Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Vigilante Harassment, Intimidation or Murder of Registered Sex Offenders or Their Family Members Should Be Included Under Hate Crimes, Especially if Carried Out By Members of Established Hate Groups

For a few days now I have lamented about the South Carolina couple who were murdered in their own home by a white-supremacist and his wife.  

The story has received some press (http://goo.gl/o28y7K , http://goo.gl/Io5GFB, http://goo.gl/8Z0rHm , http://goo.gl/vznIiJ ) that I have posted in the articles page of this blog but the story certainly has not been picked up by mainstream outlets. Why would it be? Most citizens would consider the murdered couple deserving of the hate driven attack by these supposed KKK followers/members. Oh, not because the murdered couple was a minority, they weren’t Jewish or even homosexual; if they had been then it would be more widely publicized. Citizens would be outraged if anyone from those three groups were the target of a vigilante attack.  

I didn’t know the murdered couple or the presumed perpetrators. 

It didn’t happen here in Virginia. 

So why can’t I get this story out of my mind? Why do I care?  

Instead of Charles Parker, 59, and his wife, Gretchen, 51 being savagely stabbed and shot to death in their home after offering to assist a supposedly stranded Jeremy Moody, 30, and his wife Christine, 36 ….it could have happened to my family or 20,000+ other Virginian families. 

So why were the Parker’s targeted? 

Charles Parker was a Registered Sex Offender. His photo, name, home address and a map of how to get to the front door of that address were all publicly listed on the South Carolina Sex Offender Registry. 

So when Charles and Gretchen Parker decided to take it upon themselves to murder some registered sex offenders because they assumed all RSO’s are “pedophiles” and “demons” all they had to do was print some pages from their states public registry (found inside their vehicle). The Moody’s were the Parker’s first stop and if there hadn’t been video recordings of the Parker’s on the property during the crime they had more names and addresses to move onto that week. 

The Moody’s like so many registered sex offenders installed not only a basic security system but cameras that dated, stamped and recorded all activity surrounding their home and property because they feared a vigilante attack of some sort.  

Registered Sex Offenders, their spouses, their parents, their children and their roommates all face some sort of harassment at some point. Ranging from minor annoyances to severe hassles and/or threats, all due to their address being publicly posted as a “home of shame or danger”. The public has been told by the state that they have the right and the need to know about these people and their addresses. But the public is not educated about this information, so their left with questions, concerns and anger.

Registered Sex Offenders have been made into targets by the government because of the mandate of a public registry where anyone can look up their photo, name, employment and residential information, with the added convenience of mapping directly to them. All with just one click.

Vigilantes who have no affiliation to the registered person have stalked, harassed, threatened, intimidated, slandered, injured and killed registered sex offenders simply because they are on listed on the Internet as a sex offender.

Remember my July 18th post about my concerns about Ken Cuccinelli’s new "predator" website where he calls out 90 of Virginia’s Registered Sex Offenders as possibly being released from being required to registered in Virginia. Stirring up unfounded fears among our citizens to push through his own personal agenda which could possibly lead to a vigilante action against one of the 90.

Vigilante justice against a segment of society that no one dares defends and that we’re all socially allowed to despise is seen as righteous. If there is collateral damage like a spouse or a girlfriend, then the attitude of “they were stupid to be with that monster, so they deserved what they got” begins to circulate through on-line comments, social media and requests for legal support for the perpetrators. 

What if the Moody’s hadn’t had the security cameras? 

What if there wasn’t evidence to stop the Parker’s from moving onto the next registered offender? How many more people who are fully complaint, registered and just trying to survive and provide for their families might have been killed by this deranged couple? 

It makes me recall a Virginian newspaper Columnist who contacted me back in November 2010 about a case here where a Registered Sex Offender was struck intentionally by a vehicle. A few days before the Columnist called me I had been quoted in another newspaper stating that the Virginia statute for misusing information from the Virginia Sex Offender Registry shouldn’t be a misdemeanor but a felony. Also that as long as the U.S. is going to have Federal Hate Crimes then Registered Sex Offenders should be included.  

What? You say. 

Well the definition of a Hate Crime (also known as bias motivated crimes) is a crime that occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of his or her membership in a certain social group, usually defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, or political affiliation. Hate crime can take many forms. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, or offensive graffiti or letters.

A registered sex offender is a member of a group that has political repercussions.

Oh but the Columnist back in 2010 had a few choice words for my stance not only did it seem she doesn’t believe in Hate Crimes but she wrote that the misdemeanor charge for misusing registry information “wasn’t needed in the 1990’s when they passed the law and it isn’t needed now” yes, I looked up the column to make sure I quoted her correctly.

She also said in that same column about the young man who chased down the RSO, “In other words, _________ faces more jail time because he allegedly attacked a sex offender than he'd face if he'd committed the exact same crime against an ordinary decent Virginian”.

Ahhhhhhh, “decent” Virginians versus those deemed “not-decent”.

White Supremacists, Neo-Nazi’s and the KKK target Sex Offenders.  

Yes, the KKK has broadened their audience of hate over the years.  But since Congress has never added Registered Sex Offenders to the list of Hate Crimes, the Parkers won’t be charged with that. I think I hear a Columnist in Norfolk cheering, sadly. 

As long as the Commonwealth of Virginia is going to mandate citizens to a public list of shame and scorn accessible to anyone and everyone and a citizen misuses that information to intimidate, harass or harm anyone at that address then yes they should be charged with the additional misdemeanor! Not only that, I still believe it should be increased to a felony! 

In addition as long as Federal Hate Crimes exist, then any group that a City, County, State or Federal organization mandates to register on a publicly accessible list should be included under that protection.  

As a moral and just society if we believe singling out/targeting citizens who are different because of their skin color, their nationality, their religion or their sexual orientation is wrong and should be punished then we must apply that same logic to other groups across our country including Registered Sex Offenders.