America’s Untouchables, Continued: Persecution in Huachuca City, Arizona

Wait! I've got a great solution! Why not a YELLOW STAR for registered sex offenders?

Huachuca City, Arizona has approved an ordinance banning registered sex offenders from all public facilities, including schools, parks, libraries, pools, gymnasiums and sports facilities. As discussed in an earlier post, the willingness of municipalities to continue to oppress and stigmatize law-abiding citizens who the justice system has deemed fit to re-enter society is ignorant, cruel, and unconscionable. And it is getting worse.

Mayor Byron Robertson is mouthing the same rationalization that others in his position have: it’s all for the children. “As a town and as a community, we have to protect our children. As a council, we have to make the right calls. Our police chief indicated that we were having a serious problem with some pedophiles that were being a nuisance and we took steps to overcome that.” The “steps” involve forcing innocent American citizens to move out of town, because “some” individuals, who are not necessarily registered sex offenders, are posing problems.This isn’t good for the children, because it isn’t good for children to grow up in a community that engages in cruel and invidious discrimination based on presumed criminal tendencies.

Naturally, no politician will do the right thing and oppose this outrage, since he or she will immediately be portrayed as a friend and ally of child-molesters. Who can stop this unethical trend? The mayor’s logic is thread-bare. The country is also having problems with middle-school and high school teachers who have sex with their students: would the mayor suggest that we ban teachers from schools, just to be on the safe side?

The ordinance, set to take effect this month, creates “child safety zones” where registered sex offenders will not be permitted, and the zones cover all public facilities including schools, parks, libraries, pools, gymnasiums, sports fields and sports facilities. (The authors of the law made exceptions for those who are picking up their children, voting in an election or meeting with someone to discuss their child’s health or education. That was big of them.) First-time offenders will be fined $100. Repeat offenders will be charged with trespassing.

They might as well just shoot them. Maybe that will be next.

This is a challenge for our society, culture, political system and values. Do we have the will and integrity to oppose and stop in its tracks an organized, rapidly-spreading effort to demonize fellow citizens because of their membership in a group, rather than based on their character and conduct?  In the Thirties, Germany  failed that test, and Americans have asserted ever since that this couldn’t happen here. Well, it’s happening in Huachuca City. Also in many other towns and cities. Robertson said the town attorney modeled the ordinance after bans elsewhere that courts have ruled constitutional.

The fact that isolation, discrimination and persecution may be legal doesn’t make it any less wrong.

“It’s a bold step hopefully many will follow,” Mayor Robertson said.

That’s what we should be afraid of.

26 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society

26 responses to “America’s Untouchables, Continued: Persecution in Huachuca City, Arizona

  1. Inquiring Mind

    And when one of those supposedly “reformed” offenders ends up molesting another child, what then?

    • Tim LeVier

      You arrest said individual and charge them with the appropriate crime.

      • Exactly. The rules for one set of citizens should be no different than the rules for any other. This is profiling of the worst sort. A higher percentage of blacks than whites engage in crime. We do not protect society preemptively by limiting the rights of African-Americans.

        That was one inquiry the Inquiring Mind shouldn’t have to make.

    • Julian Hung

      As many commentators have said before, a large percent of people on the sex offenders registry shouldn’t be on it to begin with, and many others have only committed minor offenses which are NOWHERE near as bad as child molestation. Really, an actual child molester should just be treated like any other felon who did something worthy of 25-to-life.

    • charles

      Excuse my french but, lock his/her ass up and throw away the key! Simple as that ‘Inquiring Mind’.

  2. Michael

    But wait, they let them have cars? Do they let them drive? Ride bicycles? That means they can move through the city, where there are children! The only way we can stop them from this is to cut off their arms and legs. That will fix the problem. Maybe their eyes should be gouged out too (I am not sure what the caring people think is appropriate these days).

    If it isn’t reasonably safe to let them back in to society, it isn’t reasonably safe to let them back into society. Trying to make more and more restrictions about where they can live and work won’t make it any safer, it just makes a huge bureaucracy and make it mandatory for them to evade the rules. If you don’t want them back into society, keep them locked up for life, execute them, or cut off their arms and legs. If that is what you want to do, don’t get caught urinating in public. That gets you sex-offender status in my state.

  3. Bill

    There are seven registered sex offenders living in that city. The recidisim rate for sex offenders is 3.3 % – 5%. So they past a law to keep .231 to .35 of sex offender from maybe reoffending. What a waste of time and money.

    • Tim LeVier

      So they passed a law to keep .231 to .35 of sex offender from maybe reoffending.

      …from maybe being tempted into considering re-offending.

      That seems more appropriate because just barring someone from a certain place doesn’t mean that person won’t trespass and commit the crime anyway. The rule is simply a stern suggestion that persons on the list avoid places of temptation (whether their proclivities were children or not) and it can’t possibly prevent those persons from actually entering or doing real harm.

      However, it will prevent well-meaning people with good intentions from doing good deeds in the areas outlined.

  4. Becky

    Has anything like this ever had a Constitutional challenge?

  5. Tim LeVier

    I’m probably going to FAIL miserably at this, mostly because I don’t sufficiently know the history and evolution of the registration and it’s intended purpose, but I think this could be interesting:

    Consider that the information about the names and locations of sex offenders is a public resource. In the beginning, it was probably decided that it would be important for the public to be able to more easily identify risks. For example, I need a baby sitter and I know my neighbor that moved in 3 months ago is a decent enough fellow, let me just make sure that he doesn’t have any serious history that I should consider first.

    Beyond it’s limited implementation as a public resource, now public officials, at the local, state, and federal level have begun issuing limitations one-by-one on persons on the list. Housing assistance, where they can live, how close they can be to a school, how close they can be to a library, how close they can be to a park, how close they can be to a grocery store.

    With each new limitation, the public officials put a new strain on the public resource. The strain will continue until the effects of the list cause an unconstitutional burden upon persons that would be required to register on the list. Then the lists will be vacated and we’ll have seen another form of the tragedy of the commons.

    Yes? No?

  6. If this knowledgeable mayor and his followers had done some research or even assigned an ad-hoc committee to gather information in order to make a responsible, informed decision:

    (Justice Policy Institute:
    In times of limited resources, we need law enforcement focusing on effective ways to keep both our kids and community safe. Enacting and enforcing residency restrictions won’t accomplish this. As Lt. McLane said, education is the most important tool to reducing youth sexual victimization, and this needs to include letting children know what to do when the people they know and trust act in ways that are harmful or inappropriate. It’s the non-stranger danger that is the more real and present one.

    Tracy Velazquez
    Justice Policy Institute
    Washington, D.C.

    Vera Institute :
    SUMMARY
    Even absent any federal mandates or guidelines, there
    has been an explosion in state and municipal residency
    restrictions imposed on registered sex offenders in the
    past decade. Purportedly to keep offenders away from
    places frequented by children, many of these restrictions
    are so broad that sex offenders (many of whom did not
    commit an offense involving a child) are effectively
    banished from cities large and small. Studies have
    shown that these restrictions have no positive impact on
    recidivism, and they reduce public safety by
    destabilizing and stigmatizing offenders trying to
    reintegrate into the community, often driving them
    “underground” and out of contact with support systems
    and law enforcement.

    Vicki Henry
    Women Against Registry

  7. Shelly Stow

    Every time I read about the creation of “child-safe” zones, I just shake my head. According to the latest statistics from the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Division of the DOJ about who child molesters are, for victims age 6 and below, 58.7% are family members, 39.7% family acquaintances, and 1.8% strangers (and not all of the stranger group are registered offenders; in fact, few are); for victims age 7-11: 50.5% family; 46.7% acquaintances; 2.7% strangers; and for victims age 12-17: 21.7% family; 72.9% acquaintances; 5.7% strangers–keeping in mind that only a tiny percentage of the stranger groups are registered offenders.

    Based on this, the only “zone” that would keep children out of the reach of potential molesters and therefore safe from sexual abuse is a zone that would exclude their parents, siblings, grandparents, entire extended family, baby sitters, neighbors, teachers, playmates’ parents, siblings…..everyone in their lives.

  8. Curmudgeon

    One-size-fits-all laws are basically stupid. Several years ago in Missoula, MT, a univ. student, somewhat the worse for imbibing, stepped into an alley to take a “whiz”. A not-too-bright member of the constabulary noticed and hauled him in for “indecent exposure”. A somewhat brighter magistrate threw it out without charges.

    But had he been convicted, he would have been a branded “sex offender”.

    (No, it wasn’t I — I’m a teetotaler. But the incident became campus legend.)

  9. Sal

    Do we have the will and integrity to oppose and stop in its tracks an organized, rapidly-spreading effort to demonize fellow citizens because of their membership in a group, rather than based on their character and conduct? In the Thirties, Germany failed that test, and Americans have asserted ever since that this couldn’t happen here.

    I agree with most of your analysis and appreciate your discussion of this topic. I feel that this goes over the line, however. People ended up in that unjustly mistreated group because of their conduct. That doesn’t make this kind of legislation any less wrong, but it does make the situation an entirely different animal from ethnic cleansing

    I am the grandson of Holocaust survivors and I am always in favor of an apt comparison–the “show me your papers” law of this very state leaps to mind–but I think this, as well as the image and caption, is quite inappropriate. Also, American assertions of moral superiority on this front are ridiculous–genocide has been committed on an epic scale in the USA. The Trail of Tears, just to name one moment, is as great an atrocity as any other. Hitler studied Indian Removal when planning his concentration camps.

    • Gays were also targeted by the Holocaust. The reason the Jews were targeted was, in part, because of imagined “crimes”. If you are persecuting a group unjustly because of membership in that group, I see no distinction ethically between persecuting some one for his ethnic background, his political belief, his past acts, his membership in organizations, or any other factor unrelated to the persecution. I understand why we recoil at genocide especially, but ethically, choosing to wipe out the Knights Templar, gays, or former felons would be just as bad. Are you arguing that the sexual offenders aren’t sufficiently “innocent”? I don’t think you want to go down that road.

      • Michael Ejercito

        Jack, the apt comparison is not with the Holocaust, but wiuth the ancient tradition of outlawry. Bill explains it .

        The immediate consequence of being proven a nithing was outlawing. The outlawed did not have any rights, he was exlex (Latin for “outside of the legal system”), in Anglo-Saxon utlah, Middle Low German uutlagh, Old Norse utlagr. Just as feud yielded enmity among kinships, outlawry yielded enmity of all humanity.[63] …”Yet that is but one aspect of outlawry. The outlaw is not only expelled from the kinship, he is also regarded henceforth as an enemy to mankind.”

        Sex offenders are clearly nithings, and Huachuca City is simply treating them the way nithings have historically been treated.

        • But they are not nithings, because our legal system doesn’t endorse making people “outlaws.” The argument against Jews in Nazi Germany was that they were greedy, avaricious, and untrustworthy—if you belonged to the group, you were per se to be regarded as a threat to society.

  10. Lola

    This issues raises hackles and increased emotions to drive out logic so quickly. I never hear about the offenders themselves. I want to know more about why adults molest children – because then we can work to solve this problem in society.

    • Shelly Stow

      That is an extremely complex question, and the answers and solutions are equally complex and multi-faceted. However, something needs to be cleared up before it can even be approached; your post assumes that “the offenders themselves” and “adults [who] molest children” are one and the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. The vast majority of those on sex offender registries did not molest children, and a certain percentage of those on the registries are children themselves. And I do not mean “children” in the sense that anyone not yet of the age of consent is a child; the term “child” has been redefined so that an 18 y.o. with a 16 y.o. girlfriend can be charged with sexual assault of a child. I mean child in the true sense. In Texas, children as young as 10 are on the registry, and Michigan has two registrants who were 9 when they were required to register (http://michiganmessenger.com/34591/breakdown-of-michigan-juvenile-sex-offender-cases-by-age). In spite of what people believe, children are not protected by the registry. Research based data verifies that. Rather children need protection from the registry.

  11. As discussed in an earlier post, the willingness of municipalities to continue to oppress and stigmatize law-abiding citizens who the justice system has deemed fit to re-enter society is ignorant, cruel, and unconscionable. And it is getting worse.

    A law-abiding sex offender? That is an oxymoron if I ever read one.

    Sex offenders are nithings, homo sapiens by birth, subhuman by choice . The key word is choice . They were born with the same human nature as the rest of us. Their choices made them nithings.

    Bill explains what nithings are .

    A nithing was devoid of all human rights, and he was considered the enemy of civilized humanity: a perfect depiction of Islamic supremacists [and sex offenders]. The word therefore strips the enemy of all humanity, and degrades him to the status of a wolf or strangler (per Scandinavian tradition) or a virulent disease like the Black Plague. Black Plague is a deadly and contagious disease whose vector consists of plague-carrying rats, while the Green Plague of militant “Islam” [ and sex offenders are] a deadly and contagious ideology that is spread by bipedal rats: nidings or nithings, non-humans that raise violent hands to all of civilized Humanity.

    The immediate consequence of being proven a nithing was outlawing. The outlawed did not have any rights, he was exlex (Latin for “outside of the legal system”), in Anglo-Saxon utlah, Middle Low German uutlagh, Old Norse utlagr. Just as feud yielded enmity among kinships, outlawry yielded enmity of all humanity.[63] …”Yet that is but one aspect of outlawry. The outlaw is not only expelled from the kinship, he is also regarded henceforth as an enemy to mankind.”

    • Julian Hung

      Wow, you didn’t read my comment or Michael’s, did you? Also, outlawry in the modern age would be a pretty dumb idea; if someone doesn’t deserve their rights to begin with, then in the interests of both justice and public safety, that person should simply face life imprisonment or execution instead.

  12. Pingback: Open Thread And Link Farm: Giant Octopus Edition | Alas, a Blog

  13. The sex offender registry IS working!! It has sent thousands of convicted sex offenders back to prison. Problem is, they are being sent back to prison, not for commiting another sex offence! They are going back to prison for non compliance of all the new laws that are in some cases impossible. They cannot find a place to live that complie with the 2,000 foot bounderies. when they do find a place the public notification, internet and restrictions force them out. They are arrested for not having a residence, not having a job, not being able to pay the 10 to 20 bucks every 3 months. They were away from their residence over 3 days with out a permit. they were seen walking past a park or playground. They did not have the scarlet letter on their license. The list goes on and on…The laws are retro active. It does not matter what the offence or how long ago it happened. They go back to prison for breaking one of these new laws… being retro active for a crime that was committed 30 years ago. The only defense …oh there is none!

    • Michael Ejercito

      The list goes on and on…The laws are retro active.

      And why does that matter? They are outlaws, enemies of all mankind.

  14. james

    The irony of the AWA (new law) is this! In offender TREATMENT the one consistant fact that comes up over and over. Most offenders feel inferior, lonely, unattractive, Unacceptable to others.The greatest majority were abused or molested by family or someone close to them.
    The biggest and most often asked question is “WHY? Why did you do that? A person who is gay did not just wake up one morning and say ” Gee I think I want to be gay, and then does” niether did the sex”offender!
    I do not mean to compare sex offenders and gay people as being the same although not to far back they were considered to be the same and in many places still are. Since the AWA (new laws) are retro active the Gay comunities need to perk up and watch out. It’s not a far fetched idea that some power hungry politation could go back a few years when homosexual acts were criminal and wham!!! They fall under the AWA’s retro active laws Using the same idiotic reasoning and political fear that no politician would dare take a stand on the side of a convicted sex offender. Have you ever been convicted of speeding or DUI regardless of how long ago. From this time on and the rest of your life you will be known as a drunk a recless drunk. God forbid some body finds a picture of you back in the day when streaking was funny as hell. Today and for the rest of your life, you are sex perverted exhibitionist.A joint and you forever are a drug attic AAARRRGGGGG!!! Indubitably Sherman

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