and can't shake the feeling that these shows are wrong, no matter how hard I try to convince myself otherwise. I know kids are being hurt, abused, raped, etc. - I don't know how to solve this problem, but I'm pretty sure a couple of Datelines isn't going to do it.