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Dragons That Aren’t Slain

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We have a series of children’s safety books at home that cover topics from fire prevention, to calling 9-1-1, to stranger danger.  I know that we’ve read the stranger danger book at least 20 times.  We also talk about the topic at strategic times, like when we’re at the grocery store or shopping mall.

Still, my child is friendly.  We’ve done our best to teach him manners, courtesy, and respect for adults.  So it’s not uncommon for him to wave and say hello to people in the store.  I walk a fine line between promoting safety, and encouraging friendliness.

This morning when we went out to the car to leave for summer day camp, a man was jogging by our house.  Connor waved and said hello as he passed.  The man turned his head, smiled, and said hello back.

I could feel the hair stand up on the back of my arms.

There is a website called Family Watchdog, which is a national database of registered sex offenders.  I’ve used this site for years to keep track of convicted offenders in my neighborhood.

I knew that man.  I had studied his face on the computer on several occasions.  His name is Richard, and he is 51-years-old.  On 5/6/92 he was convicted of indecency with an 11-year-old child.  I know that was a long time ago, 19 years.  But 19 years ago he was 32-years-old.

He lives on my street, about 8 houses down.  This last Halloween, I called the local police department to report that his house was fully decorated for the holiday.  My concern is that decorations are an obvious invitation for children to come to the door, which is inappropriate for a registered sex offender.  I’ve also spoken to the police about his proximity to the local school, which is only about a quarter-mile away.  I was told that he didn’t have to be further away than that, but they did follow up on the Halloween incident.

I’m one of those people that believe in giving second chances.  I believe that when someone pays their debt to society, they should be allowed to move on.  But pedophiles are different.  This is not a crime I can understand or wrap my brain around.  And I sure don’t have any easy answers.  I just don’t know what should be done with people that are sex offenders, I just know I don’t want them near my family.  I also know I’d go to prison for what I’d do to one of them for harming my child.

So, thanks to Richard, I had to have another talk with Connor this morning on the way to camp.  We talked again about stranger danger, but this time I told him very clearly that the man jogging by our house was a danger.  I explained that he had been arrested before for doing bad things, and that he should never speak to him.  He wanted to know what kind of bad things, but I only told him he had done something bad to a child.

This is not how I like to start my day.

I urge everyone to use this website (see the link above) as a resource for keeping track of potential threats to the safety of their children.  The service is free, and their information is updated every 24 hours.  On the left side of the home page, you can enter in your home address to search for convicted offenders in your neighborhood.

It is against the law to harass someone you have found on the list.  The information is to be used for awareness only, not as a means to gather an angry mob with torches.

I hope you don’t find any but, sadly, you probably will.

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About Flannery

Kid, husband, dogs, my mother, full-time job, maximum stress, minimal relaxation...sooner or later I had to vent. AND we moved from California to Texas. I could start a whole other blog about that.

11 responses »

  1. Thank you for posting this link. We have 2 offenders within a couple of blocks of us, but I don’t know the deets on them. I’ve never used this site before, so I will go take a look.

    This is such a ridiculously difficult issue for me. I’m supposed to be teaching my son social skills, yet I have to keep him safe and warn him against bad guys without throwing his anxiety into overdrive and scaring the pants off of him. *sigh*

    Good for you for making contact with the cops about this guy.

    Reply
  2. Kudos on handling this situation just right! I struggled with the same issues when my daughter was young. I didn’t want her to be rude or afraid of everyone she met; after all, most children are harmed by people they know and trust, not by strangers. But there *are* the bad guys out there, and the best we can do is to teach kids the warning signs and to exercise caution — and to tell them to stay away from people whom we know to be a danger.

    A convicted pedophile is always a danger. No second chances, as far as I’m concerned. I think that pedophiles should be segregated from the rest of society; there are just certain things that put one outside the pale, and a sex offense against a child is one of them.

    Reply
  3. The site will also send you updates when offenders move in or out of your area. It is a great tool, if not a little frightening with the quantity of offenders.

    Reply
  4. There are very few times when I say, no seconds for you. This is one of them. Thanks for the site, I’ll pop in and see who’s freaky-deaky in my neighborhood….

    Reply
  5. I have used this, and have found out there is a cluster of placement in the next town over. In an apartment complex. Right near the bike trial that runs through our town.

    Reply
  6. So sorry that this guy lives so close to you. But you are so smart to have found this site and know about it. I tried to run a search but it does not even recognize my town and sends me way the heck out in the middle of central California. I will try to find my own link and run a local search. A good warning for all of us – not just for our homes but for our schools where the kids spend most of their day.

    Reply
  7. Don’t ever apologize for the position you have to take here. Even evil pedos know they can’t control themselves, and our law enforcement system doesn’t have the tools to deal with these matters until its too late. You are totally doing the right thing, and as much as it sucks, I totally applaud you and hope other parents see you as a great example!

    Reply
  8. Thank you for this site. I would like to feature this post link on my weekly update because I think it is so important. I went on the site and found out we have one that is a mile away in our community. I live in a very upscale community too. That is what is so scary… it is hard to teach our kids what a bad guy looks like when a bad guy can look like anyone. I am with you… if anyone ever hurt my child in any way I would go ballistic for sure.

    Reply
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