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Ghost advocates

By Michael M . . .  You see them all over social media, activists sporting names like “Registry Reform Warrior” or “Abolish the Registry!” As a registrant yourself, your first impulse may be to follow or friend them because their thinking parallels your own, you want to stay informed on registry matters, and it’s really nice to know that you’re not alone in this fight. But then you glance at their timeline and your heart sinks. This person hasn’t posted anything in years.

The information posted there is stale and horribly out of date. They have an optimistic profile promising great things to come, but it is painfully obvious that suddenly, and for no apparent reason, their efforts came to a grinding halt a long, long time ago. There’s no announcement, no explanation. Nothing at all to explain the disappearance. One day they were there and the next day, they just weren’t.

This sort of thing isn’t limited  to individuals, either. Search for organizations dedicated to registry reform and you’ll find dozens of social media accounts, blogs, and websites dusty from neglect and age, accomplishing nothing but the hushed demoralization of anyone who happens to stumble upon their bleached bones in the digital desert.

It’s easy to let our imaginations run wild, conjecturing upon what may or may not have caused the sudden disappearances of some of these individuals. Perhaps they had their parole or probation revoked. Perhaps they shouldn’t have been on the internet to begin with. Perhaps they suddenly became unemployed or homeless and their priorities shifted from advocacy to sheer survival. Maybe they died.

While each of these possibilities may be sad to contemplate, they are understandable. Life happens. Sometimes, death happens. And none of it ever happens according to plan, especially when it comes to life on the registry. Sadder still would be the possibility that some of these people went *poof* simply because they became discouraged, demoralized, or apathetic – especially if they left without so much as a “Catch ya later!

For organizational social media accounts, blogs, and websites there is usually less mystery involved. Membership inevitably ebbs and flows, and volunteers continually move in and out of assigned duties. Perhaps a talented webmaster moves away or can no longer fulfill his duties, and no one seems willing or capable of stepping up to take his place. Maybe someone simply got overwhelmed by the requisite tasks or the whole thing somehow just slipped through the cracks. Regardless of the cause, the effect is ever the same: potential volunteers, contributors, and people in need of hope or information are disappointed. They may leave with the notion (accurate or not) that the organization is struggling or inactive. They might reasonably surmise, “If this organization can’t keep a simple website up and running, how can I trust them to competently represent my interests in the legislature and judiciary when it comes to a complex issue like registry reform?”

This is not a good look for any advocacy group, but even less so for advocacy groups on the unpopular side of a nationwide social panic. Credibility on this particular battlefield can be incredibly hard to come by, even under the best of conditions. You simply cannot afford to squander it because of neglect or an organizational oversight.

Let’s all resolve to make 2019 the year that you take back control of the public face of your advocacy efforts. By so doing, you’ll be giving hope to hundreds of thousands of registrants and their loved ones who are depending on you to inspire, encourage, and mobilize them.

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Michael M.

Michael M. is the published author of several non-fiction books, a writer/researcher for NARSOL, and the executive editor of The Registry Report. He also assists NARSOL in marketing, social media, and podcasting.

This topic contains 13 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Saddles 1 week, 3 days ago.

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  • #50598 Reply
    Michael M.
    Michael M.

    By Michael M . . .  You see them all over social media, activists sporting names like “Registry Reform Warrior” or “Abolish the Registry!” As a regist
    [See the full post at: Ghost advocates]

  • #50602 Reply

    Tim

    Michael,
    What you describe is inherent to the electronic beast. NARSOL suffers from TOS denial from many of the Social Media Giants. FB collects data on WE and I’ve never attempted to join its network! Indeed our state government makes sure our personal information is available so we can be rightly and legally denied website use by those firms. Attrition is always a factor in war, which is what I believe we are in the middle of. IMHO one very onerous underlying truth that flowered politically from unfettered use of the databases is the ability to ‘ghost’ political opponents by engaging in electronic domestic surveillance ( w\warrant AND without). I find it striking that social media has yet to produce an alternate political party, A viable third of you will? Maybe 2020 will shed some light.

  • #50605 Reply

    Nicholas Maietta

    Excellent piece covering a rarely publicly discussed issue with what i’ve referred to as the “reform movement”. After my release from prison in 2007, I was finally able to get back online and begin my research into the laws in various states and learning what my rights where. Up until then, I was completely lost.

    I had the privilege to speak at length with people like Mary Duval who was by far the most influential person in the “reform movement” up until the time she passed away shortly after. She was losing her eyesight while fighting for her son Ricky who was caught up in the legal battle of his life. She was one pissed off mother and was working hard to protect her son. Thanks to her efforts, her son is no longer on the registry and thousands of people have been helped along the way in various ways, most notably via SOSEN.org in which she played a major role in.

    Most of the people who discover organizations like SOSEN, ACSOL, NARSOL, FAC, WAR and many others are simply looking for information for themselves or for those they are trying to help, such as a family member or friend. Without these valuable organizations and the multitude of blogs out there, people will, without a doubt in my mind, feel hopeless and lost. There is a sense of community that unites tens of thousands of people across these organizations. Unfortunately there is still one major issue that continues to divide people and even the organizations they are a part of: The faulty political stance on either absolute abolishment of the registry, or simply being okay with repealing bad laws. Some of in the middle but want to see the registry abolished are with the understanding that is unlikely to happen without progress in changing all the laws that step from the registry itself. The reality though is that people’s individual believes continue to harm efforts in working together in a highly effective way. I’ll call this “political resistance”.

    Another problem is a lack of leadership roles being filled that address key issues across organizations. There have been great work done by the key organizations and it’s visible at on a national level by way of website activity. Efforts lead by these organizations are making a massively positive impact on registrants and their family members. Simply knowing there are organizations active and fighting a tough fight is good for the lost souls who feel hopeless. As we’ve seen, serious money has been raised to take action at the legal front.

    Which brings me to another issue. Working together is easier said than done. I have proposed and started work on tying groups together on a technological front and am looking at this again with new understanding of what organizations are willing and unwilling to do. Tools and methods matter and can make organizations more effective through efficiency and staying on track. It’s my goal soon to revive a couple of projects to help with this aspect of things and i’ll be in touch with various organizations soon about this. In the meantime I ask that everyone wanting to volunteer consider first joining existing efforts regardless of beliefs. It’s okay to branch out later but this would by far be a better approach than starting on your own then vanishing like most of them. Without careful planning and a serious push to execute the plan, it takes a special set of circumstances and a bit of luck to make a small project become successful. The last thing I want to see is seemingly awesome projects like CFCAmerica, eAdvocate and SexOffenderIssues Blogspot simply vanish, which they’ve done. Sadly people die off or simply walk away. Many of us depended on the work of others. We have no explanation for the disappearance of SexOffenderIssues Blogspot but I am part of an effort to leverage the “brand” so to speak to push forward to bring an amazing interface together for all the key organizations and derive useful tools and information from the collective.

    It’s hard enough to get volunteers. When someone takes the time to blog, write articles or perform other tasks on their own or within an organization, we need to be able to support them as much as possible and their work should not be forgotten. This in itself would help retain the power of the reform movement while growing it and for many, bring a sense of purpose to their lives which is what i’m sure we all want to see.

  • #50607 Reply

    jason

    Responses to both Michael and Tim.
    Michael, my religion has a saying from an ancient text that says “it is not your responsibility to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” If people come and go for various reasons, that’s okay. As long as the meaningful work continues. Regarding Tim’s comments: I don’t think war-like thinking is helpful or should apply. We’ve been in a zero-sum game too long. We need to be educating and sharing real facts and data. When people who have committed offenses are allowed to reintegrate into their communities, everybody wins. It’s not Victims (capital V intended) vs. Sex Offenders. Nobody wants more victims and we don’t need to continuously label someone who committed an offense with terminology that keeps him/her locked into their worst moment. Using war-like terminology merely perpetuates the idea that anyone on the registry or close to someone on the registry is violent and an aggressor. That’s simple not the case.

  • #50608 Reply

    David Kennerly

    SexOffenderIssues did, in fact, die. So he has the perfect excuse for giving up the ghost.

  • #50623 Reply
    Michael M.
    Michael M.

    Wow, great feedback from all of you. I realize this piece was a little outside the norm for this site, and written more for my fellow advocates than for the general public, but I do appreciate your thoughtful responses! This has been a subject that has bothered me since the day I was released from incarceration. I was starved for good information about what lay ahead for me and about the socio-political-judicial landscape, but for weeks all I was able to find were these “ghost advocates.” Even some of the most influencial and active groups around took forever in returning my correspondences or calls. Frankly, I was about to give up until I got a call from NARSOL.

    I also totally understand that far too many of the calls and letters that we get are from people who are in that “me me me” mode – What can you do to help me with my housing problem? How can you help me get a better attorney? Why isn’t anyone paying attention to MY problem? etc etc etc. It can wear you down and harden you to the point that you might miss that rare call or email from someone who wants to give, rather than get. A person who wants to help, rather than be helped.

    By the way, Nicholas… I too have been giving a great deal of thought to some ideas similar to yours, re: tools to facilitate better communication, cooperation, and efficacy of effort for registry reform advocates and organizations. Perhaps we can discuss it sometime.

    I don’t claim to have all (or even any) of the answers, but I can see when something needs fixing, and I think this is one of those things.

  • #50625 Reply

    saddles

    Maybe its a little to late as some on here don’t remember and now one may say “Welcome to the Hotel California. Sure back than it was one of my favorite groups. Course that was in my drinking days and my CJ studies. At times we all sort of get into trouble but when one actually gets in Jail and while talking to other prisoners and trying to understand a lot of this confusion its no picnic. I would rather go to jail for DUI than have the SO hanging over one’s head.

    While SexRegistry Issues was the first site’s I went to to try to understand all this it was NARSOL that has a good platform and a few others. While one can go with the discriminiation belief or the political climate change one have to stick with the basic roots of truth in a lot of this overwellming issue that we all face today.

    Even people told me back in the 70’s doing hard time said to me they would eat me for breakfest if I did hard time. Now nobody wants to come out of prison,if they suvrive, and have all this on their shoulders.

    Michael I do have to say its a good post at the right time and pulling together we can all strive to put an end to a lot of this or as NARSOL says make Rational laws, and with law decorum, so that everyone gets a fair shake of truth and Justice. or are we back to kangaroo courts today just with the sex offender.

  • #50628 Reply

    Derek Logue of OnceFallen.com

    If the movement ever wants to grow, you folks have to start recognizing that you can’t be an everyman. You can’t be the QB, the coach, the kicker, the defensive end and the waterboy all at once. Perhaps some thought should be spent on focusing on better ways to use limited resources. It seems NARSOL is all about conferences and lawsuits– not complaining but just as many football teams can’t win games with just one or two star players, this movement isn’t going to win big with a one-sided strategy. Lawsuits and conferences geared to legal eagles are great and all but that one sided strategy isn’t enough. But I don’t expect y’all to be everything to everyone. You do your conferences and lawsuits, but just don’t knock those like me for doing something else.

    • #50630 Reply
      Charlie
      Chuck

      Hi Derick, we all have a part to play. NARSOL plays a big part which many don’t seem to see beyond the E-ticket attractions of lawsuits and conferences. But really, those are two of the more powerful way to get real, sweeping change. The next two are public education of the reality of registry myths and then direct support. Have you checked into the Fearless Groups opportunity? NARSOL is promoting all four strategies, and a lot of cross pollinating among groups. We all have a part to play, let’s not cast any stones at in another.

    • #50636 Reply
      Fred
      Fred
      Admin

      Thank you, Chuck. Those are the points I would had highlighted too.

      Derek, I am a little confused by your omment. First you seem to be saying NARSOL can’t play every position by ourselves and should narrow our focus to a few things that our resources and funding allow. Then you seem disappointed because you think all we focus on are lawsuits and conferences.

      NARSOL has several projects going on that I won’t even bother listing here, because they are mentioned all over the site, if one would just look before assuming. I know you have been around this advocacy world for a long time. NARSOL has been growing and expanding steadily over the last few years.

      We exercise different methods of raising awareness, educating the pubic and meeting with our legislators than you do, but I think you should be happy to know that we have those areas covered too. Please take some time to look through the tabs on the top menu.

  • #50646 Reply

    saddles

    @Derek. At times all have to conference and understand trends and effective ways to go with this ghost that seems to haunt everyone on the Registry. Now at times one is not thrilled with suing others but the old saying is can’t cannot do everything. Sure enlightenment is good and so is direction if it is good in this ordeal that we all are faced with.
    Understanding doesn’t come overnight or should we do unto others as they have done unto us? Its only a logical device that some in authority seem to ignore. While some don’t like the psychological aspect of the tensions that the SO in cures we do the best we can to understand this mockery of justice and advocates if one has a good platform & can excel at it. Even all of us.
    Speaking out for this is all good. While some might be confined in their travel and other restrictions that infringe others to get to conferences or travels, the one’s that do have some form of privilege should use the opportunity to help others if at all possible.
    Even NARSOL e-mailed me to help with the call chats over holidays but I had other obligations myself and am going thru a bit of crisis myself. A lot of us are unemployed due to this ordeal, and its not a pretty picture in someone’s status in this ordeal.
    Are we a ghost ship being ship wreaked, or should we all say, with the right quarter backing one can do a lot. Yes we can all help out depending on the individuals restrictions in a lot of this unconstitutional mess.
    Look at it this way if we all didn’t care we might as well fold up shop and let it ride. I’m sorry I made the comment Hotel California but if you really look at the “ghost” of it. is the sex offender or the offender who’s being pushed aside by all this, or should we all go back to The Elephant Man days. I didn’t really like that movie that much but it does make a statement.
    Maybe I’m crazy but one could look at all this as a mission from God to correct. Course I thought the Blue’s Brothers were sort of wacked in some of their films. The main thing is to enlighten the general public about this miscarriage of un constitutional justice whether one has to go thru public broad cast systems or by other methods such as congress relief.

    • #50690 Reply

      Tim

      @Saddles,
      Derek is a leader. He’s simply being pragmatic. He has the courage to speak publicly, protest, show up! Too many hide behind anonymity, he does not. While he and I landed on the electronic lists for different reasons, we each recognize the absurdity that without the opportunity to defend ourselves in the public forum BEFORE INCLUSION was a blatant violation of the constitution ‘s few prohibitions designated to protect AN INDIVIDUAL ‘S liberty in its purest sense. NO PROCESS, civil nor criminal! Even those interned civilly are first afforded process ex: civil commitment!

      You know I’m not a member of NARSOL. I’ve no skin in the game but my own.
      For me Derek is right on about the PUBLIC PROTEST! It is the most effective way. Groups assemble in DC regularly. Why not registrants? Better to hide? Me thinks not no matter how ‘ guilty’ one really is.

      As I’ve posted before, anonymous speech questions delta while public speech affects it. For me effective advocacy rightly depends upon through which channel the message is carried to the people. So far, electronic means have proven ineffectual for registrants. So that leaves only PUBLIC PROTEST, or courts. The courts have been kept very busy on the issue and truly is an understatement considering the billable hours accumulated – by who else lawyers and administrators. A boon to that lot. Resolution cannot be had.
      Opt for trial!.

  • #50696 Reply

    Saddles

    Tim I like your style in all this and don’t get me wrong I also like Derek’s style. I happened to stumbled on a pastor which I won’t mention names, during my internet textings wondering why the churches don’t help or lend a hand, and he , texted to me and said to me. Are you calling me a sex offender how dare you. After we had gotten things straighten out after I mentioned the question why the churches don’t help the kidneys are shutting down which one did it sex offender or look down on them. He mention to me that he wasn’t a sex offender or on the registry but he went to batt for one of his church members. Seems the church member had gotten caught up in the pornography end of this ordeal.

    While all good things come out in the end if we all press on to get more clairification of this internet ordeal vs the nature of the beast, I am sure one agree’s in speaking out and protesting and in a lot of this. I don’t even like this teir system that some go thru. Compounding man by this type of injustice even after prison or other means is a bit far fetched for any true justice system. At times one gets so upset with oneself in a lot of this but with all banding together all should speak up and give view’s and opinions in this ghost that can haunt everyone on the registry. So we all press on for true justice. Condeming one’s past with this sexual type of ordeal is not a good quality for American Justice and is a bit crass.

  • #50751 Reply

    Saddles

    After Michael’s good article on “ghost” advocates one would think to follow all this up. Now with a rebuttle here and their Michael does present a point and also good understanding of this internet debauchery or this type of fleshly intent. Sure there is all types of rebuttles in this sex offender War as some call it. Injustice, unconstutional, devlish or just plain safety reason’s without the true understanding of truth. Should we also include cross-plattforming in all this matter.

    While protecting the innocent is good there seems to be situations that come up that cast a shaddow in all this I wonder if we all dohave threats against person or property in these sexcapade of ordeals that we all face. Who is insiniating that they want to get naughty or dirty in these ordeals or internet encounters? Who is self centered in all this? Who is giving the opportunity to who?

    At times I believe its easy to understand all this “opportunity of inducement” and say its fraudulant misrepresentation by deceptive means. When fraud is introduced by this type of puffed up justice, are those in facts doing miscariages of vainglory justice in ordeal to seduce some in these ordeals by internet use. Talk about mind bending justice today in this ordeal.

    While all can understand public safety, this internet method is a bit puffed up. Is this some type of event to prevent forest fires or a lot abused or a lot of persuasion by some means or form. While computers have their place in todays search for information, is knowledge and true understanding set aside? Is knowledge just as dangerous to many in issues or is the right way to handle matters still the right way.

    Is using correction by fraudlent means good for the country or is that betrayl by government means? Are we all being intimidated by false measures? Are law enforcments abusing their vocation? I just wonder if these police are acting in their own righteous understanding ,or the interest of their neighbors when presenting these internet type lascivious behavior offenses.

    I at times wonder who is talking to a minor. Even the CP can be a lead in to all this roudy situation. Sorry Michael as I didn’t know where to put this comment.

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