A lesson from World War II is to look beyond irrational laws created by the Nazis but focus on the way those laws were quietly reinforced by citizens without challenge or question. Initially, it was the German people and other nations that played a pivotal part of extermination of Jewish populations along with homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or anyone indifferent to the political ideology of the Nazis or its particular allies. After the war, nations took an oath never to allow people to become labeled, marked, branded, or classified creating any forms of second-class citizenry. The U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington DC reminds us of valuable lesson from a particular period. Silence and indifference to the suffering of others, or to the infringement of civil rights in any society, can—however unintentionally—perpetuate problems. Another lesson is the Holocaust was not an accident in history; it occurred because individuals, organizations, and governments made choices that legalized not only discrimination but also allowed prejudice, hatred, and ultimately mass murder to happen. Ironic that a museum teaching historical lessons about branding, labels, prejudice, and hatred are steps away from Congress where such laws of injustice are frequently created.
Naturally, there are vast differences between the Holocaust and the sex offender registry. However many parallels reflect how registered, the accused, convicted, or those suspected as potential offenders are labeled. One could argue that Jewish people committed no crime in comparison to a registered offender. However, many accused are convicted by plea deals or mear suspicion. It is only later with the introduction of discovery evidence, recants, perjury, or hidden evidence that sometimes pardons the innocent. As for those that are indeed guilty they are the faces that somehow become the broad label of anyone closely related to offenders – somewhat similar to how jews or homosexuals were and are somewhat labeled today. While we live in a nation based on fast and speedy trial notions, there is not much emphasis on thorough and impartial investigation overall. Sex offenders have been ignored, ostracized, and shunned far into ghettos or low living standards, banned from social media, rejected employment, unable to qualify for food assistance, unable to afford or secure medical attention and other humane issues that promote fairness and assimilation within the fabric of American society. In fact, registered or convicted offenders no longer on the registry are slowly dying on the cusp of a constructed genocide machine based on a culture of segregation and demarkation. The registry is slowly changing from a second-class citizenship towards statelessness or perhaps a new and improved version of Jim Crow laws. Just as nations during WWII slowed or stopped the influx of Jewish settlers escaping unfair and harsh conditions by the Nazis, it’s U.S. states that accentuate the same conditions by disallowing those convicted of sexual offenses from departing or living freely within its borders unless police give permission. If this isn’t a method of efficacious genocide and Gestapo tactics, then I don’t know what else to say to convince you otherwise?
We are a nation of laws and consequences. At no point should a criminal charge become a “deal-making moment” for prosecutors or public policy convenience. Instead, the gavel of justice should be equally fair in punishment as the crime fits – if the person is indeed guilty. Today we see individuals convicted of murder or other felonious offenses released to live, work, and benefit freely from the bureaucracy of additional requirements. However, a first-time sex offender must endure for life the branded label of real-life purgatory until they die, commit suicide, or pass on. It is the new concentration camp that sex offenders must endure. A large number of the registered are homeless, seek food pantries or meals, and attempt to live off the streets if permitted based on the jurisdictional law because they way politicians designed the registry requirements. It is no different than historical Nazi agendas, and we are slowly repeating a genocide and nationalist rhetoric all over again forgetting history and how it affected a particular group of people.
To the average registered offender, a life of prison would far be better and more accessible to maneuver than the complicated registry and its ever-changing requirements. I do not know of any person that has ever been released from jail to have parole/registry/civil commitment requirements for thirty years to a lifetime? I know of no other criminal offense where a person must register with police on where he/she may live; or get permission to live at an address? I know of no such laws where individuals are disqualified from obtaining a real estate, commercial driver license, or medical certification; or having to turn documentation in to have “Sex Offender” stamped all over it to alert others? Offender endure policies such as anyone convicted of a sexual assault are banned from military installations, but convicted felons can access as long as the conviction is over seven years? I know of no other agency that requires sentenced individuals to relinquish internet identifiers? The list goes on and continues to grow no different than how the Nazis created bureaucratic laws confusing the Jewish population that constructively sent them to concentration camps and eventually their deaths. This is a recipe towards constructive genocide by any nation that defines and separates misdemeanors, felons, from registered offenders as another identifier. It is an ugly and straightforward issue that must be addressed as an equivalent and comparison to how the Nazi’s implemented its Final Solution formula.
The comparisons may sound a bit harsh, over the top, or exaggerated to some. However, if Americans want to stop becoming mass murderers and facilitating a machine of orchestrated ghettos, tent cities, homeless shelters, and poverty-stricken individuals, then it must end the sex offender registry and its divisional standard on classifications of a particular class of people it chose to identify. The registry is not informational or educative. It is an additional punishment tool no different than wearing a Star of David brassard or an inked concentration tattoo number. The registry is a weaponized database that places private information in a public setting to facilitate and teach others how to achieve or become vigilantes, stalkers, preconception based zealots, and a fear factory of rhetoric comparable to how ordinary Germans labeled Jewish or those suspected to be related, homosexual, or didn’t support its government ideology for punishment. It is an international danger towards humanity filled with bugaboo and trepidation. Yet, we continue to add policy to the Registry Final Solution creating unbearable conditions or opportunities for redemption.
Have we learned any lessons from the Holocaust or the acts of history perhaps repeating itself? I am not so optimistic about the learning outcome. However, one thing may be a valuable lesson learned is that citizens that implement and support methods to rid of people instead of a problem will ultimately be held accountable for his/her actions later in life. Merely interjecting later down the road that “we had no idea what was going on?” is not going to be enough to warrant an excuse. Accountability begins today so that we restore dignity by ending discrimination, prejudice, hatred, and ultimately a convenient state-sponsored murder scheme created in part by the sex offender registry. The Holocaust took the lives of over six million people. The sex offender registry is slowly inching its way towards that number.