An open letter to New York’s Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and DOCCS Commissioner Brian Fischer:

By Sandy, RSOL Board…..

A true Halloween horror happened in your state this year. A horrific auto-pedestrian accident claimed the lives of three people, one of them a ten-year-old trick-or-treater. The others were family members who were with her. Additionally, three more pedestrians were injured, one, a three year old child, critically. The rest of the nation grieves with you at this tragedy.

I have read with interest during the past couple of weeks the extensive efforts that New York, along with some other states, has taken to protect trick-or-treaters from the threat that registered sex offenders pose at Halloween. Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Fischer have proudly announced Operation Halloween in press releases and announcements, and the express purpose is made clear: to protect children at Halloween from a serious threat of harm. This has been carried out, at great expense and use of resources, in spite of the fact that experts and research have verified for years that there is no increased risk of sexual harm to children at Halloween and that there is no correlation between those on the registry and Halloween. Article after article and study after study concludes that this is a problem that doesn’t exist.

And yet you carried on with Operation Halloween as though it did. Media throughout the state warned parents and children to check the registry so they would know where the registered offenders lived, and they praised Operation Halloween for keeping children safe while trick-or-treating. According to sources, “The parole officers check up on the offenders multiple times over the course of Halloween night,” and one is quoted as saying, “ ‘If they’re not there, we’ll track them down. We’ll find them tonight.’ ”

Such dedication.

What might have been the result, I wonder, if instead of committing resources to this effort, New York had chosen instead to commit to a variety of other efforts directed toward a real risk—the reality that children are up to four times more likely to be killed in an auto-pedestrian accident on Halloween than any other night of the year.

What if, instead, money was expended on flooding the airwaves and media outlets with public service announcements cautioning both trick-or-treaters and drivers of the necessity for extra caution? Could all of those parole officers, rather than sitting and waiting for miscreant registrants to get home, or tracking them down all over the city, have been instead diverted, for the night, to traffic patrol and/or to manning intoxicated or impaired driver check-points? Could the efforts of all law enforcement have been increased toward those ends for just a few, short hours?

Would it have made a difference? This we will never know, but please let this be a lesson learned for next year. Given a choice between protecting against a non-existent problem and a very real one, please make the choice that every bit of logic dictates.



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2 Thoughts to “An open letter to New York’s Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and DOCCS Commissioner Brian Fischer:”

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  1. Phil

    This letter is so true but missing one important thing. Sex sells! The government is making a fortune off of it. The real threat is boring and not news worthy in their eyes. A few people hit by cars ” God rest their souls” a real problem on Haloween doesn’t sell as well as harassing and monitoring sex offenders who with out their intervention would be on the streets like zombies on Holloween chasing children around. So un true but sounds good so they continue to sell something that’s not true but makes them look good because no sex crimes occurred but would not have without all the hype and waste of tax payers money. They know all about The “Trick” on Haloween! Sex offenders make up about 3 percent of the population. Maybe History can repeat itself.

  2. Paul

    I agree. A story about children being hit by automobiles on Halloween in the media just doesn’t have the staying power that mythical monsters do, meaning sex offenders. Everyone wins. Media outlets make money; probation officers and the police look like heroes and politicians can use it as a selling point. The people who lose are us, those who want to be left alone on Halloween but can’t because of the power of the lie. As we as society remains “precrime” at its core, things will never change. Precrime exists; it’s why all of us are on the registry. I know we committed an act to get on it but the whole reason for its existence is because the government “knows” we will commit another act. That’s a different motive than doing things the old fashioned way. Someone is punished, he or she pays their debt and then can move on. That’s an utterly passe sentiment with psychological profiling and precrime. Society, except it already. Registered citizens do not hurt children on Halloween. Automobiles are actually more dangerous! Media, leave us alone and quit sensationalizing a problem that doesn’t exist!