Newest Lunacy—Dating Laws

The latest big news in Kentucky (front-page above-the-fold in the Lexington Herald-Leader of 05 January) is that Governor and Mrs. Beshear are (again) pushing the enactment of laws in the new legislature establishing domestic protection for mostly teenagers and 20-somethings who have a problem, defined as “dating couples—people who have not been married, lived together or shared a child.” One wonders what “sharing a child” is but the governor and wife probably mean the conception of a fetus through normal sexual intercourse.

If two unmarried teenagers conceive a child in the backseat during a date and get in a fight some time after the child is born, does one of them apply for a protective order, or would such order be available after their fight only if they hadn't conceived a child? The appropriate definition of domestic: “of or relating to the household or the family.” Since domesticity is not an issue in either case above, what kind of protection do the Beshears have in mind? The legislature has been tied up with this nonsense for ten years, with no action, and there likely will be none this time around.

In 2008, Steve Nunn and Amanda Ross lived together for about six months and were supposedly engaged. They were not married, had a fight(s), and the affair went very sour, with Nunn moving out and Ross filing a domestic-violence petition against him. Nunn was forced out of his state-job in Frankfort in February 2009 and in March 2009 a judge ordered Nunn to neither have any contact with Ross for a year nor possess a firearm during the order's duration. The suggested new legislation would not have been effective in this case.

In September 2009, Ross was shot to death and Nunn was charged with violation of the protective order and murder. In June 2011, Nunn pleaded guilty to murder with aggravating circumstances and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. In the meantime, there was a hue and cry for more laws presumably to stop people like Nunn from committing murder and the legislature's time was eaten up over this matter, just as it will be with this new “domestic” matter. The result was “Amanda's Law,” which featured electronic monitoring of people violating domestic orders under certain circumstances such as assault. Would this monitoring have stopped Nunn at six in the morning (with whereabouts unknown) before he could have driven a few minutes and done the deed?

Apparently, Amanda's law is not enough to curtail violence/murder, at least regarding people, young and old, who are just “dating” and get into a fight. How will “dating” be defined in the new law...“going steady” for a certain number of days or weeks? Cohabitation is vaguely definable, whether for short or long periods, though it lacks documentation and therefore actual definition. What will be the age parameters effected by the new law? People vote at age 18, so will the new law involve just people who are minors? Apparently not, since people date when in their 70s-80s and at the time are not married, living together or “sharing” a child. The same is true for people of any age.

Imagine two “dating” teenagers getting into a fight. If the 17-year-old guy has been guilty of assault and the judge orders electronic monitering when the 17-year-old girl blows the whistle and gets a petition authorized, what happens to school-attendance? Will a policeman have to check out the guy every day to see if he actually is in school, or does he just have to quit school or continue as an object of curiosity/derision? If monitoring was vital to Amanda's Law, won't it be vital to the “dating” law?

In KET's Kentucky Tonight program of 05 January, there was no partisanship on this subject, Senate majority leader Republican Stivers against it and House Speaker democrat Stumbo for a “dating” law, mentioning that the House has passed such a law for ten years. The progressive (democrat) position is that government must control the “daters,” apparently of any age, while the conservative (republican) position is that current laws are good enough, as was the case before Amanda's Law was enacted.

College “date-rape” is at the core of much of this waste of time, though nobody believes that 20% of all coeds, the current insistence, are violated in some way. Co-ed dorms are a huge part of the problem and girls getting drunk at frat houses are another. The legislature might do some good if it outlawed co-ed dorms and did away with fraternities altogether. Even better, parents should teach their teens that animals “do it instinctively,” while people are given the power of brains over hormones. Instead, the big deal is free condoms—and WHOOPEE!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark