by Derek W. Logue
I recently received an email from the wife of a person listed on the public sex offense registry in a small town in Washington State. She was immensely concerned about seeing a pickup truck parked at a local business sporting a decal portraying a man shooting a kneeling man, execution-style, in the back of the head, with the caption reading, “Shoot Your Local Pedophile.”
(The truck also displayed a #SaveOurChildren sticker, a QAnon slogan adopted from Anita Bryant’s defunct anti-homosexuality crusades.)
She voiced her concerns to her local authorities. They dismissed the concerns as free speech, and it was of no more concern than someone offended over a “Jesus Saves” bumper sticker.
But this is more than a free speech issue. It threatens lives.
Research has consistently shown most sex crimes occur in the home, by someone known to the victim, and most arrests are of those without a past conviction for a sex offense. In addition, very few people listed on the public registries are “pedophiles” or repeat offenders, and the already low re-offense rates can be reduced further by providing opportunities to allow those who completed a sentence to become productive members of society.
Yet, we still believe that everyone listed on the registry is an imminent danger to society or an uncontrollable “pedophile.” Thus, we turn a blind eye to speech that promotes violence against people listed on public registries.