A Big Brain on Bad Sex

Teenage go-getter takes law into his own hands

NT: How has your life changed since Prop 103 passed?

Cottrell: It hasn't really changed significantly, but there's been a huge change in me since I was 12 and I started working on this. I've become more interested in government. I worked on Matt Salmon's campaign, and I've gone to national political events. I want to go into politics, maybe start out as an intern for Senator Martin, something like that.

NT: When you're not drafting ballot measures, what do you do with your time?

Youth of a nation: 14-year-old Chris Cottrell authored an amendment denying bail to accused sex offenders.
Kevin Scanlon
Youth of a nation: 14-year-old Chris Cottrell authored an amendment denying bail to accused sex offenders.

Cottrell: School. I'm home-schooled, and it takes up a big part of my life. And I play guitar. But I'd rather be a politician than a musician.

Waitress: Can I get you guys anything else?

NT: Would you switch the television to CNN? There's a press conference about the King brothers. Chris, have you been following this King brothers thing?

Cottrell: Are they the snipers?

NT: No, the two kids in Florida who murdered their father. They killed him with a baseball bat, set fire to their house, and then moved in with a child molester. Look, there they are. (Reading closed caption:) It says, "Brothers plead guilty in father's murder."

Cottrell: Is that one of the kids? He looks like he's 6.

NT: He's 14. His lawyers are trying to make him look younger to gain sympathy from the jury, so they combed his hair like that.

Cottrell: Murdering the father seems like, I don't know, an extreme solution. I don't know about that.

NT: What if your father was accused of being inappropriate with a child? You know he's innocent, but he's denied bail.

Cottrell: That would be bad, but he'd be an exception. It's probably one person out of every one hundred, two hundred people who's innocent of that crime when they're brought in. No law is perfect, and you have to allow for that exception to protect everyone else.

NT: So, your father told me that he told the guy who molested your siblings that he forgave him.

Cottrell: Yeah. I think that's amazing. I don't know if I could have forgiven him.

NT: A lot of good has come from this horrible thing that happened to your family. But what if you could turn back time and prevent it from happening?

Cottrell: I definitely would have wanted to protect them from what happened, but they're much stronger because of it. And if it hadn't happened, there would be a lot more kids molested, because I wouldn't have written this law. I don't know the exact figures, but it's something like an average of 50 victims for every child molester. So I don't know if I'd go back and change it.

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