By Sandy . . . updated 2:30 eastern time 11/2/17
From NARSOL’s point of view, there has never been a Halloween like this one! I scarcely know where to begin.
The Patch campaign was amazing in and of itself. Final analysis shows that the Patch organization posted one or more of the “Halloween Safety Maps” showing the homes of those on the registry and warning of their “danger” during trick or treating in 28 states. That means that 22 states did not display these maps or warnings, which is encouraging.
At the very minimum, 20 people from almost as many state groups and from NARSOL were involved, and an uncountable number of emails were sent to an equally uncountable number of Patch outlets, editors, writers, and executives. The collaborative effort was awesome and a positive model for future projects.
We saw our initial letter posted on countless Patch sites, and in the week leading up to Halloween, we saw something amazing: Many Patch sites put up columns with sensible, realistic advice for parents and children, advice that did not even include a mention of those on the sex offender registry. We have great hopes that this is a preview of what next year’s Patch Halloween advice columns will be.
NARSOL, Don Thurber featured in video but not in text: http://counton2.com/ap/south-carolina-sets-rules-for-sex-offenders-on-halloween/
And THEN….Then there was the Halloween night NARSOL in Action Marathon.
Holding forth from Albuquerque, NM, NARSOL in Action hosts and board members kept the phone lines open for 5 ½ hours.
The hours were filled with a mixture of discussion of current legal cases, reports from state representatives about Halloween restrictions on registrants in various states, discussion about the latest International Megan’s Law news, and call-ins with either questions for the attorneys or reports on what was happening Halloween-wise were they were.
Five attorneys were on the call to discuss cases, answer questions, and opine about what was happening in the states. Six of NARSOL’s eight board directors were in attendance, several for the entire call. Numerous state reports were given.
184 people registered for the marathon, more popped in who had not registered, and when the call ended after five and a half hours, over 100 people were still tuned in. Innumerable questions were asked and answered by attorneys as well as by Mr. Paul Rigny with RTAG – Registrant Travel Action Group – who fielded questions about IML. Over 300 calls from registrants or their family members were logged in to report current conditions where they were or situations in progress with law enforcement or probation officers. Several situations were noted that bear further investigation and may raise the possibility of action being taken.
Four door prizes were awarded, one of them a $100.00 gift certificate. Texas won the door prize for having the most members registered to attend.
It was exhausting. It was exciting. It was awesome. Larry is already planning for next year!
I am hesitant to report this last item lest it should prove not to be true, but as of this writing, I am unable to find any report of a child killed in traffic while trick-or-treating. Since our overall Halloween campaign has been for media and law enforcement to focus on actual safety issues for children at Halloween, of which traffic incidents are primary, this is extremely gratifying. True, a couple of horrific tragedies took lives on Halloween, but as far as we have seen thus far, none of them involved a trick-or-treating child being killed in an automobile accident.
That alone is worth celebrating.
At the time of the update, we have discovered two instances of children being hit by automobiles and injured, requiring hospitalization. Both are expected to survive; one of the instances was in New Jersey, and one was in New York.
Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.