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Kat’s Blog: Are We Collateral Damage?

Collateral Damage: Injury inflicted on someone other than an intended target. Specifically, civilian casualties of a military operation. The earliest known use of the term was in1947.

Until I had a family member on the registry, I’d never been referred to as “collateral damage”, then all of a sudden, that’s what I was informed I had become.

When I was a newbie to this registry nation, some of the more senior advocates suggested that family and friends of registrants are considered “collateral damage.” “We’re not ON the registry, but we are HURT by it just the same” I was told.

At the time, I didn’t think much about the phrase, I assumed that if I went purely by the definition, as the family member of a registrant then I guess I was sort of injured by the registry, even though I wasn’t the registry’s main target. If the registrant lived in my home then it was my home address that was listed on the public registry. It was not only me but everyone else living in my home that felt “violated” during intensive routine searches by P.O.’s and the registry police. Fall decorations were now off limits at my home towards the end of October and the safety of my home was put at risk when I had to keep lights off on Halloween.

OK I thought, they must be right, I guess I am, we are, collateral damage of the registry.

Over the next few years I continued to hear the term “collateral damage” used by advocates referring to family and friends of registrants.

But recently I heard the term again and I realized I don’t think I like it, I don’t want to be labeled as “damaged”.

Those in charge of the registry view our situation as “too bad, so sad that family and friends of registrants are negatively impacted by the registry.” Their attitude is “blame the registrant, not us.”

No, I don’t think so, unlike the registry, placing blame is not a sporting event I want to participate in.

Nor do I want to view myself or my family or friends as collateral damage. When I think of “collateral damage” I think of those killed or maimed during the course of a war. Those who probably aren’t going to be able to get back up to fight. Things that are “damaged” are usually thought of as less than, the   damaged discount fruits and veggies on sale at the market, the damaged sale items at retail stores, clearance stuff missing buttons, having broken zippers, etc.

But that’s not who I am, that’s not who my family and friends are. We are not “damaged”.

On the contrary, fighting against the registry has made many of us stronger and more resilient. We may have battle scars and battle fatigue, but we are not collateral damage. We have been knocked down but we’ve also gotten back up to continue the fight.

We are family and friends standing shoulder to shoulder with our loved ones who are struggling under the weight of the registry. We are all in this battle together. But we are not “collateral damage.”

Recently I heard someone refer to themselves as a “Collateral Consequence”, I like that term so much better. We are the “result” of the registry, not broken, not damaged, just the result.


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I’m sad that you have to experience the results of another’s mistake. I really am; you didn’t do anything wrong. You loved someone, that’s it. Many many others have and are in the same situation, including some because of an ignorant mistake I committed 23 years ago. Sorry.

We’re definitely scapegoated for what happened to Megan Kanka and Adam Walsh. Thing is, less than one percent of all sex offenders make up the exact psychological profile of their abductors and subsequent killers.

So by extension, a systematic and orchestrated revenge fantasy is being waged against us.

If no liberty at stake, who would complain?
The collateral implication for certain uses of the machine databases propagates statutes awash in anti- liberty too.

Sir, if you are trying to tell people something I think you should try to do it by using plain language and trying to be as clear as possible. I don’t understand the point of most of your messages. I suspect a majority of people don’t and don’t try.

It is awesome that you post a lot. But do you want to say anything that people understand?

I’m not interested in database conspiracies or whatever. Databases are just a tool. That’s all.

@Will Allen:
Though your attempts are admirable, they appear in vain. Your pleas are falling on deaf ears. Or perhaps I should say falling on a locked database.

one thing will keeps repeating over and over is that when the cops come to your door they are not your friend…STFU and tell them that your Attorney forbids you from speaking to them..what you say will be used against you in a court of law..guaranteed

Not all collateral damage victims are created equal. The loved ones of people on the registry suffer along with the registrant, and at present it is life in California, meanwhile Governor Newsome handed out clemency for six convicted felons that are in the US illegally. They committed offenses of armed robbery, assault, shop lifting, auto theft, evading police, attempted murder, arson, and drug related felonies. Governor Newsome granted clemency to them in an attempt to prevent them from being deported, and in his own words said: “I regard clemency as an important part of the criminal justice system that can… Read more »

You know, Eric, if all 108,000 of us would write a simple letter and affix a 50 cent stamp, that would be 108,000 pieces of mail on his desk and we might actually get somewhere with this very simple approach!

Best Wishes, James I

Janice – I’m on board with writing a letter to the Governor. Who else will?

Dear Laura: I think that this is actually a fairly decent idea…but there should be some coordination in any effort to write to the Governor on this basis. Specifically, I mean there should be chosen a date that we all write individually and the letters arrive on the same day or a day or two apart so there is the intended effect. I do think it pretty outrageous that all kinds of individuals have been granted clemency, (and good for them), but never ever has clemency been granted to a Registered Sex Offender. Ever. I would suggest November 15 or… Read more »

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