When it comes to sexual offense issues, there’s enough outrage to go around

By Sandy . . . North Port, Florida, must be having a really slow news week. In one day, no less than six media outlets printed and aired stories* about the outrage expressed by parents of school children upon discovering that a person on Florida’s sexual offense registry was living within viewing distance of a school bus pick-up location.

After reading all six stories, I too am outraged. However, my outrage has a different focus.

I am outraged that, once again, certain elements of the media could not resist the opportunities to incite fear and panic and create the maximum in click-bait appeal.

I am outraged that some of the once highly esteemed and invaluable fourth estate has fallen to the point that not even a pretense of responsible journalism or balanced reporting can be found.

Without exception, the coverage of this “news” by these six media outlets segued almost immediately from the concern of parents to a discussion of one or more of the following:

  • the difference, in Florida, between a sexual offender and a sexual predator;
  • how many registrants are in the county and/or state;
  • how to access and use the Florida online sex offender registry;
  • the rules for registrants in Florida;
  • how may bus stops are in the county;
  • how many students are in the county;
  • the dedication of the state and school districts to student safety – which reinforces that the parents are correct in feeling their children are in danger from the presence of a registrant;
  • plans to move the bus stop – which also reinforces that the present location is fraught with danger.

None of this addresses the issue: Are the fears of the parents and the concerns for their children justified? None of that information aids them in analyzing or answering this.

Is the gentleman in question a threat to children? I don’t know. Could he be? It is possible. What could have been included that would have been more helpful than knowing the county-by-county count of the number of registrants in Florida?

How about these?

  • Was the victim in the case of his conviction a school-age child?
  • Was he or she a stranger or someone well known to the offender, as are the vast majority of victims of sexual assault?
  • How long has the person in question been living in the community, this one or any other, and have there been any re-arrests for a sexual crime?
  • What are the statistics on reoffense for registered persons living in the community?
  • Has anyone seen him approach a child, try to lure a child, or even speak to child who was waiting at the bus stop?
  • Did this registrant participate in a post-conviction treatment or therapy program?
  • Has he taken responsibility for the actions that resulted in the conviction and expressed regret for harm caused?
  • How frequently are random children abducted or assaulted in public places in the presence of other children and maybe an adult by someone on the registry?
  • How frequently does this happen even when others aren’t there? (Spoiler alert: virtually never; Lenore Skenazy ran a statistical analysis several years ago and determined that if a child placed himself outside in a public place with the intention of being taken or assaulted by a stranger, he would have to stand there waiting for several thousand years before it would happen. If he waited for a person who was on a sexual offense registry, it would be even more thousand than just several.)

Could the journalists who wrote these articles have included the answers to these questions? With the possible exception of one or maybe two, yes. Of course, they would have had to do a little more work. They would have had to be willing to look at a couple of studies, interview a few people other than distraught parents, and dig into a few police and court records, but it would have resulted in being able to share with parents information that would help them understand the situation in a calm, dispassionate, fact-based manner rather than with hype and fear tactics.

That just seems like it would be so much better – doesn’t it?

 

* https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/local/sarasotacounty/parents-outraged-over-how-close-sex-offenders-home-is-to-bus-stop/67-192b9156-152d-4249-91bb-a7aea851ac26

https://www.wfla.com/news/north-port-parents-worried-about-bus-stop-in-front-of-sex-offenders-home/

https://www.wfla.com/8-on-your-side/keeping-kids-safe-finding-sex-offenders-in-your-neighborhood/

https://www.wesh.com/article/parents-voice-concerns-over-orange-county-school-bus-stop-outside-registered-sex-offender-s-house/28640146

https://www.mysuncoast.com/2019/08/07/bus-stop-front-sex-offenders-home-north-port/

http://www.fox13news.com/news/local-news/bus-stop-being-moved-away-from-sex-offender-s-home-in-north-port

 

 

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Sandy Rozek

Sandy 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.

This topic contains 13 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Fred Fred 1 week, 1 day ago.

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  • #58857 Reply
    Sandy Rozek
    Sandy Rozek
    Admin

    By Sandy . . . North Port, Florida, must be having a really slow news week. In one day, no less than six media outlets printed and aired stories* abou
    [See the full post at: When it comes to sexual offense issues, there’s enough outrage to go around]

  • #58858 Reply
    Avatar
    WC_TN

    Well, why doesn’t NARSOL get in touch with the Florida Action Committee and do just the kind of article you’re talking about? I’d be willing to bet someone there could do the footwork and research needed to give a balanced view of the issue. They could do an op-ed and send it to every paper that will print it.

    • #58862 Reply
      Charlie
      Charlie
      Moderator

      Why would our “news media” pick up a story about how registered person’s are statistically a non-threat? No ratings, profit or promotions in that. If common sense were actually coin at all, then people would read and understand the logic Sandy is presenting. But the only thing common in group think is nonsense, not sense. We can scream into the wind all we want, the media is not on our side, despite facts and research. Whoever said one is entitled to ones own opinion but not ones own facts never encountered our “professional” news machine.

      • #59012 Reply
        Avatar
        Mike

        Hello im wondering why the article i tried to post about Bill Clinton & Jeffrey Epstein you didnt post it?

        • #59017 Reply
          Fred
          Fred
          Admin

          Because it’s off topic and nonconstructive. Such comments have more potential to divide us than unite us. So out of best interest for NARSOL and our cause I did not approve it..

        • #59018 Reply
          Avatar
          Mike

          Dude thats not off topic and if anything it will bring down the registry, by you not posting it that is whats dividing us, this makes it sound like your on there side and not ours and blow the lid off of this. Are you sure you are trying to help change these laws.

        • #59020 Reply
          Fred
          Fred
          Admin

          I am positive.

  • #58863 Reply
    Avatar
    Chanta bullock

    Sandy are you putting your reply in the news paper to reply to the article

    • #58869 Reply
      Sandy Rozek
      Sandy Rozek
      Admin

      I have sent this article to the media outlets who published these stories. I’ll report back if there is any response; however, I am not holding my breath.

      • #58878 Reply
        Avatar
        Mp

        Sandy, thank you very for doing that. Even if you don’t get a response, I know it still makes some people think who read it even if it makes it no further.

  • #58871 Reply
    Avatar
    Lovecraft

    Well today the have posted another story here in Raleigh, NC about the same thing. Most of the comments aside from a couple arent too bad, but theymedia is really good about stirring the fear pot. The article is about a registrant who was recently rearrested on new sex charges. The funny thing is he is in jail and most likely will be for a long time, but they had to make a story about him living near a bus stop anyway.

    https://www.wral.com/parents-upset-after-learning-registered-sex-offender-lives-near-school-bus-stop/18558887/#comment

  • #58873 Reply
    Avatar
    Tim

    Organized propaganda? Is there an app for that? Yes.

  • #58879 Reply
    Avatar
    Saddles

    Ah Sandy lets all put all this together about the sex offender or the predator. Now I made a statement from the movie “Network” I wonder what he was mad as hell at? Was it outlandish Government with this computer spying or tresspassing technique against one’s conscience or was it the guy living right across the street from kids or a school bus route to load and unload kids. Yes it may have been a movie but it makes sense to some extent. Myself I happen to live across from kids and a bus stop. Kids don’t bother me but its adults with their suspecious minds that bother one at times. I guess some have to deal with this or stand up or be as mad as hell.

    With all this confussion and the stress, the yearly poly maintaince, monthly visits from one’s PO to probe one which is what they are doing in this cocky manner., all the classes one has to go thru , not to mention the fine one pays if involved in a sex offender ordeal, whether actual contact or someone on the other end of a computer pretending to be a kid and than is brazen enough to give you the come on down con” seems to me, and I’m sure others, that we as so called sex offenders are no different than the average person.

    Sure we all have responsbility’s in life. I don’t believe the average Joe is getting his binocular’s out and looking at the kids boarding the buss or coming out in the morning to snatch some small child in the morning hours. Sounds a bit of a hyper rush to the brain and causes parnoia. I wonder who wants facts when the truth is what will set one free.

    What is truth, its sure not a polygraph test but you can find the truth from the bible which most government officals don’t seem to use and don’t care. Today its show me the money. And the lying well thats in the bible to. It says all lie. Getting back to the sex offender yes we all have a sexual makeup.Sex offenders were not borned yesterday but punishments and laws were and it creates hysteria and even love self esteem

    A lot of this sex offender stuff is a stain on humanity. Is it some gossip colmist saying that all are rapist’s or is government raping with discrimination. I wonder when government is gonna prove everyone’s brain to make sure they have a brain. We could talk about guns and killings but who kills when one is induced or caught up and off guard. I wonder who’s mind is worst, A killer stacker of the internet that wait’s on an adult site with this pretend game of mind seduction. Truth is truth in a lot of this fake justice of prevention.

    Sandy a lot of this sex offender registry is like a blind man’s bluff type of game and news to create circulation to alarm one.Me I would be more afraid of guns than hysteric news or panc attack. Sounds like a pretty good counter article to me but I’m sure this is how all sex offenders feel.

  • #58882 Reply
    Avatar
    EdC

    The articles make sense when one recognizes that the papers don’t want to inform the public. Feeding the false narrative that registered offenders are dangerous is shock journalism, which sells papers. These people are not journalists any more than are those at the National Enquirer. I certainly don’t expect them to either ask or answer the pointed questions you presented. Like you Sandy I too am outraged, but I am not surprised.

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