If you click on over to my page titled “Submit Ideas For Future Musings” you will see that reader Kip submitted several interesting and thought provoking topics for consideration. All of them are good but after some thought, I’m choosing his last one, which I wonder if he suggested because he might have Google Earthed me or something and found out something he thought I didn’t already know. Anyway, the topic for this reader submitted post idea is:
How about the Wild Mind’s response to a known sex offender moving in just a couple doors away from where she and her four children live?
Here’s my response: Big Fucking Deal.
Now, before y’all go gettin’ sideways on me and accusin’ me of being the worst candidate for Mother of the Year, let me explain. If you Google earth me, the house you come up with will not be mine. Sorry, I’ve tried it. Many folks have tried it. You get the wrong house every time. So, let me say this. I do have a convicted sex offender living in my neighborhood, closer to me than I’m going to reveal, for his protection in spite of the fact that Google Earth has our locations off.
Let me also say this. I found this out because he and his wife (he never goes anywhere in the neighborhood without his wife) showed up on my doorstep a month or two after I moved in and told me the whole long sad story. He is truly a convicted sex offender and earned the label.
Let me further say…he is the best neighbor I have. I would go so far as to say he is the best neighbor anyone could have.
I’ve lived in my home for 5 years now. The man has never done anything inappropriate. He goes to work, comes home, drives up into his garage, the door closese securely behind him and he goes into his house from the garage. He interacts with neighbors when necessary and is always appropriate in his demeanor and distance. He lives with shame of choices in his past that keep him harbored away in his home with minimal contact with the outside world. He’s a homeowner, not a renter, and for someone with a prison record that’s quite an accomplishment. He has two children and a wife and they’ve tried to give their children the most normal stable childhood they can, in spite of the laws of my area that say every single person must be notified of the residences of convicted sex offenders. This notification occurs by the local police force showing up on one’s doorstep each year with a flyer with the person’s picture plastered prominently on it.
This man is the neighbor who walks boldly up to strangers in cars who do not live in the area, asks what they are doing there, then gets their license plate numbers. This is the neighbor who if I need help carrying in the big TV I bought three years ago came over to help me (wife was with him, of course). This is the neighbor who helped me gather wood this summer. This is the neighbor I can rely on to watch my back should strange people be hanging around my place. This is the neighbor I make sure I inform that I am going to be out of town so he can be on the look out for anything awry. I do the same for them when they are out of town. This is the neighbor who’s kids come over swim in my pool and play with my kids. His wife comes over and gives me hand me down close for my youngest all the time. This is the neighbor, and the only neighbor I might add, that if I really needed help would be there for me.
My kids know the score. They never go over there alone, nor would he want them too. He is all about changing his life and living right, even though he knows he has to deal with the consequences. He doesn’t complain. He realizes that he’s earned all the treatment he receives. He only regrets what this means for his children and the shadow of shame and humiliation they have endured because of his folly. This is where our system in its great attempt to keep people informed and criminals in check goes wrong.
He’s lived in this neighborhood longer than I. He didn’t move in after I was here. He’s been completely honest with me about his past and the public records validate this. He and his family were the first and only ones to greet me in this neighborhood when I moved in , they continue to be one of only two households who are even remotely friendly to me. If anyone has ever earned the clean slate treatment this man has. And if I ever move from this neighborhood, he and his family will be the neighbors I miss most.
12 thoughts on “Ideas For Musings Submitted by Readers…#1”
Bravo! You certainly rose to this challenge in a way that far exceeded my expectations.
Loved your 3-word response – didn’t know you’d had it in you.
And no, I never google earthed you or earth googled you or thought I knew anything about where you live, etc. I actually have a life, and peeking in at your blog on occasion is all the stimulation I can afford.
Once again, wonderful response to the suggested topic. Your understanding and compassion are what the world needs more of. Have you seen the movie Little Children? Definitely required viewing with regard to this theme.
Have a great day!
Yes, he may be a good neighbor, but I suspect he is an exception and that many convicted sex offenders are not like your neighbor. I have a feeling that the type of sex offender the reader suggested was not what you are referring to here. And since we don’t know what offense your neighbor committed we have no way of knowing if he was “cured” or if he leads a double life, or if his offense was one of those 21 year old boy mistakes with a 14 year old girl that sometimes happens in which he got caught.
Obviously, my neighbor is an exception that was the point of my post.
Our system has no way of addressing the “exceptions” which really prevents true reform from happening in many ways in so many arenas, not just this one.
Why is your assumption automatically that I “missed” the intent of the reader’s (Kip’s) suggestion?
I’ll let the reader who suggested the topic speak for himself.
I’m not sure why my readers knowing what his offense was matters, and how whether or not he was cured, leads a double life or made a mistake with a 14-year-old (he didn’t) has any bearing on the fact that in this particular instance, the would-be perpetrator villain has overcome huge societal and person humiliation, shame and other obstacles and actually carved out a life for his family and himself when lesser people would have caved or committed suicide.
I didn’t assume anything. I don’t know what the reader’s intent was – it was not clear from the quote you provided.
And it matters * a lot * (at least to me) when generally speaking of sex offenders what their offense was because many are experts at leading a double life – portaying the model citizen on one hand and on the other leading a dark, underground life.
Think about the abusive husband who appears to all the rest of the world like the perfect husband, but inside closed doors he’s a raging lunatic to his wife.
Same idea. I don’t need to define it further. I’m sure you get my point.
Ahhh, but therein lies the rub. I wasn’t talking about sex offenders in general. I was speaking of one in particular and the question as stated by my reader was to clarify my reaction to finding out that I had a convicted sex offender living in my neighborhood. This is what I did. What kind of sex offender he is, or whether he’s living a double life or not still has absolutely no bearing on my reaction to the news that I have a convicted sex offender living near me.
Your comment “I have a feeling that the type of sex offender the reader suggested was not what you are referring to here” confused me. It sounded a bit like, “I think you missed the boat on this one.”
By the way, you can click over to my page, “Ideas for Musings” and read what Kip wrote in its entirety. You’ll see I didn’t modify a bit of his suggestion or intent. He in fact did not suggest a type of sex offender. I’m just so totally unclear as to what your comment even is supposed to mean, other than the fact that it just didn’t sound very positive.
As Cat points out, I never qualified a particular type of sex offender. This was an off-the-cuff topic thrown out to generate thought and discussion, which it evidently did. Mix it up, girls! (If you both are in fact girls, because really, how the hell can I know for sure?)
Good points made on both sides. Cat chose to champion the compassion that I myself must lack. While I would not persecute a known sex offender neighbor, neither would I befriend him or have anything to do with him, much less invite him & his family into my home or let him help me gather wood. I’m not that desperate for friends, nor would I give a damn about his good opinion of me. He may be entitled to breathe the air on my block, but I’m not obliged to scent it for him. I don’t really care about the circumstances of his offense. Like I said, I’m not needy for friends, and have a busy life. If his life isn’t similarly busy, so that he has the time or desire to solicit the friendship of a disinterested neighbor, then I would be suspicious that there’s something wrong there. And if I had young children, everything I just said goes double.
Oh and Cat … Little Miss is not obliged to “sound positive.” But I would suggest you table this topic and move on to another now. After all, Little Miss says “I’m sure you get my point” and Cat relies that she is “totally unclear as to what your comment even is supposed to mean.” I mean, if you really want to continue to thrash this topic to death and further clarify your points, go for it! But here’s a challenge for you both: express your most relevant, bottom line point in a single sentence. And have a nice day!
I already made my most relevant, bottom line point in three simple words at the beginning of my original post. Nothing about this discussion has changed it. However, the discussion has brought up many questions for me.
You know, Little Miss makes a good point when suggesting that knowing what the offender’s offense(s) had been might make a difference in one’s attitude.
For example, let’s say a sex offender had been arrested upwards of five times for molesting little girls 10 years old and younger but always avoided jail time on technicalities. Or perhaps was strongly suspected of murdering one or more children but there was not enough evidence to convict. In cases like this–if you knew these facts–would your reaction to this person’s presence just a few footsteps away from your children’s daily routes and play areas still be “Big Fucking Deal?”
Yes, I’m playing devil’s advocate. But also pushing against a question that doesn’t necessarily always have easy answers. This may be purely academic for us, but for some folks out there it’s only too real.
Yes, it would make a difference. I was never denying that it would. That, however, doesn’t address the question as it was framed, nor does it address the fact that Little Miss’ comment assumed I didn’t know what I was talking about with respect to the intent of your suggested topic. I interpreted her comment to mean “I missed the point completely” instead of “What if this was the scenario? How would you respond then?” If that is what you are asking I would answer that.
For the record: the crime was a violent crime, committed over 20 years ago, no other offenses and prison time served in full, not a pedaphile nor murder and the man has kept himself very distant from all around.
That being said, “Big Fucking Deal” only applies till I have to sell my house and the future would-be owners find out I have a convicted sex offender living next to me. Then it might become a very Big Fucking Deal! LOL!!!!
Damn, it’s hot in here!
Guess I might as well add my two cents just in case anyone cares or is still reading.
First off, I am impressed about two things with this convicted sex offender:
1. He had the guts and the humility to knock on your door (with his wife, none-the-less) and be upfront about whatever the hell happened.
2. He is wise enough to not go ANYWHERE without his wife.
I can not imagine the shame and humility that this man must feel, but I admit that I am glad that he does feel it, assuming that he does.
Cat, unlike you, I don’t know that I would have it in me to give him the time of the day. I simply don’t know having never been in the situation. However, I don’t know the extent of his crime, either. I would assume that if it were something like statutory rape, that would be mentioned. Everything else is more or less irrelevant. That being said, despite how I may feel about him in-particular, I don’t think his children should have to pay the price of being friendless because of their father. If I am not mistaken, those children are not allowed to have children over because of the law. If they can’t have friends over and others won’t let the kids come over because of their father, those kids are going to grow up with serious problems (if they don’t already have them). Americans seem to want to persecute kids because of their parents. We need to remember that they are different individuals. If society doesn’t take the time to raise them properly, that only leaves the parents who have already proven to have whatever issues. Hmmm….talk about breeding more problems.
I have a hard time believing that “many are experts at leading a double life”. How would we know? Maybe there are statistics out there, but who knows. That just seems like a broad statement that we need to be very careful about.
I have known far too many abusive husbands and none of them led a double life. They may have seemed like nice people when you first met them, but once you got to know them, it was pretty obvious that they were jerks all the way around. We just need to be careful about trying to make people fit into the perfect box of our own ideas. Also, just for the sake of it, I have known female abusers that were the same – nice until you really got to know them a bit better.
Wow, that was really long. Sorry.
Nicely done all the way round!
Just an FYI to the crowd. I didn’t befriend the guy or his wife. I did however, treat his kids with some decency and respect. The man has been inside my home twice, once to confess and the other to help me bring in a t.v. that I could not unload myself. His wife was present the entire time. He hasn’t befriended me particularly either. But in comparson to the real shit some of the neighbors around me dish out and I could tell you stories, he’s been an absolute godsend. (Well, that might be taking it a bit far, but you get my point…hopefully?)