Registrant Apartheid: A Warning on Government Infringement

There is a saying that every man’s home is his castle. This saying originated from ancient Rome and later became a part of values with regards to privacy and security. There is a certain amount of honor in having a space to call your own. Rather it is a house, apartment, mobile home, camper, tent, motel room, shelter, or couch surfing home is where you should feel welcome, comfortable, and safe.

quid enim sanctius, quid omni religione munitius, quam domus unusquisque civium?
What more sacred, what more strongly guarded by every holy feeling, than a man’s own home? —Cicero

Upon visiting the doorsteps of others, there is often a welcoming greeting mat awaiting your either expected or unscheduled arrival. The welcome is clear that you are valued as a person with the freedom to engage with others unrestricted without the need of chaperon or assistance. However, society has turned from its welcoming mats to a sorted inquisitive band of uncertain litmus tests using a scoring mechanism only they understand. It is as if people that are supposed to be our trusted friends and allies have suddenly become narcissists?

There are plenty of narcissistic people on the planet (perhaps you know a few on Twitter?). But a home whether permanent or temporary shouldn’t be subjected to emotional strain and narcissistic behaviors in the forms of businesses sharing guest information with police.

A few years ago the hotel chain Motel 6 began a voluntary program sharing hotel guest information with police. Police would then run the guest information by national criminal computers to check for outstanding warrants, immigration, and sex offenders perhaps staying on its properties. Many of those snared took the issue to court and won massive legal settlements against the hotel chain.

Motel 6 will pay $12 million to settle lawsuit after sharing guest info with ICE

Recently the state of Florida introduced a legislative bill mandating that hotels or forms of lodging check all guest information for potential sex offenders visiting the state or seeking shelter. Florida already has the worst conditional restrictions for those visiting or living in the state. But to go a step further creeping into the privacy of a business to share its guest information with police is far reaching into dangerous territory. Sooner or later the police checks will expand into other sensitive details allowing firms to cherry pick who it chooses to allow as guests. We can see it now that as an example of the story of John Smith. John Smith is visiting Orlando on business. Back home in Texas he has a lovely wife and two wonderful children still in school. However John planned a discreet rendezvous with a lovely lady he met through a phone app. He checks into the hotel; the hotel runs a check and police come busting in because John Smith shows as a registered sex offender from Texas! However, it is the wrong John Smith. Now his embarrassment surfaces on a TMZ Odd Storys TV segment. His marrigage is instantly shattered placing his infidelities in public light. His future to mend ways with his wife and family are in peril. Rather than quickly blaming John for his poor choice of action or blame upon the police, the hotel is the key responsible party for sharing his mandated data. Sure, Mr. Smith was in the wrong for cheating, but his rights to privacy and his castle was violated. If Florida wants to check guests staying for 30 days or more, then that may be a bit more reasonable than staying overnight or a few days? Mr. Smith may have a civil claim with some very interesting litigation potentially placing a hotel chain in bankruptcy from the settlement he could receive? Nevertheless, the business has a duty and responsibility to protect consumer data, its property, and its guests. The hotel didn’t call the police. Instead, the law supersedes the business ability to act within autonomous actions by making a warrantless searches much easier.

Apartheid (segregation; lit. “separateness”): a system of institutionalized segregation characterized by an authoritarian political culture. It entailed the separation of public facilities, social events, housing, and employment opportunities. Complex laws are created to suppress and punish both individuals or supporters.

All this unnecessary panic legislation has taken liberty and freedoms this country embraces into a practicing police state. The nation and states already have a public sex registry tied into schools, employment, apartments, and volunteer organizations. It is frustrating enough to pay extra fees to the government to take part in PreCheck amenities to prove I’m not a flight risk to go through airport security. But laws similar to Florida are opening a door to only the privilege that PreCheck styled services or data sharing between businesses and police will extend to hotels, car rentals, U-Haul, gyms, hospitals, and perhaps to retail stores with fitting rooms.

For decades Americans have tried every method possible to rid of policing within bedrooms or homes. It is one thing when a person commits a criminal offense. But to begin a trend instructing a person where, when, and how they may live is unAmerican. When any government branch instructs by policy a business to share user data for a paid services without consent and expectation of reasonable privacies, it endangers free movement and prohibits choice. Services aren’t the same as purchasing bullets, dynamite, drugs, or restricted materials. The castle that we choose to make our home will always be a human right. The defense of that castle is a government facilitating registrant apartheid no different than blockbusting tactics and a revision of sundown towns.

Sundown towns, also known as sunset towns or gray towns, were all-white municipalities or neighborhoods in the United States that practiced a form of segregation—historically by enforcing restrictions excluding people not white via some combination of discriminatory local laws, intimidation, and violence.

There are many sex offense laws on the books with residential restrictions, employment exclusions, public space constraints, social media limitations, and the list goes on. If someone made a smartphone app to provide legal information to registrants or the curious, it would be inconceivable to develop. It is perhaps why there won’t be an app for that particular purpose because updates would have to occur daily to keep up with legislation, legal decisions, and refined interpretations. Pretty much the future of iPhones would require a Tesla vehicle battery pack to keep up with sex offender laws on any given day!

America is no longer the home of the free. Instead, it may reconsider changing it to Home of the Fee. There is nothing more disgusting than watching America with a populist agenda sway from the governance of law to experiment with socialist criminal law, embracing utilitarian principles. We are a society on a pathway towards the destruction of individual liberty but for the beginning of government interference upon capitalism and autonomy thanks in part to states such as Florida leading the way to mandate sharing consumer information without any probable cause.

Surely the utilitarian must admit that whatever the facts of the matter may be, it is logically possible that an ‘unjust’ system of punishment—e.g. a system involving collective punishments, retroactive laws and punishments, or punishments of parents and relations of the offender—may be more useful than a ‘just’ system of punishment?H. J. McCloskey

Sure, the notion of every man’s home is his castle is undoubtedly questionable as America continues its quest to legislate freedoms. Perhaps it should say, every man’s home was once his castle.

Are No-Kill Shelters Really No-Kill?

I am an animal lover. I always have been. For several years I have volunteered at my local SPCA. I have witnessed many success stories and watched many miracles of rehoming come to life. However, with any good thing, there is also a sad side. Most people think that the ASPCA or local SPCA is a 100% No-Kill Shelter. That is somewhat true, but there is always the exception to the rule.

A No-Kill shelter is not all 100% gold standard. If any animal is deemed unadoptable because of aggression or being housed long-term in the shelter, then more than likely that animal will be quietly euthanized. Additionally, if there is a situation where a cat or dog requires long-term medical care that the shelter cannot afford then euthanasia is usually the course of action. In some cases, there are alternative shelters or rescue groups that may take in physically and behaviorally challenged situations. However, this is a rare case. I have watched some animals go off-site to an animal clinic for the sole purpose of being euthanized by a SPCA.

This blog is in no way a slap in the face of organizations that do a wonderful and terrific job of many rehomed animals. The fact is that when I read a no-kill shelter sign, then it should not come with an asterisks or disclaimer. The fact is that no-kill shelters do a much better job than county animal shelters overall when it comes to euthanasia rates. However, what I would like to see is the ASPCA or local SPCA’s truth in reporting efforts. It should disclose to the general public the actual number of animals it sent off site for euthanasia procedures rather than claiming its no-kill rate at 100%. This reporting is not accurate because these shelters outsource that death order.

A problem I have readily identified with any SPCA is that they should be an advocacy group rather than just an animal shelter. To me, any animal shelter should have at a minimum a veterinary hospital like structure with its toxicology lab, radiography processes, and plenty of quality preventive medications. It takes serious money to run a shelter. The amount of food, litter, cleaning supplies, newspapers, staffing, water, and medicines can be staggering. However, every animal should have not only necessities but basic quality care. If shelters wish to outsource veterinary care, that is fine. However, at some point, the severity of illness or pain threshold should not have to wait until the shelter can find someone to drive the animal to a vet clinic. This is where intake identifiers are not always readily identified, and animals are returned because of expensive veterinary testing or procedures not identified at the shelter. Thus, euthanasia will continue to climb, but SPCA numbers will never reflect those death rates.

I still support my shelter and try hard to advocate for animals where I can. However, I challenge any of you to call your no-kill shelter to ask a simple question of when do they euthanize and when was the last time it was performed? The actual answer may shock you.

%d bloggers like this: