Saturday, April 30, 2016

Weathering the storm: We've been here before. What are you willing to do about it?

Fellow activists,

No doubt a few of you are worried about how the news of Galen Baughman's arrest may affect the fight to reform registry laws. My personal thoughts on this guy wasn't positive to begin with. Quite frankly, I felt he was arrogant and more concerned with self-promotion than on promoting the cause in general. At the same time, I don't revel in his arrest, or the arrest of any reformist, because obviously it has the potential to negatively impact our movement as a whole, even though the rest of us aren't getting arrested for allegedly reoffending. Also, he is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. If he's guilty then that is his own fault. 

The SLATE website has a lengthy article on this development, and once again the comment section is filled with the same tired "kill them all" rhetoric that we are used to hearing. One clown even went so far as to try to make that tired NAMBLA connection:

We've heard these outlandish connections before.
Folks, most of you haven't been in this movement a long time. I have. There are a few of us who was aaround when RSOL was little more than an online petition and SOSEN was a Yahoo! Group. Back then, the main organization was "SOHopeful International." If you even remember that name, then congratulations, you're a true veteran of the anti-registry movement. 

If you remember SO Hopeful, then you know we've been here before. 

Back in late 2007, a major rift occurred in our movement as the result of a rally held in Columbus Ohio (The 'Silent No More" Rally), which protested the first state to adopt the Adam Walsh Act. The brass at SO Hopeful did not support our rally, and as a result, a mass exodus of registrants and their loved ones left SO Hopeful and migrated to SOSEN and RSOL, and both groups benefited from it (as evidenced by the current status of the group today). SO Hopeful remained in business, but only a few loyal members remained. The remaining BOD elected James ("Jim") Freeman, who went by the screen names "Mystik Warrior," "Mystikal," and "Orolan," as the interim leader of the group. 

In March 2008, there was a much hyped arrest of an so-called "international pedophile ring" (translation, a handful of losers trading illegal images). You have to love how the media hypes up such stories. But one of the arrests were of James Freeman. People without our movement panicked. Lots of rumors swirled around, and folks were fearful we'd be targeted by more than just the vigilante groups poking fun at our misfortune. 

But we are still around today. RSOL and SOSEN are still around. Our movement weathered that storm, and we'll weather this storm as well. I'm still here as well. 

There are a few lessons from the Freemen incident that we should remember as we watch this latest development:

  1. We should not remain silent about it: One group made the mistake of trying to hide the arrest from the public forums but the online vigilante groups were aware of the news and used the news as ammunition against us. We should not shy away from discussing the current issue because other folks are already discussing it anyways. The disclaimers sitting on our websites today are the result of my lobbying the various groups to post such a disclaimer on their websites that we are not affiliated with websites that wish to legalize sexual activity with children.
  2. The media will move on to other things, and so should we: In time, all news stories fade. The current controversy pales in comparison to "Int'l CP ring' headlines but who among you even heard about Freeman up till now? The media shitstorm will blow back to Trump or the Trans bathroom flap or whatever stupid stuff Kanye West-Kardashian will say tomorrow. We can discuss this issue, then we can move on to the other pressing concerns of our activist front. 
  3. Don't deviate from the game plan: To cite the Slate article again, "But regardless of what Baughman may have done, it’s still the case that the majority of sex offenders who are released from prison don’t reoffend, and it’s still the case that life-ruining sex offender registry laws have not made children safer. Those ideas shouldn’t lose their credibility just because Baughman has lost his." 
We will endure, of course. To invoke the Slate article once more, "Given how few people are willing to step forward and become a face of this particular movement, Baughman’s interest in going public made him a consequential figure in the fight to reform America’s sex offender laws. That fight will survive Baughman’s alleged probation violation, but his arrest will inevitably distract from the ideas he was trying to spread."

It is only a distraction if we allow it to be one. 

I love the words of Roger Lancaster: "Roger Lancaster, the George Mason anthropologist, believes reform movements would be better off if they leaned less heavily on 'perfect victims.' As he sees it, the tactic of using individual stories to build support for reforms originated with tough-on-crime politicians and victims’ rights advocates in the 1980s and 1990s."

If there is one real, glaring problem with our anti-registry efforts, it is that so few of us are willing to speak out and we support even fewer among those who do. I didn't have the resources and support that Galen got, despite being far more dedicated to our cause than he was. (He told me in an email he was far more focused on gay issues and rarely, if ever, discussed registered citizens and did not support public activism.) This attitude of waiting for a messiah to lead us into the promised land hinders us more than helps us. When we rely on a few people to be the faces of our cause, then we suffer more when one of the few fails us.

I am encouraged when I see a concerted effort by a large group of folks and not just a few, as when large turnouts of activists arrive at statehouses in California and in Ohio to stop bad legislation. It does not matter who you are, or how great you speak. (I'll be the first to admit I'm not that great a speaker and I get nervous as hell when I have to do it.) What matters is that you speak. One of the best speakers of the day could barely speak without crying. To me, that raw emotion had the most impact, more than any fact or figure. What matters is they did not wait for a perfect spokesperson, they got up and spoke. No one asked if the speakers were only "R&Js." 

The best way to deal with this latest controversy is to, to use a cliche slogan, "Keep calm and carry on." We've been here before and we will endure. 

19 comments:

  1. I am deeply sorry about Galen's choices. but I think this is a story of two men, both sex offenders, both registrants, on of whom apparently flew too close to to the sun and has now fallen (into court and in the public eye) The other, Josh Gravens (not to make the mistake of raising him above his 'mortal state since we all still have feet of clay) did what all of us hoped he would, he saw the red flags, realized a 16 year was being groomed and with the boy's mother moved to protect an under age child. A thing the hater's claim no Sex Offender would ever do because once a sex offender, always a sex offender the slogan which justifies all their in-justice and is the crux of why we all should keep calm and carry on...
    Thanks Once fallen for the history lesson.

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  2. Derek, thanks for this commentary. Being new to the cause this had me concerned (and I still am) however, I appreciate your points and recommendations to face it and carry on.

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  3. Thankfully this has not happened often. In fact, this is only the second time in as long as I can remember, and this movement has been around almost as long as the registry has existed. That's almost 20 years and who knows how many hundreds of people. We have a better track record than Congress.

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  4. Very well said. Your belief in the importance of a strong visible presence to fight the registry is what I find the most encouraging. It is going to take time to pull more of us out from under the rocks, but we are slowly getting there.

    As for those of us who re-offend, we definitely do not want to hide that. We should make it clear that their actions (if guilty) are a huge disappointment to us and they do not represent the rest of us. If people are going to be involved in our cause the most important thing they should be doing is exercising self control. If self control is something you struggle with, please do not make yourself known as a participant of our movement.

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    1. I don't have a problem with someone 'struggling" but you have to be honest and transparent about it. ANY activist on the front lines will be scrutinized. I get lots of criticisms from my voice to my demeanor to even my teeth.

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    2. I agree with both Fred and Derek. Transparency and attempts to master self-control are vitally important. Human nature dictates that we all are faced with temptations and none of us will ever be above the possibility of giving in to them. Instead of romanticizing his relationship with the teenager, if Galen had said at his Ted Talk "You know, I still am tempted from time to time, I guess it's just a part of who I am. But I have dedicated my mind, body and soul to never making that mistake again, not only because it is morally wrong but because it will inevitably hurt all of the people I am trying to help"......I personally would have thought he was the real deal. I understand that realistically, he couldn't have said that because the victim advocate groups would have had a field day with that admission. But by basically having lust in his eyes when remembering his relationship with a young teenager as a 19 year old (and I could see the lust, it was totally transparent) I thought this guy was not the right person to be one of our prime spokespeople. Or at the very least, I was majorly concerned.

      Fred's right: It hurts us when any of us re-offend. It gives the DOJ or any state one more tally in their win column. But when someone purposefully devotes themselves to this cause and knows that anything they do is going to be scrutinized with a fine tooth comb and then go on to do (allegedly) what Galen did, that's a slap in the face to every one of us. I don't know anything about James Freeman; whether he had the visibility that Galen did, whether he had gotten a Soros fellowship or the equivalent, whether as many people knew of his name as they did Galen. But perhaps Galen and Freeman are cautionary tales. If you decide to get involved in the movement and you reflect badly upon it by your own criminal behavior, don't expect much sympathy or support.

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  5. PARENTING 100 % . ( PASSED ) .
    PROBATION 0 % . ( FAIL ) .
    GOVERNMENT HACKERS ( POSSIBILITY ) . Gallen too out spoken needs to fall . TESTS FBI MILLIONS PAY OUT TO HACKERS INTRUTION ACCURACY .
    GOVERNMENT STING -- DONT OFFER PLEA . JUDGE, JURY, and spectators IN COURT ONLY, WITH TRANSGENDER REST ROOM ACCESS with prominant gay M-F jury .
    To prove the balance of justice, if Galen was a female would favorably tip the scales of justice . If none of the above - well you are on your own, save us all or go down with your ship .

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  6. There was a red flag raised for me when I saw Galen's Ted Talk. He opened by romanticizing the relationship he had with the 13 year old when he was 19. I went "Whoa fellow, is that really the tone you want to open up your talk with?" The rest of what he said was solid and in my mind squared away with the facts but I couldn't help but shake my feeling about him from his initial remarks. I thought to myself "This guy could reoffend. He's justifying what he did, even years later." Now do I think what he did deserved civil commitment? Of course not. But I could see that he was still rationalizing what he did all of those years ago.

    He's innocent until proven guilty, however. We should all remember that. And as Roger Lancaster said, you can never trust the spin that prosecutors and police tend to give to the media. With that said, some of the actual text messages cited in the article (unless they were fabricated or taken WAY out of context) sound like classic grooming. And if this allegation is true, it does sadden me. Everyone knows that this one case will be singled out in the future as ammunition to be used against us. I don't think it's quite as dire as Josh Gravens believes it is, but it does hurt.

    Moreover, this guy (again, if the allegations are true) is the truly the epitome of selfishness. He knew perfectly well that if he was caught, it would hurt our cause but apparently he own needs came ahead of 800,000 other people's needs. I hope he thinks long and hard about not only his behavior towards this teenager but also to his hypocritical choices and how they have actually hurt an entire demographic in America.

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    1. Didn't he ever complete SO Treatment? That should have helped him recognize his behavior too. It sounds like he was almost civilly committed but then never got any treatment after that. So how does a state system go from wanting to lock someone up to not giving them any treatment at all?

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    2. Anonymous,

      I don't know the answer but I can tell you what is most probably the case. Almost all sex offenders receive state or federal mandated treatment upon release. It is hard to believe he didn't get treatment on the outside. But let's assume for argument's sake that he didn't. Does that really matter? He was THIS CLOSE to being civilly committed. If anyone should have known that any mistake, no matter how small, could have landed him back in the slammer, it was this guy.

      And Anonymous, I think he did recognize his ongoing behavior. Though I don't really think ephebophilia should be recognized at all (it is not in the DSM-5) Galen came pretty close to admitting in his Ted Talk that he is one. If that's the case, then he knew he had to tread extremely carefully. I personally don't give him a pass if, in the rare event, he didn't receive SO treatment on the outside.

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    3. I knew Galen. As I recall, he had court-ordered counseling. However, it was not as if he could be open with the counselor. She/he was in cahoots with the law, and this was known. That means that anything he said in those meetings could and probably would be used against him in his next parole hearing, or worse.

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  7. Time to redirect in support of an ex offender being sued by parents for megans law, Derek Logue .
    Logue's attempt to expose funding and padding . Law firms, legislatiors and county executives are to pass and revitalize a multi million dollar private SO. contract tracking company of retired P.O's . to the tune of $ 2.7 mill .
    Ms, Ahearn said in the article she could not comment and that the law suit is now under way by the pro bono attorneys of a mineola law firm . PRO-BONO ? With that kind of money .
    This is the heart of the dragon for reform . New Yorkers for freedom . com . The hidden corruption parents for megans law . Derek is on welfare and as an ex offender can not afford legal council and pro bono is only for multi million dollar organizations as we now see . So long for now Mr. Gallen .

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    1. The word is out that the New York civil liberty union will not represent Mr. Logue - does this mean that by some means by strong arm or under the table close door over all plan to supress freedom of speach amendments under the new constitutional law of corporate federal incorperation LLC . This title is an infringement of the birth right act of the united states citizenship of the contiental US ocean water ways . That was recently drawn up 2013 . That all federal employees including homeland security agents and workers of walmart and even Mc Donalds are now government employees. The NY CLU at the time of 2010 was run by Jamacia americans and was only concerned with the right of jamaican civil rights in and on american soil Legally here in the unted states or not producing children of their own race while the us government paid for the births housing schooling legal council for criminal behaviour . Now since 2013 people on welfare are now conciderd government employees . Little to their knowalge there are no more rights of the people . To wish to remain is a privlage with no rights but always be in debt with the new world order .

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  8. Redirect, but stay on track of Galen's down fall if found guilty by trial . Please see the heart of megans law and the deception for power and finance that includes false protection promoting fear, hate and political corruption . Please google ; NEW YORKERS FOR FREEDOM - click home page . And see for your self that reform is needed accross the country . You will truly be shocked that a multi million dollar sex offender industry has it's own probono attorneys for its law suit against an ex offender for defamation, and exposeing the truth .

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  9. Who needs a registry Laura Ahearns husband is retired from the Suffolk county P.D. is he also one of the retires on the trackers program collecting more tax payer money . Are these the people that no one wants in their neighborhood . Call the police if they knock on your door . You may also ask if they are carrying a gun , because they are restricted when conducting address varification checks, if so then call 911 .
    Laura Ahearn is responcible for the deaths of those on the registry . No law clears of that , before she enacted home land security . Time for reform . They really mised the boat with Galen . But they all got a check and a retirement . The greed from this organazation needs to be shut down Yesterday . If the FBI can hire hackers megans law should hire Ex offenders .

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    1. Time for DA Thomas Spota to approch this organazation useing the S.C.PD. as its tag along back up by a private company inside protection . TIME FOR AN AUDIT . How could the town superviser know when to tell a police chief to step down before his indictment. And the former police commissinor make sure burke got his retirement before his arrest , then retire him self .
      Remember in practical math class in high school , always round off to the highest number and never go below budget . So now we see all the tax payers money once again go back to the courts and law inforcement . And they have the nerve to raise the taxs to pay back the police unions legal fees for police corruption then give them self a raise . Washing DC should audit suffolk county PD and legislators along with the Brookhaven superviser that within the four months of a successful tax budget has fallen in the red after borrowing money to pay off previous debts that include vacations then paying unreal pensions with cost of living increase's when most of the population is on welfare or being over taxed forced to poverty or bankrupcy . Brookhaven known as crookhaven was better off when Felix Grucci was alive . Soon it will look just like nassau county and queens . Keep building and complain about the quality of life and the now posioned water and get charged for it and lied too about how clean it is . WTF . so where the hell is all the money going ? Double dipping payed medical retirement pretend law inforcement .

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    2. ( Correction , first paragraph , County Exc . Steve Belone ; know when to tell a police chief to step down ) . Who was the insider of his call ? The FBI ? The State, County, union or the D.A. There was a leak somewhere above and beyond the law .

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  10. I would love to see many families in Tennessee join activism..our familes don't deserve this punishment .our son didn't do nothing to deserve to be punished outcasted from a real normal life ...this has so deeply hurt me ..I would probably be one to end up just balling out my eyes crying so hard .from the pain out families .my son had to go thru each day .

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  11. As we see the falling of the empire one must goggle PFML. CHAMPION for children awards dinner Feb 14 2010 that is a picture that should go down in history and addded to the registry of hate, revenge, deception, and political corruption .
    The bee can only sting once . What we need to understand is the next step is again for finacial rewards . Even if you have never been molested now is your time to cash in on this great deal to earn instant rewards if you can prove abuse when the economy and jobs are at the lowest in the country, even for attorneys . BUT this is proof the psychological pro's have thought only of them self and getting payed . The other important question for all those that waited so long for legal revenge . As said by many lawyers across the country how much is your freedom worth as the judges, well thats another story . How much money now will make this extended time to sue better anyone's life . This is what happened when PFML jumped to it's conclusion's and the people they used to to get there are all going to jail . Goggle parents for megans law dean skelos and more entertaining releases posting back to 1995 .
    With all this going on today with all this infomation would you let anyone touch you or abuse you ? And if so ,WHY ? MONEY ! A passing grade ? And when will the dumb public realize the word pedophile is attraction to PRE PUBIC aged children and very effective for revenge when used for action . Sandusky's abused son wants reform now . Why now and not before ? We want to know how much is he being offerd for this claim $$$$$$$$$$ . How about winner takes all . Victim or the accused . Maybe the both should go to jail for letting it happen . The only one not going to jail is the author of megans law that causes death from the registry . NYDaily News .com front page Friday, May 13th 2016 . The apple does'nt fall that far from the tree does it .

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