Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The greatest "enemy" in our fight -- APATHY

Who is the greatest "enemy" in the fight against these crazy sex offender laws? Pandering Politicians pimping the nlatest ill-conceived laws? Celebrity advocates like John Walsh? Camera-hogging media news analysts? Self-made vigilantes and vigilante groups like Perverted Justice? No.

The greatest "enemy" in our fight is APATHY.

The old adage "we are our own worst enemies" rings very true in this fight. I have been involved in this fight for about seven years, and www.oncefallen.com has been up for years, and in this time, I have received many emails from people seemingly desperate for help, get their answers, thank me, and disappear. I feel a lot alike I'm in that movie "300." I am one of just a handful of people, many of whom have been in this fight for years. We fight for a "nation" of 700,000 people plus their families, every one of them threatened by a larger army backed by tough laws and blind support. Our resources are few, our warriors are fewer. Much like in the movie, this small band of warriors are fighting for the sake of their homes, while the rest sit back and watch us fight to the death.

I can understand the concerns of those affected by these laws. I fear for my safety. I worry how this will impact my fiancee's life. I worry how each high profile case in the media will ultimately impact my personal life. However, it is exactly for these reasons I have decided to fight.

Unlike the soldiers in "300," I am not wanting to die fighting. I'm not trying to be a martyr to the cause. My desire is to live. However, I cannot live my life under this fear for the rest of my life, because living this life the way I'm forced to live is not truly "living" at all. I fight for myself, yet, by fighting for others, I achieve not only great things for them, I achieve great things for myself as well. We all want to live. If we all want to live, we should all want to fight.

If you think you won't be targeted because you obey every law and submit to every whim of the people, you're sadly mistaken. For two years following my release, I kept to myself. I battled umemployment and homelessness until I found a minimum wage job and a sleeping room in the "hood." It was not what I wanted but it was life and I made the most of it. I started making small contributions where I could to society, donating money and supplies to those less fortunate. Two years later, the state reclassified me arbitrarily, and determined I now lived too close to a GED school (a place pre-approved by the sheriff's office). I lost my job and my girlfriend, and eventually my tiny sleeping room. After I moved to another place meeting the residency law requirements, the city I lived in decided they were going to pass an ordinance increasing residency restrictions. I had enough.

It can happen just as easily to every one of you.

Over the past few years, federal, state, and local officials have targeted registrants on a regular basis. Below are just a few of the ways sex offenders have been targeted over the years (some may or may not apply to you today, but it is only a matter of time):

  1. Public Registries
  2. Community notification
  3. Residency restrictions
  4. Anti-loitering laws/ complete bans from certain places like parks, amusement parks, playgrounds, school functions, certain eating establishments, churches
  5. Civil commitment laws
  6. Mandatory minimum sentences and registration time increases
  7. Barred from getting certain jobs/ cannot work too close to restricted areas
  8. Barred from living around other sex offenders (anti-clustering laws)
  9. Barred from living in a household with minors present
  10. Barred from many internet sites like MySpace or Facebook for any reason, or from the internet altogether
  11. Fees for registering
  12. Cannot wear costumes/ masks/ give out Halloween candy
  13. Cannot obtain emergency shelter during hurricanes/ blizzards/ other inclement weather
  14. Scarlet letter license plates
  15. Scarlet letter ID cards
  16. Random "compliance checks" by the police working with US Marshals, then threaten you under duress to agree to warrantless searches
  17. Barred from Section 8 Housing
  18. Proposed: barred from obtaining small business loans
  19. Proposed: Denied Unemployment Benefits
  20. Proposed: Denied Federal Housing Authority Loans (FHA)
  21. Chemical castration, polygraphs, "peter readers" (plethysmographs) and other witch-doctor science
  22. Periodic changes to any of the aforementioned laws
  23. Assumption of guilt in all your actions
  24. Constant threat of vigilantism; vigilante attacks are rarely severely punished
  25. Promotion of fear and loathing makes you more likely to face discrimination based upon status alone
Many of these laws have been passed without a single thought to the consequences.

This is not about promoting websites, selling books, or collecting donations. This is about taking a stand and fighting back. This small group, this "300" has done great things-- awareness has been raised, laws have been defeated, and hope has been brought to thousands impacted by these laws. To paraphrase the movie, If we could achieve so many things with "300" Spartans, imagine what an army of "10,000" Spartans can do!

Don't sit still thinking someone else is going to fight for you. Chances are, the person you are waiting for is likely doing the same.

ADDENDUM: Let me just reiterate one thing. Fear is indeed a strong reason not to fight, but I see apathy as being as great, if not greater, than fear. There is an old adage about 20% of the people doing 80% of the work. We have LESS than 20% in this movement. Based on what I have seen, very small numbers are willing to do tasks like sign an online petition, post on a message board, or participate in online groups and forums. I'm not surprised to see the same screen names when I post a comment in Boston, Portland, or Houston. I'd like to see them flooded with new faces speaking out.

On my front page are a few suggestions on how to get active: http://www.oncefallen.com/

33 comments:

  1. You are so right. Fear and apathy keep us from fighting these laws. My son is an offender in Ohio. Right now he is in prison but will be out in less than a year and I am scared to death for him. He cannot come home to Illinois so he will be on his own.
    I write letters, make small contributions to organizations when I can and try to help out but not anywhere as much as I should. We become too dependent on those true "fighters" out there. But we all need to be fighters. Please know that if nothing else you are working for a greater cause but I know you must get tired, depressed and just worn down by what life has handed you but you are not alone and maybe, just maybe we will slowly start to organize and come out of that "closet" we have put ourselves into.
    Donna

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  2. I am fighting and my so husband is fighting. Ever since his so called "victim" 14 years old was convicted 2 months after his conviction of shoving a screwdriver up his 5 year old's cousin anus. The victim is my nephew and we knew of his activities since he was 8. He expulsion from school for being sexually inappropriate and his diagnosis of anti social personality disorder. (sociopath). His mother my sister has made our life hell covering for her son. Wayne spent three years in prison because we weren't allowed to put him on the stand or bring up his past because he was a juvenile. This crap has to stop. We lost everything.

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  3. Great information the story is sad but true. I am taking my fight to anyone who will listen-and I will keep fighting until we change these laws-there has to be someone out there who will listen to our pleas.

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  4. I am a fighter.

    The restrictions(laws?) you posted are just one of the ways of how the government is trying to blackball me as well. Currently, I am in my last year of everything related to my status per the original sentence handed down by the judge.

    However, somewhere during the same time the state decided to "upgrade" me to a lifelong registration (without my knowledge) and "improved" my status on the state registry from RSO to RSP. All that was due to them applying ex post facto laws to my case.

    Since finding out, I have contacted many a lawyer to aid me in fighting this status quo. For I am not about to sit here and let the state mark me for life due to such inapplicable reasoning.

    My name is Hybricity... and I AM a FIGHTER!!!

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  5. I'm sure I could add more to this list, like that clown out in California who proposed putting us all on an island. I nominated him for a Shiitake Award.

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  6. I call myself Phoenix, because no matter how many times they put me down, I will always rise again. I am a RSO, and have to constantly fight misinformation about myself and other sex offenders. Fortunatly, I live in a state where the residency laws are easy to comply with, and people, for the most part, are willing to listen. But I still have to fight against those few who dedicated to my extermination. I've lost jobs, I've been forced to move, not by the law, but by the prejudice of my neighbors. Education is key to combating this situation. Truth, not the political, feel good statistics they try to force upon us, but the truth.
    We are human, we make mistakes. We've done our time, and want to rebuild our lives and families. Is that so wrong?

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  7. Sadly, what many fail to realize is the fraudulent “war on terror” and the war on sexual sins are part of the same power grab by the elite to institute a New World Order and enslave mankind. First they come for the sex offenders, then they come for the meth heads, then they come for the... And it never ends until we wake up and realize we are living in Nazi Germany.
    While we must protect the children, most sex offences are trivial and rarely do sex offenders re-offend. -C.B.Peper

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  8. Part of the '300'. My husband is currently still serving the prison portion of his sentence but I am not willing to sit by and do nothing. A group of us looking for support have come together to fight the whole system any way we can. We have met with our elected officials, we are trying to get the positive information out to the press, we are seeking ways that we can all effect change and serve a greater good. One snowflake does no damage but an avalanche can destroy a city.

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  9. I'm glad to see some people appreciated this little rant of mine. Thanks for all who've replied so far. At this point I'd settle for 1% of the registrants fighting. Three bills are being steamrolled through US legislators as we speak: International Megan's Law, FHA loan bans, and Small Business loan bans. What next?

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  10. Another one to add to the list: here in the UK
    it's very difficult to get home or car insurance, and as you must have car insurance to drive legally, it's preventing convicted sex offenders from driving.

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  11. Actually, I think the denial of insurance thing is happening here too. At least I've heard a few people here in the States complain they've lost their insurance for being "high risk."

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  12. Unfortunately, not all of us can be the ones on the front lines. I am working 2 jobs to make ends meet, because he is still doing the prison phase. I do, however, do my part to re-educate anyone that I find passing along that misinfomation. Changing the world, one person at a time! And sincere gratitude to those of you out there working the 'front lines'!

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  13. Every little bit helps. If I was working 2 jobs I wouldn't have all this time to do the research. However, the reason my website exists is to take a lot of the research and "grunt work" so you can have the facts handy.

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  14. All of theas laws are based on a 3 year study by the federal gov(sex laws).if they based anything from a study on the effects of say,peanut butter to cigarettes for 3 years,no one would take it as true.no one would belive the study,would you? remember what the cigrett companys did. hire payed doctors to testify to congress cigretts did no harm to people.the gov can not be expecded to do the right thing they will do anything to be elected again.I don":nt know the answer to all this,but i hope this helps a little. thanks.

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  15. The laws are based more off revenge than any study. Hell, just about every study done on the impact of these laws on sex crimes have found the laws prevent nothing.

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  16. I chose to fight the injustice several years ago by not paying ANY imposed fines and/or fees plus by ignoring all unconstitutional sex offender laws. Anybody who pays fines, works in prison, etc. is tightening their own noose. From day one, I chose to do what's right and be an undesirable, a financial burden instead of a lucrative money paying prospect.

    In all honesty, I simply could not stand the hell imposed on me years ago and have thankfully lived a happy, honest and productive life in my new country, my new home. I knew that things would never get better for me if I stayed.

    Sadly, the U.S. has become a nightmarish Gestapo state that Hitler would have been proud of. I feel for all my brothers who are enduring the fight. Please be aware that you too can live a normal honest life elsewhere. If you've made a mistake, please learn from it and lead a decent life.

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  17. I feel what happened to my Son was very wrong. The Sheriffs Dept lied and had made the girl that caused our problem, to do something she didn't want to do. She waited 3 weeks before she reported to the Sheriffs dept. She was 16 years old and was going to be 17 in a month. My son and her worked at taco bell and she wanted to destory someone because she had a bad life. She was sleeping with a 20 year old and he was beating her. All my Son wanted in life was get a good job and become a shift supervisor and take care of his wife and new born son. But his life was destoried by this girl that said that my son touched her breast. He never had sex with any one and has a label now and can't work or get any kind of income. So he lives with his parents. Even in the courts he was railroaded in to something that he didn't want to say. He pleaded guilty to something he didn't do because that is what the lawyers said if you say guilty you can have this offer. My son was wrong doing that and now has pays for it everyday. The Governors and people in politics need to be listening to the right people. It is so sad for my son and his label is indency with a child. The girl was 16 years and didn't have sex. I hope one day that someone can fix this problem. I feel that someone needs to be educated on what a real sex offender is. I feel that the system has caused all this problem.

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  18. There ARE groups that are fighting these laws as well as offering support, like SOSEN or RSOL, in addition to sites like Once Fallen offering the tools to fight back. The lesson here is that "someone" is YOU. Sure, there are people out there fighting. However, those numbers are so few. Many of the state affiliates out there are manned by a single person. Join the fight!

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  19. My 22 year old son was recently sent to federal prison for child pornography. He got a good deal in comparison to others I have heard of, but still got 9 years. Nine years and he never touched anyone and never would! The fed's came in plucked him out of his wonderful life and ours and there is nothing I can do to get him back. However, I want to help fight this issue. I have joined the RSOL group in my state in hopes that laws will be changed before my son gets out of prison. The mandatory minimum guidelines must also be changed. I don't know what to do, so I write letters to officials to try and get my voice heard. Change needs to be made. I am only one person, but I intend to fight!

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  20. i have never understood why one good law agency could not send a letter to every registered sex offender in the united states, ask for a supporting fee, and represent us all. these laws are unconstitutional period

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  21. I am not a registrant, however my son is. he was told to began registering in june of 2000 as a sex offender. , and was given a length of registration of 10 years. once he completed this, he has now been upgraded to a sexual predator, with a duration of a life time registration. How can this happen ?


    my son was found innocent under reasons of insanity. he has schizophrenia and has been under his doctor's care for the same amount of time. .No relapses, most programs are closed to him because of the registartion.






    Why can't a law firm represent us all ? surely it will be worth their while, due to the new laws , I'm sure there will be mountains of people eager to participate. { count us in } .

    anybody interested in making a go of this ?

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  22. If there were mountains of people willing to step up it would have happened by now. I've been around for years. The groups of today like SOSEN and the state sites like Texas Voices or CFC OK, while a far cry from years ago, but we're still a small number of the nearly 3/4 of a million registrants of today. Sometimes we simply have to do the best with what we've got.

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  23. I am a RSO and my name is Avalt Tohm I live in Wisconsin and have been dealing with the SR for over 20 years. In 89 I was convicted for reckless use of a weapon (6 years prison) and in a separate case, 2nd degree sexual assault (4 years probation). Both cases were handled together and were to run consecutive. One I almost killed someone with cutting his neck with a knife the other I had consensual sex with a minor. I never hear anything about the violent crime but the sexual one has destroyed my life time and time again. Not saying I am innocent, I pled guilty because I was! My problem is the punishment should fit the crime. It would also be nice if everyone were playing by the same rules. It is not just in sex crimes but the color of your skin, the money you have the people you know, if you are a public / government official all these things change the rules! I have been compliant with the laws long enough and feel that enough is enough! Now you have a new warrior! If would have known about this sooner my participation would have surely been sooner. I have always been a fighter from the time I was born. I will be a very active person in this battle of justice. I believe in this country, fought for it and will now show you what the word Worrier means! One that fights with skill, intelligence, cunning, studies his opponent well and knows when and where to strike! A Warrior protects his brothers, families, and has dignity and honor in decisions! I made some mistakes and have paid my debt and then some. Now my life, liberty and chances of any true happiness are being taken without just cause. It is time to say NO! to this injustice. Freedom sometimes comes with a price and that price I will always be willing to pay. I guess its time to suit up and get battle ready! With your help, information and source of communication I will become a weapon for justice and freedom that will take the battle to them! Are you with me Brother!

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  24. Glad to have you around. I have a page on how to get active on my main Once Fallen website:

    http://www.oncefallen.com/activism.html

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  25. I am ready to fight this SOF law, it is crazy! I believe all the sex offenders needs to ban together and start to really support those who are trying to fight these new sex offender laws. if anyone is up for this lets start now before it really starts to get crazy. just leave a message on here an we can start getting a plan together!

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  26. Feel free to contact me, there are a few groups already active you may want to get involved with.

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  27. It's very sad. It's a one size fits all. Every case is different. Who will stand up for the innocent and wrongly convicted? Who will stand up for the sex offenders?

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  28. Last Entry, 5 years ago ?

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    1. This blog has news articles regularly. That's just the last time someone commented on this particular article.

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  29. Well California still hasn't adopted the
    Tier System~!!! 06/2017... However, in 2004
    approx. if your victim was related (FAMILIAL) to you
    or you received mail at said residence, You would
    and could be removed from Internet, approx. 33,000 removed
    but offender still had to
    register with local law enforcement~!!! What kind of message is that,
    the State is sending ?

    California also states you
    cannot "STEREOTYPE" Anyone, but that is EXACTLY what
    California is doing, to JUSTIFY the Life Long Registration~!!!
    Stereotyping~!! Claiming, Recidivism is reason, for the lifetime
    registration requirements, yet only approx., 3%, ever re-offend~!!!

    Lastly, California's FAVORITE PENAL CODE
    TO CHARGE prospective Offenders WITH is (Lewd and Lascivious 288 P.C.) This is probably because you "cannot", seek registration relief, it's classified as a violent offense~!!!


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    1. Do I believe a 3 tiered system will really help a lot of people? Not likely. I disagree with the approach some folks have taken to gain this minor victory.

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  30. Supplemental, to my other post, here in California,
    Once you've been expunged, should it be granted, YOU
    STILL SUFFER MEGHANS LAW WEBSITE~!!! DOUBLE JEOPARDY~!!
    STATE CALLS IT, "COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES"~!!!!!
    YOU BE THE JUDGE~!!!! I have lost 5 jobs, solely to
    the website, through no job site fault, of my own~!!!

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  31. Legislatures are prohibited from passing ex post facto laws but they got away with it.

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