Tuesday, July 26, 2005

My Letter to the Honorable Representatives and Senators of the State of Oklahoma

Dear Honorable (insert name)

My name is Susan M. I am a voting, tax paying and law abiding citizen of our great country. I am also the mother of 2 children and the wife of a registered sex offender. Recent tragic events in our country have saddened and frightened me. Especially the push to pass new, tougher laws against sex offenders. In our panic and hysteria following the tragic deaths of children at the hands of sex offenders, we are about to make a serious mistake. These new proposed legislations are all inclusive and do not take into consideration the FACT that not all sex offenders are the bogeymen lurking around corners waiting to prey upon innocent children. Most of them are one time, non-violent and non-predatory individuals who may or may not have made a mistake once and paid dearly for it. As we all know, all that is needed in some cases is an allegation of an offense with no actual proof to back it up. Some of these crimes are not even crimes with a victim at all. But the “offender” is stigmatized for life, placed in the same category as those dangerous, vicious and predatory criminals that we all fear.
These registered sex offenders, who pose no threat whatsoever to anyone, upon completion of whatever sentence administered by the court of law, are forced to comply with whatever local requirements are by registering as a sex offender. These convicted felons are restricted from living within a designated area near schools, daycare centers, parks or anywhere children congregate. They are discriminated against in obtaining housing and employment, even though it is against the law to discriminate against them based upon their status as a sex offender. They are denied the right to public assistance if they fall upon hard times. Many cannot even seek shelter when homeless due to their status. These people are set up to fail from day one of their release, because in many places, it is nearly impossible for them to obtain housing or shelter in the designated time frame that is given to them to register an address to be posted on the registry.
The idea of the registry was a good one, I believe. But am I not correct when I state that the original intent of forming the registry was to track the locations of only the most violent and predatory of sex offenders? Am I not correct in my statement that due to lack of funding, the people responsible for maintaining the accuracy of the registry cannot keep up with this mountainous task, considering that the registry includes hundreds of non-violent, non-predatory and non-habitual sex offenders who pose no threat to their community (but are assumed to be such, as they are after all listed with those who are)?
Which brings me to my next question; if those sex offenders who were released from prison were deemed such a threat to society, and you claim that the safety of the public is of greatest concern, why release them at all? If the re-habilitation techniques for these people are so ineffective and the projected likelihood of these criminals committing another sex crime is so high, why do we even allow them to walk free? If they were banished completely from society, there would be no need for a registry at all, and a lot of taxpayer money and mass hysteria, panic, fear and even lives would be saved. But passing more draconian, all-inclusive laws that cover all sex offenders, regardless of the class of crime they did or did not commit, does not solve the problem that faces us today. The registry has failed in it’s intent due to the fact that we did not stick to the original idea proposed by Megan’s law: to monitor and track ONLY THE MOST VIOLENT, DANGEROUS AND PREDATORY SEX OFFENDERS. All others should be left alone to get on with their lives as productive members of our society, free from ostracism, banishment, discrimination and harassment.
The laws regarding sex offenders MUST be amended, or at least we should go back and stick with the original plan. The decryptions of sex offenders and their crimes need to be more specific. As they are described now, they are stated vaguely and leave much to the imagination, and face it, due to the recent deaths of children, our imaginations are running wild. The sensationalization of these heinous crimes by the media and the politicians do not help either.
This “Break a few eggs” mentality that is becoming so prevalent in our society today is quite disturbing and frightening and is not the American way. People need to be made more aware that many that are required to register as sex offenders are men and women with families. They are just like everyone else, trying to live life. They are no threat to you or your children. Stigmatizing them for life serves no purpose and does nothing to ensure the safety of anyone. And it is blatantly Unconstitutional.
But if things are allowed to escalate, or the status quo is to remain the status quo, then why not take it a step further? I want to know if a convicted murderer, drug dealer or addict, thief, wife beater or any kind of violent criminal lives near me or the schools, parks, and public places that me or my children congregate. They are just as much of a threat to our safety and well being as any sex offender, and it is a fact that their recidivism rates are much higher than convicted sex offenders. And don’t stop there. I want to know if anyone living near me is of Arabic origin or is a member of the Islamic faith, as the chances that they are a terrorist are higher than that of any other race or religion, according to the media and government officials. I want to know everything about everyone, every dirty deed or secret, and I want all these things posted on an easily accessed registry. What’s wrong with giving up all rights to privacy and liberty if I am given the promise of absolute safety? In today’s world, has the importance of the Constitution and the rights bestowed upon the citizenry of the American public become irrelevant, out of date, and useless? Have all those that have died in the pursuit to maintain our way of life been in vain?
As an elected employee of the American Public and being sworn to uphold the principles of the Constitution that makes our country great, I implore you to re-evaluate what your duties are and make your decisions based on the ideals stated therein. Please do not make decisions regarding the American public you are sworn to serve and protect based on personal feelings and opinions. Do not pass laws and judgments in hastiness brought by fear of a few sick people. Do not punish an entire group of people based on the actions of a few. Stick to the original intent of Megan’s law and the Constitution of the United States. Because if we don’t stop this now, it will not end with the sex offenders; it will end with the death of our entire way of life.
Thank you for your time.
Susan M.
Proud citizen and Wife of a Registered Sex Offender


Blogger eAdvocate said...

Very well said.


10:31 AM  

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