Vehicles, not “predators,” pose greatest threat to little monsters at Halloween

This year, NARSOL has gone to greater lengths than ever before to re-focus the Halloween issue from the myth-based one regarding sex offenders to a fact and reality based one regarding the need for improved traffic monitoring during peak trick-or-treat hours. We are encouraged by the number of requests we have had from mainstream media and other sources asking for factual information on the issue as well as by the articles that are coming out reiterating the facts and calling, as do we, for an end to the myths.

On October 27, NARSOL issued a press release emphasizing this position to a very wide range of national media. The press release appeals directly to law enforcement to place their priorities where empirical evidence dictates.

Many articles have come out in the past two weeks focusing on what law enforcement will be doing to monitor those on the registry on Halloween evening. Our sincerest hope is that information released post-Halloween will reveal a shift in that stance and a lowered number of children who have died or been seriously injured by automobiles while they are trick-or-treating.

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Robin Vander Wall

As vice chair of NARSOL, Robin is the managing editor of the Digest, director of development, and provides assistance to the webmaster in keeping our websites running smoothly. He also serves as founder and president of Vivante Espero, NARSOL's 501(c)(3) foundation and legal fund.

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    • #25638 Reply
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      Ron

      While I agree with the overall theme of this short article, the headline is terribly misleading; it implies that everyone on the registry is a predator when in fact most are not. It’s the same sort of reader baiting that the traditional media employ to lure people into their stories. Having worked in the media for more than four decades, I was often taken to task for headlines I did not write and bore only a tangential relationship to the actual facts of the story. But, as headline writers are fond of saying: Don’t let the facts stand in the way of a good headline.

      • #25648 Reply
        Sandy Rozek
        Sandy Rozek
        Admin

        Ron, we respectfully disagree. If we made the statement, “Other hunters, not poisonous snakes, pose the greatest danger to hunters in the woods,” we would not be implying that everything in the woods was a poisonous snake.

        Additionally, we felt it important to use the terminology used by those who propagate the Halloween hysteria and myths. Rest assured that, to a person, everyone at NARSOL abhors the “predator” term as much as you.

      • #25649 Reply
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        Jennie Henzel

        I agree with you – what would have been a better headline?

    • #25654 Reply
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      Eliza

      I’m so happy that this news media issue is being addressed. I had to turn off our local news last night as I could not listen one more time to the craziness about the misconceptions of people on the registry. When will it be made clear and when will people understand that the majority of registered citizens are not predators. The whole idea of registered citizens propagates this false information.
      I would prefer if the dangers associated with “predators” would not even be compared with traffic issues. The number of dangers associated with these citizens are no greater ,if not less, than dangers associated with traffic, the shootings at schools, concerts, gang violence, drug abuse, dangerous criminals……just to mention a few.
      Registered citizens have become the scape goats.
      Why do we have to compare ourselves with bad things to prove that we are not bad? Or not as bad as the things with which we are compared.
      It would be wonderful to have news media propagating the many good things that citizens on the registry have done. But unfortunately many registered people are hiding in shame and despair and are afraid to hold their heads high and be recognized as good people ,who made a mistake .
      Eliza

      .

      • #25689 Reply
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        Maestro

        Eliza,

        We live in a society that believes the penis is mightier than the bullet, knife and hardest illegal narcotic you can think of.
        I do believe that feminism plays a huge role in how society treats those of us who have done something sexual that’s considered illegal. But imagine for a moment if the legislature decided to NOT make certain sexual things illegal. The registry would be cut damn near in half if not more.
        So, in the minds of the majority, any man who put his penis into a POST PUBESCENT teenager (keeping in mind the age of consent varies from state to state) even if consensual, it’s seen as “rape” thanks to terminology such as “statutory rape” which actually means someone under the consenting age consented but is not allowed to.
        Terms such as statutory rape should never have existed.
        And then the news media from long ago using such terms to today’s crime drama TV shows have corrupted the minds of the masses.
        When I was in high school, many of the girls were dating older guys who were 20+. I’m sure those women today are the ones relying on the SOR as their ‘go to’ guide for sexual offenses that are no different from what the men they dated did with them. In a word – Hypocrites.

        • #25752 Reply
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          Jonny everyman

          You always make this argument and it’s kinda crap.

          Acting like you as someone who had sex with a 17 year old makes you better than someone who did with a 12 year old is poor thinking.

    • #25655 Reply
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      Tim L

      I had noticed one danger of Halloween is what happens when kids eat all of that sugar! Mine start bouncing off the walls, running, yelling and causing havoc in the house. They break furniture, fight, throw stuff, and act like uncontrollable imps. Then the sugar crash comes on and all hell breaks loose. God forbid a parent request they pick up all those candy wrappers, an all out fight in itself. Good luck protecting them from imaginary tree jumpers, protecting them from themselves is job one!

      BTW, when did Halloween become an officially recognized holiday?

      • #25697 Reply
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        Jo mine

        Here! Here! Agreed…….sugar is damaging. It makes perfect sense. When sugar ferments it changes to alcohol. Wow…arrest all those who give alcohol (sugar) to children!

        • #25813 Reply
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          Tim L

          Metabolized via digestion, not fermentation.

    • #25686 Reply
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      Kurt Martin

      Sandy, Ron’s point is valid.
      The headline of the article says “predators” but the body of it talks about “sex offenders” and “registered sex offenders.”
      Since the article doesn’t cite any study which we could review to see exactly what type of persons have caused how many offenses against trick-or-treating kids, we don’t know if the allegation in the article is “cars are more of a threat than sexual predators in our society” or, instead, the allegation is “cars are more of a threat than persons on a sex offender registry.”

      Without such clarity in the substance of the article, we readers (well, perhaps just the uninitiated readers who aren’t NARSOL advocates) will ASSUME that all these terms are interchangeable.
      Sex offender = sexual predator = registered sex offender. All the same thing, right?

      If they’re not all the same thing, then the term used in the article’s headline should match the ones used in the body of the article, and that one should match the actual study or meta-study analysis used to support the assertion in this article.

      P.S. As a matter of science and statistics, let me observe that many, if not MOST, trick-or-treating kids would not come in close proximity to a registered sex offender EVEN IF such offenders were home on Halloween and allowed to answer the door if kids approached to beg for treats. There just isn’t that high of a percentage of such offenders living in our communities. In contract, pretty much EVERY kid that trick-or-treats in any neighborhood has some motor vehicles pass in close proximity to him or her.
      Therefore, we would expect that cars cause a larger number of injuries than sex offenders cause new crimes as to those kids.
      The question left unanswered by such a study would be if there’s MORE RISK in kids meeting a car in the road than meeting a sex offender at his door. One to one. One car, one sex offender. Or equal numbers. A million kid-car encounters and a million sex offender doorbell rings. Which had more bad things come from that interaction? I don’t know, and I doubt anybody else knows either, because no proper study has ever been done that I know of.

      • #25696 Reply
        Sandy Rozek
        Sandy Rozek
        Admin

        No, not all the same thing, not at all. The focus of the press release was what law enforcement needs to be doing on Halloween to address the only verified source of harm to children, which is automobiles. How many children have been reported as molested on Halloween by anyone? We do not know. How many children have been reported as molested on Halloween by someone on a sex offense registry? As far as extensive research has revealed, zero. For the statistics, the citations, and the full scope of how misplaced the fear of registrants on Halloween is, read https://narsol.org/2017/09/the-official-yearly-halloween-report/. And to totally clarify the allegation of the press release and the article about it: Automobiles are a verified source of harm — 4 times greater than normal — to children during Halloween activities. Registered sex offenders are not. There is no INCREASED risk to children of sexual harm from anyone on Halloween over any other time of the year and ZERO reported instances of sexual harm to children on Halloween by a registered citizen.

    • #25692 Reply
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      Saddles

      Ok you guys cool your jets. Oh maestro not again. When I was in school the Beverly hillbillies were still hanging in their. I tend to believe they are still hanging around only with a more sexual slant. Halloween is just another day for those who celebrate it and those who don’t’. Sure I had fun growing up. Things were more innocent than they are today and even if you notice TV today its not like back in the wholesome late 50’s and 60’s. Sure these cop show’s that started showing up play a lot on peoples minds
      Cars, sure who would want to get hit on Halloween. As for me I never did like Halloween that much. Sure I was always with the gang but those days are past. Like I told my PO this sex thing is what it is, until it is what it ain’t. Now I know a lot of you guys on here got shafted and a lot like myself got on the internet and screwed up so to speak but remember two wrongs don’t make a right.
      Everybody involved in this has to be strong. If anyone has anything to worry about and challenge, discrimination would be the main issue at this time. We don’t even get to pass out candy. Some don’t even get to take their kids out for trick or treat. Leave it up to some member of the family. Its a shame to get wrapped up in all this and not be able to earn a living much less provide for one’s family when government takes your money’s for fine’s and such. You can bet Sandy and Robin, Brenda, and all the other crew will give them the facts. Sandy its what’s in the heart that counts not this data stuff and all this other stuff like recidivism and other law’s they try to harvest on a person.

      Now please have a Happy Halloween and take care of your family as best you can and also stand up for your rights. …and maestro my friend, remember one thing one can rape with words I’m sure we all know that. It can cut like a knife..

    • #25700 Reply
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      Ron

      Jennie and Sandy: Sorry for the delay in replying, but to answer your questions, first let me say that headline writers for newspapers often are constrained by space and have to find a way to put the essence of the story into just a few characters, thus limiting what can be said. That’s not necessarily the case on the Internet, where space is not an issue. But the idea of a headline is to lure the reader into reading more than a sentence or two of the article. Studies have shown the attention span of readers is generally 8-10 seconds and if you don’t grab them in those few seconds of the headline and a paragraph or two they are on to something else. So the more sensational, the more graphic the headline the more likely it is readers will hang around. Headlines also set up in the mind of the reader what it is they expect to get out of the article. So when you use the term ‘predators’ you are certainly getting people interested in reading the article but as other posters have said, not everyone on the registry is an actual predator so you are also misleading the readers. The easiest solution would have been to put quotation marks around ‘predators’ because that signifies you are calling the usage of that term into question. As the step-father of an autistic adult child on the registry because of his autism I occasionally call into question his probation officer and the deputy in charge of the registry for using that term ‘predator’ in reference to him because in our state it is part of a legal classification and he is not in that classification. In essence, words and how you use them matter, especially when it comes to this issue.

    • #25704 Reply
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      Kendal

      Maybe if there was added the word Supposed in Bold and quotation marks. I understand what was trying to be conveyed, but maybe that would have helped, that we are not predators, but that the public at large “SUPPOSES’ us to be predators.

    • #25705 Reply
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      Ben

      Thank you NARSOL for all that you’re doing to combat the Halloween hysteria. I agree with your methods and direct line of argument on the subject. Put the fear where it truly belongs, and challenge people to think about what are the real risks of trick or treating verses the manufactured lies.
      As a registrant, I’ve always been told not to do anything Halloween related or risk being “perceived” as a predator out to snatch up innocent children. I value my freedom. So I adhere to these warnings, always have, but here’s the reality. My wife loves Halloween, and every year I stay at home with no porch light on while she takes our little ones out to navigate the streets with our kids in their costumes all excited to return with lots of candy after an evening of fun. If their lives are more at risk by automobile accidents than anything else, how would anyone perceive that makes a protective father feel who can’t be out with his own kids watching over them for their safety?

      – concerned parent AND registrant

    • #25718 Reply
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      Kendal

      A comment on the Operation Blackout news post makes the most sense, and something, as a computer person I have said for years…

      Are people really letting their kids go out by themselves trick or treating on halloween. And if they are, they really should be locked up themselves. And if they go out with their kids, how the hell is anyone going to harm these tykes?

      It’s time to get rid of the registry and put the burden of protecting kids where it belongs, on the parents.

    • #25722 Reply
      Robin Vander Wall
      Robin Vander Wall
      Admin

      To all concerned about the header. It’s important to understand, as Sandi has aptly described, that our press releases (which are sent to several thousand media contacts throughout the nation) have only a split second to catch someone’s attention. The volume of press releases and media dispatches is overwhelming given the relative ease with which any organization, no matter how large or small, can send forth information to media contacts. The headers–and even more particularly–the subject lines, must demand attention or suffer the demise of a split second click of DELETE. And then, it’s over.

      We believe it’s important to share our media efforts with our members and readers. But, we must operate within the media environment that exists. And headlines are not appropriate vehicles for tranquil rhetorical devices unfit and ineffective at arousing the interest of media professionals who are floating in a veritable cesspool of propaganda from every imaginable corner of the globe.

    • #25749 Reply
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      Darrel Hoffman

      I have a much better idea-outlaw Halloween altogether and then we wouldn’t have to worry about any of those problems listed in the article-tree jumpers or cars. Halloween is a day where evil and evil things are celebrated and glorified and has no business in a society that claims righteousness.

      • #25753 Reply
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        Jonny everyman

        Friends let’s not be so sensitive over a headline…

        If you aren’t a predator don’t worry about the label. If the shoe fits…

      • #25775 Reply
        Sandy Rozek
        Sandy Rozek
        Admin

        Actually, Halloween has its roots in ancient Christianity. It is All-Hallows Eve, the day before All Saints Day when those who have died in the faith are remembered. Many current Christian denominations, Catholic and Protestant alike, celebrate All Saints Day.

    • #25776 Reply
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      Dave

      If society was to approach the real threat on Halloween Vehicles and treat it the same as sex offenders there would be no cars allowed on the road between the Trick or Treat hours. The fact that this is not even considered shows the reality that the public is only interested in saving kids lives if it does not inconvenience them.

    • #25803 Reply
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      Bill

      I love fall and Holloween. The colors and burning of leaves. We do plenty of bonfires here in Michigan in October.

      On another note. Went into verify(until I hear otherwise), our law enforcement has not heard anything from the AG. Glad the ACLU and Michigan law school is working with our legislators to get this corrected. After all these years; just a little longer to wait.

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