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Monday, February 12

Don't Mess With Our Kids

by Texas Jaye

David Dewhurst, the Lt. Governor of Texas, told a scowling Fox Noise talking head today that we don't want no sex predators messing with our children. "Don't mess with our kids," he said. No really. He really said it.

Can you see the bumper stickers now? Don't mess with Texas kids, pederasts.

Dewhurst and quite a few legislators want mandatory minimum 25 year sentences for sexual assault of a child and if the predator somehow survives his or her prison stay and assaults a second child, he or she gets the death penalty.

Dewhurst thinks that predators will think twice about assaulting that second victim.

Experts suggest that what the predator will actually think about doing is killing the victim so they can't testify against their abuser.

Many, many child abusers are never reported, never prosecuted, never convicted and are not strangers to their victims. Many children depend on their attackers for food, clothing, and shelter. Do children want to send their fathers to prison or death row? Do they want one of those "A sex offender lives here" signs in their yards? Do they want their uncles to wear one of those GPS tracking devices for the rest of their lives?

If Dewhurst and the Lege really want folks to stop messing with Texas children they could start by addressing the following issues:

Texas ranks 35th in the nation in high school graduation rates.

Texas ranks 49th in the nation in children who are immunized.

Texas ranks 48th in the nation in spending on child protection.

Texas ranks 1st in the nation in the number of uninsured children.

Texas ranks 5th in the nation in children living in poverty.

Texas ranks 1st in the nation in people living without health insurance.

Texas ranks 3rd in the nation in people living without Medicaid.

Texas ranks 3rd in the nation in people living below the poverty level.

Texas ranks 5th in the nation in teenage births.

Texas ranks 46th in the nation in spending per pupil.

Texas ranks 47th in the nation in SAT scores

Texas ranks 50th in the number of persons with a high school diploma.

-- On average in 2003, each Child Protective Services investigative caseworker had 31 cases per month, more than twice the recommended amount of 12 cases per month according to the Child Welfare League of America. On child protection, Texas spends $135.19 per national average is $303.95 per child.

-- 1 in 10 children in Texas lives in extreme poverty, a 10 percent increase since 2000. The threshold for a family of two adults and two children living in extreme poverty is $8,731 a year.

-- Texas spends $7,142 per pupil annually. Annual expenditures per prisoner in Texas prisons is $20,232.

-- Texas funds only 34 percent of need-based financial aid, as opposed to 89 percent by the top-investing states.

-- In 2002, 86 percent of nursing homes in Texas did not meet federal standards governing quality of care. 94 percent of nursing homes did not meet minimum staffing levels, and 39 percent of facilities had a violation that caused actual harm to nursing home residents or placed them at risk for death or serious injury.

-- More than 825,000 people were added to the uninsured population in Texas between 2000 and 2004. 21 percent of children in Texas were uninsured in 2005, compared to 11 percent nationally.

-- Texas requires low-income families, those in the bottom 20 percent of the income scale, to pay more than three times as great a share of their earnings in taxes as the wealthy.

--- Texas does not require schools, nor does it provide state funds, to give students information on HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, or pregnancy prevention education.

In air pollution emissions, Texas is 1st.

In the amount of greenhouse gases released: Texas is 1st

In the amount of toxic chemicals released into water: Texas is 1st

In the amount of toxic chemicals released into air: Texas is 4th

In the amount of recognized carcinogens released into the air: Texas ranks 1st

In the amount of recognized carcinogens released into water: Texas ranks 7th

Texas is Number One in the number of Clean Water permit violations.

And yet, child molesters get more attention and more headlines than these issues. Legislation to help children recover from their attackers in the way of therapy, insurance, medical attention, medication is not at issue in the rush to execute child molesters. If parents opt out of Governor Perry's vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, young girls can get cervical cancer from their molesters but may not be insured to discover that they are in fact infected.

By Texas Jaye

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