Sex offender laws in the US and Europe are becoming more ridiculous and futile as they grow more severe, the Economist says. Many of the nation's 674,000 registered sex criminals pose little threat—think of the Georgia teenager who gave a boy oral sex in class—but they still struggle to find work, buy a home far from schools and parks, and tolerate neighbors' harassment.
Sure, there are bad sex criminals—about 5% of those registered, according to one study—but forcing them to live away from schools seems unhelpful: "A determined predator can always catch a bus," the Economist quips. Massive sex registry lists also make it harder for police to watch the real criminals. Meanwhile, sex crime laws are growing stricter in the US, Britain, and France as politicians lack the courage to oppose them.