Reply To: NARSOL condemns civil commitment practices

David Kennerly

I would like NARSOL to weigh-in on the subject of the legal use of the term “SEXUAL VIOLENCE.” The term “sexually violent predator” is being thrown around very casually in society and by the media today but in an especially pernicious way by our own government. Let’s please shed some light on how that term is used, and misused, especially for the purpose of throwing people like Galen Baughman into indefinite, usually lifetime, imprisonment in these sham “hospitals.”

Many people on the Registry themselves are unaware of the sleight-of-hand being performed by the state (i.e. both federal and state governments) as a means to denigrate individuals who have no capacity for violence and have never demonstrated anything like a violent impulse nor used coercion or force in the commission of their crime. That cynical legerdemain by the professional victimologists is simply this: governments have now redefined the word “violent” in age-of-consent cases to mean that the younger party is below a particular arbitrary age which varies among the states but which is often set at fourteen (as here in California). Anyone whose victim is below that arbitrary age is to be seen for all legal purposes and by the public as “sexually violent.”

Paul will remember me as the organizer for the first protest at Coalinga State Hospital in Coalinga, California many years ago and to which RSOL lent its support. Since then, nothing good has changed at that facility apart from a somewhat larger number of “hosprisoners” being released over time. The central conceit that keeps many of those hosprisoners locked-up in Coalinga (those who did not exercise the use of violence in their crimes, which is the VAST majority of its inhabitants) is that they are “violent sexual predators.”

We need to tackle that issue if we are to make any headway against civil commitment incarceration.

I feel for Galen and know him to be passive and non-violent. We did not always agree on some issues during his brief respite from incarceration but his loss from our community was felt by all, including me.

Thanks too to Judith Levine for her words here and her continued support as a champion of our cause. Also my thanks to her friend Debbie Nathan who has done much to expand awareness of the power and extents of the greatest witchhunt in recorded history.