The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Monday, May 19, 2008

Most are like him

Phillip Trembley would like you to believe that most sex offenders are like him. I'd like you to believe that too- so I don't have a disagreement with him in that area. But- when we get to defining him, then his opinion begins to clash a little with mine. Trembley served a few years in jail, and was sentenced to spend some time checking in with the police every so often as part of his registration as a sex offender.

Backing up a little, Trembleys comments come in response to a story by channel 49 news out of Topeka, KS. The article ponders over whether just a sexual offender registry list is enough, or if the state needs to follow the lead of others and adopt tougher laws- including residency restrictions.

People like Phillip Trembley are on the state's registered offenders list. He committed a sex crime.

"Did I touch her? Yes," he said.

The KBI's registered offender Web site includes photos, addresses and the types of crimes committed, but is keeping a list enough?

When Trembley looks out his front door he sees Scott Magnet School, less than 300 feet away. Some states restrict where registered offenders can live. Kansas does not.
Web-exclusive extended interview

When asked if she knew sex offenders in Kansas could live next door to a school Harmony Grubbs said "I did not realize that, no," adding "I think all states should get that law passed. "

First off, I understand that parents are busy people- I'm pretty busy myself. However, with the sex offender registry available online, it takes nothing more than a few minutes to look up your address, or the address of your child's school- or really any address for that matter- and check for any possible sex offenders living or working within that area. No parent has an excuse for not knowing when a sex offender lives nearby. And honestly, for the benefit of protecting their children, they ought to be making time to check that list out. Many states also offer a feature that will email alerts to your email address when a sex offender moves within a certain range of any address you provide. So- other than laziness, there is no reason to now know.

But, back to Trembley. When questioned about his conviction, he makes no attempt to downplay what he did. He does however make a very big attempt to downplay how society should see him now.

Trembley says there are some people who are habitual offenders, even predators who need to be separated from society or certainly watched closely, but most on the list, he says, are like him.

"I put out a fire once. That does not make me a fireman. I touched a young girl once. It does not make me a threat to society. I erred. I learned my lesson. I paid for my mistake," he said.

That there is the reasoning of a dangerous man. Downplaying the fact that he once molested a child by comparing it to putting out a fire is nothing more than a slap in the face. The child that he molested was his step daughter. She was 6. He had a role in her life that should have given her a feeling of wellbeing, of safety, or protection from the bad things. Instead, he became the very thing he was responsible for protecting her from.

People don't just wake up one day out of the blue and decide they are going to molest a child. It'd be like you waking up this morning and deciding that rather than making your kid breakfast, you're going to beat them to death. It's not going to happen with out some provoking circumstance. Hopefully, it's not going to ever happen at all- but you get my point.

You walk into a house and see a fire on the stove- a normal reaction it to put it out before the house burns down. That's normal. Nope, doesn't make you a fireman- but it makes you a person having a normal reaction to something dangerous. You walk into a room and see a child and molest that child- errr... not a normal reaction. Doing so makes you a child molester, a deviant, a danger to other children. Because you've chosen to commit a heinous crime, not put out a simple fire-- You've become the dangerous ingredient in a situation, you are the fire. And that makes the rest of us responsible for ensuring that you are put out before any more damage can be done.

He'll never get this, because he's already downplayed his role, justified to himself that he's really not all that bad. He molested a child, but he's not a child molester in his own mind. Even worse, he's already justified the crimes of most of the people on sex offender registries by saying that they are no worse than him, who he believes is just fine, and not a danger.

If your child was playing near a fire, you'd do all that you could to get that child away from there... it's what parents are suppose to do. But- we can't move a school every time a sex offender moves n next door. So, we do what we can to put up a barrier, and keep the fire away from the child. Trembley, and those like him- are the fire. And, we must work to keep them at a safe distance, or we'll be stuck cleaning up the mess after one of our children get burned.