Who’s the real enemy?

Those that have read my previous articles shouldn’t be surprised by this new one, but to those who have never read my articles, this may hit hard and strike a nerve. Alas, I will not apologize for what I write, nor will I be sympathetic to the fact that you are a registrant, as I am one as well.

Being on the sex offender registry or having a family member on the registry is a very trying situation. It brings with it a lifetime for some of hardships, ridicule, discrimination. Finding housing, and employment become a seemingly impossible feat, which paves the way for depression, anxiety and all the other health risks involved. This, however, is where I will stop your train of thought. This is not an article aimed towards coddling someone’s feelings and telling you that everything is going to be ok. This is an article aimed at the fact that the registry is not your biggest enemy, you are.

I have been on the registry seven years now, and I have had my share of hardships from it. However, I also now have multiple college degrees, moved several times, had a few well-paying jobs and much more. Some ask me how I do it, and my answer is simple, I just do! The things in life that do not kill you will always make you stronger, sitting around wallowing in your own self-pity is not going to make your life better, but getting up and moving forward will. When faced with not being enrolled in college because of my criminal conviction, I took it to the state education board and won within minutes just by talking to them. Yes, the registry makes life hard, yes you will face hardships and dark storms, the key is to always be the bigger storm, and always have the loudest growl in the pack. Seven years ago, I never would have believed that within ten years I would be happily engaged, and soon to be married, have a near six-figure job, own a new truck, and be well on my adventure of starting a family.

Now to those getting angry and saying “You’re not in my situation, you had a better chance or more money”, Folks, I came from the epidemy of jack diddly squat and a childhood filled with abuse and beatings, but as I said, what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger. You are disabled by your mental condition, I.E self-pity and woe is me, not by your criminal background. Take for example someone who has lost their legs, they are faced with two choices now, wallow and become depressed, or strap on some prosthetics and learn to walk again. Always strive to be the best version of yourself, strive for greatness. You can never go back and start over but you can start any day and write a new ending.

11 comments for “Who’s the real enemy?

  1. April 25, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    It is amazing how often people who have “beaten the odds” like to pontificate what they feel to be hard work and values while forgetting what it really took to get there. No man is an island unto themselves. You might have “lifted yourself up by the bootstraps,” but you seem to forget it also took people willing to give you a chance to do so in the first place. Your example of the guy with no legs is not an accurate illustration of your message of self-determination. That man may indeed be determined to walk again, but most likely, he will have had the help of others to do it, like a physical therapist, the guy who made the prosthetic legs, the insurance company, and a support network to aid in helping this man walk again. Oftentimes, registrants lack a support network. I can’t even estimate how many times people who found my site never even KNEW there was an online resource at all for registered persons. But finding resources is just the start, and just because you’ve lucked out does not imply everyone has an equal chance to succeed.

    The attitude conveyed by this article is that if a registrant fails to succeed with this added burden, it is his own fault. This dismissive, conservative mindset does not accurately portray the real struggles facing registrants today. Yes, for SOME people, they are their own biggest obstacle; on the other hand, I have helped connect thousands of registrants to resources over the 12 years of having the OnceFallen website, and there are plenty of people who don’t want to sit at home collecting a check saying, “woe is me.” They call me about housing, and jobs, and how to abide by these myriad of tough sanctions and still find a way to live a meaningful, productive life, not how to collect a government check and complain about life. So for most registrants, your assumption is erroneous.

    You also seem to forget that all you worked for can be taken from you at any moment. Your house could burn down, people close to you pass away, or you face an arrest for a crime you did not commit, and you’re easily back to square one. Yes, others have had a great job, money to spend, a good wife and family, and then lost it simply because the law changed and nothing more. Don’t think for one second you’re immune to it.

    • Scott Roberson
      April 25, 2019 at 3:31 pm

      I’ll agree that this message may seem big headed to a point but for the first five years of being on the registry, when I accomplished my biggest goals, I had no support group. I was violated twice for things I did not do and served more jail time, lost several jobs and two apartments after higher ups found out I was registered. My advantage was my upbringing I would suppose, from a young age I was taught to stand alone, fight to the death and worst case scenario to have the mindset of survive at all cost even if it’s the cost of losing everything just to start over. Being a combat veteran further instilled this mindset of survive and succeed. So long as I’m moving forward, whether it be from square one or the top moving forward is moving forward and that’s a win. My mother past away suddenly two years ago but it did not deter me from my goals, may be worth mentioning I also went to work the same day as her passing because nothing productive comes from being wrapped up in a mournful mindset. If my house burns down tonight I’ll go to work tomorrow and begin building again, failure isn’t a bother so much as you get up. Collecting a unemployment check means nothing, I’ve done that several times, that is a stepping stone to my goals on my path to greatness. Do I have a conservative mindset? Yes I do, but I will never be found sitting idle, or wondering why me? Why do I keep getting knocked down? Why did I spend three grand moving four months ago for the police to tell me I had to spend that again because my address was incorrectly checked and found to be 20 feet too close to a boundary? I don’t give a damn why, I give a damn that nothing will beat me, nothing will deter me from my path to greatness. Prison could not deter me, for I will come out still walking my path.

      • AC
        April 26, 2019 at 9:17 am

        Scott, you must remember WHY people “self-pity” in the first place; they wouldn’t do it if their life experience, after their hard attempt at trying at it, didn’t bring them to that point to begin with.

        Some registrants struggle to the moon to get a good-paying WAREHOUSE job; despite being college educated and otherwise qualified for work endeavors far beyond the backroom packing and assembly business. Despite being strong at heart and continuing to look for work, they’re still at square 2, if not square 1.

        I can’t tell you how many jobs My university-level ass and myself applied for and continue to apply to today, after more than several of months since my release; we’re talking jobs pertaining to my field of study, as well as pleasant simple menial labor as dish-washing and food-server. How many times have I gotten hired? Why am I still working for a temporary job agency handing me mere job assignments here and there with seemingly little to no chance of working full-time, no real prospect from employers to hire me permanently, despite my being more than qualified? I’m still standing strong to continue to speak to employers, firmly asking for full-time schedules and expressing concern of paying bills, as any responsible citizen would. I’ve been nothing but professional and upright with all I’ve come into contact with. I would think someone as determined as I to get a job and advance professionally would be able to by now, if he’s done it for so long.

        So, why haven’t I? Why are potential employers consistently taking me into interview, asking me to come to a trial shift, and then cancelling only hours later after (what I suspect of them) reading news articles of me online? Why do they continue to tell me that I’m a very qualified applicant only to later turn me away because I’m somehow “not qualified”? Is this the typical experience of a job applicant who has applied to more than 150 jobs? Is it really THAT difficult to find work for everyone? Is it really my fault that people are playing the superstition game based on nothing more than a stupid label? Should I HAVE to jump to the moon just to hopefully get a DISHWASHING job that I can’t get because of a label? IS IT my fault?

        Or does society bear a good amount of accountability for their unjustified behaviour?

        Surely, you can understand why I’m beyond irritated (what I think you refer to as “self-pitying”); as lgbt victims of homophobia searching for a house and job back in the days likewise were.

        As much as it’s hard to admit, a lot of what helped you to get to where you are really may be that you are simply in the lesser LUCKY few, since few of us are in a position to be able to make 6-figures as you; as hard as it may be to admit. I can read in your situation. Those times in my past that I have triumph when more than half of my others don’t, I would always believe unto myself that nothing but my hard work got me there, and that those others could too if they “simply tried hard enough”. Sadly, I had to learn to give them the rightful leeway of misfortune that happens them, when it does; and that “hard work wins achievement” wasn’t always the case.

        • Scott Roberson
          April 26, 2019 at 6:25 pm

          AC,

          I applaud your commitment to moving forward. This article was not written from the perspective of being boastful or using the statement of “I did it, so can you”. I wrote it to help inspire others to stay committed to moving forward, even if it seems like you’re always at square one. Life to me is an adventure, some days its great and others it’s awful, but I am always driven to continue on my path to greatness. I too have washed dishes to make ends meet, and stooped low enough to find myself cleaning sewage pits just to pay the electric bill but I have always done it with a smile and a desire to climb higher. Society has always looked at me with a scowl, even before the registry. I do not blame them, they take things for what they see as do I. seven out of ten people prove to treat me as lower class, so I treat the world like everyone will do the same, my goal has always been to prove them wrong.

  2. kayt
    April 25, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    Some people have charisma that somehow connects with charmed luck, and if they are really fortunate, they are stronger both physically and emotionally than some of the rest of us. These most fortunate people can sometimes find a way through almost anything. Sometimes, but not always.

    If education, skill sets, experience, and love of my work could put me on top of the heap, I’d be there. But sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.

    I don’t believe that it’s a Yin and Yang world. The principle of Yin and Yang is that all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites. I believe that there are plenty of gray areas in life, and I think most of us out here are doing pretty darn good to balance out somewhere in the middle.

    • Scott Roberson
      April 26, 2019 at 6:32 pm

      Katy,

      Being at the “top of the heap” is not what life is always about. It’s about your own path to greatness and a willingness and desire to stay on it despite being driven backwards or down.

  3. Scott
    April 26, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    What resources have you used and how did you get to where you are today?? I don’t believe this stuff was handed to you with ease and without a lot of rejection. Help a Brother and Sister out.

    I DO believe the registry is OUR enemy because i have experienced more than once where busy body co workers ran my name. All you need to do is google a persons full name and state and suddenly you appear. It is not that easy without dealing with harassment, hazing, threats and death threats. We have no rights. We are not as protected as the average citizen would be.

    • Scott Roberson
      April 27, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      Scott,

      I’m glad that you saw the purpose behind this article and I would be happy to share with you some of my adventures because that is what life is.

      You are correct in your assumption that nothing has been handed to me with ease, in fact, everything has come with at least one shot of rejection. My chance at college came by just that, chance. I had been working at a factory that decided to close its doors and move to the country of Mexico. I did not realize at the time that, that meant that the Government had to pick up the tab on all “retraining” that any employees affected by the shut down needed to find other employment. For me, this meant a free two-year degree. Upon enrolling, however, I found out that I had been immediately rejected due to my background. I called the enrollment office to inquire what could be done to fix the situation and again was dismissed with quickly. A few weeks went by and I decided to contact the state board of education about my plight, to which they replied that they would look at the decision and get back to me. After a few more weeks I received a letter saying that if I still wished to attend college I would need to have a meeting with the state board to attempt finding a solution. I put on a salvation army suit and tie, created fifteen copies (the board held ten members, I took extras) of a presentation so to speak about who I was and why I felt I should be allowed to attend the college. Twenty minutes into talking about me, my goals and plans, etc. and the head of the board stopped me to tell me that they had heard enough and could find no reason why I should not be allowed to attend college on one condition, that I didn’t fail any classes. For a guy that at the time only had an actual 6th-grade education despite being self-taught in most things, having a GED and being through tech school for motorcycle mechanics, this was a little worrying. Alas, I graduated with a 4.0 GPA, because I never stopped studying to be better. Ford two years I gave up drinking, playing pool, and generally slacking off, instead I filled my time with reading Algebra books, and English books.

      As for my employment, I went from graduating with a degree in Business administration and a newfound love for writing, hoping I’d find my new place among business professionals to yet again be turned down for each and every job I applied for. In the midst of it, all the apartment I had been living in was sold to a new owner who did not wish to rent to an RSO, so I was forced to move due to RSO’s not being a protected party. With nowhere to go, I happened upon a number for someone who owned homes a few towns over. I called him and at the time all he had was an extremely run down one bedroom home that had not been updated since roughly the mid-’50s. The plaster was falling off the walls, and the floors were extremely warped from leaks in the roof. He told me he did not feel comfortable renting it to anyone in its current condition. I then persuaded him to allow me to live there rent free, provided I gutted the home and remodeled everything. And so my next two years began, now I had a background in carpentry but certainly not drywall, and electrical, but they have books for that so I started reading at night after I would work all day. A few months in I landed upon a job as a maintenance man in an extremely dirty and unhealthy steel plant that had absolutely nothing to do with what I went to college for but it paid the bills. Now I have the attitude that when I do something I don’t do it to be good, I do it to be the best. Less than a year into that job I found myself being offered the maintenance manager position at a sister plant on the opposite end of the state. I took the offer as the company paid for my hotel stay until I found someplace to live. During my hotel stay, I met the woman of my dreams who two days after knowing me decided to google my name looking for a high school photo of me. As an RSO we all know what happens when you google a name….. This very nearly ended that relationship, but I fought through the fray and we’ve stayed together. After a couple of months, we decided to try and find a place together which was an absolute nightmare until her parents agreed to let us stay at their house while she finished nursing school and we found a place. a couple of months after moving there, I was notified that the City had an ordinance that extends residency boundaries but another 1500 feet beyond that states 1500 feet and I was in violation of a school a half mile away, We scrambled to find a new home and happened upon a townhouse where we currently live. This also happened right when I had decided to ask for her hand in marriage on our weekend getaway to Chicago… my stress level was a little high, to say the least. Then after finding out I was two dollars an hour beyond the pay scale for the company I worked for and had gotten there in thirteen months, I realized that they could not afford to pay me enough to be able to live anywhere close to where she would need to be working. After several months of negotiations with a crane repair company, I now find myself making the near six figures a year as an Electric crane repair technician, being sent to company paid certification training, consulted with by my current boss on company plans, put in charge of fabrication needs for the shop and was able to purchase a vehicle that was less than ten years old which to me is as new as it gets.

      Every day is a struggle for us both as half her family cannot stand me because of my past, but we have fought through it all and supported one another through everything. Our wedding is on plan, as well as our plan to purchase a home and start a family.

      In conclusion, nothing has been handed to me, but I fight on, I shoulder my share of the load and more to prove every wrong if for nothing else. My path to greatness may never end and our book of adventure and memory will never find the final chapter because, for every accomplishment or triumph we have, we make another goal to hit.

      • Scott
        April 28, 2019 at 9:28 am

        This is a Great Testimony.

        Many of us who are struggling to get past the past know what we want to do. So many go away without knowing how to accomplish the goals they want to achieve in life as a normal human being with the restrictions that are placed against us to move forward as easily as a “normal” or average citizen.

        I applaud the way you used your creativity with much reading and all the meetings you had to get through to get where you are today. The real struggle with people is hearing the word NO so many times we are apt to expect the answer NO and we cut ourselves short and then lose interests in trying to move on. Many like myself have the ability to accept what it is but sell ourselves short of a great blessing to move forward because we believe a lot of the times we aren’t worthy enough to have the “BETTER or the “BEST” due to our background.

        Seeing your work and how you did it all on your own gives a whole new meaning to what you meant when you said in the article above that we are disabled with depression and mental illness. I don’t believe everyone is wired the same as you and many struggle with the fact that what they did ruined a persons identity and self worth. I think everyday how i robbed someone of their innocents. I know i cant change the past and nobody in “OUR” situation can.

        We all can have those prosthetic legs handed to us, But many need to know how to use them to move forward. Not everyone has the same level of resources readily available to them where ever they may reside. I do think everyone needs to be shown how to be creative and adventurous in life as many may not have the ability to think that way or figure things out with life’s challenges and setbacks.

        Thank You for sharing and this really puts NEW prospective on how to be creative and How HARD WORK PAYS OFF, “IF” you know how to retrieve the resources that you can grasp when they are readily available.

        Like myself, i hope this helps others on how to keep going and strive to be the better of themselves.

        • Scott Roberson
          April 28, 2019 at 3:54 pm

          Scott,

          The point is to always see the worth in yourself. If I wadded up a hundred dollar bill, stomped on it and threw it in the trash, you would pick it out, uncrumple it and throw it in your pocket, why? Because it has never lost its value or worth, despite being in ruin, it still has worth. I have heard the word “no” or found that 6 out of 10 people have always seen the worst. It has given me the mentality that due to the statistics all people will see the worst, I’ve just found purpose in proving them wrong and showing my worth and value.

          It hasn’t always been that I had resources readily available, often I’ve had to hit the library or the internet to learn things and better myself. I do believe that not everyone has the adventurous and creative mentality as I but I do believe that if enough people see my message then they can learn to find their worth as well as help others find their worth. So if that means I have to continue being a focal point or beacon than so be it, I do not mind.

  4. KayT
    April 28, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    I just want to clarify that I would never say that education isn’t worth the effort. And I do believe that we use what we learn even if we aren’t aware.

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