A horrible thing has been happening in a town in Texas. A family has, for the past month or so, been subject to a barrage of harassment. Strangers have been driving slowly past their home in this Dallas suburb and yelling horrible things at them.
The family has expressed fear for their lives, and of course the police are taking this very seriously. They got to the root of the problem quickly and are taking action to rectify it.
Apparently a month or so ago, the DPS mailed postcards to each home in the community within four blocks in every direction from this family’s home. The post cards gave the address where the family resides along with the information that a registered sex offender lives there.
Except he doesn’t.
It was a mistake. The registrant in question once lived there but then moved away. Apparently his moving back into the area triggered the postcards to be mailed and gave his prior address, thus marking this family, who have no registrants living with them and no connection to the registrant, to be targeted as sex offenders and subjected them to a taste of the harassment, vandalism, and physical assault that hundreds of thousands of registrants, along with their children and family members, are subject to as a matter of course.
The police in the area are trying to determine how to better assure that registered citizens are living where they should be.
A better task would be for them to determine how to prevent vigilantes from using the public registry as a hit list.
If the registrant had been living in the house, is there any reason at all to believe that the same incidents would not have occurred? No, none.
And if they had, and he notified police and asked for protection, is there any reason to believe that the story would have made headlines in the local media, spurred law enforcement to immediate action, and produced 18 hits when entered into an online search engine? No, none.
The message is clear: Incidents like this one, so shocking and urgent when they affect "normal" people, are acceptable in the eyes of law enforcement and the public when carried out upon those on the registry. They are everyday occurrences; they create scarcely a ripple in the fabric of society.
In spite of the ordeal the innocent family has suffered, they can at least be thankful there is no one living in their area of the mind set and inclinations as Jeremy and Christine Moody of South Carolina.
They can also be thankful their ordeal is over. They need no longer fear for their lives. That cannot be said for the several million American citizens whose addresses are listed on public sex offense registries throughout the United States.