Sunday, October 18, 2015

Shame, Isolation and Banishment

The following was sent to us via the "Tell Us Your Story" form and posted with the users permission.

By James:
There is so much I've learned about these laws over the past five years that I'd like to unlearn but can't. One feels a bit like Kafka's Samsa; one day you are traveling salesman and the next day, a giant insect whose family in the end is relieved that you died. Perhaps Kafka's "The Trial" and Joesph K. is an even more fitting description of what this experience is like.

I was convicted of a non-touch offense and given many years of supervised release plus the registry. Of course, there isn't a day that goes by in my life that I don't regret what I did. I literally threw my life away and I had a professional career and life which is gone, forever. I'm not qualified for most welding/mechanical jobs that most sex offenders are forced to get so I remain unemployed. I did not end up going to prison and am extremely grateful for that. But even though polygraphs and many experts have shown and agreed I have never physically touched anyone and I am not a risk to do so, that fact will never be believed by the general public because of the public registry. Since my conviction I've read many people actually prefer prison to life on the outside being a registered citizen. Before being brandished from my community, that statement might not have made any sense to me but because I'm living it, I don't doubt it. Neighbors who shun you because you lower their property values, former friends and associates who pretend that you don't exist, having an "elephant in the room" that is always there no matter who you are talking to, fearing that any day a new buffering zone restriction will be passed in your state forcing you to move, watching people look at you as though you are Frankenstein's monster despite the fact that you know the truth about yourself.

Let me say this: We haven't reached the phase of genocide that Hitler's Final Solution provided for in the killing of 6 million innocent people, but we are moving in that direction. That may sound like an extreme statement but everyday as I watch more laws being passed, I am forced to come to that conclusion. Jews were not put in concentration camps on day number one of the Nazi regime. It escalated. Don't believe me? It's actually happening.I look at "Miracle Village" in Florida as being like a modern day Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw Poland. The implication is that these people need a colony of their own outside of the general community because God forbid they may contaminate or poison the community by their mere presence. Doesn't this sound pretty similar to another well known ideology? This really should not be a surprise; many politicians have made off-the-cuff remarks (and not so off the cuff) about how nice it would be if penal colonies for sex offenders existed. And it isn't just happening in Miracle Village. Clustering is happening all over the country, especially in more restrictive states. Certain cities, towns and municipalities can pass ordinances to keep sex offenders out. The Massachusetts Supreme Court recently compared these laws to Japanese Internment Camps. Do I personally worry about how this escalation can effect me in the future? I don't know how I could be human and not worry about it. It's a fact that's staring me in the face that I'd rather ignore but can't.

I could write a polemic here based on my experiences and research but alas I will cut it short. I just wanted to get in my two sense. I hope other people can resonate with how I feel.

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