Greg Miller writes,

As a long-time listener, I’ve always appreciated your emphasis on personal responsibility — especially when it comes to the duty parents have to protect their children. I think it’s a good idea for parents to know how many convicted sex offenders are in a neighborhood before they think about moving (or raising children) there. I am writing to alert you of a ridiculous change recently made to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Sex Offender Registry.

After having successfully accessed the database in the past, I recently tried to do so again. I found my attempt frustrated by a new “validation” feature. Ostensibly added for “security purposes”, it appears to be nothing more than a duplicative attempt to keep citizens from exercising their right to view the database. The new “feature” requires you to enter the next in a simple series of numbers or letters. I proceeded to do so, only to have a new sequence pop up each time.

I began counting how many sequences I’d been asked to complete prior to being allowed to view the database. After being asked for the 30th time to complete a sequence–with no end in sight–I finally gave up.

Whoever has made the decision to make the process of protecting our children and communities more onerous and difficult ought to lose their job.

Greg is right.

There are plenty of sites with verification screens. Ticketmaster has one, for example. I can understand that, since someone could use robot software to go to their site and snatch up lots of tickets for some concert. Some blogs use them to prevent comment spam.

But where’s the possible threat to the Sex Offender Registry site?

The first time I accessed it, the site asked me to fill in the blank for this sequence: T-S-?-Q. It took me about a minute to realize that the missing letter is R, which I entered and was allowed to proceed into the database.

True, it didn’t take me 30 attempts, but that’s not the point. The point is that this is supposed to be a public database to help us know which pervs and sickos might be living nearby.

We shouldn’t have to take a logic quiz or overcome any other website obstacle to access that information.