We’re all being tricked, and that’s no treat

By Lenore Skenazy….

“Trick or treat, trick or treat, give us something lethal to eat!”

That’s not the actual rhyme, but from all the warnings about Halloween you just might think it was. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics is still insisting that “a responsible adult should closely examine all treats.”

But why? How many decades of disproving this murderous myth do America’s doctors require before they lay it to rest? Joel Best, a sociologist at the University of Delaware, first put a stake through the poison candy rumor all the way back in 1985, when he did a study of newspapers dating back to 1958, looking for “Child poisoned by Halloween candy” news stories.

He found none — because there were none. One time, a boy in Texas did die of a poisoned Pixie Stix, but cops quickly discovered that his own dad, who was $100,000 in debt, had just taken out a life insurance policy on him. Dad was dispatched to that haunted house in the sky (or down below). And yet we still use this fear of neighbors as psychopaths as an excuse to curtail our kids’ Halloween fun.

We trot out plenty of other threadbare fears, too. Last week, Patch USA reminded its readers of a girl murdered in Fond du Lac, Wis., by a man later referred to as the Halloween Killer. That crime was in 1973 — 44 years ago. And yet, that single, sad story is the excuse Patch gives for publishing maps of the homes of men, women, and children on the sex offender registry.

That may sound like they’re doing a public service. But it’s actually like telling people never to go south of 14th Street, because once there was a terrorist attack there. When Johns Hopkins Professor Elizabeth Letourneau did a study of sex crimes on Halloween, looking for evidence of registered sex offenders pouncing on pint-sized pirates and princesses, she was shocked to find not only was there no bump in the numbers, the day was actually remarkably low in crimes against kids. In fact, she said, “We thought about calling it ‘Halloween: The Safest Day of the Year.’ ”

So Patch’s decision to publish the addresses of registrants may sound responsible, but it is scaring families with one exceedingly rare tragedy, and reinforcing the false idea that anyone registered as a sex offender is an insatiable monster. In truth, the number of people on the registry who commit a new sex crime is far lower than most people realize. It’s about five out of 100. Your kids are more likely to end up on the registry than to be molested by someone on it.

That’s scary.

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  • This topic has 11 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 3 years ago by AvatarKendal.
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    • #24835 Reply
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      Kendal

      Americans are not happy unless we have something to fear. We feared the Russians and nuclear war, we feared the Nazi’s, we fear cancer, we fear we fear we fear, and now we fear the sex offenders. We fear our kids will get poisoned or get a razor in their apples at halloween, and now we even fear that the kids themselves will sexually offend each other. Our fears are ruling our lives.

      We tell people that they must have a gun in order to protect themselves from the boogy man that is going to break in and rob us and kill us.

      Until we get over our fears we will never be able to live a full life, and we will always depend on the government to protect us. But guess what, they can’t. They can only give us a false sense of security.

      • #24840 Reply
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        Maestro

        Kendall,

        Everything you said = EXACTLY!

        A news outlet that’s more widely seen should do a story on that. It can be called: “America; Afriad Of It’s Own Shadow”.

    • #24849 Reply
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      Tim L

      Gerald Turner raped and murdered Lisa Ann French in 1973 on Hollween.

      • #24852 Reply
        Sandy Rozek
        Sandy Rozek
        Admin

        Yes, he did. That is the 44 year old crime that Lenore references in the 5th paragraph. That was about 25 years before there was a public registry, and even had there been one then, there is nothing to indicate that Turner would have been on it. That is the point. To even find a case to attempt to justify all of the warnings about those on the registry at Halloween, you have to go back 44 years and to a case that doesn’t even fit the criteria.

        • #24862 Reply
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          Tim L

          I also know Holloween rules are a waste…no doubt, yet they are applied to P & P clients in WISC. In fact Turner was the starting point for SVP ” Civil commitment,” 980 here in the state. His case also lead to sex offender registration! He also had a prior record for molestation so he’d been on the list if it were in place. I doubt it would have prevented the victimisation tho as a guy like him would have found a way.
          For me this is the reason why a society’s aim should be to judge on individual basis. Yet SORS prove that no such reason exists in the minds of the people. Holding person A responsible for the activities of person B, C, D, & F is as non-American as it gets. .Hell it is just plain stupid. Given these facts, and the fact that the man whom argued for the SORS during Alaska v Doe is now chief justice I see little hope for America as a constitutional republic. It maybe running on fumes now! 20 trillion and counting!

    • #24860 Reply
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      Jane Smith

      Kendal is correct.

      I want less intrusion by government. Abolish the registry… and people to stop worrying about pins needles and razors being in Halloween candy….it just doesn’t happen. My neighbors never tried to poison or harm me in any way. The boogeyman is not on every corner.

    • #24861 Reply
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      Brian

      @Meastro
      LMFA that’s a good one, it needs to be in big bold red letters too.
      Maybe add some fire and brimstone also. Oh and let me guess an SO is the one handing out poisoned candy, not that old lady or man neighbor that hates kids who’s never done any kind of SO related things in their lives.

    • #24887 Reply
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      Saddles

      People, People, People believe it or not we’ve all been tricked or have we. Now I reviewed that video that Robin was interviewed about this state fair thing and Robin is right the police sort of turned or twisted that whole press thing to their self righteous way. Now were a lot of us tricked in these internet sex schemes… Yes as ministers of God do not do that.
      Can anyone show me in the bible that says Ministers of God should present opportunities of a devilish nature?
      These kids that had sex with their sisters or pre-teens or whatever the case may be, should they be branded for life with the label sex offender?
      Did not JFK say theirs nothing to fear but fear itself. Now NARSOL has been making good strides in the fight for the freedom and rights of all of us on the sex registry. Sure we all can have our viewpoints but all of this is a bit belittling to the individual that happen to get caught up in all this sex registry stuff.
      Government is self righteous in a lot of ways. As far as myself I am nobody, I’m just a person that try’s to follow the golden rule. Sure we all could talk about discrimination but we all know discrimination is not right. Theirs a whole lot other things we can talk about but this sex situation is a stumbling in one’s backside. A lot of all this is scare tactics. So everybody speak up for your rights and NARSOL keep up the good work.
      Razor blades and poison apples give us a break. I think I will quote the bible to my PO when he show’s up on Halloween.

      • #24898 Reply
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        Nope, not JFK but FDR

        @Saddles

        No, it was FDR at his first inauguration, not JFK.

        “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

    • #24984 Reply
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      Joe

      Kendal,

      I think your point is on the mark but could use a little refining. I’m not so sure we need something to be afraid of, but rather the American mind set is more subconsciously oriented to hating something for some mysterious reason. Some say that it’s some form of getting therapy at the expense of other people’s misery. Another concept is that ever since we defeated Hitler in WWII, we have an arrogant bad ass attitude that drives this stupid idea that we will solve any problem by kicking ass for no other reason than Americans (mistakenly) are better than everyone else. Hell look at our fascination with sports. All over the world sports fans have passion but respect the game and how well it is played by all participants. It seems that only here in America does it turn into a standing hatred for the opposing team. The players don’t seem to have that view but the spectators do.

      I could go on but to cut to the point, Americans need something to hate so they don’t have to look in the mirror at themselves. They need to feel better than the next person because they avoid accepting that they in fact may not be. They manufacture something to hate so they can feel superior to those “other people” and thus good about themselves. A tyrant will always find a way to justify his tyranny. The vehicle most used throughout history to accomplish this is fear-mongering. America has done it with Native Americans, Jews, Blacks, Gays and Immigrants just to name a few. Unfortunately the current “Hate du jour” is towards sex offenders as we all know. The American mind set does not care about the facts, and while many are aware the truth is out there, they maliciously chose to ignore it. They suck up all the negative drama in the news and on TV so the fear mongering can grow that hate which they hide behind so they don’t have to look at their own faults and many times, their own crimes. Lets face it, there isn’t a single person in the USA that can’t be criminally charged with some kind of sex crime in the current environment. And anyone who thinks that’s not true has no clear understanding of just how far out of hand this crap has gotten.

      So Kendal, while your post about “Fear” is on target, I believe we need to look a little bit further to understand that they hate sex offenders because they have to hate something and that may be why they refuse to listen to reason.

      • #25011 Reply
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        Kendal

        And i have always heard that hate is fear, and fear is hate. We hate what we fear and fear what we hate.

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