Saturday, April 26, 2014

"We have to say you can't go out and kill sex offenders, but .... you really should"

This opinion piece masquerading as a public safety announcement has mastered the art of double-speak to a high degree.

The stated purpose of the piece is to inform their reading public that they will be publishing names and information on all registrants who move into the community. Yeah, they know that the info is available online and through the DPS and even to people's computers if they sign up, but they want to be sure they cover any gap, all in the interest of public safety, of course.

Really? After quoting the standard warning from the website about not using the information to injure or harass, this is their take on it: "In other words, just because you might know there is a convicted sexual offender in your neighborhood, it doesn’t mean you have the right to take the law into your own hands."

Take the law into your own hands---why? Because someone lives in your neighborhood?

And now the seed is planted. Being a convicted sexual offender, regardless of how rehabilitated, regardless of how law abiding a life is being lived now, regardless of how long ago the offense was, regardless of potential danger to children or other family members, is a reason for someone to "take the law" into his hands. What does that even mean, "take the law"? Surely we can hope that the law doesn't bully the children of registrants or egg their houses or beat them up or shoot at their cars for no reason whatsoever or ambush them and kill them.

Emboldened now, the article continues, "Many people wonder how the justice system can release predators and pedophiles back into society. Many of us wish they could be locked up forever or sent to an island somewhere ... or even more drastic measures be taken." Even more drastic measures...like bullying children, egging houses....committing murder?

Then, in an attempt to justify their thinly disguised attempts to encourage vigilantism, they continue: "We don’t condone any extralegal actions, though we don’t believe the judicial system is designed to adequately address the problems of sex offenders in society," and, "Despite how heinous the nature of their crimes might be, they have to be given the chance to prove they can hew to the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, many people with these deviant predilections never reform..."

Even a child could translate this: "The law just turns them loose and doesn't know how to deal with them, so it's up to us...they aren't ever going to change."

Even if that were true, even if statistical evidence did not abound that, once charged and punished, only a very small percentage of former sexual offenders will commit another sexual offense, the nastiness that seeps through every word of this article is the same sort of nastiness that left two little boys in Washington State without a father and took the life of a wife along with her registered husband in South Carolina and has swept and is still sweeping our nation like a blight, aided and facilitated by a hit list called the public sex offender registry.

And finally, for those of their readers who may have a few compunctions about picking on kids or vandalizing houses or attacking neighbors with baseball bats: "While you are legally restricted from harassing them, we don’t think a friendly reminder that we are watching is out of the question."

Other than really, really wanting their definition of "friendly," I wish they would at least look at the research showing that, along with housing and employment, community support for former offenders is essential in creating conditions that keep re-offense at its lowest and public safety at its highest. I mean, after all, this whole thing is about public safety....right?

Ironically, the title of this piece of writing is "Remaining Vigilant." Thanks to it, registrants struggling to build law-abiding lives and keep themselves and their children and families fed and with roofs over their heads now have another reason to be constantly vigilant for those who would harm them, their property, or their lives.

5 comments:

  1. Bose in St. Peter MNApril 26, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Truly a despicable piece... good work calling it out.

    I just added a comment there recommending that the Reformer also cover what has happened since the 2010 report by the Vermont State Auditor on the accuracy of the VT SOR. The audit took a random sample of 57 registry entries, looked up the source documents for them and found errors in NEARLY ALL of the sample, with 75% being CRITICAL or SIGNIFICANT.

    With 24 men on the registry for the city of Brattleboro, the Reformer's base, has it just commissioned its readers to be "friendly" harassers of 18 of them based on outdated or erroneous information?

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  2. Why are'nt the authors of the registry held responsible . When someone's creation cause's harm or death the product is pulled , with a recall . Not here I guess . I must say the promotion on news 12 LI with laura Ahearn parents for megans law displays small childern the fear factor and perfect shock value , but a strange and false image of those that are not that sweet and kind are not diplayed for public opinion . It's time for justice with in the justice system . If the PD. Is doing such a good job with the registry why are people being murdered , and why is'nt Laura Ahearn and John Walsh held responsble for the deaths of those on the registry . This is fact not one offence is the same or should treated as the same , and if the outcome was predicted then they should be arrested and charged . The world then might be a safer place . People are aware they are looking at everyone and everything . AWA and MEGANS LAW made alot of money and thats their drive to continue the fear and get away with pre- meditated murder against those of time served and their families . Bring them to the public's attention . Bring them to justice and face charges .

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  3. When are the authors going to be brought to justice . The lessons are being learned by all . Megans law author is now promoting safety , a video commercial of how the money makeing industry is at it's best . How can that be . Laura Ahearn is not being truthful with the public and if anyone has seen the news 12 L.I. will understand that the project has failed and it's not the first time she has convinced not only the public but legislator's , police department's and news 12 telling un-truths for grant funding support . Well here it is - all these blinded by money are supporters of the murders and atempted murders of past offenders with now families . It's time for not only Laura Ahearn but John Walsh admit there is something wrong with their Empire . Alot will fall -judges - lawyers - political leaders - and that in my opinion is why with out the publics education and real trust of our elected officials and reporting agencies put safety before money and politics . 21 seats open in congress, and 11 seats open in Albany all because we were blinded by corrupt government doing business as in the past . Can't wait to see what the future holds .

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  4. The laws must be changed, the SOR abolished.."if it saves just one REGISTRANT/FAMILY member of"

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  5. In the court of public opinion, there is a seemingly large majority that quietly condones such murderous action. I hope that my idea of a large majority gets proved wrong and Americans stand up for the ideals behind the founding of this nation.

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