Thursday, October 19, 2006

Breaking The Law? No Problem. Noticing That Someone's Breaking The Law? Negative Campaigning.

That seems to be the message of this bizarre column by the frequently-befuddled Joan Venocchi.

She's outraged that the Sexual Offender's Registry Board confirmed to a competing newspaper that Deval Patrick's brother-in-law (a convicted rapist living in Milton) was sent a letter instructing him to register as a sex offender.

"The outing of Deval Patrick's brother-in-law as a convicted sex offender is more than dirty politics. It also demonstrates outrageous contempt for the law, compliments of the Romney-Healey administration," Venocchi complains.

Uh, OK. So you're saying that letting people know there's an unregistered sex offender living in their neighborhood is a BAD thing, Joan?

No, no, that's not what she's saying. Her complaint is that Patrick's brother-in-law is entitled to a series of hearings and reviews, if he wants them, before his name goes on the list. But he didn't get those hearings, Venocchi argues, because he was outed by the evil Romney/Healey regime! Have they no respect for the law?

Uh, OK again. But isn't the reason he didn't get those hearings because he didn't do what he was supposed to when he moved to Milton and register as a sex offender? Didn't he choose instead to break the law and live in Milton for nine years without registering? And what kind of "respect for the law" was Deval Patrick displaying when he knew a sex offender was illegally residing in Milton and did nothing about it?

There are plenty of bad guys in this story, Joan. But as long as those bad guys are Deval Patrick and his brother-in-law, I guess we won't be reading about them in your column.