- Vigilantism: We have explained exactly what we consider vigilantism in the sections below:
1) Vigilantism;In all we are speaking of an attack against some who was thought to have committed or was previously convicted of a sex crime of some sort.
2) Vigilantism by Media;
3) Vigilantism by law; and
4) Vigilantism by Police.
Vigilantism: Once the actual crime is over, then it is up to the laws of the day to punish for the criminal acts. Now, any actions (generally attacking type) towards persons convicted or accused of crimes, however subtle, which are not part of the court's sentence, carried out by someone who is not under the sentencing court's jurisdiction executing the judges sentence, gets into the world of vigilantism. Persons who exact their own form of personal hate and harm, however subtle, to those who have committed crimes or are accused of crimes, cross the line of being a vigilante.
This definition EXCLUDES the natural feelings of a victim (and those close to the victim) which result from the crime; certainly these people are not vigilantes, unless they then act illegally. Remember, it is every person's constitutional right, "to remain silent, and not act." You are not required to love thy neighbor! See: "Vigilantes: Coming soon to a community near you," In the News: Forensic psychology, criminology, and psychology-law by Karen Franklin, PhD
Vigilantism by Media: There is no problem with the media reporting on issues related to offenders, that falls under freedom of speech and the press. However there comes a time when the media crosses that line such as, naming all registrants individually when such is not necessary to raise the topic of the report. This is when the media becomes a vigilante, when they ignore the subtle consequences of their actions for the sake of sensationalism or ratings.
When media reports cause harm to innocent folks, and even registrants can be innocent, and their families are always innocent. When the media ignores the totality of the circumstances knowing full well that those associated with registrants will be harmed by their report, then the media becomes a vigilante.
No excuse of freedom of speech or press, or right of the public to know, will redress the harm caused, or the fact that the report is vigilantism. Interposing safety is only permitted when the rights of all who are the subject of the report, are protected, and safety is not being used as a pretext!
Example: Media VigilantismHere is a paper that has not done an ounce of research on crimes committed on Halloween, if they did they would know, there isn't a single recorded crime occurring on Halloween, against trick-and-treators, since the one in 1979 by someone who was not a former sex offender (Source: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
see also: Chaffin, M., Levenson, J.S., Letourneau, E., & Stern, P. (2009). How safe are trick-or-treaters? An analysis of sex crimes on Halloween. Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research & Treatment 21(3). There is absolutely no reason to print names again, esp. when they are on the state registry too. The paper knows it will harm those registrants and their family, if any.
Why we’re picturing sex offenders (10-22-2010 The Northest Georgian.com)
Today marks the first time The Northeast Georgian has published the names, addresses and charges of all registered sex offenders currently documented in Habersham County.
It’s unfortunate that a Sex Offender Registry is necessary, but Habersham County currently has 59 residents registered.
We’re publishing this information about sex offenders because we believe an informed public is a safer public.
The information we’re providing, on Pages 10-11A of today’s edition, is available online at the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office website, habershamsheriff.com, and on the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s website.
Still, we believe it is important to make our readers aware of those living in our community who have committed crimes that led to them being placed on the Georgia Sex Offender Registry.
October is a time when residents visit the homes of more neighbors, often through trick-or-treating, which is why we chose now to run this information.
Vigilantism by Law: We Recognize that legislators can make laws based on almost any hypothetical basis, and often do, especially with sex offender legislation. However, there comes a time when the current evidence proves their hypothetical basis, false. If the law is still enacted despite violations of constitutional protections, then we consider that, vigilantism by law! See WISCONSIN -v- CONSTANTINEAU 400 US 433 (1971). The societal deprivations of these laws, which result in public postings, clearly violate the U.S. Constitution.
1) Compelling all FSOs to provide the government KNOWLEDGE of their online identifiers (e-mail addresses, personal phone numbers, etc. everything that is found in the FSOs HOME) under the penalty of a prison or jail sentence, violates the Fourth (4th) Amendment; and Federal Privacy Rights; or,
2) Forcing FSOs to move from their homes if they reside within xx feet of certain places where children might congregate, even for 5-20 minutes only (bus stops). Yet, considering that living next door to them is fine.
Both, under the penalty of jail or prison, and without a hearing despite constitutional protections; or,
3) Enacting a law and refusing to change it when lawmakers know it is illegal, example: requiring prison inmates to provide a address where they will live 45 days before release. Then when they do and that address violates state or a local residency law, fail to tell that inmate that the address violates law. Then when the inmate is released, immediately arrest them for violating the residency law, and charge them with a felony. Such was the Alabama way (Now changed). Such practices are a clear abuse of the legislative process by public servants.
In short, when the overwhelming evidence proves, that a law is enacted for some other purpose than a logical hypothetical basis which prevents public harm, and the lawmakers choose to ignore evidence and the logical consequences of the law, and default to "well its the law," there is no doubt such laws are legalized vigilante acts. They are, end runs around constitutional protections. Legislators know that. Because of this constant false attack on sex offenders, sex offenders no longer have any representation in the political process.
4) Political speeches which place ALL sex offenders in a false light before the public eye, and endanger them and their families. See comments by U.S. Supreme court Justices Souter and Ginsberg on "Libel" HERE
5) Congress enacted the Adam Walsh Act, and one of its many provisions is:
Several states have chosen to NOT INCLUDE that warning in their specific state registry. So, when State Lawmakers fail to protect those on the registry, should we also call that blatant or subtle Vigilantism?
Then there are those states who have included it, but HIDE IT from public view or PUT IT SOMEWHERE the public is not likely to see it. Is that blatant or subtle Vigilantism?
6) Lawmakers, Federal and State, have FAILED to enact laws to protect registry information. Some states have sold copies of the registry and others have declared registry information "Public Information."
The FAILURE to protect registry information has allowed unscrupulous persons to use the information in ways that result in harm to registrants, including those who are no longer required to register. Some registrants, and former registrants, are being subjected to money schemes to remove their information (old and outdated) from COPIES of registries made by unscrupulous persons earlier in time. This amounts to extortion permitted by law (i.e., the failure of lawmakers to act to fix the problem they created). see Sex-offender data is used to collect money and intimidate and Sex Offender Law Reformers Sue Websites That Post Personal Details, Demand Cash to Remove
Hacking into registries is a crime, and bypassing state installed CAPTCHA security schemes, allows access to data (violating federal privacy laws) and lawmakers know it is going on and do nothing about it. i.e., failure to act. Registrants, former registrants and even the media have made lawmakers aware of this, and nothing is done resulting in further harm to registrants and their families.
So, again Lawmakers fail to protect registry information, and we call that blatant Vigilantism?
Vigilantism by Police: The essence of the acts by police which we have found to be vigilantism are: Refusal to act when they should (i.e., Chief did not like the person), acting when they shouldn't (i.e., personally punishing a person), acting in -excessive ways- which are normally deemed legal (one ex: excessive home checks). The best way to see what we mean is to review cases we have tagged "Vigilantism by Police."...