The State of NY may soon have a “terrorist registry” much like the sex offender registry.

Their Senate, yesterday, passed legislation that would create a list of people convicted of terrorism and post their information publicly, so that the community and law enforcement can be aware of “somebody in their community that has been convicted of terrorism who still may be a threat to the safety and security of Americans”

No clue of what other restrictions will come to those on that registry, such as not living within 1500 feet of a shooting range, terrorist therapy programs or disclosing religious affiliations.

Many other “registries” have been concocted across the United States, including animal abuser registries and white collar criminal registries and undoubtedly there will be more to come at this pace.

What is unclear is the scope of offense that will land someone on this latest registry. Being labeled a “terrorist” is pretty horrific. People automatically think you orchestrated 9/11, right? It’s like everyone assuming that every “sex offender” molested a child, which we know is hardly the case.

What if we start labeling people who got into a college bar fight as terrorists or stuck a firecracker in somebody’s mailbox as a childhood prank? What is someone got in trouble for bouncing a check decades ago? Will we start labeling them “white collar criminals” and telling them they can’t live within 2500 feet of an ATM?

The offensive feature of these registries are not the fact that they exist, but how they are used, abused and what comes along with it. Nobody is in favor of sexual abuse, terrorism or financial crimes. But if we cram these lists with low-level, first time offenses where there is no direct victim and punishment long served, and then brand these people as if they were all the Unabomber or Bernie Madoff, what will it really accomplish?

The NY State Senate also passed another bill this year, one that would create “Brittany’s Law”, a registry (again, like the sex offender’s registry) for those convicted of domestic violence. An opponent of the bill stated, “But these registries do nothing to prevent crime and are generally counterproductive to public safety because they make ex-offenders less stable by making it harder to find things like housing and employment,” said Michael Whyland, a spokesman for Speaker Carl Heastie.

… Interesting thought Mr. Whyland!

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