By ROBIN VANDERWALL . . . In one of the most poorly cobbled epistles of opinion these eyes have beheld, the Roanoke Rapid Daily Herald‘s editorial staff has decided that something really must be done to close a “loophole” (it’s always a loophole, isn’t it?) in North Carolina’s sex offender registration statutes. A Daily Herald editorial claims that current law allows someone to–follow this–move to a new residence, properly register, then VISIT the former residence without re-registering it. And according to the sage suggestion of Titus Workman, Duke Conover, and Tia Bedwell, the state must make haste in passing a law that will require a registered citizen who visits his former residency to report such a visit within 24 hours.
For reasons that these three crime-fighting quill-smiths either overlooked or cautiously avoided, such a law, if ever passed (and that’s dubious, at best), would have to be written in such a way that it only applied to a registered citizen’s prior residences. And, as time passed, these residences would grow in number and ubiquity as registered citizens move here and yon. Fast forward 20 or 30 years and there would likely be registered addresses all over the state, and lots of unregistered people living in the former addresses of registered citizens. These innocent people would have no idea why and no legal remedy to free themselves, or their property, from the stigma of registration.
Or let’s think of another “hypothetical” that is more likely to suffer from the stupendous and absurdly moronic opinion that has issued from the mind of not one, but THREE, “educated” journalists in Halifax County. My registered address was once the same as my mother’s. Now that I have moved, her home address is no longer associated with my registration. That’s the way it should be.
But I do occasionally visit my mother. And I typically stay the night in her home at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and sometimes even for the New Year holiday. It would be tremendously burdensome for me to track down a legitimate law enforcement agency on Christmas Eve just for the ridiculous purpose of letting them know (and ostensibly the entire population of the planet) that I was planning to spend the night at my former registered residence which just also happens to be my mom’s, a home built by her dad and sitting on property that has been home to the family since the 1820s.
The Herald‘s suggested fix to this newly discovered “loophole” would not serve any legitimate public safety purpose but WOULD merely expose an elderly citizen of North Carolina to potential threats and harassment by the very people the editorial staff is likely to inflame: gun totin’ sycophants who remain whipped into a psychotic frenzy by the constant drumbeat of sex offender paranoia that has gripped the nation for more than two decades (beginning with the now laughable histrionics of alleged satanic rituals involving children in the late 1980s).
There is not a great deal to worry about here. Not only is the Daily Herald‘s readership abysmally low, but the suggested fix would likely find its way to the first garbage receptacle in legislative bill drafting after staff attorneys got done with it. But what is most disturbing is how far out of touch the media increasingly seems amidst a growing consensus among legal and academic experts that our nation’s policies regarding people formerly convicted of a sex offense are based on false statistical data and an unreasonable (and unsupported) level of fear among rank and file Americans.
But it’s that very fear that the editorial staff intends on fostering. Fear sells newspapers. And boy do they ever need to sell a few!