Sunday, September 27, 2009

RISING FROM THE ASHES: A MESSAGE OF HOPE AND UNITY

RISING FROM THE ASHES: A MESSAGE OF HOPE AND UNITY

By: Derek "The Fallen One" Logue
December 12, 2007

Introduction

This is the speech I was to give at the Silent No More Rally in Columbus, Ohio on December 1, 2007, but
due to scheduling conflicts was unable to give. I now offer the speech here in hopes that the few who read
this site to seek answers or assistance may find hope and strengthen you to take up the fight against
these increasingly oppressive laws. This was originally posted at www.oncefallen.com, but moved here because it is a better fit.

The Speech

Today we stand in the hostile weather and against a more hostile crowd in a show of unity because we
truly believe in being "silent no more." I truly believe there is great power in a public show of unity, not only
for the greater good, but for ourselves and those in our situation as well. Through this public stand, we
strengthen those who are afraid to take a stand or feel they are all alone in this battle. I bear witness to
this fact, and will share with you the following story.
One year ago, almost to the day, I was just settling into a new apartment. I was forced to move from my
first apartment, an apartment pre-approved by the sheriff I might add, after the Hamilton County
Prosecutor's office evicted me. I had spent over a year and called around 200 landlords before I found a
new place that met the state's residency requirements. My mother and I were still unpacking from the move
when we heard the city of Cincinnati was having an open forum to discuss a proposal to increase
residency restrictions in the city. Immediately my mom and I grabbed the camcorder and hopped the bus
downtown. I managed to get on the speaker's list; I would be the last person to give a three minute speech
that day.
As you can imagine, every speaker applauded the proposal, with the exception of representatives of the
Ohio Justice and Policy Center. Councilman Chris Monzel, the one who drafted the proposal, called it "a
great Christmas present for the children of Cincinnati." Another person boldly proclaimed all sex offenders
should get the death penalty. Nearly a dozen speakers all repeated similar sentiments. Finally came my
time to speak. I told them I was a registered sex offender who had not re-offended in the four years since
my release; I addressed the fallacy of sex offender myths and the efficacy of residency restrictions.
Immediately my simple three minute speech changed the entire course of the fight against the ordinance.
After the meeting, a reporter from Channel 5 shook my hand and told me, "You've got guts." I was
interviewed on the local news; I was encouraged that the local media at least gave not only my views on
the law, but gave the truth about the low recidivism rates of sex offenders as well. No one targeted me for
speaking out; in fact, those who recognized me from the news congratulated me for speaking out. Most
importantly, I saw a great change in the direction the city council meetings had taken since that day I first
spoke out. I had attended two more meetings, and the chambers were filled with individuals speaking out
against the ordinance, including other sex offenders. As a result, the council made significant changes to
the ordinance, adding a grandfather clause allowing allow sex offenders to remain in their current
residences, and remove parks from the prohibited zones.
The fact that anyone, including sex offenders, spoke out against the law is amazing in itself, but it took one
man to start the change. I later discovered that nearly a dozen registered sex offenders attended that first
city council meeting, but I was the only one who had the "audacity" to speak out. That one act set a great
change in motion, strengthening the weak, encouraging the fearful, and guiding the lost. All it takes is one
snowflake to start the avalanche, one straw to break the camel's back, one drop to send the bucket
spilling over. You can be the one.
Every time we stand at a rally, share our knowledge with another individual seeking answers, debunk the
myths propagated by the media, or contact your legislators, you are that one, that visible presence that
strengthens, that encourages, that unites. Our numbers may be small now, but we are indeed making a
difference. Every major movement was accomplished with both a few large steps and countless smaller
steps. Each of us have a role to play. But we must stand strong and not falter, to show bravery when we
are scared to death inside, and show unity even if we have petty disputes with others on our side of the
cause. This is the time to put those differences and fears aside and devote yourself fully and wholly to the
task at hand.
Regardless of whether any of you believe in the Christian Holy Bible or not, the Good Book has a lot of
historical value; it is a testament to the unchanging nature of man. History is filled with wars, strife, people
who committed great atrocities, some in the name of a some just cause or of their god or gods. But the
Bible is also a message of hope, filled with great deeds and acts of great mercy.
Without a doubt, the central figure of the Bible is Jesus Christ. Many people have a vision of Jesus as
"meek and mild." I have a problem with this "meek and mild" image.; it implies weakness, running away
from conflict, not fighting back when attacked. But if you read the Gospels closely, The Biblical Jesus was
not as "meek and mild" as many believe. Theologian Dr. Scott Hahn's dissertation on John chapter 6,
known to Catholic Christians is the "Bread of Life Discourse," offers the best example for Jesus as
anything but meek and mild.
Earlier in the chapter, Jesus performed two famous miracles, the feeding of the five thousand and walking
on water. Now Jesus offers up to his followers an even better deal, "the food that endures for eternal life."
This obviously piques the interest of the followers, so they ask Jesus for this bread of life. Jesus replies, "I
am this bread of life, and those who consume this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give is
MY FLESH for the life of the world." I can only imagine the faces of the followers, faces frozen in disbelief
in what they were hearing. They said in disbelief, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Now
consider this: Did Jesus back peddle? Did Jesus replace his speech with some watered down politically
correct version of his previous statement? The answer is no; in fact, Jesus repeats this phrase four times
over, "you must eat my flesh and drink my blood," for it is the bread of life. The followers' responded, "this
saying is hard; who can accept this?" Many disciples left. Jesus knew full well this saying shocked the
consciences of his followers, and risked losing thousands of disciples for the sake of his message. Hardly
the message of a meek and mild person.
Whether you believe Jesus was the Son of God or just an ordinary man, His message holds true for our
fight. In Matthew 10:34-42, Jesus gave a passage to which we should pay close attention, because this
passage really applies to our fight:

  1. Jesus said, "I have come not to bring peace but the sword." The time for being humble has passed;
    the time to take a stand is now. A friend and fellow sex offender I helped out in the past asked me
    one day, "why do you fight?" I responded by asking him why he doesn't fight. He replied "I just want
    to live out my life without being messed with by the people." This man was homeless; he had to
    check in every weekday with the sheriff's office to tell them where he sleeps every night. He didn't
    realize the week before our conversation, the local news ran an expose on homeless sex offenders
    as "a loophole in registry laws," and he was the star of the show. The entire news report was on this
    man. Eventually someone recognized him from the report and got him arrested. While he was living
    on the streets and now in jail, I have a roof over my head, which I had fought hard to keep. That
    alone should be testimony enough to show the need to take up the fight.
  2. "Whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me." We must commit to
    our cause without a shed of doubt, fear, or any other reservation. We have a great burden, or a
    "cross," as Jesus put it, to carry. This burden should not hinder us, but inspire us to fight back. We
    must show resolve under threats, intimidation and harassment, resolve as we stand up to a society
    that desires to humiliate, mutilate, and destroy us, and to drown out the voices of hate and loathing
    with our own message. We cannot run from our cross; we must carry it with all our might if we are to
    have any hope of relief for the cross.
  3. "Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me." We
    are one, and when we call a congressman, attend a rally, or spread the truth in a blog, you are not
    just yourself, you represent us all. You are not alone. More importantly, each act, whether great or
    small, brings us closer to the goal. The tide is turning, slowly but surely. For example, The state of
    Iowa passed and enforced 2000 foot residency restrictions in 2005. The laws had a number of
    unintended consequences; in the one year since the residency law passed, the number of
    absconded RSO increased for 150 to 400, and the number of homeless RSO reached epidemic
    proportions, as many areas of the state were off-limits. In that same year, the number of sex crimes
    against children actually increased, and there was only one stranger sex crime against a child that
    year. All of a sudden, the state police AND the county prosecutors association began a campaign to
    abolish the laws, a battle continuing to this day. Now the woman responsible for creating and
    passing the first registry laws, Patty Wetterling, is seeking sweeping changes in sex offender laws
    and openly critical of the efficacy of these laws. People are more receptive to our message now
    more than ever. And every effort we put forth, whether it reaches just one person or a one million,
    leads us closer to our equality and relief from these oppressive laws.

I would like to leave you with this final thought. Since the day I was arrested for a sex crime in 2000, I have
referred to myself as the "Fallen One." One day one of my counselors asked me when I will no longer be a
fallen one and be more like a phoenix. This message I now pass on to you. For too long we have been
"fallen ones." But this day I implore you to gather the ashes of our lives, pick up your wings, and rise from
the ashes as a phoenix.

The End
Time: 10 minutes

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