It's still a week away, and I am already beyond sick of it.
I've already blogged twice about it; this makes three times.
Every day brings another two or three articles about the "precautions" being taken to "safeguard" children on this one day of the year on which they are the most "vulnerable" to assault from registered sex offenders.
I tried to comment on every article, but I grew weary--not to mention repetitive.
I also grew disgusted at reading the same rhetoric over and over. This is being done for the children. No precaution is too great if it protects them. We just can't be too careful when it comes to our children.Whether it was from Ohio or South Carolina, from California or Louisiana, the headlines all started to sound the same. "Halloween safety includes avoiding sex offenders." "Amherst councilman seeks trick-or-treat ban for registered sex offenders." "Sheriff urges parents to check sex offender registry before Halloween."
I quit at 33, and that was yesterday with a full week to go. Who knows how many jurisdictions in how many states will feel compelled to chime in and announce to the world their plans to keep children from being assaulted by registered sex offenders who most assuredly will use this opportunity to don a mask and grab a little trick-or-treater or lure one into his home with the promise of candy.
I mean, it has happened so many times before, hasn't it? Well, actually, no. As far as rather thorough searches by multiple people can tell, it has never happened before.
And academic studies have been done examining the increased risk to children for sexual assault from any quarter on Halloween. And they have found a most interesting thing. They have found that the risk of sexual harm to children on Halloween is exactly as it is the other 364 days of the year. There is zero increased risk on Halloween. Hmmm. I wonder if they know that in Ohio and South Carolina and California...in all the many other places where towns and cities and entire states are spending money and wasting resources preventing a problem that doesn't exist...that never existed.
There have been a couple of bright spots in this dismal scene. The first came from a journalist named Emily Horowitz, an associate professor of sociology at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY. She wrote "Manufacturing Fear: Halloween Laws for Sex Offenders," a brilliant piece that presents the truth and the evidence supporting it with clarity and literary skill.
And then today appeared "Fear the Bogeyman: Sex Offender Panic on Halloween." Written by Andrew Extein, a psychotherapist who does sex offender therapy in private practice, this scholarly piece explores a culture's need for monsters and bogeymen as it has evolved through the years.
And there have been a few others that speak the truth, that question the necessity for scaring parents with the need to guard against a risk that does not exist, but they are few and scant and, much like this, will not be read by many, while the headlines that scream for the need to "Protect the children" will be heard and tweeted and shared by, it seems, everyone in North America.
But I will read no more, not this year. I have had enough. I may read Emily's and Andrew's pieces again, but if a town in Alabama or New Mexico or Minnesota decides that it needs to enact a ban before next Thursday against those on the registry carving a pumpkin or taking a son or daughter trick or treating, they will just have to do it without me.