Monday, September 19, 2016

What drives Ron Book?

 I watched the film Untouchable through live streaming as it was shown at the RSOL National Conference that has just concluded in Atlanta, Georgia.

This film could well have been named, “Portrait of a bitter, angry man.”

Ron Book’s daughter Lauren was sexually assaulted by a nanny the family had hired for Lauren. The abuse went on for many years. She kept Lauren from revealing the truth to her parents through threats and intimidation.

Of course he was angry to learn the truth – devastated, actually. Any parent would be. Of course he is bitter that his little girl suffered pain and horror for so many years.

Rob Book, as an outlet for his anger and his bitterness, has made himself a juggernaut whose purpose is to destroy every sex offender in the state. Involved even then in Florida’s political scene, he has become arguably one of the most powerful men in the state.

He is responsible for legislation that created the Julia Tuttle Bridge scandal. He is almost single-handedly responsible for law after law whose sole purposes are to punish everyone on the Florida sex offer registry to the furthest degree possible. He openly and proudly announced that Florida was
“scorched earth” to any registered sex offender.

He revealed that he is closely watching the progress of Lauren’s abuser toward a release date and that he will be there to hound her every second he can.

He cites unrealistically high sexual recidivism rates and makes outlandish statements about the surety of registrants to commit new crimes and their extreme danger to society. When questioned about research study after research study all showing the opposite of everything he has said, he brushes it aside like an annoying gnat. All lies, he said, trumped up figures, nonsense.

It is not until the last few minutes of the film that another motive for all of his actions, all of his hatred, emerges. He is seated behind his desk, and an off-camera interviewer asks him which, if any, of all the laws on Florida’s books today, laws whose existence he is responsible for, would have, had they existed years ago, saved Lauren.

He stumbles only a little when he says no, most likely none of them would have made a difference. None would have protected Lauren from her abuser. And then he says something remarkable.

He says, stumbling a bit more, that the only thing that would have saved her is if he and her mother had, when she was young, educated her about what to do in such a situation. Told her that she could tell them anything. Told her that secrets are not forever. Told her what to say to them, her parents, if anyone hurt her or scared her. He said that she might not have told them the first time it happened, or maybe not even the second, but that he is sure she would have told them soon -- if only they had taught her that she could.

And with those words, the truth about what motivates Ron Book was revealed. Yes, he is angry. And bitter. And vengeful. But that is not what drives him.

What drives him is guilt.


  1. "What motivates him is guilt". Wow...that made my hair stand up.

    How many other registry zealots are driven by less-than-pure motives?

    Dennis Hastert- was his push for the Adam Walsh Act driven by guilt?

    What drives John Walsh? Love of the limelight? Guilt? Power? Money?

    Happy human beings who feel connected to family, friends, society do not usually hurt other human beings- whether it's guys like Ron Book or the nanny who assaulted his child.

    Yes. Let's treat the CAUSE of abuse rather than torturing the accused/convicted. Same thing with ALL crimes. We are all born pure. Nobody decides to become an abuser. Or a mass shooter. Or a terrorist. Or an alcoholic.

    I feel that this registry is a time bomb waiting to go off. When you push people to the limits of marginalization and constantly re-enforce the idea that they are very bad people what sort of outcome can we expect?

    One of my favorite poems goes something like this:

    "Because i could not lie i called my dog God.

    At first he was confused. Soon he was smiling and dancing.

    Now, he wont even bite. I wonder if this works on people too?"

    The poem is by Tukaran and it brings me to tears because it so true.

    My belief is that the worst crimes are committed by those who feel isolated from society. How can further isolation do anything but create more crime?

  2. Scorched Earth policy - A scorched earth policy is a military strategy that targets anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area. Specifically, all of the assets that are used or can be used by the enemy are targeted, such as food sources, transportation, communications, industrial resources, and even the people in the area...Wikipedia,

    Ron Book is a fine example of what not to be as people age when they have not dealt with their grief, anger and guilt. He went though a tragedy involving his child that no parent should have to ever experience. For that, he should receive sympathy. No child should experience what the nanny did. The act on the child should never be condoned.

    Despite that, he should not be badgering and lashing out through his personal "scorched earth" policy. This policy is truly a military strategy and should not be a public policy by any means because it is dangerous to everyone, e.g. recovering victims, those convicted and trying to recover, and friends & families of both. His "if I have to suffer, you too shall suffer as long as I do" or "let me drink poison while I wait for others to die" will only continue to result in negativity across many spectrums for him, those like him who feel the same and others.

    He has used his bully pulpit long enough to advance counterproductive agendas to help him feel better about the guilt. Politicians are scooped up in the related wave of emotion and use it to further their own agendas. Together, irreparable harm is created and power is inflated.

    However, in reality, Ron cannot progress forward and will hold himself and others back trying to move forward because he won't acknowledge the data, the professionals, including several from Florida, and those who are in the know of what really is the situation regarding recidivism, etc. It will be a better day when he decides to listen, read and understand these numbers, people and situations.

    It would be a better legacy for Ron if he decided to help all who are impacted in Florida and nationally on this topic instead of being vindictively one-sided. He has some of the best lobbying skills as detailed online with his firm, so use them to help ALL.

    Until then, Ron Book will continue to be an example of what is wrong about our society and its continual fear mongering, sky is falling, let's go get'em mentality.

    (P.S. John Walsh, politicians, the court system and others would be served best if they did the same, but that is for another day...)

    1. Good comment . P.S. Johh Walsh -Guilt - politicians - bought - the court system - bought . Its not like the leave it to beaver show anymore . But if Ron Book did'nt enjoy the spot lite from a poor disicion to choose work over family before having a child a registry would not have to excist , because everyone should be a suspect . The blame is well before this crime .
      Too add a P.S. who was Laura Ahearns abuser ?

    2. Call me uncaring, but I have zero sympathy with a father and mother whose child comes to harm because they are too busy with everything under the sun but being actual parents, and subsequently cause nothing but pain and misery to thousands completely unrelated as some sort of revenge for their failures. In the meantime building a nice and lucrative career being a professional victim.

      Zip, zilch, nada.

  3. @Rose - If only it were that simple. The fact is that countless thousands of children with loving, attentive parents still fall prey to sexual abuse. Often the parents, no matter how caring and well-meaning, simply can't see what's happening.

    In this respect, registries are most damaging because they focus the attention of parents and other caregivers away from where the majority of the risk lies, which is much closer to home than they're willing to admit.

  4. What drives Ron Book ? A brand new Mercedes Benz .


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