The vigil planned for Washington, D.C., in March 2023 was my idea. My idea was a vigil that would take place near the date of the 20th anniversary of a terrible mistake made by the U.S. Supreme Court.
A mistake that has led to significant harm experienced by at least one million families. A mistake that had led to unemployment, homelessness, vigilante violence and even suicide.
The purpose of the vigil was to educate the U.S. Supreme Court and the public regarding the tragedies that have flowed from this decision. The vigil was to take place on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Three organizations approved the initial plans for the vigil more than eight months ago. And since that time, members of those organizations have worked tirelessly in support of the vigil.
What the organizations did not plan for, nor could have imagined, was the tremendous change in the political environment within the nation’s capital. Those changes included barricades being erected on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court and the closing of public streets nearby. Those changes also included a U.S. Supreme Court decision that, in essence, allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.
And during this period of time, Congressional hearings regarding the events of January 6, 2021, have revealed the presence of individuals armed with pistols and rifles on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. Some of those individuals had concealed weapons. Some of those individuals hid in trees.
In addition, the number of incidents involving harm to registrants continues to grow nationwide. The most recent example is the murder of a registrant in Colorado who died of multiple gunshot wounds. And discussions regarding “hunting for pedophiles” on social media sites, including TikTok, are increasing. One of those discussions included a photo of a man’s jacket with the label “pedophile hunter” and a rifle sewn onto it.
Given these conditions, I no longer believe it is safe to conduct a vigil in Washington, D.C. I no longer believe it is safe for individuals required to register or their families to gather at or near the U.S. Supreme Court. That is why with a heavy heart I have made the difficult and personal decision not to conduct or participate in the planned vigil.
Because I am an optimist, I believe we will find another way to educate the U.S. Supreme Court and the public regarding the terrible mistake made by that court on March 5, 2003. I believe that society can and will understand that the requirement to register as a sex offender is not the same as, or even similar to, applying for membership at Price Club.