Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lunsford's "Ride for their Lies" Rally a commercial flop

I had reported on and critiqued Mark Lunsford and the Surviving Parents Coalition's latest get rich quick scheme in an earlier post on my blog. Well it appears at least for the amount of publicity, or rather the lack of publicity, that the so-called "Ride For Their Lives," the fundraising scheme to earn a million dollars for lobbying, has been a bigger flop than Gigli or Son of the Mask. The next picture sums up the typical rally quite well:


ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI-FOX2now.com) - Stopping sex offenders before they strike. Ed Smart whose daughter Elizabeth was taken from their Utah home, joined local parents Tuesday night to push for tougher laws. Ed Smart and Ahmad Rivazfar are on a cross country bike tour to encourage lawmakers to throw the book at convicted sex offenders. Both Ed and Ahmad speak from the heart and from experience...so why didn't anyone go to Kiener Plaza to listen?

Ed Smart replied "Sometimes we don't like hear about these stories."

I don't think so, Ed. People hear it all the time. The problem is people are starting to become skeptical of people like Mark Lunsford, who has been embroiled in controversy over mismanagement of funds donated in his deceased daughter's name.

The "Ride for their lives" event was a 3000 mile trip from Rochester, NY to Los Angeles, CA. The month long trip was to raise a million dollars for lobbying for the Adam Walsh Act and other useless bills that already exist. I suppose Ed mart and Lunsford figured star power alone would get enough attention to make their goals. Lets just ride our bikes a few miles, Lunsford on a motorcycle, and watch the masses flock to us -- easy money.

A funny thing happened along the way. Turnout was ridiculously low, as evidenced by the picture at the St. Louis event. In fact, you'll find little media coverage at all about the event.

There is absolutely no media coverage of the "Grand Finale" to the rally in Los Angeles, CA. None. Unless you count what the SPC put up on the internet.

These rallies, no matter how unsuccessful they may be, are still golden opportunities to counter the ignorance and blind hatred of the populace. There are plenty of materials at Sosen and Once Fallen you can print out and hand out. Approach media hounds. peak with event organizers. You don't have to have an organized counter, just be there.

UPDATE: It seems Jane Velez-Mitchell reads this blog because now, over a week AFTER the fact, wrote a small piece on the Ride 4 their lies:


Saturday, September 18, 2010


"Are they monster? You bet they are. You bet they are." -- Ron Book, Florida Lobbyist and advocate for stricter residency laws

AM I A MONSTER? The answer has plagued my mind for days on end. My neighbors watch me with suspicious eyes and gossip behind my back. People shout obscenities at me while I'm walking down the street. People devote website to hating and attacking me. I am put on a public list, and that makes people afraid.

Recently, my now ex-fiancee was told by her neighbor, a child, "That man who comes over to your house, he' a bad man, he hurts people." He's a monster. We could not get married because she has a child so the law won't allow it. We could not easily go on trips together or attend kid friendly events together out of fear of vigilantes.

My ex-fiancee could not take it anymore so she left me. Even she began seeing me as a monster. I will never forget that she sees me as a monster. I can never forget.

AM I A MONSTER? Am I eternally doomed to virtual exile? Is death my only escape? Once fallen, can anyone restore his or her own life? Is there hope? Is there forgiveness? Is there LOVE?

If I am a "monster," then I have none of those things. If that is the case, why should I bother to fight anymore? I have lost everything-- my family, my friends, even the one person in this world I truly loved. All I have left is instinct to survive. I have fought not because I wanted to because I felt I did not have a choice.

http://www.oncefallen.com/sitebuilder/images/Sex_Offenders_-_Forgivable-242x166.jpgEvery morning I wake up from a nightmare and into a bigger nightmare of life. Every day I am gripped with the thought of the hells in tore for me today. I wonder what new law will be passed out of fear of the people on that public list. I wonder what more people can do to harm me. I fall deeper and deeper into despair. It is as if even God himself has forsaken me. Each day is filled with one objective-- finding the will to live.

I'm sure this makes those who hate me feel happy. It is sad how people get such pleasure from another person's suffering. They love to point out the harm I caused, but if they get pleasure out of my pain, then what does that make them?

AM I A MONSTER? The Cypress Times wrote an article last year called "The Monster Next Door: The Plague of American Sex Offenders." In it he says this:

“There’s no such thing as monsters.” We tell our kids that. The truth is that monsters are real. A real live monster might live next door to you, or across the street from your child’s school, even around the corner from your church. These monsters are called “Sex Offenders”, a label that is far too innocuous to convey the evil of those who have earned it.

Most people agree with him. To most people, we are all "monsters." It does not matter what landed us on the registry, whether we are rehabilitated or not, or whether or not we are a threat of any kind. To them, we are ALL "monsters."They have made up their minds. [To the Cypress Times's credit, they did allow me to write a counter-argument]

It was funny when I typed in the words "sex offenders are" into Google. It did not end with "monsters." Instead the first item that came up was "sex offenders are people too." The article begins with a quote by GK Chesterton:

To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything is hopeless.

It stopped me in the middle of writing this post. It was a different view on sex offenders than the norm. Forgiveness? The sex offender is a "human being?" What audacity! The article asks this question:

While a child who has been harmed deserves justice, does an offender who has served the sentence required of him deserve a second chance at life?

Read that article in its entirety and you will see she discovered she was truly blind to the issues until it impacted her family. she once held the same views as the majority. That's the issue I have with society-- no one is ever aware of what these laws do to us.

People have blindly supported laws because "monsters" don't deserve to be treated like human beings. People find it hard to believe the effects the laws have in my personal life. They did not know what they were supporting.

AM I A MONSTER? If I am, then why do I feel pain, remorse, heartbreak, and sadness? I am reminded of the classic work "Frankenstein."http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8f/FRANKENSTEIN_MUST_BE_DESTROYED_POSTER.jpg

Victor Frankenstein created a "Monster." He feared the monster. He flees the "monster" he created. The "monster" was abandoned. It was confused, angry at being abandoned, and afraid. This poor creature sought out friendship and acceptance, only to be met with derision and violence against him. His own creator betrayed him. The "monster" could find no peace, neither in reaching out to others or by getting revenge on his creator. In the end the "monster" destroys himself.

I feel like Frankenstein's "Monster." I have been searching for love and acceptance but I am only met with anger, derision, fear, and violence. AM I TRULY A MONSTER?

It does not matter what I have done since my release. It does not matter I have never been suspected of any wrongdoing. It does not matter that I have never re-offended. It does not matter I have made reparations and atoned for the wrongs I have committed to the extent allowable. In the eyes of society, I committed the unforgivable sin, and there can never be a pardon.

I wish I could say I am not a "monster." If I am not a monster, what am I? Even the angels desire to he human. If only I knew the answer.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pedobears, bus surfers, and Lone Guys on Park Benches! Oh, My!

Do we need any more proof that America is getting too paranoid about sex offenders? It seems that our fear of sex offenders has not yet reached its peak.

Below are some of the most recent stories:


The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department is warning parents about a disturbing new phenomenon made popular by pedophiles and sexual deviants. The Pedo Bear began as an online Japanese cartoon character, and is known for his "lecherous nature" towards prepubescent children. Recently, pedophiles have adopted the bear as a mascot. Although there have been no reported sightings of the image on the Central Coast, individuals dressed in the bear costume and car decals have been seen in Southern California. Local law enforcement cautions parents to be aware of the image, particularly at public events. For concerns about the image, contact the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement division of the sheriff's department at 805-781-4550.

For those of you who have never heard of "Pedobear," Pedobear is a character created on a popular website called 4chan that was used to call out someone who makes a comment that sounds sexually inappropriate, or calls to attention something that oversexualizes children or minors. Pedobear eventually became used outside the 4chan site, of course. But many do not understand what it means because it is a 4chan inside joke. Apparently, neither did the San Luis Obispo Sheriff's Office. They saw a person dressed as Pedobear at the comic book convention and they sound the alarm. It may be a joke in bad taste, but it is not necessarily a criminal, either.

The San Lius Obispo Sheriff's Office is not the only one creating panic. John Walsh of AMW, the leader in fear promoting for almost 30 years, has created a new panic: Watch out for "bus surfing pedophiles:"


"The front lines against a disturbing reality. John Walsh calls it "bus surfing" -- pedophiles who follow buses and prey on children at bus stops."

Of course, the problem is not just that he creates a new fear, he finds a few people willing to back him up on his latest campaign of fear:

The bus drivers here say they're aware this goes on. And they say John's presence here serves as inspiration to constantly be on the watch and report any suspicions. They know their neighborhood routes well, so they say they look out for cars who linger behind buses or people who seem out of place. And they say they're not afraid to report suspicious activity to the police.

Oh yeah, if you are lost or new to the neighborhood, be prepared to be a suspect.

The last featured article is relevant in light of recent trends that ban sex offenders or even people without children from parks.


The Monster of Meridian Park

This post originally appeared on Wallyhood, the Wallingford, Seattle neighborhood blog. Visit us for more Wallingford news.

(By Margaret)
Imagine, if you will, an idyllic park setting where sounds of children's laughter and shrieks of delight fill the air. You shade your eyes from the sun and catch a glimpse of someone sitting on a nearby bench. Looking around, you discover that this person is at the park alone, which you find strange. "Something's not quite right," you think, as you watch him wander through the playground. Your instincts tell you that this person shouldn't be anywhere near children.

Back home, you log onto your computer and check the database of registered sex offenders, during which you find that there are 12 offenders within a mile radius of your address. Your pulse quickens as you look through the database. You suddenly see a picture of someone that stops your heart cold, and you ask yourself, "Is it him? Is this the man who was at the park"? You're horrified. That man is a Level 2 sex offender, and what's more, he's NON-COMPLIANT. Your hunch was right. He has no business being anywhere near children.

So you share the news in the public forum of your community's neighborhood blog because people need to know, and parents with children who visit the park need to be aware that this dangerous man could return to the park at any time and possibly re-offend. Before long, people are asking, "Why is this guy allowed to be in the park?" People then report that they've seen this man everywhere: at the supermarket, the library, and a bus stop. What's worse is that someone else calls the Seattle Police Department to report "the incident," and dispatcher tells the caller that since the man is not on probation, there is nothing stopping him from being around children.

Meanwhile, fliers emblazoned with "HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN?" and the man's photo are distributed to parents in the park. One parent Google's the man's name, only to find out that he was thrown in jail last year for keeping pornographic files of children on his computer. "Why the HELL," she asks, "isn't this man still in jail?"

But then, someone else does a bit more digging. Finds that the man in question is actually not the same man in the database. That man has been behind bars for the past year, and he will remain so for 11 more. That man should have been taken off of the Sex Offender database last year.
It's an honest mistake, to be sure, but one that has raised a lot of fears. The intention was admirable, but the cascade of events that followed was not.

We are incredibly lucky to be living in the digital age--where infinite information is delivered to us effortlessly. We are more informed, more aware, and as such, more proactive about delivering information that can be helpful to our neighbors. But sometimes, a little information can be very dangerous. Without checking facts or digging deeper, we stand a chance to instill unnecessary fear and widespread panic.

And there you have it. How do you think this innocent man must have felt because some idiot thought he was a pedophile? His only "crime" was sitting in a park. Men are increasingly cast as potential sexual predators in this country.

Sexual predators are EVERYWHERE! HIDE THE KIDS! Watch the video below, and you'll see how far this has gone.


ADDENDUM: There is one more panic out there. Now CNN is reporting an alleged "Pedophile Manifesto," and promotes the fear by getting Ed Smart, Robin Sax, and Mark Klaas, complete with faulty stats. Joy Behar should've stayed on The View. The irony is that most of the child advocacy place put info out there on how molesters work. That is about the same thing, in my opinion.


ADDENDUM 2: The Pedobear scare spreads!

Tulsa's Fox 23 News claims the guy under the mask was a Registered Sex Offender, yet there is no actual report of that, the man would have been arrested on the spot and would have been in the earlier report.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Are "unintended consequences" REALLY "unintended?"

"I think this is a clear example of an unintended consequence, which can occur when we go beyond what we call police protocol when handling sex offenders. I understand the concern of parents for their children. But we must not allow hysteria to take place."-- Marion County, Florida Sheriff Ed Dean, responding to the suicide of a handicapped Former Offender after flyers picturing him with the words “CHILD RAPIST” printed in big bold letters were plastered all over the community

I am always hearing the term "unintended consequences" in many articles about the pitfalls of overbroad sex offender legislation, but I wonder if the people who have used this term really understand the term "unintended consequences."

"My intent personally is to make it so onerous on those that are convicted of these offenses . . . they will want to move to another state." -- Georgia House Majority Leader Jerry Keen (R)

"Is there anything left we can do to sex offenders with a few days left in the session?" -- Louisiana State Rep. Danny Martiny, R-Metairie, during the closing days of a 2006 legislative session

If Georgia passes laws to make living "onerous" and they are conscious of the fact, then the consequences are not "unintended." When a Louisiana state senator half-jokingly muses if we can find ways to destroy the lives of people who have completed their sentences, that is not unintentional. When a state passes residency restrictions knowing they have Iowa's problems as an example beforehand, or they pass the Adam Walsh Act knowing Ohio's problems implementing the laws, that is not unintentional.

Let me illustrate "unintentional consequences," because the concept seems to elude politicians.

In the span of a month, I have experienced both the death of one of my loved ones and the break-up of a two year long relationship which compelled me to move.

The grieving process over losing a loved one is my first exhibit. While in the process of grieving, I was also in charge of the arrangements. I also wrote the obituary. However, because I was afraid vigilantes would disrespect my loved one's memory or use the info to attack my living loved ones, I completely omitted myself from the obituary. That was also the week one of those local mug shot newspapers decided to feature me, and one of my neighbors were quick to mention it to my now ex-fiancee. Then the car broke down in Nashville when I went to pick up a traveler to the funeral, and my mind raced to thoughts of having to show my ID card with "Criminal Sex Offender" in bright red letters to an officer or repair man in a place far from home. Each of those experiences were examples of "unintended consequences." Or are they?

The second exhibit is my break-up with my long time fiancee. There were many reasons for the break-up, but a major aggravating factor is my status as a sex offender. Because she has a child, we cannot live together. For nearly two years, we lived a "double life." Our days revolved around trying to see each other as much as possible while spending as little time with her child as possible, not because I was a risk, but because of paranoia brought on by nosy neighbors. Busybodies abound in rural America. Once we broke up, tasks as simple as returning unwanted mementos of the broken relationship take on new dimensions. As an RSO, you're always suspect of being a threat, despite never showing aggression. It becomes a weapon to use against you. The neighbors stare and whisper, watching that "dangerous sex offender" being hassled by the police for doing nothing more than returning unwanted mementos to its rightful order in neatly stacked boxes. I wish to say those were unintended, but then I reflect upon the events of that day and ask myself it it was truly "unintentional?"

If I committed suicide, would that be an "unintended consequence?" I wonder if that is really what those who pass these laws against me intended for me to do.

I hardly think the impact of these laws are "unintentional." Unconsidered, possibly, but not unintended. The intent of tough sex offender laws is to make life as miserable as possible. It is not about child safety, or about reducing sex crimes, it is about causing the maximum amount of pain upon those who made mistakes. There is nothing "unintended" about that!

I see no changes wake up in the morning and I ask myself
is life worth living should I blast myself? -- 2Pac from the song "Changes"