We as a society have decided that if we just try hard enough, we can "rehabilitate" most criminals. Well, many wild animals can be domesticated, too, at least to the extent they don't try to harm us while in captivity.
But don't try to make a pet out of a copperhead.
Last week we carried one of those stories that made me sick to my stomach. You know the one I'm talking about. Police arrested a 32-year-old Bridgeport man who allegedly had agreed with another man, still at large, to kidnap a little girl from Wheeling. The plan was to take her to a secluded spot, photograph her, then rape her.
Both men allegedly involved in the plot had confided in an online "chat" that they would like to have sex with girls 4-8 years of age.
The man's attorney has said there was no real plot - that it was all just a fantasy his client never intended to carry out. In fact, the lawyer has said, the little girl in question and the alleged co-conspirator don't even exist.
But more than you may think, worse than fantasy is involved.
Just a few years go, you may remember, a local woman and her boyfriend were arrested after they sexually assaulted the woman's young daughter.
A quick search of the West Virginia State Police sex offenders' registry shows there are 89 people in Ohio County who were convicted of sex offenses.
Of that number, 49 victimized children under 17 years old. And of those, 16 assaulted girls and/or boys from 6-12 years of age.
Six of the Ohio County predators attacked victims 5 years of age or younger.
How do you rehabilitate someone like that? My opinion is that you can't. Anyone twisted enough to sexually assault a child is too far gone to be recovered. Period. They're like copperheads. Being dangerous is virtually instinctive for them.
No, I take that back. Copperheads attack humans only when they feel threatened.
Can sex offenders be rehabilitated? Yes. Some can. I know of a few who committed crimes many years ago and really seem to have reformed.
But should we be taking chances with those who assault young children? I don't know.
But I do know?I never, ever take any chances with copperheads ...
Myer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.