“Leiby’s Law” Would Not Have Saved Leiby

Hi ttazasszeh
Readers — This post was sent to me by Mendel Klein, a Brooklyn father and a pediatric occupational therapist who writes about the benefits of letting children fail over at, yes,  Let Your Child Fail. — L

Leiby’s Law Wouldn’t have Prevented Leiby Kletzky’s Death

Here we go again. While Leiby Kletzky’s parents and sisters were still sitting the seven days of shiva,  mourning the brutal killing of their son, politicians in our community were already announcing a law in reaction to the terrible tragedy that struck them.

No need to guess what the law is called. It’s Leiby’s Law. The politicians are proposing that homeowners and store owners be able to voluntarily  submit themselves to criminal background checks and, if cleared, get a large, bright green sticker symbolizing that location as a safe-haven for lost children.

It has now become customary to propose and pass laws in reaction to tragedies that involve children. Some of these laws are helpful, but others, like this one, aren’t.

In reaction to Caylee Anthony’s death, or rather in reaction to her mother’s acquittal, there’s been a push for Caylee’s law, which would make it a crime not to report a missing child. As was pointed out here, Caylee’s law could make many of us criminals. And as Lenore wrote, next people are going to propose a law against mothers buying duct tape.

Here’s what’s wrong with Leiby’s Law. Levi Aron, young Leiby’s confessed killer, would have passed a criminal background check with flying colors. The New York police commissioner, Ray Kelly, made it clear that Aron had no criminal record. Even Aron’s ex-wife was saying how great he was with kids.

I don’t want to accuse politicians of opportunism, so I’ll stay away from that angle, although you may fill in the blanks. Still, this law (if you even want to call it a law) is ridiculous.

In the aftermath of tragedy people propose new regulations thinking that if only that law had been in effect at the time, the tragedy wouldn’t have happened. But in this case, while little Leiby Kletzky could have gone into a store or home sporting a green sticker on its window, that store or home could have been owned by a killer with no previous criminal record.

That is actually what happened.

Levi Aron was a person of Leiby’s community, my community. He looked like a community member to Leiby. Leiby likely trusted him. It’s exactly the same as if he had a green sticker. And that unfortunately didn’t prevent Leiby from being kidnapped and killed.

And yet, I can already imagine people starting to say, “Oh we only shop at stores that have green stickers, you know — the good stores. We are supporters of Leiby’s Law.” Or, “That store owner must be a child killer. Why else doesn’t he have a green sticker?”

Passing laws might boost politicians’ profiles. Petitioning for these laws might make us feel good. But reacting in these ways also boosts our fear and paranoia, while making our children no safer. It’s time to vote nay on these retroactive, post-mortem, feel-good laws, no matter whose name is attached. — M.K.


94 Responses to “Leiby’s Law” Would Not Have Saved Leiby

  1. thinkbannedthoughts July 25, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

    It is exactly this type of retroactive lawmaking that tangles up the system until it is unrecognizable and all but useless. We make criminals out of innocent people and start modern day witch trials with these types of legal shennanigans.
    Tragedy is an unfortunate part of life, we can not legislate it away. People die, sadly even children die sometimes. No one is immune.

    Thanks for another great column, and while this tragedy is on everyone’s mind, and hearts, let’s all think of ways to truly respond – such as reaching out across our communities to make them even stronger. While that may not have prevented this death, as the killer was a community member, I am willing to bet that having strong, blame free, community support would help the family immensely in this moment.

    Victim blaming and witch hunts are never the right response.

  2. Renee Anne July 25, 2011 at 10:43 pm #


    Something else that would bother me about this whole thing: what if a shopkeeper did have some sort of criminal record and was, thus, denied said green sticker? I mean, is a petty crime enough to be denied? Then what? People stop shopping there because they don’t have this green sticker…the shop goes out of business and then we’re left with another empty building on Main Street. All because of a minor indiscretion…

    Laws like this bother me. A lot.

  3. Susan July 25, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    Argh! I’m tired of background checks being sold as a fail proof safety measure and I’m tired of knee jerk laws named after murdered children.

    In our state we have Ashley’s law named after a 7 year old girl who was abducted in murdered in 1993. The law requires harsher penalties for repeat sex offenders among other things. The man who was convicted of Ashley’s murder was a repeat offender who was released after a small percentage of his previous sentence was served.

    The odd part of these laws bearing Ashely’s name is that she was not sexually assaulted and the man who was convicted in her murder was cleared of charges after 15 years in prison due to improved DNA testing.

  4. Myriam July 25, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    Crazy idea. I would not want my child going into someone’s house just because they’ve got a green sticker on their door. What next, badges for individuals to wear that say “Trust me, I’ve been police-checked”? (It’s not such a big leap is it?).

    Leiby’s memory deserves better than this half-baked idea.

  5. Rebecca Menes July 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    As a small business owner, this law sounds like a nightmare – another example of making a BUSINESS do the work of the POLICE and the COURTS. And it will make it that much harder for a person with a record to get a job, while the vast majority of crimes have nothing to do with kids. A guy with a criminal record for possession of marijuana may or may not make a good employee, but he (or she) is not likely to be a child murderer.

    Imagine my situation – I get my sticker, then my stock boy quits at the start of the Christmas season – I need to hire, and fast, but this means I won’t have time to confirm my background check before my new hire starts shifting boxes. Do I take my sticker down while I wait for the background check to come through?

  6. kherbert July 25, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

    This is older idea. We were having trouble with bullies hassling younger/smaller kids on the way home. The school went out and recruited retired people an stay at home parents. If they were willing to help they put a Safe House sign in the window.

    Mostly they made sure they were doing something in their front yards around dismissal time. A couple of times of them grabbing the bullies and hauling them home while lecturing them on their horrible behavior – pretty much stopped the problem. The bullies’s “parents” were pretty much cut from the same cloth as their kids – but put a good deal of stock in public image. So their kids were told to cut it out.

  7. oncefallendotcom July 25, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    The direction our society is taking is scary. A few years ago someone created a mock bill called the “No More Victims Act of 2007.”


    In this Act, it was proposed to given every citizen a plethysmograph and risk assessment evaluation before contact with children, starting with law enforcement, teachers, and parents. After all, England lists people on their registries who have not committed crimes but are merely thought to be at risk of offending.

    We are leaning towards a Salemesque society.

  8. Sara July 25, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    It’s not like he couldn’t have gone into the store if he was creeped out to begin with. My daughter knows that if she’s worried or need help to go to someone with kids or someone in a store uniform.

    This sounds like it would be a nice place for pedophiles to hide in plain sight. Come and visit me, I’m safe.

  9. Coccinelle July 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm #

    There is a program like that where I live, it’s called “Parents secours” and it exists since 1976, and you guessed why, because of a kidnapping. Their sticker looks very old and cames from an idea from 1968 in London, Ontario. When I was a kid, they thought us about it at school and I remember my aunt having that sticker in her window. I don’t know how far it’s alive in 2011 but I can tell you I didn’t see these stickers since I was really young.

    That being said, I understand why you would not want Leiby’s law to be past. And I don’t think it really is a good idea to add businesses in the mix.

  10. Lollipoplover July 26, 2011 at 12:15 am #

    So it comes down to putting labels, or stickers, on approved locations to make us feel safe? So, a head shop or a gentleman’s club with a green sticker is a great place for a kid to ask for directions (assuming no criminal record)? Wouldn’t a park or a children’s garden be a better way to memorialize this child in this community? (I believe his parents called for acts of lovingkindness.) I can’t even fathom the logic of color coding businesses, instead of teaching your own children basic strategies to deal with difficult scenerios (getting lost). I suppose segregation was a great idea to some back in the 50’s.

  11. mmsva July 26, 2011 at 12:26 am #

    1) What if the store owner hires someone new? Do they have to be recertified? Do we certify people or the store? Who is going to administer this? What happens if you get a sticker, then commit a crime? Do you have to turn over your sticker (or shards of a sticker since you have to scrap it off your window)? What if a new business takes over the space and the sticker remains?
    What a nightmare!!
    2) How do we teach kids to trust their instincts if we are teaching them to trust a sticker?
    Seems to me we run the risk of teaching our kids to rely on external cues, instead of internal resources. What happens if a child sees the sticker and still gets a bad feeling about a person? Will they disregard that feeling instead of trusting their instincts?

  12. Suzanne Gokey Regenold July 26, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    Let’s face it….The good serial killers don’t get caught, which means a clean background check.

  13. Robin July 26, 2011 at 12:53 am #

    Why don’t we just place stars on the sleeves of some…

    Oh, wait, that’s already been done.

  14. Jynet July 26, 2011 at 1:03 am #

    mmsva, excellent points! But I also think that the odds are that people who would apply to get this sign would be GOOD people, because the odds are that people in general are good.

    We have a “Block Parent” program all across Canada. My mom was one, and when we were home we had to put a plastic sign in the window so kids would know we were home and that we were “safe”. (We WERE safe, but I don’t think the screening process could have then or now proved that.)

    But I did – when I was six – make the decision to go to a block parent’s house instead of a house without a sign. I was two very long blocks from home when I wiped out on my bike. The mom – who happened to be a nurse – taped me back together and then called my mom who came and picked me and my bike up. It was the right call, and it gave me (at SIX remember, with limited decision making abilities) a way to know that this house wouldn’t turn me away, or be upset at a strange child knocking on the door asking for help.

    It doesn’t seem to be as prevalent as when I was a child, which is a shame, but probably because people are scared of liability.


  15. becky July 26, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    I just want to repeat mmsva’s comment:

    How do we teach kids to trust their instincts if we are teaching them to trust a sticker?

  16. Beth July 26, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    “But I also think that the odds are that people who would apply to get this sign would be GOOD people, because the odds are that people in general are good.”

    While I agree with your assertion that most people are good, that also includes the people who don’t apply to get the sign. The problem with this proposed law is that if someone chooses not to apply, they will be seen as “not good” and citizens, now trained to trust the green sticker, will be suspicious of them for absolutely no reason. Is that really how we want to treat our business owners?

  17. Zozimus July 26, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    Beth, it’s actually worse than that! Let’s say that a business owner has some sort of petty criminal background….some misdemeanour that has no bearing on safety, for example, or a youthful indiscretion. Or, hell, looking at the nutso reactions from people on the subject of the arse-in-the-face bullying episode earlier on FRK, and judging (judgementally, as a Canadian) by the totally-out-of-sync-with-reality-and-the-rest-of-the-planet U.S. laws, maybe some sort of fart joke gone wrong. He doesn’t apply for the green sticker. But everyone else has one, and there’s judgement from all sides. In order not to look like a paedophile, he has to produce information that is none of anybody’s business, and would never have come to light in normal circumstances. Again, judgement from all sides, and gossip to boot.

  18. Beth July 26, 2011 at 1:43 am #

    100% agreed, Zozimus.

  19. Jynet July 26, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    Beth, on July 26, 2011 at 01:24 said:
    The problem with this proposed law is that if someone chooses not to apply, they will be seen as “not good” and citizens, now trained to trust the green sticker, will be suspicious of them for absolutely no reason. Is that really how we want to treat our business owners?


    No, it absolutely isn’t, but the program proposed would be voluntary, like the Canadian Block Parents Program. There was no assumption here that people who were not Block Parents were “bad” (or that we should trust the block parents implicitly either).

    We were taught that people with the sign had agreed to be disturbed by kids in need… but that we shouldn’t go inside thier house, we should just stay on the step while they called for help. In fact, I think the Block Parent’s Program advises that… I don’t think it was just my parents who said to do that.

    I do think it is crazy that you would need a law for this however, Belgum is/has adopted the Canadian program…. why can’t/shouldn’t the US?

  20. Staceyjw July 26, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    I want to know if there are any of these laws in the name of a non white child? How many?

    While I don’t support these retroactive, reactionary, laws, Im bothered by the fact that if this had been a little black child, it wouldn’t have even made the news. Looking back over the cases that drew so much attention, I can’t think of any that made national news that weren’t white kids.

    All child murders are tragic, and there are many that no one could have prevented. I think that depending on things like back ground checks misses what actually makes a person safe- instincts and community. There are times when even those things fail, but that’s just life.

  21. Jynet July 26, 2011 at 1:55 am #

    Why is everyone thinking that the whole population will see a sign and automatically trust any person with the sign??

    My parents taught me, and I’ve taught my daughter that a sign is a STARTING PLACE for trust. The police officer is MORE LIKELY to be trustworthy, but if they seem “off” don’t trust them. A shop owner is MORE LIKELY to be trustworthy – and not just because of cameras/recordings, but because they need community support to be successful – but if they invite you into the back room it might not be a good idea to go! Etc. Etc.

    Seriously, if this VOLUNTARY program is ANYTHING like the Block Parents program in Canada, then MAYBE one person/store on each block would be one. The other residents/stores aren’t “bad”, they just recognize that they don’t have the committment to be involved in a program like this.

    I decry the need for a law, but a voluntary program like this would be a boon to FreeRanging our kids, and an excellent step towards building back to the level of communty we had when I was growing up.

  22. Marie July 26, 2011 at 2:23 am #

    Sounds like too much trouble for most businesses to participate. Besides, a kid will be safe going into most any business and asking for help.

  23. Paula Burton July 26, 2011 at 2:47 am #

    Technically it will be voluntary, in actuality it will not. Mainly because of the “if you have nothing to hide” people who would damn any business for not joining.

  24. SKL July 26, 2011 at 3:08 am #

    Sorry I don’t have time to read the other comments. But this really scares me. The idea of a “safe house” type designation scares me because it encourages kids to let down their defenses in the wrong contexts. If my kid gets into some kind of trouble, I would far rather it be out on the street where there’s a chance of a passerby seeing and intervening.

    People forget so easily – the vast majority of crimes against kids are committed by people they TRUST. Why? Because they are crimes of opportunity. And I thought everyone knew that a person could be a pedophile without having a criminal record. On average, they get away with it some number of times before they get prosecuted.

  25. Lollipoplover July 26, 2011 at 3:30 am #

    The green stickers will likely take the same path as the “Baby on Board” signs that used to be all over cars. Parents will think they are doing the safest thing for their child, but then “The Fear” will spread, and the supposed safe houses/businesses are now being targeted by pedophiles. Stickers will come down, and the insanity will stop until the next usesless Child’s Name law comes out.

  26. rhodykat July 26, 2011 at 3:37 am #

    What we all need is less laws. The more and more nannying we allow, the less and less responsible we become. Having the government take away any kind of risk assessment and general decision making simply makes the general public more apt to forego personal responsibility and kick the blame down the street. The next headlne? Parents accused of negligence when their 7 year old asks a mommy in the park for help rather than a storekeeper with a green sticker…”the little girl should have been taught that the ONLY safe house is the government approved green sticker store. In not teaching that, the parents were found negligent.”

  27. Teresa Williams July 26, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    When I was a little girl (I’m almost 50), I vaguely remember that there were certain homes we could go to if we were lost or scared. They had a sticker, I think.

  28. C. S. P. Schofield July 26, 2011 at 4:46 am #

    I propose that we pass a law giving the parents of any dead child that some twerp wants to name a law after the option of having all politicians involved in getting said law passed as legislation executed – on grounds of disrespect for the dead, ghoulishness, and “who needs an excuse to step on a cockroach?”. If the parents of the child in question are in favor of the law, oh well. If their dead child is being used by some swine to make political hay, they get the chance to mitigate the nuisance.

  29. Uly July 26, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    That’s funny, I thought we already had a program like that….

  30. Sky July 26, 2011 at 5:33 am #

    In the 80’s, where I grew up (admitedly not NY), people already had those safe house stickers…is this really new?

  31. Dave July 26, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    This law being proposed is wrong on so many levels. Children are not safer and the foundation of our legal system that you are innocent until proven guilty is done away with. Children are not protected and adults are assumed wrong. No one wins. Lenore thanks for continually bringing clarity to this conversation.

  32. Nanci July 26, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    More laws won’t help. We have laws against murder and that didn’t prevent Lieby from being murdered! I also think there is already some sort of program out there like this. I know I see places around my community with signs that say “safe place”, mostly libraries and gas stations etc. This proposed law would be so laughable if it wasn’t so sad. Now all some perv (with no criminal history) has to do is put a green sticker on his door and wait for kids to come to him. This has disaster written all over it!

  33. Nanci July 26, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    @mmsva you win the best post award! That was excellently put 🙂

  34. Jenn July 26, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    As a child in Canada, I remember being taught about the Block Parent program and my parents were Block Parents. Because I’m a teacher (and a parent), I thought I’d look into the program to see what I could do. The program now requires a criminal background check (the original one I did when I became a teacher doesn’t count, nor does my annual offense declaration) and that you be able to display the sign a number of hours each week. It is completely voluntary and as a child, I remember there being quite a few homes along my school route that were Block Parent homes, but I haven’t seen one in decades.

    The thing I don’t like about the green sticker business law idea is that again, it makes the businesses that aren’t a part look like the are criminals and it may hurt their business. Also, will all employees, delivery personnel, clients on the work site have completed a criminal background check? Because if a needy child requires help, anyone on site should be available and able to help. That is what that green sticker signifies.

    In my school board (and neighbouring ones), teachers are required to wear a fluorescent sash or vest while on yard duty so that children will know who the teachers are that can help them. I hate this practice. It teaches kids that an individual in a safety vest is safe rather than getting to know the adults in their community. Anyone can buy one and lurk around a school yard, appearing to be a teacher. I’ve been teaching my own children to get to know the teachers in their school and if there is an adult in the school they don’t recognize to either let a teacher know or with a group of friends, welcome the adult to the school as they are most likely a supply teacher or parent volunteer.

  35. Rebecca Menes July 26, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    A comment on what might be called the aesthetics of this decision – a law that will use of colored stickers to sort people into “good” and “bad” categories should not be suggested to mark in any way the death of a Jewish child.

  36. Michele July 26, 2011 at 10:46 am #

    Great, solid points. Knee-jerk reactions aren’t the answer. Had the green sticker “program” (or whatever other symbol) been in place at the time of this tragedy, would the child have, 1.) ever been taught about this system? in order for it to be effective, we assume that parents taught their child about it 2.) in a time of stress, like being lost, would he have recalled this safety net of a program

    This is a horrific case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Period.

    I believe it is Gavin DeBecker’s book, “The Gift of Fear” that talks about never, ever, ever get into anyone’s car. Kick, scream, punch, scream louder, run. Whatever it takes to avoid a car ride.

    There is no boogey man. Validate our children when they are expressing instinctual thoughts or feelings to us. Our society worries too much about being politically correct and not wanting to offend someone or “judge” others and we in turn teach this “politeness” to our children. Baloney. It is human nature and it is how animals survive! IF we can teach our children about instincts and listening to that little voice, that is what may possibly save them. More so than a trendy new law.

  37. Sunny1 July 26, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    NOTHING WORSE THAN THE KNEE-JERK reaction! It can cause soooo many more problems. totally agree!

  38. Bob Davis July 26, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    Here we go, another “Lock the barn door after the horse is long gone down the road” law proposal.

  39. Sunny1 July 26, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Bob D, thats exactly it! So Monday morning quarterback! ridiculous

  40. Kelly G July 26, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    I have to second Rebecca Menes…that was my first thought too. I have to laugh also…everyone is commenting about the mentality of “Oh, I need to get a green sticker for my business too or everyone will think I’m a childkiller!” and all I can think is that this is what the politicians must be thinking too: “Oh! I need to present a law in reaction to this or I’m going to be viewed as a childkiller!”

    I think Leiby’s parents have already made it clear exactly how they want they son memorialized and the politicians should take note and maybe look at laws that urge THAT kind of behavior instead. We could all do with a few more opportunities to spread love and kindness!

  41. maggie July 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    As soon as I read the law I thought the same thing that’s written there. People with no criminal record could get a “safe” sticker. So what would happen when a child gets abducted or killed by someone who was deemed safe? Could the government be sued for not knowing someone was dangerous? Would we all have no idea where to shop or where to turn for help because the stickers can’t keep us safe anymore? REALLY???!!! We’re going to trust a sticker? a STICKER! to tell us who is safe and who is “not”.
    What ever happened to common sense?

  42. Laura July 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    Hope lawmakers read these posts and use the same kind of common sense used when writing them. A law like this truly makes me afraid for our society.

  43. Rebecca Menes July 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    I am not Canadian and had not previously heard of the “block parent” program, but just on the basis of what is described here the two are very different. First, a block parent is a person who has volunteered to help a local child who needs help. It is not assumed that someone who has not volunteered is necessarily a criminal, but rather is someone who is not able to promise to be around to help. The Leiby’s Law sticker, on the other hand, is someone who is willing to publicly certify they are not and never have been a convicted criminal. Therefore anyone who does not get such a sticker might be a criminal. Second, the block parents were not business owners, therefore were not under any implicit pressure to get a block parent sticker in order to attract customers. The implicit pressure on business owners to get the sticker means more damage to the reputation of any business owner who doesn’t get a sticker, compared to a house w/o a “block parent” sticker. So not being a block parent does not incur either monetary or reputation losses, while failing to get a green sticker might be bad for reputation AND business.

    Unless, of course, the program is a complete flop -perhaps b/c no business owner wants the added liability of promising to be a safe haven for kids. But if the best case scenario is that the law is ignored, then we can save us all some trouble and just not pass it.

  44. Wendy Case July 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    The green sticker idea is insane because of the logistical nightmares alone.

    Others have already mentioned the Block Parent Program here in Canada, but I would like to add my own story. When I was 4 I ran away from a foster home where I was being horribly abused. A block parent saw me from their window walking alone down a rural road (I lived in farm country) and came out to the road and got me. She made me recite my phone number and called my foster parents to bring me back. I got beaten for running away. No program is perfect and sometimes people go beyond the scope of the program. It’s unavoidable and there will always be unintended consequences.

    All in all I do like the Block Parent Program. As a kid I knew where I could go if there was nobody around outside because if the sign was up somebody was home! It didn’t mean that I had to go there. In fact, I’d rather talk to somebody who was already outside rather than bug anyone.

  45. Jules July 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    Ugh, I’m going to start calling these “Too little, too late laws”.

  46. sue July 26, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    Bob Davis had it right when he said that this proposed law was like locking the barn door after the horse already escaped.

    I called it right in one of my posts in the original thread about Lieby’s death that someone was going to come up with a “Lieby’s Law.” The one thing I got wrong in my prediction was that Lieby’s Law would make it illegal for a child to walk anywhere alone.

    The green sticker program is wrong in so many ways. First of all, as has been mentioned earlier, it seems in very bad taste in a Jewish community to mark people as “good” or “bad” with colored stickers. Secondly, it paints any business owner who doesn’t get one with the same brush of “child sex offender.” A business owner may have a done something in his distant past that had nothing to do with sex crimes against children (e.g. shoplifting, trespassing, marijuana possession) and would be denied a green sticker because of having a “criminal background.” But people would notice the absence of a sticker and automatically think that the store owner is a pervert. They wouldn’t realize that a particular business owner got caught shoplifting candy bars or had marijuana in his possession when he was 18 and never did it again. They’ll just think that no green sticker equals sex offender. Someone else also brought up the point that passing a background check and getting a sticker doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is good. From what I read, Levi Aron didn’t have a criminal record.

    Lawmakers need to bring back common sense before running off to enact yet more laws named after children. From what I’ve read, these laws often create more complexity than good.

  47. Sera July 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    I feel it necessary to repost part of what I posted a few threads down about this.

    The kid:

    – Left the park in completely the wrong direction, and wandered FAR away.

    – Did not attempt to backtrack or phone home (if he had change – it is not unreasonable to assume that there are payphones around).

    – Got into the car of someone who was not known and trusted by him or his parents.

    – Let the guy take him to the guy’s home. This is while this guy was offering to take the kid to a wedding a long way away or god knows what else. You know, clear signs of not being right in the head.

    – Did not attempt to call the parents from that guy’s home.

    All this when it was to be a simple two-block walk along a known route.

    I feel that it is very much necessary to state and restate that the actions of Leiby Kletzky do not represent the typical (and certainly not the maximum) level of judgement or capability of a normal 8-year-old under most circumstances. Maybe he decided to go exploring. Maybe he was taught to always trust other members of his faith and hence extended Aron far more trust than was prudent. Maybe he had some undiagnosed social impairment.

    My point is, it is perfectly possible to teach children of that age good “out alone” skills so that they never hop into a stranger’s car. It’s perfectly possible to teach them who to approach for help, or what sort of place to go to if they get into trouble, get lost or something’s making them feel nervous.

    I have a hard time thinking it’s anything other than depressing and disempowering for a kid to keep piling on more and more meaningless measures that send the message “You’re incompetent. You need a sign telling you whether or not any given business is safe”.

    Honestly, do you think *any* business is going to turn away an 8-year-old who walks up the the counter and says “Excuse me, I’m lost, could I use your phone to call home?”. Even a sex shop or a pub generally does not contain denizens who would turn away (or actually harm) a lost kid, even though they’re not kid-friendly environments.

  48. hakuna-matata July 26, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Here in western australia around 17 years ago, i was in primary school. Kindergarden actualy. We had a group come to the class to tell us about stranger danger and Safe Houses, which could be identified by a sticker of a yellow triangle with a smiley face on the house and often letter box. They taught us to be cautious of stangers and to not always trust the ones who ‘look’ safe. They used several puppets to demonstrate this and to my shock and horror, they had a lovely little grandma puppet. Standing next to the ‘shifty’looking man puppet, she looked sweet as apple pie but low and behold SHE WAS THE BADDIE. well that was the end of it. I learned never to trust anyone fully ever again!!! Im not decided on whether my reaction was a gd or bad one, that i believe anyone capable of anything. But i do believe in people and i will teach my two little ones to be wise, cautious but not scared. Practicle and rational and to always belive in their instincts because they will know if someone is to be trusted or not. I am sorry that our society feels there always needs to be someone to blame, that bad things DONT just happen, that someone needs to be responsible.

    @ staceyjw- i agree and its wrong but apparently nothing is as newsworthy as a dead white kid. As a white woman in australia i am aware that we hear so little about our aboriginal citizens and their lives. Only when there is a politition needing PR or the world news is slow do we hear about our fellow indiginous australians.

  49. gap.runner July 26, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    Oops, I was using a computer that had my old user name, sue, stored on it. The post above from sue should be under my new user name, gap.runner. I recently changed user names to avoid confusion because there was another sue who posts here and used lower case letters for her user name. Her writing style is much different than mine.
    Sorry for any confusion.

  50. justmemma July 26, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    I’m totally on the bus with the sentiment expressed in the blog post. My question is, as a resident of NY State is there anything I can do to help make this not become a law? Would it only affect NYC? Should I copy the blog (noting the author) and mail that to my congress people?

    I am a single woman with no children of my own. I’m only 27 and these children in the High School have such a different mentality than my “generation”. Is there anything I can do? I don’t have children to raise free-range.

  51. Dolly July 26, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    This is a stupid idea. It would not have helped this boy since he did not go into a store to ask for help. If he had, this might not have happened. He trusted someone he has seen before and maybe casually knew and that was his downfall. I am all about a lot of free range ideals, but trusting people is actually not one I do follow. I have trust issues because many times in my life I have been burned when I trusted someone. My kids are instructed that unless it is me, my husband or my mother, don’t trust them. You can talk to them and be nice to them, but always be wary.

  52. Shadow Laviolette July 26, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    When I was a kid (think 30+years ago), there was a similar system set up though without the criminal background checks. if you wanted your home or business to be a ” safe haven” you could go to your local PD and get a “home safe” sticker for your door.

    It did not take too long for predators and nare-do-wells to start posting these stickers and the program was abandoned. (I think it was drug dealers trying to lure “new customers” if I recall)

    We don’t need stickers to show children who and where is safe, We need to educate them on who and where is safe and pray every day that they remember those rules when we set them out into the world.

    Life is dangerous, as parents we need to provide a tool kit to handle it, but it is still our kids choice if they do or not.

  53. Shadow Laviolette July 26, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    I agree with sue/(gap-runner?) I had a job as a teen where I worked at an indoor playground. We often had groups of very traditional (Hassidic?) Jewish families come in. (not knocking Jews here, I was one).

    They are a very tight knit community, but I often saw the kids very unaware of things that common children were. The menu at the snack bar, who to ask for help, even within the small space I worked at. It is very much like the outlying Amish and Mennonite communities in my area. A tight belief in G-D providing what is needed and an almost blind eye to the worst that can happen in the world, at least as far as protecting the kids. Sure kids are out working the farm at a very young age, but take them to a big city and they are out of their world. It would be like sticking me, a long term house mom, on Survivor. I would die, or totally fall apart in the first 2 days.

    With as many mistakes as Leiby made, that many of our children would not have, (getting in a strangers car, not calling parents), I have to wonder if it was in part, due to the communities focus so much within and not teaching kids about the outside world as much to “protect” them.

    No child should ever die at the hands of an adult. But I do hope that the community that Leiby was part of, and other communities that similarly separate themselves from society at large, will look at themselves and allow their children to learn a bit more about what is outside of their communities. Not enough to scare them, but enough to keep them from every having to feel a tragedy like this again.

  54. N July 26, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    I seem to remember having “Safe House” signs in windows in the 70s when I was a kid, and I also seem to remember hearing that one of the signs was in the house of a pedophile. I wouldn’t trust signs like that – the people most interested in them would be the people most interested in getting kids to desire coming into their houses (or businesses) with their defenses down. I’d feel safer going into some random business than going into one advertising for kids to stop in alone. There are very very few people out there who want to hurt kids, but those are the people most interested in advertising to them.

  55. Zozimus July 26, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    I think maybe we’re just trying to control things we can’t control. It’s a nice fantasy to be able to predict human behaviour, but it just won’t happen. Many times we can’t even predict our OWN behaviour. There are way too many variables. This Aron fellow seems to have had some sort of short circuit or something…nothing pointing to it, nothing in his past to suggest anything like this. Maybe it was spontaneous; maybe not. Either way, how could anyone be expected to know what weird bombshell is going to go off in some random guy’s head at some point? And that circumstances would all converge for tragedy? Considering how many people there are, I’m kind of shocked that this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often, just through the laws of averages; though of course I’m quite relieved.

    The difference in other countries seems to be that they have no expectation of that level of control. When I was visiting Italy some years ago, I talked to a security guard at the Vatican, where the famous Pieta of Michelangelo is now behind plexiglass. Apparently some lunatic attacked it with a hammer, causing damage that had to be repaired. In my typical North-American way, I asked why he’d done it. The guard just looked at me as if I were foolish, and said, “He was crazy!” Simple. No rationalisation. Maybe too simple, in the sense that the hammer vandal probably had some complex series of reasons for doing what he did, and with much probing and analysis, a psychologist might find those reasons out. Post facto. The reaction of the guard is, however, perfectly reasonable when you think about the possibility of preventing or anticipating such an act. You can’t predict what weird things some people will do. That’s what makes them crazy acts. If they were logical or reasonable, it’d be much easier.

    What does it say about us that we feel we need such a total degree of control? All it seems to really do, in my opinion, is provide the opportunity for scapegoats when the inevitable happens.

  56. Sera July 26, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

    @Zozimus – Aron fell off a bike as a kid and sustained brain damage which caused him to behave the way he did – i.e. his cognitive functions do not work properly and as a consequence he thought killing and dismembering the kid was the best way with dealing with the fact that he’d (perhaps accidentally) kidnapped the kid.

    In his statement he said that he was offering to take the kid to a wedding somewhere in the far north of the city. He also said, and I quote: “I understand it may be wrong…”

    “may be wrong”

    may be wrong”

    They found his feet in the freezer.

    If you’re in a vulnerable position, as a child or adult, never, never, never, NEVER tag along with anybody who shows any indications of being abnormal in a mental sense. There’s your control method.

  57. Sera July 26, 2011 at 10:35 pm #

    Sorry, I misspoke, he was hit by a car, not fell off a bike, and sustained brain damage.

  58. Cheryl W July 26, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    This is a waste of government time, money and private time and money. As others have said, the killer would not have showed up on any registry for anything. It would also lead youthful offenders who made mistakes once, and never again, to have even fewer opportunities for gainful employment. (Thinking of those 14 year old bullies in the previous posting, when they are 25, 30, 40 years old.)

    Put the money into law enforcement instead. If there were more officers on the street, this poor boy may have talked to an officer instead. (Which given that an officer near me was convicted of molesting a girl still shows that bad stuff can happen no matter how hard we try to keep safe.)

  59. Alison S. July 26, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    Klein’s commentary has some good points, but it fails to account for volition and motivation: people whose mental elevators do not go all the way to the top might be ELIGIBLE for green stickers for the reasons described, but would they be INCLINED to obtain green stickers? In most cases, I suspect not. And really what’s being described by this green sticker thing is the Block Parent program, wildly successful in Canada for generations (Google it). I grew up with it, and we took great comfort in knowing where the Block Parent homes were located in our neighborhood (forty years later, I can still point out which exact homes that were signed in those days). In and of themselves, those red and white (rather than green) Block Parent window signs were no absolute guarantee of safety because absolute safety does not exist – but the signs were great conversation starters. People would see them and think, “Oh look, a Block Parent, let’s knock on their door and say hello!” – the signs became a carte blanche (et rouge) for community dialog. Assuming that an analogous American effort would be limited to the slapping-on of a bunch of green stickers is really a cynical and unimaginative perspective – the green stickers would be just the beginning, the community calling-cards. I do believe there should be no formal law made with respect to this type of program, however – it should instead be a community self-empowerment effort, a volunteer thing, because any government agency would mostly screw it up via their typical misguided enforcement attempts. It’s simply not in the proper dominion of the law; it’s an effort that must be worked out and administered by free citizens based on their mutual concerns and objectives.

  60. Jynet July 27, 2011 at 12:25 am #

    I totally agree Alison S.! Nicely said.

  61. Jynet July 27, 2011 at 12:32 am #

    Rebecca Menes, on July 26, 2011 at 12:35 said:
    …First, a block parent is a person who has volunteered to help a local child who needs help. It is not assumed that someone who has not volunteered is necessarily a criminal, but rather is someone who is not able to promise to be around to help….

    Your understanding is not quite correct. Business people could also be Block Parents, and Block Parents DO have to pass a criminal record check, so indeed are publicly stating that they “are not and never have been a convicted criminal.”

    The law may as well be a rewritten version of Block Parents. In fact they are so similar I wonder if the writer of the law didn’t just google Block Parents and copy and paste!

  62. Zozimus July 27, 2011 at 12:36 am #

    @Sera: Quite right. Simple rules to increase safety (“don’t go off with strange people”, etc.) are absolutely a good thing. But they still won’t guarantee safety. Who would have foreseen that nutter in Oslo? If what you say is true of Aron, there’s a certain “Of Mice and Men” quality to the story…like I say, the brain is such a ridiculously complex thing, and sometimes fragile, it’s a wonder these things don’t happen more often.

    @Alison S.: Agreed. The community base of Block Parents is what we’re really after, after all. If we had closer-knit communities, we’d be better off than if we had more laws. Still not a guarantee, as others have pointed out here. But better than a lot of the alternatives.

    My point is basically that the nature of the conversation that we will have over such topics is culturally different than other nations’. Norway has made statements about wanting to maintain a peaceful, open society in the face of recent events. When I was teaching in London, England, in 2005, my students’ first day off was the day of the tube bombing. And it was our station. We spent all day worried that we’d lost kids. We had phone calls from parents, worried about their kids, and we were at the point of calling emergency rooms and morgues to find them. They came home later that evening, perfectly safe, though they’d had to walk a fair distance to Shepherd’s Bush. They told us that the London ‘reaction’ to the event was so stoical and non-hysterical that they had no idea anything had happened until the late afternoon. Very different from the kind of hysteria we’re used to here – although I have to say, I was in NYC for the 2003 black-out, and people were very decent. It seems fear is higher for the might-be’s than for what is actually happening.

    Interestingly, the school I worked for issued a retroactive rule for us after the bombing: they told us we were no longer to use public transportation, which meant long, long walks across the city to museums, etc. There was a heat wave that summer, which ironically caused heat exhaustion to at least one of our students. The fear of another bombing (very unlikely) caused them to overlook the certainty of heat related stress.

  63. Sera July 27, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    @Zozimus – Oh, of course. One can never guarantee 100% safety in any situation. However, you should never write off this sort of thing as “if it’s going to happen, it’ll happen”. Leiby’s story is an example of how incredibly important it is to be able to recognise red flags in situations and react accordingly – don’t be worried all the time, but start being appropriately worried as soon as you’re given a reason to be.

    In the thread a few months ago about the old couple approaching a random stranger-kid walking home alone from the bus stop and offering him candy out of their vehicle, I was genuinely distressed by the amount of people who seemed to think that this was entirely normal, appropriate behaviour. Red flags, people! Does this situation make me more vulnerable? Does this situation give the other person power over me? Is this behaviour normal? Does it feel right?

    Being afraid of everything without cause is stupid. Being afraid of nothing, even when given cause, is equally stupid.

  64. Nicole July 27, 2011 at 1:23 am #

    I know this isn’t necessarily relevant to the post, but there’s an article today in the New York Times about rodeos and small children that I thought you might be interested in:


  65. Emiky July 27, 2011 at 2:26 am #

    Read a few other articles on the law, and one comment really stood out to me:

    Paraphrased: The law would only exist until some crazy manages to get a green sticker of his own to put up.

  66. Anonymous July 27, 2011 at 4:14 am #

    My father was a convicted criminal. And to make it worse, he was convicted of crimes that were considered sexual in nature. We were lucky because in those days there was no registry for sex crimes. I often wonder how my life would have been different if my dad had to register as a sex offender. People might have felt safer because they would have known my dad lived in their neighborhood so they could keep a closer eye on their children and never ever let them come over to my house to play. The business my dad owned would surely not have been able to put a green sticker in it’s window. Both of my parent’s ability to work would have probably been affected. I just think so many things would be different for me today.

    As it was, there was no registry. My dad did follow the crime age curve pretty well and phase out of that part of his life by his thirties (none of his crimes included violence). Myself and my siblings were not treated like the children of a monster. I can honestly say that if I didn’t read court transcripts and have long talks with some relatives (including, eventually, my dad), I would not have even guessed my dad had any kind of criminal past.

    I choose not to look up any information about sex offenders in my neighborhood. Being in the registry does not always mean a person is a danger, and not being in the registry does not automatically mean a person is safe. I feel my kids are no more and no less at risk of being harmed because I will not look and see if a person previously committed a crime and still is having to pay for it, along with his or her family.

  67. Lee July 27, 2011 at 4:56 am #

    Not much to wonder, really. There would be no life. No home, no neighborhood, no business, no friends, no playmates, no happiness, no rights, no hope, and no future. Your mom would’ve had to sell the house, close the business and move the remainder of the family into a tent on the outskirts of town (if you were lucky) after enduring the car and house being vandalized and photos of your dad posted everywhere. You’d had to have been home schooled after being mercilessly bullied and harassed by your classmates causing you to leave school. You were fortunate to grow up before this all got so out of hand.
    When the legislators go for gold (and they will) and start digging into all born after 1950 the registry will expand to 20 million over night. maybe more. So many fans of this registry will have some ‘splainin’ to do. And it would grow to 40 million should they really look at the “greatest generation”…whoever might still be alive. Hell, with the ways you can get on it so varied, half the guys who survived D – Day would be considered monsters. Many of us, actually, would not even be here.

  68. Dolly July 27, 2011 at 6:45 am #

    My father in law is on the registry. He deserved it as far as I knew. My husband won’t have a darn thing to do with him and he will never be near our children ever. As far as we are concerned the man is dead to us. He was also a terrible father who allowed his new wife to abuse my husband when he was a young child. We are ashamed that we share the same name as that man and considered changing our name just so we are not linked to him. No one holds it against us that we know about. But that is also because we disowned him. I would not blame them if we were all buddy buddy with him if no one wanted to talk to us or let their kids come around us. It would be warranted.

    Sometimes if you have a relative on the registry than you need to distance yourself from said relative.

  69. Lee July 27, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    Ah, the sound of the broad brush stoke of self-righteousness. A fine perch you must sit on, doll. And no one in your family’s history would also belong on the list as it is now constituted? No teenage petting, no doctor/nurse, no older marrying younger in your lineage…nothing…pretty impressive bloodline; total purity.
    Guess your all slated for heaven. You know, hangin the sinners and all. Y’all be first at the gate.

  70. Let Your Child Fail July 27, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    Hi folks.

    I am the author of this post. I’d like to thank all of you for reading my thoughts and for all your comments. I sincerely appreciate you sharing your thoughts and feelings about this terrible tragedy that occurred in our community.


  71. facie July 27, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    I have not read others’ comments, so hopefully I am not repeating anything. Recently, a child care worker in the Pittsburgh area was arrested for molesting children at the center. Of course this young guy passed a legally required criminal background check and child abuse history clearance prior to his being hired. Didn’t stop him from what he did.

    My kid goes to a Catholic school. Anyone who volunteers in the classroom/school must get various clearances as well as a take a two-hour class. My husband, who refused to go through this process on principle alone, is unfortunately not allowed to pop in for a holiday party. Little old ladies who would be happy to volunteer in the cafeteria can’t unless they go through the hoops.


  72. Cheryl W July 27, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Alison, regarding if people would be inclined to get the sticker…if most businesses on the street got it, then people would wonder if a pervert was working at the one that did not have it. Which could lead to a drop in business as people gossiped about the reasons for not having that sticker.

  73. Uly July 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    You know, Lee, I don’t often stick up for Dolly, but in this case she’s right. Presumably her husband knows whether or not it’s worth it to continue a relationship with his dad. Sometimes the people on those lists DO belong there. And in this case, that’s all she said, that sometimes it’s a good idea to distance yourself from those folks, because sometimes those folks are bad people. (But presumably her husband would still not want to be in touch with his father even if he never was convicted of anything.)

    I feel that it is very much necessary to state and restate that the actions of Leiby Kletzky do not represent the typical (and certainly not the maximum) level of judgement or capability of a normal 8-year-old under most circumstances. Maybe he decided to go exploring. Maybe he was taught to always trust other members of his faith and hence extended Aron far more trust than was prudent. Maybe he had some undiagnosed social impairment.

    You know, I have wondered myself how an eight year old child can get lost in a neighborhood where the streets and avenues are numbered instead of named. Even if they are very distracted. But we have no idea what the situation was, really, that led to him being unable to navigate the grid system on that day.

    As always, the unfortunate take-home message for the rest of us is to know your own kid and their situation. Start small, practice skills before they become necessary (my younger niece tells ME when it’s safe to cross the street, the older one guides ME through the subways and tells ME when to get off the bus or train, even though neither of them will be doing their parlor trick solo for a while), and try to be aware of whether or not your kid can handle… whatever it is. But even if you do your best, sometimes kids will surprise you in the bad way.

  74. Dolly July 27, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    Uly is right. We were already having zero to do with my father in law when we later on found out about the registry thing. From what we understand he was trying to get underage girls online to send him dirty pictures across state lines or he tried to entice an underage girl across state lines or he was caught with kiddie porn…something like that. Bad enough that it seals the deal that we will NEVER speak to this man again!

    The sad thing is my husband’s sister allows him to visit with her daughters. She also tells him about us against our permission. That man better not ever try to contact us or the law is getting involved.

    And yeah, for the record, my father has not a perfect past either but his involved public indecency with another adult. He is not on the registry though. Because it was an adult. He never messed with kids. There is a difference. So that blows your accusation that we don’t know how to discern between okay mistakes and not okay mistakes.

  75. Lee July 27, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    Uly, No one, and I mean NO ONE believes there are not those who belong on the list (although I personally believe that the constitutionality and immense punishment and collateral damage inflicted on families warrants scrapping the damn thing in favour of what it was originally designed for…The most “dangerous”…violent, offenders – for use by the authorities). So in that respect there are of course those who are bad motor scooters.
    The problem with the generalized “Dolly style” rhetoric that helps fuel the hysteria is that all get lumped in with that horrible label and millions pay with their very lives and no one gives a crap. And now they have to endure the condescending pulpit of the sinless.
    There are hundreds of thousands on the registry who have never touched a soul, yet they (and their families) have their lives amputated by this legal emotional terrorism.

    It would be most encouraging if all these self-righteous souls would look in their own (along with family and friends) mirrors before they head to Home Depot for their tar and feathers.

    He who is without sin cast the first rock.

    And Dolly? Look at that fine line of what constitutes an “adult”. My grandmother was married at 16. So what are you calling my grandfather? He would most surely be in your pious cross hairs. And, btw, there are many on the registry whose crimes are “adult based” yet they are considered Child molesters…how is that?

  76. Lee July 27, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    I guess what so many are hoping for is that folks walk in the others shoes and really take a look see as to what is truly happening before damning so many. The horror and terror these families are experiencing is real. a lot of very good people are going under and having their lives extinguished (lest we forget the suicides and vigilante murders as well). If these were a million mistreated and homeless dogs on the street featured in a teary infomercial I bet there would be a clamour.

    Can all your closets pass such scrutiny? Really?

  77. SgtMom July 28, 2011 at 1:05 am #

    Not so fast with the Daddy hating there, Dolly.

    At my age I have come to witness several “circles of life”.

    During WWII my Dad’s mom married one of the wealthiest men in Oklahoma – and soon after his life turned upside down, his family shunned and hated by everyone in town.

    An opportunistic young lady named my Dad’s new step-sibling in a paternity suit and demanding he marry her ( a shotgun wedding as they called it in those days), which was not an uncommon way for a wrong side of the tracks girl to “marry up”.

    Imagine the enormous scandal that broke out, however, when Pat was able to prove the paternity fraud (this was BEFORE DNA).

    Pat was a woman dressing up as a man and “dating” women while most of the boys in town were off fighting WWII.

    The words of hate and rejection you wrote about your husband’s father were VERY commonly felt toward homosexuals in the not so distant past.

    Homosexuals were openly hated and rejected. There weren’t allowed to be seen showing affection, or serve in the military. NO ONE supported or dared speak up on behalf of homosexuals – they would be accused or share the same cruel fate if they tried.

    There were even “registries” proposed during the ’80’s to list homosexuals with AIDS. Can you imagine the bloodbath if that had happened? Homosexuals were beaten up and murdered routinely. Innocent “Straight” people who contracted the dreaded disease from blood transfusions or Dentists were attacked and run out of town.

    Now days, they are a protected class, featured openly on TV and in movies,and no one DARES speak negatively about them. The military and marriage restrictions are beng banned as we speak. Most people I know are PROUD to claim a gay child or friend. NO ONE I know would ever admit rejecting a famiy member back in the day…

    My oh my, how things have changed. Who EVER saw THAT coming a few decades back?

    In the early ’60’s my elderly Great Aunt Ola, a retired school teacher from Atwood, TN once told us about the remarkable young black man who did yard work for her in the summer. He wrote stories, and asked her to read and critique some of his work.

    I’ll never forget fearing she had lost her mental faculites when she declared “I think he’ll be famous one day”.

    Black people weren’t even allowed to walk down the street on “our” side of town, or attend school with us in those days. They were hated and shunned. There were special laws restricting them, and an interracial relationship could get you hung from a tree – lynchings were still conducted in the early ’60’s.

    The summer before our schools were to be integrated a group of my friends and I were molested by a young black man when “negroes” were “allowed” in the public swimming pool for the first time. My father was warned to keep quiet about it – they didn’t want “another Little Rock” when school started.

    Blacks were “allowed” to serve in the military for the first time during WWII, but were relegated to sit BEHIND German POWs during USO shows.

    The reality of a black American President of the United States was the most far fetched idea my Grandparents ever dreamed of.

    Now we have sex offenders. The most hated and reviled underclass of people known to mankind.

    A fairly recent phenomenen. When I was a kid, it was something whispered about. Kids were taught to keep away from “weird guys”, but other than that…it was a pretty quiet crime.

    Now we have “enlightenment”. Nazi era public Sex offender registries have been repeated, with “offenders” publicly hated and reviled. When they are assaulted or murdered, it’s either quietly swept under the rug, or publicly applauded and congratulated.

    The old Jim Crowe laws have been resurrected, barring them from public facilities, streets, parks,housing, medical care, emergency shelter, jobs, life, liberty and any pursuit of happiness. Their innocent children, if not taken from them, are hated and reviled. The women who dare to love or marry them are scorned, rejected, and sometimes murdered as well.

    It all comes full circle, Dolly. Someday we’ll be off on a new “monster hunt”, and no doubt you’ll be extolling us with stories of how kind and compassionate you were toward your poor father in law…

    I can’t wait.

  78. Sera July 28, 2011 at 2:20 am #


    What the hell?

    Did you seriously just hate all over Dolly for shunning someone who may truly be a reprehensible individual, because of behaviour that you think she may possibly do some time in the future, largely based on the fact that you dislike her?

    Did you just seriously compare the plight of homosexuals and black people to rapists?!?!?!?

    You do realise, do you not, that homosexuals are simply people who are attracted to members of the same gender, that black people are just people with a different skin colour, whereas sex offenders, by definition, are reprehensible criminals who have severely damaged the lives of innocent people??? (Real sex offenders, I mean. Not people who had sex with their 15-year-old girlfriend at 16 or whatever.)

  79. Dolly July 28, 2011 at 2:46 am #

    Sgtmom you are whackadoodle crazy. Umm just for the record my father is gay and has HIV. So not sure what that little rant you were doing was trying to prove. My father is gay and has HIV back before it was trendy or accepted. The difference between him and my father in law is my father only dates adult men and my father in law was trying to get underage girls to send him naked pictures when he was 40. That is uncool period.

    Even if I thought my father in law was a stand up guy (which from what I have heard he isn’t), that arrest and the fact that he is on the registry would mean we will choose to not associate with him. I don’t want people being uncomfortable letting their kids come here nor would I feel comfortable having him here.

  80. Dolly July 28, 2011 at 2:50 am #

    I can also freaking ASSURE you Sgtmom that no matter if my father in law wins a 100 million dollars and become President of the United States, he is still not coming around here, sex offender or not. Because he allowed my husband to be abused by his stepmom. He makes my husband upset. I won’t ever regret that decision because you know, family or not, if someone sucks they are not allowed to be a part of our lives.

    I would like to think allowing your new wife to choke your toddler son would never become a cool thing so chances are what, my father in law is never going to be considered cool. But thanks for playing.

  81. Library Diva July 28, 2011 at 2:51 am #

    “I wouldn’t trust signs like that – the people most interested in them would be the people most interested in getting kids to desire coming into their houses (or businesses) with their defenses down. I’d feel safer going into some random business than going into one advertising for kids to stop in alone.”

    Good point. Last summer, I did a story on a new business for the community newspaper I work for. It was a chocolate and ice cream shop operated by a middle-aged woman and her adult son. The woman told me that she wanted children to feel welcome in her business, that they could use the phone whenever they needed to, and that parents were welcome to drop their kids off for a bit if they had boring adult business elsewhere in the business district. I didn’t print that, even though it was interesting, because I was concerned about people taking it precisely that way.

  82. Dolly July 28, 2011 at 3:09 am #

    It is so sad someone would take something like that in a dirty way too. I don’t see a child molester around every corner.

  83. SgtMom July 28, 2011 at 5:40 am #

    Yes, Sera. If pointing out the undeniable historical truth of witch hunts is “hatin’ all over Dolly”, then guilty as charged.

    “Sera: “Did you just seriously compare the plight of homosexuals and black people to rapists?!?!?!?”

    Are you seriously denying that every word I said was truth?

    Did you miss that I mentioned Nazi era politics, as well?

    Because as nice and undeserving as all those groups are(thanks for your enlightment, BTW – I never knew!) every last one of those once hated groups were the original targets of sexual hysterics witch hunts.

    The same mentality that justifies your ignorance and fear of sex offenders is exactly the same ignorance and fear that drove it against Nazi victims, blacks, and homosexuals.

    And YOU would STILL be participating in that ignorance and hatred against those groups if it was still “cool”. You are ignorantly a willing participant in the current witch hunts, there is no reason to believe YOU would be any nobler than anyone else at the time.

    The vast majority of the current crop of condemned are not RAPISTS. They are family members…like Dolly’s. They aren’t strangers, but aquaintances, teachers, ministers, and so on…they are 19 year old guys with 16 year old girlfriends, they are tree pee’ers, streakers, sexters, peepers, exposers, and people who look at pictures -people little old ladies whack at with umbrellas -…with, as in ALL groups, a few mad dogs thrown in.

    Sex offenders weren’t even a blip on the hatred screen until after Gays started standing up for themselves just a few generations ago. A brand new media created boogey man lovingly presented for you to vent your ignorance, hatred and fears upon.

    I take being called a “whackadoodle” from you as a MAJOR compliment, Dolly.

    People who once suggested that hating blacks was wrong were called “N#@@er lovers” – a name assuredly reprehensible as “perv apologizer” is today.

    Those who were kind or sympathetic towards gays were themselves accused of being gay – just as those who aren’t on board the offender hatin’ train are themselves accused of being a pedophile.

    I know this is TOO big a concept for you to grasp – but wait and see if someday I’m not right -this too shall pass.

  84. Ben S July 28, 2011 at 6:11 am #

    Just like how the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act doesn’t apply to private pools and spas, where she drowned.

  85. Sera July 28, 2011 at 6:39 am #


    Jesus H. Christ. Whackadoodle crazy about sums it up for you.



    Sex offenders.





    No, I do not “participate” in any sex offender witch hunts. I’ve never thrown a rock at anybody, thanks. I don’t support outright abuse of anybody, even if they are criminals. I don’t encourage others to do so, either.

    What really needs to happen is a severe overhaul of the way society in general views sex and punishes some sexual “crimes” – public exposure kind of things and “statutory rape”, etc. However, people who have committed things that are to my mind REAL sex crimes (i.e., they have performed an unwanted sex act upon another individual, causing them true damage and/or anguish) are ALWAYS going to be on the receiving end of societal scorn and shunning – as they should be. Being attacked and murdered, not so much, but scorned, yes.

    For sex offenders, unlike blacks and gays, there will NEVER be a moment of “Oh, shit, these guys are human just like us… we’re so sorry.”. They’re humans, just like you, who knew that what they were doing was very wrong and did it anyway. You know, the definition of evil.

    Seriously. The fact that you’re comparing the past plights of minority groups who never hurt anybody, to the persecution of, for example, those catholic church officials who used their position of power and trust to molest children, many of whom committed suicide when they grew up, is just reprehensible.

    Remember: Nobody ever hurt anybody by being black or being gay. Real sex offenders are people who, by definition, have hurt people by being sex offenders.

    Please do not call me “ignorant” because I have reached a different conclusion on the matter to you. You have decided “be nice to sex offenders”. I have decided “make it so that only people who have actually hurt somebody are sex offenders, then shun them”. This does not mean that I am somehow lacking knowledge or am going to gain some sort of understanding that sex offenders don’t deserve revulsion. Other criminals too, come to think of it. Murderers and drug dealers and so on.

  86. Lee July 28, 2011 at 7:08 am #

    “Real sex offenders”…??? Hmmmm Just what, pray tell, is a REAL sex offender. Are there knock-offs out there. Yes, let us make certain we are talking the real McCoy here.

    Still lumpin everyone in, eh, Sera. And yes, when talking hysteria and fear, there are many similarities to the blacks; and especially the gays. They absolutely were being accused of hurting someone with lifestyle and HIV. Their work in the classroom was questioned as they “may try” to recruit the students. Folks would wash their hands after ANY contact and they were called many horrible names. And the blacks? I’d say not being able to live where they wanted and getting lynched qualifies as similar treatment.
    I would love to see the SO laws go truly retroactive. Like I said before; how many would pass such scrutiny based on how one can now find their lives ruined.
    And yes, I believe it IS ignorant to refer that generally to ALL those on the registry. the hundreds of thousands who are not now, nor were they ever, a danger to anyone. but yet incur such wrath.
    Beware those in whom the urge to punish is very strong.

  87. Uly July 28, 2011 at 9:41 am #

    Lee, in this case, Dolly actually was careful with what she said. She limited herself to a specific situation with little argument. We can quibble over whether or not it was a useful addition to this thread, but really, if we only made useful additions to the threads we’d hardly say anything at all.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised if you would have reacted a little better if anybody other than Dolly had said it. She doesn’t always make the best comments, but in this case the worst we can say about it is that it’s irrelevant. And we all make irrelevant comments, if only because life is boring if we don’t.

  88. Dolly July 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Yes, SgtMom every person on the sex offender registry is a great stand up person that deserves a big old hug. Did you not notice that my father in law stood idly by while his new wife choked my husband when he was a toddler? Or how about when his new wife cut all his sister’s hair off just to be mean and without her mother’s permission who also had custody? Or just the fact that he left his wife because she was not okay with him having an affair with another woman? Now don’t get me wrong, I have issues with my Mother in law too, but this guy still way out evils her.

    So you come off super crazy and ignorant thinking everyone on the sexual offender list is just persecuted and they are such sweet innocent people. Yeah right. A 40 year old man had no business trying to get young girls to send him naked pictures. Girls younger than his own daughter. Its revolting. My brother in law confronted him about it later on and the man did not deny doing what he was convicted for! He was guilty!

  89. SgtMom July 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Sera –

    The drug laws in this nation started less than 70 years ago (jAFTER prohibition) and were spawned out of fear of black men getting hopped up and raping white women.

    ALL gays were once considered deviants and child molesters – whenever a child went missing, it was common practice for police to harass and accuse the gay community.

    Truth be told – SOMEtimes black men DID rape. SOME gays were also pedophiles. All it took was a few cases, and the sky was falling.

    People weren’t ignorant and dumb then, but clever and accurate now.

    People “back then” had EXACTLY with the same fervently fevered hysteria fed beliefs then that we currently whip up when discussing sex offenders.

    I’m saying flat out – our current hysteria will seem just as ignorant and stupid too, one day.

    They used to automatically sterilize retarded people when I was a kid. People felt completely justified and rarely questioned such practices.

    Can you imagine that going on now?

    I know I can.

    We have Megan’s law – that wouldn’t have saved Meghan, and hasn’t saved any other child.

    We have the Adam Walsh Act, which wouldn’t have saved Adam Walsh – but his father is making a FORTUNE promoting it.

    Jessica’s law wouldn’t have saved her, but COULD have ensnared her own brother if not for her father being used as a pawn to promote it.

    Little Elizabeth Smart and father go around promoting ankle monitors for sex offenders – even though that wouldn’t have make a whit of difference for her case, since the guy was never convicted of any sex crime and not under any supervision. The Jacob Wetterling act was meant for law enforcement use only. His mother has come under fire and pushed out of the way by for protesting the cancerous “slippery slope” the registry is now.

    Not one of these knee jerk laws have made a difference in preventing crime, but have, in fact, only created crime.

    Stupid, ignorant and enormously wasteful – we all LOVE those laws and support them like they’re the Holy Grail.

    Which pretty much makes us as ignorant as cruel as past generations – if not more so.

    As far as “real” sex offenders go, “back then” at least you couldn’t falsely accuse, entrap or convict an innocent person of being black or gay(being gay wasn’t illegal, J. Edgar Hoover, himself very much gay, silenced and blackmailed his enemies with threats of exposure).

    God only knows how many innocent, falsely accused people have been sacrificed to “child saving”( including Priests, school teachers, ministers, day care workers, neighbors, and people who pissed the wrong person off). Since the McMartin preschool debacle we KNOW how easily false accusations are perpetuated, and how easily innocent people are convicted.

    MANY of THEM have also committed suicide. But THOSE don’t matter.

    …and we really don’t care. Just like we knew gay people and black people really weren’t as diseased or dangerous as the public liked to believe, and really didn’t deserve the injustices inflicted upon them. The IDENTICAL injustices we have now transferred to the new scape goats.

    We human beings enjoy our cruelties. Our current Sex Offender obsession is no exception.

  90. Dolly July 29, 2011 at 2:16 am #

    Sgtmom: I think I get what you are saying and to a point even I agree. I think the list needs to just be truly dangerous people. Not just someone who slept with their girlfriend when she was a bit younger for example. I still don’t understand why you felt the need to go off on me about my father in law because he was not doing something innocent or consensual. He admitted he was guilty. He is an all around crappy person. So the whole going off on me about it was completely uncalled for and you owe me and my husband an apology. I won’t hold my breath to get it from you though.

  91. Not For Pink Hats July 29, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    Wow Sgtmom, lets all move to a far away land with no rules and laws. It’ll be great! The children can all roam free on the streets , there will be no law enforcement because whats the point all the laws suck anyway. Oh wait I know where we can go ! Its called Mexico !. Everything is going so great there. They just have 14 year old gang members beheading people and hanging them off bridges, and now he is going to serve a harsh 3 years in prison for it. Good job country of no laws, you are doing great!

  92. Heather July 30, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    What happened to this child is why the “Block Parent” program was dropped here.

  93. A Dane August 6, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    I just thought I’d point you guys at Norway. Look how they’re handling the Utøya incident. No panic, no new laws, just a simple pledge to strengthen the community and stand by each other. They know that something like this can’t be prevented with a 100 per cent certainty so what matters is how we deal with it as a community of reasonable people. But hey, by all means screw up your society if that’s what rocks your boat.


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