A couple of thoughts.....
First, last night we had a really interesting voice on the growing scandal at the Walter Reed Medical facility -- Tammy Duckworth. You probably remember her as a decorated Iraq war veteran. Duckworth's Blackhawk helicopter was shot down by a rocket propelled grenade. The attack left Duckworth a double-amputee. She later became an outspoken critic of how the Bush administration has prosecuted the war. In the mid-term elections, she ran for the 6th congressional seat in Illinois and lost. Last night, in the context of the growing scandal about the quality of care and conditions at the Walter Reed Medical Center, Duckworth talked to us about her 13 months of care. She had praise for her physicians and therapists at Walter Reed, but did say the number of war-wounded is overwhelming the under-staffed facility. She's now director of the Illinois Veterans' Affairs Department.
Next, can we really keep our kids safe from monsters? Given the thoughtful three-part series
on sexual predators in the New York Times this week, we've been mulling whether predators are hard-wired to be predators and whether they can ever really stop. More and more states (New York could be the 20th) have passed civil commitment laws which effectively keep convicted predators off the streets even after they've served their prison time. The idea is to commit them to rehabilitation programs in secure facilities. It is nearly 5-times as costly as incarceration. But perhaps more to the point: There seems virtually no evidence predators can actually be "cured." Discussions about this sound like alcoholism in that you can never be cured but the key is to control the urge. Today, when a Florida jury convicted John Couey in the monstrous murder and abuse of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, we realized we should pull all these strands together for tonight. After all, Couey has a history of preying on children. He couldn't stop. With everything we know now, our special tonight is called, "Monsters Next Door, Can They Be Stopped?"