A discussion in the SOSEN forums (Good Policing)

As a lead-in to this information many people wonder what goes on within the secure forms of SOSEN, the victims advocates and vigilantes would like to believe that our forms give rise to more crimes or give offenders ways to get away with their crimes. Nothing could be further from the truth. SOSEN is the Sex Offender Solutions and Educational Network. Our members are looking for and sharing information pertaining to the sex offender registry and seeking advice from other members on how to reintegrate into society and be productive members of it, as well as attempting to stay informed on the ever-changing legal arena.

But the discussions within the forums are not limited to just information about registered citizens below is a atypical discussion that was started in the forums under good policing.

Member 1

As a truck driver, I interact with tens of thousands of vehicles daily. Some drivers are excellent. Many are plain awful. My truck is outfitted with traffic speed matching technology. It includes a radar connected to the truck’s speed sensor which automatically matches my truck’s speed to the vehicle ahead and it maintains the truck at the proper following distance as well as applying brakes to avoid collisions. I can override it using my foot pedals. It also has a digital readout that tells me the speed of the vehicle in front of me. Yesterday, a motorcycle passed me and cut into my lane. I clocked him at 138mph and called the Ohio Highway Patrol. The officer who went to investigate was kind enough to call me back after a failed attempt to catch him and he thanked me for the tipoff. He then made a profound statement. He told me that it was difficult to catch traffic offenders in a marked patrol car because people would adjust their driving style to be compliant when they saw the patrol car. It got me thinking!!

Back in the late 1990s, the phomomenon of the internet became available to absolutely anyone who had the money for a computer and the service. All of the information in the world at the dot-commer’s fingertips!! “Chat” rooms were born as was social networking. The world became both a little smaller….and a lot bigger as we all began to meet people just as individually unique as we thought we were. For instance, I learned that there were people all over the world who loved opera and there were people all over the world who loved model building. Indeed, I was no longer weird, I was normal…and I had others like me to prove it!!

At that time, the great “cyber predator” scare was born. Pedophiles began trolling the chat rooms of all of our children. It was indeed a SCARY time for all dot-commers. I have a close friend who was an elementary school principal. Her son was a dot-commer and she watched over him like a hawk when he was online. I asked her just how bad it actually was and she said, “Watch this!!” She posted “I AM A TWELVE YEAR OLD BOY. I AM INTERESTED IN MARIO BROS.”  Something to that effect. Instantly, someone replied, “WHAT IS YOUR NAME? CAN YOU POST A PICTURE OF YOURSELF?” She said, “Just wait.” The person on the other end posted, “WHERE DO YOU LIVE? CAN WE MEET? I’M STILL WAITING FOR A PICTURE. I’D LIKE TO MEET YOU AND TALK MARIO BROS.” She said that it COULD be another teen…but she pointed out that as quickly as the conversation progressed from introduction to pictures to meeting, it was not likely.

This brings into play the question. What IS good policing? Cyber cops set up stings quite regularly and they are quite effective. I have always been a proponent of keeping children safe. The question for me is this: Is good policing a product of catching the bad guys or is it a product of having less crime due to a stronger presence? I, for one, would rather have a stronger police presence that makes burglars think twice before staging break-ins in my neighborhood than having burglars caught only after they’ve been in my home and taken my television.

So what are some thoughts on this. I gurantee all of us in this forum would say “Had I known how this would all turn out……” What IS good policing?? What is better, in your opinion, a jail filled to capacity or a jail sparsely populated because crime was deterred by stronger vigilance? I’m curious what some thoughts are here.

Member 2

I think you have to define what “policing” is before you can define what makes it “good”. Prison is a part of punishment, and punishment is not a job of the police. Generally, the job of police is to maintain law and order.

How law and order is maintained by the police is a question for the ages.

Member 3

A little side note: if soliciting children online is such a big problem (though I for one doubt it is as widespread as claimed), wouldn’t it be easier to keep children off the internet? We can restrict access to a lot of places where children go – bars for example. Why should the net be any different? Just because it requires a little more parenting?

The overlooked elephant in the room is parents clamoring for the government to do their job of protecting their own kids. Sorry, but I think child safety is a parental issue, not a state one. Considering how the state runs everything else, why would anyone in their right mind trust their kids to the government?

For crying out loud, if laws prevented crime, then how is it there’s still crime?

Member 4

Right you are, ——-. But if you look back on history, you can see that parental authority and ability have steadily eroded since the end of World War II, the start of the Baby Boom, and Dr. Spock’s famous book on child rearing. Parents have steadily abrogated responsibility for the proper education of their children. First it was mandatory public education; Dr. Spock recommended a “hands-off” approach; then TV became a de facto baby sitter. Zoom to the free-love 60’s where children were raised by hippies who wanted “freedom” for their kids; child rearing was a “drag.” Those kids grew up to hate their parent’s generation; but then Their kids were now being baby-sat by video games and the Internet. And now parents would rather give up all responsibility for the education and protection of their children to the Government. What kind of kids will those turn out to be?  Child safety, then, is DEFINITELY a parental responsibility … but what we need is more Parental Education… preferably one without modern political ideology pumped in.  What they call “Free Range Parenting” today was simply normal, average parenting in the 40’s and 50’s. Compare “Helicopter Parenting” where the child’s every move is controlled or overseen by a parent. Failing to allow kids to get dirty, to play outside, and so on, has exacerbated childhood allergies.

Member 5

It’s easy to come up with solutions.

It’s much harder to come up with solutions that make a (positive) difference.

The internet is here to stay, and there’s literally no way to make sure no children are on it, short of mandatory biometric scans for every occasion of accessing the internet.

I grew up without TV, and limited access to the internet. My parents did everything they could think of to prevent us from all harm and danger, but yet here I am (non-internet charge). Clearly that kind of parental responsibility didn’t help. For what it’s worth, I think if I’d gone to a government school, I’d not be a convicted criminal today (though who knows.. I might have been a parent before 20 instead).

What children need in a dangerous world is an emotionally safe and nurturing space, where they can experiment, take risks, and slowly grow outwards on their own.

The problem is that the world has changed so fast that no one has figured out how to live in it. The Greatest Generation was deeply flawed, but they grew up with a strong sense of community. They decided to make life easier for their children, the Baby Boomers, who grew up in suburbs, mildly isolated from the greater world, but still with one parent home most of the time. Then came my generation, the Millennials. Our parents wanted to absolutely spoil us and turn each and every one of us into superstars, because even their childhood was too hard, but they now had options no one had ever seen before. And now both parents work out of the house most of the time, with very limited community ties. The village that once raised a child has evaporated.

The poor Gen Z is inheriting generation upon generation of not being able to keep up with the changing times. They’re going to have an awful hard time learning to run the world when their time comes. But don’t fault them for what no one gave them the chance to learn. I’m not even sure how much we can fault their parents.

The best thing a parent can do is 1) make sure they are emotionally healthy (before having children), and 2) make sure their priorities aren’t out of balance (overprotective ness, excessive materialism, etc.). That would curb a lot of crime, though certainly not all (nothing can curb all crime, short of total annihilation).

As far as actual policing goes, I’m certainly one of those that, if I’d known how seriously the state took a 16 year old fooling around, I’d probably have kept myself a bit more in check. I remember finding out for the first time (years before I was charged), that I could spend years in prison, etc., and being completely devastated. I had never imagined it was that serious. That said, it’s really hard for me to imagine any kind of government action that would have protected me / her. Some would try to ban homeschooling, or label every parent that keeps their child at home neglectful, but I know plenty of counter examples, and it opens the door for too much abuse of power.

Awareness would be one thing, although many of us, if we’d known that “someone” was charged for “something”, we would say, “yeah, but that won’t be me,” and not take the hint. And how do you warn a 16 year old homeschooled kid? His mom won’t even let mentions of sexuality into the house!

Realistically the state does need to have and enforce laws, and some crime will go un-caught / un-punished. It’s a hard sell, but we have to accept that some crimes (even dreadful crimes) will go unpunished, as long as any personal freedom exists, and without any personal freedom, we lose our human soul.

I have no general problem with the laws as they stand (what is or isn’t a crime), nor even with standard policing methods (even though there is more concern for the “state” than for the victim.. if anyone thinks the prosecutor is on the side of the victim they are delusional — but no perfect system exists). The dangerous element comes from attitudes of vigilanteism, both within and without the government, that push sentencing (and often charging) beyond what would be reasonable according to data.

But we have to accept… there are dangerous people out there, and they are seriously hurting people (I’ve watched my friends cry as they’ve told their stories..). It is just to have enforcement, and unjust to ignore crime. America is one of the most paranoid and self-centered cultures in the world, and unfortunately we, who look suspiciously like someone who reminds someone of a deep pain in their life, or in the life of a friend, get the short end of the stick. Even if, we were in reality the safest people in the world, and are labeled completely unfairly.

We may be treated completely unfairly, but if our problem with society is that it’s paranoid and self-centered, then it wouldn’t do well for us to try to change that society by also being paranoid and self-centered.

A final note here, the people in this discussion are registrants who are seeking a better path for themselves and their communities. People make mistakes, most people learn from them and try to make themselves into better people and to contribute to the communities that they live it. When they are deny that ability, To participate in a community and are ostracized and shamed by that community because of fear and hatred. It diminishes the community by allowing that fear to fester and removes a person from the equation that could be a benefit to the community. As for a person that is been ostracized be they a registrant or a school student they will feel hatred and resentment towards those who deny him or her the ability to participate and that by itself can lead to new crimes. So to be blunt when looking at the whole picture, new crimes very well may be caused by the community, the bullies, the victims advocates and the vigilantes.

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