Let’s Not Repeat History – We Should Learn from It

by Dwayne Daughtry . . .

I have often heard comparisons that the sex offender registry is somewhat similar to what Jewish citizens experienced during the Holocaust. To me, I wouldn’t go that far of comparative extremism. However, I see stark similarities and warning signs that history and behaviors are somewhat repeating itself. 

First, the registry itself perhaps is much different than a Scarlett letter. I would equate being on the registry is somewhat like the classification system used in Nazi concentration camps. But those symbols of classification extend to family, children, and allies as well. With premises restrictions, living either individually or with family creates housing limitations with unwritten guilt by association clause. Housing limitations or civil commitment programs force many into substandard choices, similar to how groups of people were forced into ghettos administrated by Nazi control. 

Today we are witnessing states introducing legislation to either create a registrant identification card or have a designator on an existing driver’s license. It is already bad enough that International Megan’s Law forces registrants with passport labels. There are similarities in Nazi Germany, where Jewish people or other classifications were stamped on identification documents. Instead, it is an identification card, passport, public registry, facial recognition programs, or mandated property signs. The stigma and persecution follow no differently than a modern-day tattoo with lifelong effects and mental anguish. 

It is nearly impossible for any human to understand the labyrinth of laws, restrictions, and processes currently in place regarding the registry. It is bad enough where lawyers, police, lawmakers, and the public do not have a basic understanding or a sense of collateral consequences. But what about those impacted by the registry at the mercy of discovering a new rule or policy in place each year? Such schemes were comparable to the Nuremberg laws of Nazi Germany, where Jewish people couldn’t navigate rights and citizenship because of ever-changing regulations and red tape. Eventually, Nazi law banished any undesirables from its land or public view somewhat how registry laws are doing the same in America.  

Some would insist that people on the registry arent being gassed or murdered. Instead, I would point out this observation that registrants are murdered, die from lack of care, and commit suicide at an alarming rate. In some cases, suicide occurs in jails well before adjudication has been handed down. A public registry for the world to see allows such heinous trends to continue. Even if a suicide or murder occurs within the registry community, there is little to no sympathy for the loss of human life. Again, a similarity of how citizens of Nazi Germany looked upon Jewish or other classification labels.

There are additional premises restrictions forbidding people on the registry and family members from access to programs. For example, the Nextdoor application prohibits registrants or registrant families from participating in its platform. Additionally, there are places, software apps, parks, churches, libraries, agriculture fairs, Halloween festivities, jobs, and a maze of other uncertainties that disallow registrants and their families. Such similarities occurred during Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass that limited where Jewish people could publically go or where ordinary citizens could interact. 

Therefore, it is fair to assess that the registry and the Holocaust are, in fact, vastly different. But it is safe to point out the similarities and failings of society to learn from history repeating itself. The Holocaust author Laurence Rees said, “Be aware that hatred of minorities can make very popular policy.” It was a warning by the author that hatred is the key ingredient and that silencing the voice of minority groups allows any policy to take shape and sustain indefinitely. 

A survivor of the Nazi death camps, Elie Wiesel saw humanity at its worst. He survived the Holocaust and made it his life’s mission to ensure it was never repeated. Perhaps the registry community, along with the general public, should embrace Mr. Wiesel’s message and warnings that we do not repeat history in any similar fashion or likeness. After all, such striking similarities demonstrate where the wounded are recognized by the wounded. 

Dwayne Daughtry

Dwayne is NCRSOL's Executive Director.

4 thoughts on “Let’s Not Repeat History – We Should Learn from It

  • September 21, 2021 at 10:27 am
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    There are similarities, but jews and gypsies were registered to be placed in work camps while registrants work camp is now a database property. Most people make the distinction between the two by pointing out sex offenders are put into the work camps for what they done criminally and not because of who they are or how they recognize faith. Nevertheless those who practice religion are “doing” as they deem fit to worship which can conflict with dogma of other religious practices and lead to conflict. The dehumanization of groups( sex offenders in this cass) is a common historical theme and practice that always precedes before unconstitutional use of gov authority. Historically if you wanted to find corruption by financial coercion one must look in a place where few would care to look. No different here.

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  • July 20, 2021 at 1:53 pm
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    Even after I served my time, did therapy, got off probation & did my community service I continue to live in fear of harassment from the public & law enforcement. I can’t even enjoy family functions such as taking my granddaughter to the water park or zoo.

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  • July 18, 2021 at 3:34 pm
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    The justice system doesn’t keep tabs on convicted and released thieves, robbers, murderers nor on the predatory lawyers who take their clients money and does not provide a proper defense. Nor is there any punishment to prosecutors who deliberately withhold fact that could free or minimum the charges and sentencing of a defendant. How many people in our legal system from the judges to clerks commit the say offenses as the persons they are so determined to punish? Either they have been caught and a fellow law enforcer let’s off the hook or they have not been caught yet. Does punishment apply them? Who is policing the police and policing the justice system? When someone is sent to prison its not just that person, many people connected to them are also effected, many lives are destroyed, permanently altered. And by God’s grace if someone makes it out of prison must they have society further scrutinize their private lives? It’s crazy how it is a intentional effort to keep an offender down thwarting every opportunity creating recidivism just to keep the money racketeering flowing. Since we are a society of one effects all than every citizen should be flagged since each and every HUMAN is capable of the same actions depending on the circumstances. It’s crazy how natural human being behavior is so severely punished by another human that could possibly do the same thing or has already done it but just hasn’t gotten caught.

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  • July 18, 2021 at 3:32 pm
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    This is a great article with many logical and morally conscious questions that the people who are asking for all these crazy restrictions demanded until it happens to them or a loved one especially one of their children. When they become the accused I bet they sing a different tune.

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