Fighting the battles without losing the war

By Will Mingus, PhD . . . “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

As advocates, we are soldiers of a sort. We fight so that others can live a life free of an oppressive and burdensome system of registration and registration laws. While we may not be called on to literally lay down our lives, the call for looking out for the greater good is unmistakable. Those who know their history will know that change will not come quickly and may not come at all in our lifetime. But we are building the foundations of change with every victory we win.

I am continuously frustrated by people who say we should not fight for the abolition of the registry because it is not feasible. They argue that we will look foolish for suggesting that registries be eliminated and therefore we will lose credibility. I have no doubt that activists for every type of civil-rights reformation faced the same criticism. It was this thinking, in fact, that resulted in Jim Crow laws. Segregated schools, “whites-only” drinking fountains, and color-based residency restrictions all happened because of critics who argued, “Give them their own school, but don’t try to get them integrated. Nobody will ever go for that!”

The elimination of public registries must be the ultimate goal. Anything short of this will simply result in a debate about the “who” instead of the “what.” Arguing that the registry is fine for some but not for others is a classic example of throwing some people “under the bus” for the benefit of the few who might find themselves spared. It is like the soldier who walks away from his post in order to preserve his own life, but in doing so, costs everyone else in his platoon their lives.

Here is what many people miss: having the goal of eliminating public registries does not mean that abolition is necessarily the only, or even the primary, message. While the military has as its primary goal the preservation of freedom, it also has many smaller goals that inform each mission. Taking a hill or protecting a town may seem removed from the goal of freedom, but from a higher perspective, they are intricately connected. The important thing is that the smaller goals must not contradict the larger goal. We can’t protect a town by enslaving its inhabitants, and we can’t take a hill by offering up hostages in exchange.

Likewise, we can fight for small changes that have an immediate benefit to people’s lives, but only if doing so does not undermine the ultimate mission. We can support a “path off” the registry, as long as we don’t concede that registries are effective. We can fight for a grandfather clause to residency restrictions as long as we never say that residency restrictions are acceptable. We can fight to keep juveniles off the registry as long as we never say that it is okay for adults to be on registries.

This sort of messaging is tricky and requires coordinated effort and planning. It requires people to come together and ask the question: How can we support this or that change without conceding the efficacy of public registries? It also requires pushing back against carve-outs, hierarchies, and people who say the registry is fine for some people but not for them. In the end, it means viewing every decision through the lens of the ultimate goal of abolishing public registries.

Metaphorically speaking, it means that we, as advocates, be prepared to lay down our lives for our friends. If it brings us a step closer to eliminating public registries, even if it doesn’t benefit us personally, then we must buck up, be brave, and, like a heroic soldier, march on toward the larger goal.

This is how we win not just the battle, but also win the war.


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Will is editor-in-chief of LifeTimes magazine and the ED of Illinois Voices for Reform. Directly impacted by registration laws, he has made a life-long commitment to fighting these draconian laws and also helping others navigate the difficult terrain of being listed on a public registry. He holds several degrees including a PhD in sociology, and his research has been published in several peer-reviewed journals. Will is the father of an amazing adult daughter, and he remains active in various community social activities.

  • This topic has 9 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 2 years ago by Saddles.
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    • #55593 Reply

      wrongfully registered person

      I am one of the many who would benefit if the registry only reported contact offenses of children. I agree it would not be worth it to have my freedom if it meant the registry remains. They have scorned at least one innocent man with this registry this I know, and I will not stop until it is smoldering ashes.

    • #55611 Reply


      I am on here only to let people know I am fighting the ankle monitor. I served 3.5 years in prison and have been on parole ever since. They placed a monitor on me, 2012 or 2013, stating it was for life. With new information coming forward, I am fighting lifetime monitoring. I began a gofundme account hoping to raise money for legal expenses. I thank my cousin for coming forward about my ex husband and I. I am, now, trying to move on with my life. Please help in fighting for this!

    • #55639 Reply


      Besides laying down one’s life registrants have Three legal choices.
      A. Complain to federal courts.
      B. Assemble in DC in mass.
      C. Opt for trial in purpose filled FTR case.

    • #55654 Reply

      Mr. stand up!

      Mr. Will Mingus !!!!!
      RCs need more ways to Communicate in private and more ways to come together and tools and weapons and information on Statistics and research and Scholars like yourself !!!
      Way To Go !!!!!!!!!
      Thanks !!!!! Again !!!!!!!!!

    • #55701 Reply

      Judy Burke

      I have a misdemeanor but that meant, in Missouri, until recently that I would be on the Registry for Life. I believe in abolishing it totally. We have got to figure out other ways to punish people because the Registry is too restrictive. I belong to WOMEN AGAINST REGISTRY and we fought hard to get a Tier System in MO. But everyday the legislators are coming up with ridiculous amendments, laws, etc. We ALL NEED TO FIGHT for our rights!

    • #55944 Reply


      Will Mingus, I believe a pulitzer prize is at hand.. Sure we all need goals in life. Believe it or not when I got mixed up in this I told my PO. It is what it is untill it is what it isn’t. he said to me whats that suppose to mean.

      One wonder if the golden rule is true in many cases. Now this poor lady on here that has to wake up daily, or anyone else that has a monitor strapped around their leg is a bit much, not to mention the pain and suffering it does to the human being, family members, and when something tramic like this plays on peoples mind its hard to cope with a lot of this.

      Sure we can all get stressed out on many things. One can. at times. even understand why NARSOL monitors a lot of things or comemts to be presented on here. Yes we all have faults and yes I have been sent to the principals office a few times. but my main goal was graduation. While I was suppose to graduate in 73 I graduated in 75. I’ve also been sent to the office on here to.

      Yes, its not easy to get change as today we live in a culture that wants to sort of shoot first and ask questions later. Does anybody say today let’s reason this all out or how this is going to effect one with many of these trappings.
      While I’m sure anyone can understand about defending property who is clallanging the mind with many of these pre trappings of inducement.

      Sure one can protest about a lot of this sexual trappings but the main thing in all this as Mr Mingus said is goal setting. Believe it or not people will cut one liberty down in a minute if they feel one is weak. Understanding true value is good but deception is never good so one either takes the good with the bad or takes a stand.

    • #56034 Reply


      Having been promoted by our former leadership the loss of or abandonment of, public SORs will be immediately replaced by private databases. Newly minted felons will be monitored by firms or advocates. They are already in place. Facial recognition will exacerbate the liberty issues concerning ” unreasonable affirmative restrant”
      by electronic device of sex offenders in particular. ALL 51, SCOTUS opened the door ” knowingly and intelligently ” They too will suffer it. Remember, kids are targets for them too. Credibility upended!

    • #56040 Reply


      Mr. Mingus ,Your sentiments to this are right on and I’m sure Brenda Jones thanks you so does everyone else. I wonder if today we are up against man or machine or does man use their understanding of humanity to acheieve something that helps others or do they take advantage of situations? Sure we had the Jim Crow law and I even posed this to a person in the hospital and he knows my ordeal and he said that some of it should be abolished. Sure we are going to have political unrest but who can predict from one day to the next that those that have done their time or probation are going to do this type of sexual cover up again.. One wonders if authorities have an athority above them. or even a creator. One also wonders if we are fightening man or machine, or would one good missle wipe us all out.

      Sure all things are good if they are used in the right way even the human mind. I sometimes wonder if I make any good comments on here with my ball and chain jaberring or understanding of all this sex offender ordeal. Now I have corresponded with Brenda Joans a few times and also Vicki at Women against the registry and even Darek at “Once Fallen”. Yes, when I got involved even I was lost in a lot of this confusion. Sure I had the potty mouth of an erotic pulp story but who was I or any other directing it to . Yes one has to find the right plattform to understand many of these ordeals. I’m sure everyone is for truth and real justice.

      If there was a way to end a lot of this sex registry ordeal would all be interested. Sure battles and feuding are not the answer. One can waiste a lot of money in court fine’s and all that other stuff that goes with this sex registry ordeal. Sure one has their life and thats worth more money than being controled by this deceptive measure.
      To be honest, man is deceiving mankind in many of these ordeals. Even after prison or whatever the case maybe, who is presenting a devilish control on one? Creation didn’t start out that way. Law enforcements are tricking each and ever one of us in this unpredictive form of due process and degrading justice.

    • #56189 Reply


      Will, We all struggle in many area’s , some struggle with in many area’s of understanding, principals, and man’s machinery of justice, but who answers the question why. Such as why go to the moon or why we all don’t have equal rights or why should one be branded with a scarlet letter and another not or why do people live together. Why do teenagers drive motorcycles or why do men have affair and of course why was the printing press made.

      Should one wonder who ordains this or should one wonder how upside down this sex registry is and also American
      justice is getting to be. Sure I believe the sex registry, whether all or part, and I’m sure all should be abolished or should one take up a trade such as conterfieting or defrauding the american public under the guise of truth and justice.

      Was the Old Testament our school teacher or is this sex offender ordiance or registry law the first stop of a nation falling apart. Can anyone predict the future with enslavement, or the incarceration of prisoners. If music sooths the savage beast than what does true justice do? Does it protect or induce in many cases.

      Do we all offend in thought, word, or deed or are a lot blind sighted by a lot of this sex offender issue. One wonders who has inherited weaknesses.

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