By Sandy . . . It has happened again. A person on the registry was shot and killed by a vigilante.
According to the source, “A Las Vegas man told his neighbor he killed two homeless people behind a central-valley swap meet because one of them was a sex offender, court documents show.”
The other person just happened to be there and, according to the source, wouldn’t leave.
Alfred Wilhelm, 53, was on the Nevada registry for an offense committed in Hawaii in 1984, thirty-four years ago.
In 2016 Nevada expanded their public registry to include all registrants. Prior to that, those who were deemed level one were not registered publicly. Was Mr. Wilhelm previously listed privately? We don’t know. His record has apparently already been removed from the Nevada database. If so, if he was not listed on the public site before 2016, then his murder is doubly tragic and senseless.
The number of times that a listing on the public registry has served as a road map pointing the unstable to their victims is significant and growing. Nor is this the first time that a totally innocent person was murdered just for being present when a murderer located his prey.
Those who are in the federal witness protection program, many of whom were criminals and murderers, are given the strongest of protections to avoid their being located and killed. All others released from prison for the most heinous of crimes are given anonymity upon the discharge of their sentence. They can change their names, move where they wish, and live in their chosen communities free of fear of being discovered.
It is only those who have been adjudicated for one of the more than a hundred behaviors that triggers sex offender registration that are forced to live in the community with a bright red flashing neon arrow pointing the way to their doorsteps. They are not even allowed to change their names, for so doing is a violation of registration requirements.
This is an untenable situation. To be forced to live in fear of being hunted down and murdered is to be sentenced to a living nightmare. How many more registrants will have to be tracked by means of a public sex offender registry and be shot or knifed or bludgeoned to death before we as a society rise up in horror and indignation and say “Enough”?
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.