In the current political climate, keyboard warriors are out in full force: tossing rude insults, stigmatizing and labeling individuals, and posting adversarial disagreements to almost every social media post that crosses my desk. I recently stumbled across a Facebook post that advocated letters and petition-signing in the hopes of banning those required to register for a sex offense from yet another venue in life. A little more Facebook digging and I found numerous pages dedicated to labeling both convicted individuals and those only suspected of sex crimes. These pages (which do not violate Facebook’s Community Standards) are replete with hate, threats, and violence.
Laws across the United States restrict where registrants can both reside and congregate, restrict participation in activities, restrict attendance at school functions for children or grandchildren, restrict travel both national and international, provide employment and licensure restrictions, provide designations on passports and driver’s licenses, allow for mandatory minimum sentences, and use a public registry to identify many individuals for life. Such legislation merely serves to create a public that feels safer; these laws do not empirically decrease sexual violence. But does that matter to most Americans?