Hey October, just leave . . .

Written by Phoebe . . .

What does October make you think about?  Cooler temps?  Leaves changing colors?  Decorating with mums?  Pumpkin-flavored anything?  Hayrides, corn mazes, and haunted houses?  Carving pumpkins?  Halloween?

For a registered citizen, October brings on what I refer to as “The Month of Media Attention.”  Every news station does it.  It is generally the scare-tactic approach, but it pulls in the ratings.  So maybe their mission is accomplished as they reach their viewers, but they leave behind a wake of unrest for many.  This is the time of year the Sheriff gets to shine with his/her vow to protect the community.  This is the time of year election ads flurry to “protect the children.”   This is the time of year I just shake my head in disgust trying to figure out how to educate people to the untruths being told by the media.

There are two high profile events that occur in October:  the NC State Fair and Halloween.  Both trigger a flurry of negative attention to registrants.  This year is no different.  I knew to look for it and yes, during the first week of the month every local news station reported on sex offenders being prohibited from attending fairs around the state.  The media is swarming over the Sheriff’s department as they heed the warning that sex offenders prowl on people at the fair.  While it is true that there have been some arrests in previous years of sex offenders attending the state fair, the number is extremely small.  Yet, the media as well as law enforcement often portray a false sense of danger.  It is important to realize that not every registered citizen is a predator.  I absolutely cringe every time the media uses the term Predator as if every registrant is in that category.  That is absolutely not true.  Some registrants are underage couples in consensual relationships.  Some registrants have victimless crimes.  Some registrants are actually innocent and are victims of false accusations.  The truth, which the media fails to report, is that LESS than 1% of the registrants in NC are considered predators.  It is also a proven statistic that most offenses against children are committed by a known person and someone not already on the registry.

While I agree we want to protect our children (and people of all ages for that matter), there are a lot of things we need to protect them from.  Do we keep alcoholics away from the State Fair because they now have a Beer Garden?  Do we keep convicted murders away?  Do we prevent known gang members from coming within a certain number of feet from the premises?  Here’s a kicker – do we keep drug dealers away from the State Fair?  You have to admit there’s a huge drug problem and the number of arrests for drugs far outweigh any other crime.  Yet, I have never once heard the media warn the public that drug dealers may be at the fair lurking after their children.  Again, I am an advocate for protecting people from sexual offenses, so I do not want that misconstrued.  However, the percentage of incidents is so small compared to other offenses. Why is our state spending so much money monitoring registered citizens, many with non-violent offenses, yet not focusing on the drug and gang problem in our area?

Yes, October is a bit of a pain point for me.  My family actually just likes to go to the State Fair for the food and the livestock.  I mean, who doesn’t love the food?  Our desire to attend is so innocent, but it’s not allowed, nor will it be for the 30 years that one is required to be on the registry.  Yes, you read that correctly.  30 years on the registry is the required length of registration.  No matter the offense.  No matter if the charge was a misdemeanor or a felony.  No matter if you’ve already served time in prison or been on probation.  No matter the situation you are in.

Halloween is a lost cause for my family, as our window of Trick-or-Treating together as a family has come and gone.  Those are things one can never get back – the thrill of taking your son or daughter door-to-door and to carnivals in their sweet little costumes.  This is the first year my neighborhood wants to have a block party for neighbors to get to know one another – on Halloween.  I guess, as usual, we will sit inside the house, lights off, and just put on a movie.  That’s about all we do – oh, and wait to see if a deputy stops by the house “for a check.”

So please, Mr. or Ms. Media, please stop using the term “predator” when speaking of registrants.  You are wrong.  And please stop using individuals on the registry to perpetuate fear among our community.

And dear October, while I love the many things you have to offer, I cannot wait to see you go.  My hope is that registered citizens are not unfairly targeted by communities during this time of year because of a false fear perpetuated by the media.

I challenge you to join NCRSOL, ask questions, share your story, and work towards making laws sensible and fair.  There is much support that is offered by NCRSOL members – and together we all do have a voice.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Be a change agent…

3 thoughts on “Hey October, just leave . . .

  • Avatar
    October 10, 2019 at 11:34 am
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    This is so spot on. I’m a mother of a 25 year old RSO who has only been on it a year, as of now. He will be 54 before he is off this list. He loves Children and is a great step Dad who can no longer go to kids spots events , which he loves, and use to help coach a team, especially baseball as he played his whole life. He lives in Raleigh and loved going to the State Fair. His arrest had nothing to do with children, as a matter of fact, HE WAS THE CHILD, in the situation that ended up with a false misdemeanor charge against him. I am so frustrated with the RSOL which has the same rules for all. Everyone is then a PREDATOR. It makes me sick and I am all in on anything I can do to help change this. I do admit, I hesitate to put anything out on social media simply because I don’t want unwanted attention brought to my son. If I share things, It just lets people know, who have forgotten all the headlines in the papers and on the media about the arrest of my then 21 year old son. When they then realize he is on this list, they assume he was guilty…. so so sad 🙁

    Thank you to all who are fighting for his and all Registered offenders who have no reason to even be there.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      October 10, 2019 at 7:52 pm
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      Thank you for being brave enough to comment. THIS is something I, too, am all too familiar with – the fear of saying anything or posting because of fear of people knowing about the situation you try so hard to suppress. Here are a few things I’d like to share with you.
      (1) I have now traveled this road as a family member for years, so I am here to help you if you have questions. Go to Contacts above, email us, and ask for Phoebe.
      (2) If you have not joined NCRSOL yet, I strongly urge you to do so. This is a way you can stay up to date on news, legislative calls to action, support, and all kinds of other pertinent info. Most importantly, we are building a community of people who can help guide each other. We all want to maintain our privacy. But – this process has allowed us to have mentors, to have a common bond, and build friendships.
      (3) There will be a conference in RALEIGH in June of 2020. Stay tuned for more info on that. Registration has begun!
      (4) PLEASE do this – email your Senator and Representative. Email them A LOT. Call their office. Tell them that Misdemeanors on the registry for 30 years makes no sense. Be very persistent about this. We have a list of legislators names that we continually contact and the more people they hear from, the better.

      I hear you loud and clear and I sincerely thank you for sharing. Hearing from other people helps remind me I am not in this alone. There are others riding this same emotional roller coaster that I do. As for your son- keep being an encourager…he needs it. While is it a challenge to not be at sporting events (AGAIN, I know all too well!), he is still a parent. Love, love, love on those children. My hope is that we can make headways on the Misdemeanor charges.

      Best wishes!! –Phoebe

      Reply
      • Avatar
        October 11, 2019 at 9:55 am
        Permalink

        Phoebe,

        Thank you for your response. Your right it is comforting to know your not alone. I am a member and have read lots of stories of others peoples hardships because of the “List”. I have written some myself that are on here. I sometimes just have to step back from it a while to rest so to speak, not that a day goes by anyway with the nightmare of that night running through my head. The resentment I have for the accuser is beyond measure. She happens to be my age and was an aquatint/friend of mine. I will certainly write my Senator, that is one thing I have not done.

        Best wishes to you as well!!

        Reply

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