Vigilante Assaults on the Rise – A Return to a Lawless America?

Cambridge, Mass.–In a span of only a few months’ time, local and national media, fueled by the fires of social media, have documented an alarming rise in open, public vigilante attacks against citizens of this country. Some of these citizens had been merely accused of a crime, and, before there could even be a criminal trial, vigilantes took the law into their own hands. Others have been attacked for the sole reason that they were listed on the public sex offender registry.

These assaults have all occurred during this calendar year, but they follow like occurrences resulting in injuries and deaths going back for years.

On January 13, 2013, in California, a man accused of rape was lured out and beaten with a baseball bat, leaving broken bones, massive internal injuries, and missing teeth.

A South Carolina man and his wife were stabbed and shot to death July 22 in their home by a couple who claimed that the reason for their actions was because the South Carolina man was listed on the sex offender registry. His wife was simply collateral damage; she was just at the wrong place at the wrong time—in her home with her husband.

In early August in Detroit, MI, a mentally disabled man accused of sexually assaulting a 15 year old girl was assaulted on a street corner by members of his own community and beaten with baseball bats.

And less than a week ago in a small Texas community, headlines chronicle the vicious assault of a man by a woman and her boyfriend, again because he was on the sex offender registry.

These acts of vigilante violence all ring with a common theme: citizens taking the law into their own hands, reminiscent of the days of a lawless west, a part of America’s history that we, as a civilized society, had believed that we had left behind.

Brenda Jones, Executive Director of Reform Sex Offender Laws, Inc. has issued the following statement in response to these acts of vigilantism that have occurred in a purportedly free society: “I see these events as a disturbing example of the sort of vigilantism that has often been perpetrated on former offenders and their family members in recent years. When the South Carolina murders took place, RSOL pushed to have registrants’ exact addresses pulled from public view, in part, because of our concern that other vigilantes around the country would get the notion that targeting registrants was somehow okay. The fact is that our country has laws in place to punish persons guilty of crimes. Our founding fathers set up our system of governance precisely to avoid such vigilantism. No civilized society should be deliberately publishing ‘hit lists,’ but that’s what the sex offender registries have become.”

​Reform Sex Offender Laws, Inc. is an advocacy organization seeking reform of the laws that require the registration and open publication of those individuals who have been convicted of sexual offenses. Please visit our website for more information.

~~David Gailbreath

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2 Thoughts to “Vigilante Assaults on the Rise – A Return to a Lawless America?”

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  1. bill

    there are 1,000,000 people on the offenders list. better than 4,000,000 are horribly affected. there has to be more out there against the system because they know its just unconstitutional. find out the phone numbers of govenors in every state and just have everyone use their cell phones to call and say get rid of the registry. any state any time any where. 4,000,000 plus/ 50 thats a lot of phone calls. outlaw the registry save us from Nazisism.

  2. Santos DelaCruz

    I just cant take it anymore, I truly don’t have any idea why i’m forced to live like this, a convicted sex offender, the girls were supposed to sleeping over each others house so when one of the mothers calls the mother to talk to her daughter finds out she not there, now two mothers are freaking out calling police, meanwhile in a hotel somewhere in town two girls and one of their boyfriends show they know the guy I got the rm for now there are 4 people there plus me I was trying to sleep but the girls keep talking about the other girls boyfriend that’s when I got upset and I started getting loud slamming doors I just wanted them to leave so I took a shower got dressed talking loudly through the door telling them they need to go before i get out, not listening to me still babbling told them i’m going to the store they better be gone by the time I get back so me and the guy i got the room for left making a bunch of noise hoping hotel manager would make them go, when we got back to the hotel the police were all over the place, first thought come to mind was the manager called because I beat up his motel room, I park my truck and we walk back because I didn’t want them to impound my truck on a vandalism charge, so we went by that guys work saw police so I ran still thinking it for beating up the rm ,when the running stop ,I said dame that a lot of running for the thrashing of a motel, that’s when they said I was being charged with a 261 & 288 I ask what that was when I heard the ugly word child molestation now im really tripping because even to this day I have no idea what any body said to put me in that spot, the pd dumped on me told me if I had paid attorney i wouldn’t see a day in jail ur in a small town drifting around take the deal of a 288 or you’ll never get out, he scared me into taking the 288 what a deal, ohhh yea I was 24 the year was 1989 in hanford how is that for luck im going on 50 years old cant hold a job cant live any where cant do any thing except b a target where is the humanity, so is my dept never going to be paid for the crime I truly did not do, im just about done because I cant live like this any more I wont live like this have to move after 16 year where to go.? no family no friends no future no address if I dont register I can go back on a serious felony, if I cant find some relief or help soon there will b no more registering and I wont go back to prison that much I do know for sure the registry is a good tool if used right, but they’re not using it right.