For several weeks now, this has been my message wherever I could possibly find a place to put it:
Increased risk from sex offenders on Halloween: NONE. No instance can be found of a child being molested or bothered by a registered offender in connection with Halloween. Studies find zero increased risk.
Risk from poisoned or tampered-with candy or fruit: NONE. The only instance of poisoned Halloween candy was in the '70's when a father poisoned his own children's Halloween candy in order to collect their insurance.
Increased risk from auto/pedestrian accidents: TWO TO FOUR TIMES. Children are two to four times more likely to be killed by such accidents on Halloween than any other day of the year.
So law enforcement, if any are reading this: We don't want you checking whether registrants have their lights on or not or x-raying candy. We want you on traffic patrol.
From the 50 or 60 headlines that responded to my search engine Friday morning, no one paid attention. Almost every one was a variant of, "Police protect trick or treaters; keep registered sex offenders at bay."
But a few carried a darker and more tragic message.
Five children were killed by vehicles while trick or treating Thursday evening.
According to a report covering five years summarized in USA Today, "...an average of 2.2 children are killed in pedestrian accidents from 4 to 10 p.m. on Halloween, compared with one child every other evening at the same time."
And this year five were killed.
I thought long and hard about writing this. I am still thinking long and hard about posting it, but I am almost sure that I will. I asked myself, "If five children had been assaulted by someone on the registry on Halloween, would it be in the news?" We all know the answer to that. If one child had been assaulted by someone on the registry, it would be all over the news. But, apparently, just as in every previous year, no registrant took advantage of Halloween to stalk and molest a child trick or treating. The results are the same in the many jurisdictions and the states where no restrictions are placed against registered offenders regarding Halloween as well as the places where restrictions were in place.
And for the lives of five precious children lost, we mourn, and we pray for comfort for their families, and we say, "Rest in peace, Erica (SC), Autumn (GA), and Shane (TN). " We say, "Rest in peace, little ones from Texas and from Nevada whose names are not yet publicized."
Rest in peace.