By Sandy . . . “I’m worried for my family,” he wrote. “Today the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office decided to put a picture of a map of all the houses where registered citizens live on its Facebook page. The comments that were allowed are absolutely disgusting.”
As I read the email, I could feel the fear that the writer was expressing. I’m the communications director for the National Association for Rational Sexual Offense Laws – NARSOL — and I frequently get emails from all over the country from people required to register on sexual offense registries. This one came from DeSoto County, Florida and had an urgent tone. I located the Facebook page and found the comments that the Florida registrant referred to.
“Open season?” wrote someone named Josh and quickly had a response. “Where can we get tags?”
The response to that from the first writer is the most chilling of all. “They have their address on each location and they can’t own firearms so . . .”
Each of the comments is sprinkled liberally with hearts and thumbs-up memes, all indicative of approval. So in addition to the two men engaged in this exchange, there are a dozen or more like-minded individuals who expressed their approval of the rightness of hunting and killing fellow human beings who are helpless to defend themselves and their families because they are forbidden by law to own the means by which to do so.
And those are just the ones who took the time to click on hearts and affirmative memes.
Another DeSoto County resident, as concerned as the man who wrote me, reports that he sent an email to the sheriff’s office.
Your department is putting not only individuals who have already served their time but their families’ lives at risk too. It astonishes me that the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office is allowing the people of Arcadia to publicly comment on its Facebook page, basically threatening to shoot any person that’s on the registry. Individuals have also stated they can get the names and addresses off the registry website and stated that the offenders are not allowed to be armed. I do not see how anyone in your department would not see this as a threat. The individuals registered at these addresses, most have spouses, children, other family members living in their homes. I am deathly afraid for these families and the individuals that I personally know on the registry. The offenders already paid their dues and served their time; not only do they have to register, DeSoto county sheriff’s department is allowing their citizens to talk about these offenders as if they were animals to be hunted.
No response or acknowledgment was received in reply, he reports.
I called the sheriff’s office. When I told the sheriff’s assistant who answered his phone the reason for my call, I was transferred to the public information officer.
She was quick to point out that only a map and no addresses were on the Facebook page, a distinction apparently not made by Josh, who commented that the addresses were all “on each location.”
She asked if threats were made against specific individuals. No, because to those who go hunting for human beings located by looking at the sex offender registry, it doesn’t matter who you shoot; one “sex offender” is as good as another.
Finally she said she would need to view the comments herself and that she would call me back, which she did. As closely as I can remember, these were the gist of her remarks:
“They [the two commenters] aren’t threatening anyone specific.”
“They have the right to express their opinion. It is their first amendment right to comment.”
“They aren’t doing anything wrong. We [the sheriff’s office] don’t monitor it.”
Imagine for a moment that the comments were made by a couple of guys angry with teenagers in general for their loud music and disrespect to elders and, complaining about them on Facebook, one asks, “Open season?” After receiving affirmation from his buddy in the form of, “Where can we get tags?” Guy #1 responds, “The addresses of some high schools are on the web, and they aren’t allowed to have firearms at school so . . .” Would a complaint to the sheriff’s office result in, “Well, they aren’t threatening anyone specific. They have a right to express their opinion. They aren’t doing anything wrong”?
My primary hope and prayer are that none of the readers of what the sheriff’s office does not consider a threat decides to turn it into one and moves forward with the action suggested by the Facebook post.
And my secondary one is, should that happen, that the Desoto County Sheriff’s Office pursues the killers as enthusiastically as it defends their rights.
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.
53 Thoughts to “FL sheriff posts “blue & red house” map on Facebook, ignores threats to registrants”
Facebook has rules which they sometimes enforce against threats and hateful speech. We need to bring this to their attention.
They frequently do not enforce them against SO-related threats as they would against any other group. Perhaps we need to formally inquire why they have this policy (and in the meantime keep reporting posts like that.)
I know. I’ve filed many of them and rarely have gotten any results. Also, when you go to complain about something like this, their categories do not really cover the particular circumstance. I recommend that we get the emails to their officers and email compalints. We have to keep trying.
Take my advice you two, and do not go running to one unionized socialist bunch to protect or defend you from another. That never works. This is precisely why the founders granted to lowly peasants the right to remain silent and a King’s powers when inevitably faced with criminal indictment for asserting it. SOR compels speech.
I look at this Sheriff as a self servant, who acts outside of state mandates. A tyrant.
The problem with your idea is that there are vigilante groups on Facebook that have been reported in the past and no action was taken. Threat’s stand as long as they’re “only directed at sex offenders’.
I think people on the registry should report these comments and document (SCREEN SHOT) that report and the reply. Screen shot comments as well.
This should be evidence of terrorists threats.
Can someone please explain to me what us Florida’s problem? So many crazy stories out of there. I just don’t get it.
A person forced to register cannot have a ‘Fake-book’ page and they cannot own a firearm…
So what defense does a person forced to register when they cannot defend comments on a public site and cannot bear arms! So we are simply ducks swimming on a pond with clear targets on our feathers!
Oh, but family members can have Facebook accounts and they can report and document.
Thank God we don’t live in Florida!
We don’t have to live in fear. While we can’t expect help from the police, we can take steps to keep us and our families safe:
– Trust that God is bigger than those who wish to harm you. A strong faith will keep fear from overtaking you.
– Be aware of your surroundings and who is approaching you or your home.
– Invest in a security system, if possible.
– Investigate ways to legally provide protection for yourself, such as pepper spray, etc. If all else fails, a kitchen knife will still do the job as well as a firearm in the right hands and right circumstances.
– Learn ways to defend yourself against and disarm someone with a firearm. Practice it if possible.
We don’t have to be afraid of these bullies. I know that if anyone ever wanted to come into my home to harm me or my family, they would most surely be met with deadly force. Don’t let them think they have power over you. They don’t.
I think someone with legal talent should bring terrorist threats against these commenters. It would need to be done carefully so a negative president doesn’t get set.
I agree with your comment about the commenters be charged with terrorists threats and all legislation and lawmakers be charged and/or fined for laws with zero evidence to support them. Mike
You mean negative PRECEDENT?
I agree. This is domestic terrorism.
The hypocrisy and lies of the Supreme Court and faux justice system never cease to amaze.The blatant lie of them is always shocking. For anyone that needed evidence the registry is deliberately punitive and cruel and unusual punishment the evidence is again on public display right here.. Does anyone have a doubt this Sherriff and the entire Sheriff’s office knows exactly what they are doing and that they deliberately are inciting violence? Registry’s are nothing more than modern day Jim Crow and Sundown laws… The branded identifications are nothing more then the Nazi Stars pinned on their Jewish victims. History repeats itself. People try to justify the brandings and the sundown laws for the current registrants by claiming “they broke the law”..How quickly they forget that was the exact same excuse used to brand and humiliate the registrants was used on the indians,Japanese’s Americans, blacks and the jews.. ..yes folks “they all broke the law too” everything done is always “under the color of the law” .. Is it yet irony that what constitutes a “sex offender”: for the government endorsed branding and vigilante schemes is not even agreed upon by any of the states or federal government?
I agree. And again our government does not care!!!!!
If the policy of the government, apon vital questions pertaining to the whole people, are to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the supreme court, the people will have ceased to be their own ruler…..Abriham Lincoln
Old Abe was right on that score. Even he would recognise the database machine as “State property.” And indentured servitude to state property is, and had been historically recognized as punishment for the duly done conviction. Human servitude is not new, never was! Only the people’s perception of the property matters in the balancing mechanism. Big tech is not different than other major infrastructure industries like Railroads, Steel, AT&T, Energy, they monopolize with purpose and engage in rent seeking behavior and public marketing to solidity their futures market. I’m n that way Bit coin & the electronic registries are legit ONLY because some have faith in it. That is to say they believed ” a profit” will result. Fact is bit coins were first used by tech firms to “transact”‘ without tax! The same usefulness was recognised by the general public who smoked cigarettes during the days of the early internet- they bought them online from tax free entities. Naturally state comptroller’s recognized the losses and regulations came providing for the ” necessity” of taxation of online tobacco sales. The crux being it was the comptroller who was the impetus for the quasi- necessary regulation and not the people’s themselves!
To continue with your “hopes”…a third would be that if an action is taken against a registrant or the family that the sheriff be brought up on criminal charges.
When I use to live alone, I got a roommate to help offset rent cost. We both worked different shifts. When I woke up the next day he was packing his stuff to move. I asked why and he said “Look at the window, did you not hear the bullet come through last night”?
The bullet passed within inches of him when we measure where it hit the wall to the height of his face while laying down. We called the police but their standard response for registered citizens (Me not the roommate) was, “Fill out a report online if you do not have suspect information”.
This was on of about 30 incidents I dealt with until I finally moved back in with my parents.
Also as I am driving around doing errands, I occasionally will pull up to a stop light and the pickup truck in front of me has either a sticker that says “Kill your local sex offender” or something about predator hunting (people not animals). I looked the stickers up online and they even have t-shirts with this on it.
And when people state that those people have a right to express that and they wouldn’t really kill someone, we all have seen stories around the U.S of registered folks being killed by someone who had ZERO connection to them and didn’t even live in their area. They just did what the stickers stated and went hunting for registered people. People who like you stated, have families living with them and have all their personal information posted letting freaks know how to find us and eliminate us. All while law enforcement hasn’t a care in the World for our safety.
Imagine if someone were say, “Let’s go shoot a congressman or congresswoman?” Would they say, “Well, they didn’t say a specific congressman, so they’re not doing anything wrong?” No, they’d have the FBI at your door in a blink. This is nothing but a glaring mark of shame on those who justify themselves and are righteous in their own eyes. We will all answer in the judgment with the judgment with which we have judged others.
Sarasota County does something similar. They post on Facebook EVERY new registrant that moves into the county. I had my flyer posted on their Facebook. I also had similar derogatory comments on the Sheriff’s Facebook page insinuating that’s against me, my home, my family. When I contacted the Sheriff’s office it fell on deaf ears. They don’t care. My offense was in 1996 in another state when I was 19. The flyer doesn’t say this. So anyone seeing this jumps to conclusions it just happened. It’s appalling they do this.
The feds would be on your doorstep before you could say “Fort Ticonderoga”!
I am so sorry that Florida allows this to happen. Thank goodness my son does not live there. I fear everyday that goes by for my son’s life and my own, due to us living together. It’s a sad situation all the way around when one has paid their dues and still continues to pay their dues just to try to live a normal life. The struggle never seems to end!
I am one of the Does that participated in Schneider vs Does II (and now Whitmer vs Does III) in MI against the MI Registry. We have been making great strides up here. I STRONGLY suggest that NARSOL contact and coordinate with the Florida ACLU Chapter in regards to this. Contact from the ACLU may force the Sheriff department to back off, especially if it comes with threats of litigation that the ACLU can very well enforce (in other words, it would be no idle threat as the ACLU has the ability to make it happen).
IF anyone on the Florida Registry, or their immediate family, is harmed by this Sheriff Department allowing this lawlessness to take place upon their FB page then that Sheriff’s Department and County need to be held accountable. This is known as STOCHASTIC terrorism, and it is a real definition with real consequences. A good example is someone saying “will someone PLEASE rid me of this meddlesome priest”. You get the idea. Terrorism via 3rd party influence. That is what is happening here.
The way to attack this is to take a page out of what we are doing here in MI…take it RIGHT INTO THEIR TEETH. Do NOT allow them to get away with this. We cannot. We will not. I would call myself with threats of litigation, by I am not even a Florida resident.
ACLU IN FLORIDA? wait is there an actual ACLU in Florida? look up any so cases the ACLU has their name on in Florida! i used to donate to the aclu years ago. just like another organization in Florida, they keep wanting donations but never publish their financials even though they were asked years ago. has lawyers that i don;t think has such a great win rate fighting so laws yet they keep using the same lawyers.
so’s in Florida are screwed and on their own until the Great Janice in CA. gets to the men wearing dresses in D.C. and stops this federally!
So far, the Courts in the south have said that all this kind of informatin is doing is simply reporting information that is already public and that the State nor law enforcement can be held accountable for crimes committed as a result of the registry. In other words, it is simply as consequence of your crime if anything violent happens to you and it’s out of our hands. The Courts here are conservative, the courts in Michigan and the Sixth Circuit are liberal.
“..Get away with this..” By the this, you specifically mean the unfettered use of the database driven infrastructure by the police state? Do you mean the blatant application of the gov database without specifically proper warrant nor substantive due processes? This the opportunity paved by the Doe 03s. The Byrne Grant types greased the wheels.
Hi, Don S. I live in TN and can tell you first-hand that in some states (like mine) the ACLU WILL NOT…THEY REFUSE TO…touch any registry-related issues of this nature. They will tell you they can’t spend their limited resources on such cases because the odds of ever winning are so low. Also, depending on the area, they will not take such cases out of fear of alienating their donor base.
IN SOME STATES, LIKE MI, THEY DO GREAT WORK, but in some state chapters that’s just not the case.
And we used to call this the United States of America. So very sad that this would take place.
I personally don’t think there should be a Registry because of all the gun violence going on who’s to say there will not be “Open Season” on citizens whose name is on the registry then what happens all of a sudden, the so-called Good Ol Boys are out hunting, and it is not just the ones on the registry what happens to the family members the wife & children. Does anyone else think it is a bad ideal to have a registry. Thanks for taking the time to read
Criminals are utilizing Apple air tags to track their victim’s whereabouts. What more needs to be said? Cops are all over Facebook while registered persons are banned by TOS. All examples of how the DDI is being used. This Sheriff’s use is no different than the Halloween signs used to shine his badge for public perception. Look he is using FB POSTS to look good but in reality to act unconstitutionally to assist law enforcement. Let us all pretend the internet hasn’t enabled more crime.
If anyone is harmed they should sue the sheriff. At least the sex offender registry warns people not to harrass registrants. It sounds like his post does not. He should be held personally responsible.
But how often does that disclaimer ever get enforced? The last vigilante P.F.R. (Persons Forced to Register) murder was in Omaha, NE. He was charged with murder, but there was not one enhancement that I knew of regarding criminal misuse of the registry.
In TN the only “prohibition” is explained as follows: The registrant may not still live at the address and you could end up killing an innocent person.” (paraphrased).
The way I see it, it doesn’t matter who the person is, it’s (at the least) terroristic threats against a particular group of people. Threatening to shoot up a school is illegal. They’ll prosecute to the fullest extent for that. Threatening to randomly shoot members of legislature is illegal. There’s a couple examples where someone doesn’t have to be named personally but it’s a crime to make threats. Obviously the department sworn to serve and protect could care less what happens to rso’s. So they can’t have firearms, no biggie. A cross bow will do some nasty damage. So will an AEA Zeus air powered rifle. There are other options out there for home defense to protect life, family and property from these homicidal goons. I’d recommend looking into these. A good scout always comes prepared!
One of many problems we face is the fact we are not a protected class (race, religion, political views), therefore hate crime laws do not apply to us, although the fact that acts of vigilantism against our people are most certainly crimes motivated by pure, unadulterated hate.
“Red Flag Them” the Senate is proud of their new law so let’s put it to a test and have all their weapons confiscated until their attorneys can work it out in the courts.
These days after the school shooting in Texas, people should stop brushing off threatening comments as one exercising their 1st Amendment rights. If those comments were made against elementary school students those commenters would of been arrested.
This whole situation should be documented and challenged in court. This is terrorism.
If someone would get hurt by this I think we would have to react just like they do for someone who is black, gay or someone who was shot in school. We knew about this map, and said something and know one did a thing. So now we protest for change and we do it with everyone who cares about us. We should all stick together for equal rights.
Everyone. We can protect ourselves. I am not afraid. Infact I am totally confident that I can stop someone who is trying to try to harm me or my family. For some reason guidelines will not let me tell you how. Do some Research on things we are allowed to possess for self defense. You may be surprised of the items you can get even on line. Also, the morons that have the kill your local sex offender on their vehicle are mostly insecure whimps when confronted. I have proved this. Another point, Have you ever wondered why Florida gets most of the Hurricanes that hit the USA?? Karma?? Probably God serving them justice for their true hate. And always keep your powder dry. Be safe everyone, when we stand together we will win.
Jim, let me remind you of the requirement to avoid references to religion. It is acceptable for an individual to say he feels that his faith sustains him, but to suggest that God punishes a part of the country by sending them hurricanes is going waaay too far. It has been allowed, but obviously, based on your comment about guidelines not allowing something you wrote earlier, you need to review the guidelines more carefully and be sure to adhere to them — please and thank you.
If it happens to me, I hope my remaining ” live” relatives sue and win a multude of millions and can prove that it was directly a result of these types of posts from our ” law” enforcement agency.
I’m on the Maryland Registry where all registrants’ addresses are listed with links to a Google-style map that pinpoints exact locations. If you know someone living nearby you can notify them via email from a link provided on the website. You can also sign up to track specific offenders. Users can access a lot of misinformation about sex offenders, too, such as “MOST sex offenders will also assault adults.”
That is Legal Lynching….you got to be kidding me!
pray for you!
We went through Arcadia a couple of weeks ago on our way to the west coast. It seemed like a pleasant place to live. That view has changed.
I don’t know how many counties have this kind of a system, but the only thing it does is put a target on registered SOs back. It is shameful that this is being done to any human.
As someone mentioned above, the information being put out to the public does not state when the crime happened or what it was for. People have a way of jumping to conclusions especially when they have a gun at their disposal. It is going to take the death of someone to change this. Mark my words. The sheriffs department is blind and ignorant to how this information will be used. I truly hope I am wrong about this.
I am one of the SO who lives outside the US now. With everything going on including the passage of more state and federal laws again sex offenders, I can tell you that I am not likely to return home.
If I resided in that area, I would hold a vigil outside the residence of this Dictator! and find a musician to play inspirational music!
Peaceful assembly as per the US Constitution grants us!
Ahhhhh. And people are supposed to care when law enforcement officers are shot? Yeah, I don’t think I will. Or we are supposed to care when random Amerikans are shot? Again, nah. I’m good as long as it does not affect my family or friends. How about when innocent children are slaughtered in their classrooms? I guess that is okay as long as no sex is involved.
Amerika has never been the United States of America. We are the Divided, Hateful, Immoral Peoples of Amerika. A morally failed country.
I commend the resident mentioned in this article who emailed the criminal sheriff’s office. However, he/she somewhat supported the Registries and Facebook postings when he/she called the targeted people “offenders”. As long as you give a special, derogatory name to the people who are listed on the Registries, that will help support it all. The only name that is accurate about people who are listed on the Registries is that they are People Forced to Register (PFRs). That is all I call them. They are PFRs, by criminal regimes, at the point of guns under the threat of imprisonment and death.
Also, these criminal regimes should not be allowed to use Facebook at all. They should not be allowed to use ANY form of communication which actively blocks some members of the public. It’s criminal. It’s immoral. And the “people” who support only “just” that are enemies of all free Americans. They deserve consequences.
Yes, Persons Forced to Register WITHOUT Due Process of Law!
Thrown on the Hit List With Out Due Process of Law as Person’s Forced to Register are DEEMED DANGEROUS! More dangerous than a convicted murderer!
I think you have a legally valid point about the problem when a Government uses social media as a public forum, but that public forum can block people, especially the ones who are the topic of discussion in the forum, from speaking. Facebook is a private, international organization, so universal arguments about protecting free speech won’t hold, but when a US government official or organization is conducting US government business, that has been found to be a public forum. However, people on the registry can’t have a Facebook account, which is necessary to leave comments. It is a similar issue when people on the registry cannot go to a public forum because it is on or near a child safety zone, especially if the topic is about them.
“Let’s have a vote, and we’ll ban all the people who would vote against it” – she said sarcastically.
When I lived in Florida (20 years ago), a verbal threat to harm was considered assault. Though it’s not verbal, I still think the description fits that bill.
Another show that police will ignore SO constitutional rights as they deem fit.
The problem is that once someone commits a sexually-based felony, particularly against a young child or teen-ager the whole of society no longer considers them a member of the human race worthy of any human rights whatsoever. There is plenty of “legalese” out there to gloss over that mentality and THINLY hide it behind “public safety” or “victims’ rights” rhetoric.
The ruling from Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) excludes incitement from free speech, which means that a person is encouraging lawless action. Legal interpretation may vary, and I think specifying time and place may be a factor, but the statements that it is “open season”, asking “where can we get tags”, followed by “they have their addresses…” suggests imminence (open season is now) and the potential places are known.
I would think that an entity that is sworn to protect and serve its citizens would not condone vigilantism. Even issuing a warning that such speech may incite lawlessness would be fine, but defending them? I hope this is nothing but empty words, but if something does happen, I would say the Sheriff’s Office is liable, if not complicit.