Letter from the Editor

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Random thoughts

Clay County Deputy has recently come out in his local newspaper as critical of the new law restricting where registered sex offenders in Iowa can live.

The law says the sex abusers can't live within 200 yards of a school or a day care center.

The problem is, the deputy said, there are so many schools and day cares in northwest Iowa that the sex offenders have trouble finding places to live within those restrictions.

The law isn't "feasible" and needs to be changed somewhat, the law enforcement officer says. In some small local towns, it's not even possible to live inside city limits and still be far enough from the local school.

I'm betting the average local resident doesn't lose much sleep feeling sorry for sex offenders and their housing plight. There are plenty of houses in other states.

The last one of those public notifications on a sex offender in Storm Lake rolled in with a notice that the man had sexually attacked a child, and was considered a "high risk" to do it again. Do we really want to put that man any closer to an elementary school?

I understand the problems, but the reasoning of the law still stands, and it shouldn't be changed.

The concept of rehabilitation is wonderful, and I won't argue that even a sexual assailant has some human rights. But putting them a step closer to our kids than we have to would be foolish.

I'm told that the possibility of war has resulted in some changes in policy at Hilton Coliseum. As a result of heightened national security status, if you attend an Iowa State basketball game you will be asked to leave the following at home: "water bottles, cans, alcohol, recording devices, laser pointers, umbrellas, backpacks, fireworks, aerosol cans, pocket knives, leatherman tools and weapons."

A lot of that makes sense. There's seldom a need for a scud missile, a double martini or a Roman candle at a Cyclone game. I'm pleased to see hair spray cans outlawed, now maybe I'll be able to see over the lady's "do" in the row in front of me.

But water, umbrellas and tape recorders? Really?

And where am I going to go to sew up buckskin outfits now? When did leatherman tools become such a problem?

I'm told that Hilton will also be screening mail or phone calls involving guests. Really? Is that before or after they ask you to bend over and cough?

We have to do what we have to do, I suppose, but we need to keep things reasonable, too.

It's the cardinal and gold, not the yellow.

Seven of the top 10 grossing movies of 2002 had no sexual nudity, and only two of the top 10 were rated with "strong" or "explicit" language content, according to a new study by the Christian Film and Television Commission. Most of the top 10 dodged bloody violence, too. Even the amount of drugs and alcohol shown in the top movies is down from a year earlier.

In fact, the top 29 grossing movies of all time - all of them - were rated P, PG or PG-13.

So, why is it that most weekends I can't find a movie I can take my kids to, even in this age of multiplexes?

Psst, Hollywood, catch a clue. Clean sells.

And lastly, across my desk comes a press release from the "New Era Survival Research Institute." This group has published a "Survival Resource Guide for a Nuclear, Biological or Chemical Attack." I wonder if it encourages its readers to kiss their behinds goodbye, as an old joke goes.

The book includes a plan to build an in-home shelter. Hey kids, this isn't the 1950s bomb shelter scare era. Don't count on a basement vault doing much good against a nuclear warhead.

The New Era folks are charging $4 a pop, making hay off people's fears, which is quite "old era," I think. Imagine we'll see a lot of this...