So, I was informed this bright, cheery afternoon by an automated ‘female’ voice that a sex offender had recently moved into my community.
*Glanced at the phone and then pressed my ear back to the head piece.* “Umm,…”
The voice assured me that this message was not meant to alarm me. But to warn me.
“Uhh, umm, okay.”
With monotonous precision (it was a prerecorded message after all), I was given his name, his address, his race, his height, and weight.
*By that time I had stumbled upon my pen near my laptop and scribbled the vitals – wait, no specific information about his crime? Lovely.*
Again, I was assured that this message was meant to warn me. No cause for alarm.
Did ‘she/it’ say good by? I don’t remember now. But the phone call was disconnected.
Welcome to my neighborhood, Mr. ——–.
I sat with the notebook open. Pen still in my fingers. Still ready. But for what?
Since they told me that I shouldn’t be alarmed, are they *slyly* telling me that I don’t need to take any action? And what action would I be taking anyway. What am I suppose to do with this information that laws have felt it vitally important that I know.
It really was a pretty day this afternoon. Sun bright, but not too hot.
It was quiet – being the middle of the day and all. But I found myself wishing for some music. The ominous music that they play to indicate to the audience that an important detail has been revealed or the killer/sex offender was lurking around the corner set to do harm to the heroine.
Was this a vital detail that I had just been given. An important part of the puzzle to be solved at a ‘to be disclosed’ later date. Why won’t the music just tell me?!
I love comics, but I’m no vigilante following in the steps of Punisher, Deathstroke or Batman (yes, Batman is a vigilante, don’t let him argue otherwise). Any action I would take would be of the not so aggressive variety.
So, do I go posting flyers around the neighborhood. (Wait, didn’t that phone call take the place of that?)
Do I casually start up conversations at the supermarket about THE CALL?
Maybe I should don a costume after all and….wait, wait real heroes who are about truth, justice and the American way are suppose to wait until the criminal is committing/about to commit a crime.
Damn, heroes’ ethics.
Hell, I have his address.
Knock, knock. “I/My neighborhood/Local police know that you’re in there. So don’t try sexually assaulting any underaged children, women or men for that matter**. Please.” (when I’m nervous I tend to be overly polite and just a tad bit fawning.)
I’m joking because it this call really is outside of my normal sphere of reality. Police came to my school to teach me how to say no to drugs (there was role playing and everything), health classes taught me how to protect myself from STDS, but I never received training for a situation like this. I don’t know quite how to process this warning/not an alarm message.
As a matter of fact, I’m not alarmed. Scared. Or even worried. There have been and are still other former convicted criminals living in my neighborhood. I’ve just never gotten a phone call of their exact whereabouts from the police. It gives the situation extra weight. I just don’t know which action I should be swayed to take.
What to do, what to do?
So, I don’t have children of my own. I guess I can mention/talk/find casual way to lead up new sexual offender in the neighborhood you should be on the look out for.
As far as myself? Eh.
There are the usual rules that have been hammered into my and every other females’ brains about how to not be raped. But most rapes are acquaintance rapes….Ah, so basically any new acquaintance that I meet should now be cross referenced through the local sex offender registry. ***
That was the point and purpose of the message. Yeah, okay. I get it. Kind of.
***no peace of mind there though, who says that most/many sex offenders have been convicted and are therefore on the list?
**I was dipping my toe in some basic information about the call – the laws that prompted it (Megan’s Law), what they are and the sexual registration itself. But its no shallow stream (the Wikipedia articles –the first resort for superficial research – were even too involved for me). I’m going to have to come back to this. If anyone has any leads I should follow, let me know, especially about the effectiveness of these kinds of laws.