Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Another excellent little piece on the always-useful Sex Offender Research site prompts some thoughts.

The piece is entitled “Sex offender registry generates interest, not violence”; it’s listed under the date of Sunday, April 11, 2010.

The title of the piece is NOT intended as a statement of fact; rather it reflects what seems to be an interesting twist on Registry-supporters’ justification for the things.

The piece starts off with the admission by some gent, a Mr. Streveler, “who was deeply involved in the roll-out of [his state, Wisconsin’s] SO registry in June, 1997” that he had “sleepless nights” as they approached roll-out day.

Specifically, he was worried that releasing personal information about those accused of sex crimes “would lead to violent acts like some committed in other states”. The man, to this extent, is no fool.

Of course, as I noted as far back as my series of Posts on New Jersey’s Megan’s Law (affirmed in its Constitutionality by the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1995), “violence” was being far too narrowly defined by the Registry-SORNA supporters: while overt physical violence is the easiest and most obvious definition, you have to also factor in the myriad acts of non-physical violence.

Acts – even expressions – of revulsion, avoidance, opprobrium, against either the registrant or his family (including the children)or against his employer for giving him a job … all these were potential consequences of any form of public notification; and the wider the notification, the wider the potential negative consequences. And in the atmosphere of a full-blown societal Mania, were not only ‘possible’ but ‘probable’ – unless you presumed that the Citizens of your State were not humans, but angels.

It’s been a characteristic of many societal initiatives of the past decades that they assume a citizenry composed of utterly rational creatures, resembling not so much humans as Vulcans – a nation of Spocks, rather than Bones or Scotty or even Kirks. While not going that far – you may recall – the New Jersey Supreme Court piously bleated that it wouldn’t stoop to being so negative as to imagine that the citizens of that Great State would in any way misuse the Megan’s Law registry for “violent” purposes.

And in a doubling of the whammy, that Court also got itself off the hook by narrowly defining “violence” as merely the overt physical kind.

But humans are a young species as Time goes, and comprised of a certain volatile capacity (it goes with having emotions), and also of a certain capacity for darkness and violence. A violence that exists along a spectrum from major physical assault to an upturned eyebrow and a lot of stuff in between: for example, gossip and grass-roots neighborhood or community campaigns to get unattractive or undesirable people out of their midst, and to make them feel grossly uncomfortable and unwanted in the process.

Which can pretty much wreck the possibility of living a life among that bunch of folks. Which would suit those folks just fine – get out and go somewhere else; get in your car (when you’ve replaced the slashed tires) and drive out of our community. If your car isn’t repossessed because we’ve gotten you fired from your job.

But all this genuine – if not overtly physical – violence is conveniently ignored by legislators and judges who simply couldn’t see this happening on Planet Vulcan. Although they conveniently forget that they are operating on Planet Earth.

Back to Mr. Streveler who - we are expected to be happy to discover – has found great relief in deciding (he would probably prefer ‘realizing’) that such deadly violence hasn’t happened in his Great State of Wisconsin “like some committed in other States”. So this is Wisconsin-Vulcan, and not Wisconsin-Earth … make a note to spend some quality vacation time there, however that paradise may be reached by commercial transport.

The Sex Offender site helpfully adds links to reports of overt violence, in case you feel like Mr. Streveler is a much more observant citizen than you are.

But of course, he realizes that there have been “sporadic picketing, acts of vandalism, and name-calling directed at sex-offenders” in the past 13 years. But that’s not anything that will rob him of his sleep. Although of course these acts – if you follow the usual advocacy rule of thumb – are under-reported by a factor of 10; or that a steady-diet of under-reported raised eyebrows and anonymous letters to your employer or against your family can pretty much poison any civic participation whatsoever.

Or that a steady diet of inflicting such regimes upon an SO or – now that the Registries are soooo available – numerous SOs and their families simultaneously can pretty much poison the civic morality of an entire community. And its local government, police, and jurists. Oh, and its media.

On the bright side, and Mr. Streveler is nothing if not cheerible, there is now “an intense interest in the whereabouts” of SOs.

Well, the community that persecutes together stays together – and God knows modern American society needs as much bonding-experience as possible.

He points to the “incredible volume” of ‘hits’ on the SO Registry website. Although the motivations of such ‘hitters’ can range from absent-minded curiosity to a rather focused pretext for feeling some good old-fashioned darkness, and violence anywhere along that spectrum that reaches down to that type of ‘nice people’ can, like a slow-working corrosive acid, wreck any life.

Nor would I rule out ‘supporters’ simply getting on-line and punching up a site many times a day just to ‘keep the numbers up’. No, nowadays I wouldn’t rule that out at all. Such is our modern American reality.

The piece lists 2009 figures (it is unclear whether this is nation-wide or only Wisconsin-wide) of “77 million hits, 57 million page views, and 1.6 million visits”. I’m not sure what the difference is between a ‘hit’ and a ‘visit’ – but surely the population of Wisconsin is demonstrating some level of interest beyond-healthy if it has spent so much time trolling the Registry site. This is wayyyy more than ‘public interest’. Especially if you’re just checking up your own local community’s listings.

He consoles himself: “People are using [the Registry site] for their own purposes and it’s a good public service”. Well, I’d say that those “purposes” can extend along a rather long, wide, and disturbing spectrum.

And it strikes me that so numerous an amount of hits and visits (assuming that the ‘supporters’ aren’t just driving up the numbers) begins to suggest folks going to the Registry site the way some sports fans go to sports-stats sites.

Or, frankly, that the Mania has now spawned some weird version of Sex Offense Porn, where ‘normal’ and ‘nice’ folks go to read the entries – and maybe thereby cheaply reassure themselves that no matter how much they’ve frakked up their lives at least they’re didn’t do that. And maybe kids are going there for even more laffs (you wonder if these sites should be off-limits to kids or immature types … but this is Vulcan, so of course even the kids are mature as well as all the adults).

And since, the piece notes, about 100 SOs a month are being added to the (presumably State) list, then “public interest will only rise”.

Yes, I agree. But I question profoundly the nature and quality of that ‘interest’.

Says one police person assigned to the SO problem "I don't see anything wrong with it …the more people educate themselves to their surroundings, the better we all are." So all of this has been merely to “educate people into their surroundings”.

They weren’t aware of the possibility of sexual offenses before the era of the Registry?

This entire frakkulent Mania has been for the purpose of ‘consciousness-raising’?

Couldn’t the government simply have put up some posters – as in World War 2 – reminding folks about the possibility of sex offenses the same way it used to warn that “Loose lips sink ships” or advise folks to ask themselves frequently “Is this trip necessary?”?

No, there’s wayyyyy more behind this decades-long Mania – and all its crapulent laws – than simply ‘informing’ people.

And if States now want to vividly mark drivers licenses or even auto registration plates with some type of vivid this-is-a- sex-offender warning, then we are heading not simply toward the ‘scarlet letter’ (too tame and insufficient an image) but toward the Colored Star system of that German government of 1933-1945.

Recall that back in that time and place, that German government already had a registry (3x5 cards) of folks it wanted to keep an eye on. The Colored Star (the color depended on what type of undesirable you were) was not to help the police but rather to incite the public to – ummmm – follow its own emotions and ‘purposes’.

This is not progress; this is regress. And regression to a verrrry dark place indeed.

So when you say that the public is putting the Registries to use for its own purposes – well, you’re being too clever by half. Those purposes are not at all guaranteed to run something like this: There is a sex-offender with a conviction against an adult down at number 121, kids, so we’ve put our heads together and here’s the Family Plan with a whole bunch of things you kids have to do as a preventative, but remember that he’s a human being and deserves your respect.

No, it’s probably something like this: That guy down at 121 is a sex-offender and we have to get rid of him because they all have a high recidivism rate and who cares what he likes – kids, adults, males, females, or bunny rabbit – because they’re all the type of people you don’t want driving down your property values, so let’s get the neighbors together and get this guy outta here.

But far too much of officialdom is of the opinion that this is Wisconsin-Vulcan, and not Wisconsin-Earth.

It would help, I think, if they recalled that Sin is built into all human beings … but of course that wouldn’t concentrate the opprobrium on a nice, easily marginalized group (however dishonestly the government has achieved that illusion); it would, instead, remind everybody that they are sinners, and that’s just 'religion' so it's a private affair (and certainly wouldn’t further the pols’ re-election prospects).

That same police person is also apparently under the impression that she is protecting the Wisconsin of Planet Vulcan: Yes, “emotions do run high” when folks find out that an SO is living (or has been living for years) in their neighborhood, she says; but, she says, she always “cautions people against trying to make [the SOs’] lives miserable”.

In a time of Mania – and that extends to all the Great States – a simply “caution” by a police person really isn’t going to do too much. When local emotions “run high” in a time of Mania, you are thinking like Pollyanna or like a Vulcan if you think that a simple caution will prevent trouble.

“You need for them to have a normal life” she burbles, apparently untroubled by the fact that high and negative town-wide emotions are going to pretty much tend toward achieving the very opposite result.

And, of course, in best human fashion, the question may well be raised: If they’re not normal, why should we all let them have a normal life?

Which is the awesome, ominous, profoundly corrosive Question at the very heart of the political and societal dynamic of the SO Mania.

People like Mr. Streveler and this police person apparently salve their consciences by pooh-poohing the awful potentials of the enraged human (whose consciousness has been ‘alerted’ to what’s going on around them). This police person reports that she hasn’t seen any “major” problems with offenders being harassed by residents. No doubt her definition of “major” is restricted to death and maiming.

And has it not occurred to anybody among them that for decades the Feds have been making law after law specifically aimed at eliminating “harassment” – and for the purposes of those laws that ‘harassment’ is verrrrrry broadly defined. To violate the harassment laws against a favored Identity these days, you needn’t do more than make a facial expression or a single passing comment (and in ‘sexual harassment’ matters, you don’t even have to intend any sexual meaning … it’s up to the reporting harassee to ‘define’ what the harassment is).

But for SOs, ‘harassment’ has to rise to the level of death or maiming. Otherwise, it’s just the public putting the information to use for its own purposes.

You might wonder if all those Germans in the 1930s got up every morning and purposely and deliberately planned to disrespect the fundamental humanity (and rights) of others of their community. I’m thinking not; the human thing – alas – is to convince yourself that what you’re doing is in a good cause and perfectly ‘normal’. Ja. Yah.

Can anyone NOT see the whackness here?

“You can’t give these guys a hard time”, the officer continues, because “they’re in our community”.

Nice. Very nice.

Or at least: they’re in the community for only as long as it takes for folks to devise enough ways to finally get them out of the community.

Another officer has the unhappy habit of referring to SOs who are beyond the time of Registration requirements as “unsupervised sex offenders” – as if they were somehow out of compliance with the law and still ‘at large’. (And I have to wonder how many such folks have been bundled into John Walsh’s “100,000” number – to the extent that he and others like him try for any legitimacy in ‘the numbers’ at all.)

But of course, this reflects the grossly anti-Constitutional (and, I’ll say it, un-American) assumption that once a convict then always a convict; and thus the country now has a ‘convict-class’ of unworthy less-than-Citizens who must be permanently tagged and deprived of rights. (And the license and auto-tag markings would then be the ‘yellow internal passport’ imposed by the French Revolutionary government, and the Communists after them).

And you aren’t going to convince me that the for-the-moment failed National ID Card gambit wasn’t going to include a ‘sex offender’ (broadly defined, and no distinction as to present, former, or future) byte in the encoded ‘identity’ strip.

And the fact that this frakkulously regressive political development is clothed in the helpful and informed burblings of therapeutic experts and intended only to ‘help’ and to ‘inform’ will not be able to neutralize the awful consequences of this whole thing.

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