Dear Members and Advocates,

Yesterday I woke up after a decent night’s sleep, took a shower, grabbed a cup of coffee and drove to work. I put in a full day at the office, drove back home and had some dinner. That’s pretty much my routine each day.

I’m sure most of you are asking yourselves why I’m telling you this. I guarantee none of you are thinking, “wow, this guy is reckless! He’s a real daredevil!”

Why would the day I described above be so dangerous? Consider the following: If you start your day with a shower, you should know that according to the Center for Disease Control, an estimated 234,094 nonfatal bathroom injuries among persons aged 15 or over were treated in U.S. emergency rooms in one year. Enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning? The CDC also says that about 1.1 million people are treated for burn injuries every year, of all burns requiring hospitalization, 38-58% are due to hot liquids.

All that is before I even leave the house! I still need to drive to work, but according to the National Safety Council, an estimated 4.5 million people were seriously injured in car crashes in 2018. That’s a lot of car accidents! Now I get to work; and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in 2018, including more than five thousand workplace deaths! Then, after a long day risking my life at work, I need to drive home again and have dinner. That should be safe, right? Wrong! The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services estimates that there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illness annually—the equivalent of sickening 1 in 6 Americans each year. And each year these illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

Admittedly, I was involved in a pretty bad car accident years ago and I have eaten at a few sketchy sushi places after which I nearly left my intestines in the toilet, but fortunately I’ve recovered and live to tell of them today. My point being; is there are risks inherent in every activity. While we can take measures to mitigate that risk, such as wearing our seatbelt and driving safely, there’s still a chance that we can be driving down the road, our cars encased in bubble wrap and a drunk guy in a Lamborghini will slam into us from behind.

This past week, Uber issued a safety report which disclosed their negligible rate of assaults and injuries. Also last week, ProPublica called out Match Group for not running background checks on the free versions of their dating apps. Too many irresponsible media outlets chose to spin the stories with headlines that made it seem as if you ride in an Uber or you use Tinder, a sexual assault is imminent. But it’s not! As a Match Group spokesperson said, the 157 reported instances of sexual assault need to be put into perspective considering the tens of millions of users they have. And (true to statistics for the overall rate of sexual recidivism) 9 out of 10 of those reported sexual assaults were from someone without any relevant criminal history.

After posting the dating app story on our site, I was surprised to read several comments from people who met their registrant spouses online and both are perfectly happily married today. And that’s just comments from the few readers FAC has. There must be many, many more out there. Statistically that makes it far more likely that a registrant relationship will go perfectly fine or even flourish, than the 1/1000th of a percent chance that a person on the registry will sexually assault someone on the dating app or the 3/10,000ths of 1% of all ride share trips where a serious incident takes place.

There actually is something very dangerous going on here, but it has nothing to do with sex offenders. It’s the irresponsible news outlets and their sensationalized headlines, making it seem as though incredibly rare occurrences are the norm. The danger in the news stories covering Match and Uber/Lyft is that public perception will unjustifiably be influenced to think an actual problem exists. That will lead to demands for corporate response, legislative action and millions of people left paranoid and hysterical whenever they hear the word “sex offender”.

Well, guess what? Statistically, anyone is far more likely to suffer a harm from one of the every-day tasks I described at the beginning of this update than from a ride-share or dating app and no matter what corporate action is taken or new laws are passed, there is absolutely no way to completely eliminate the risk from our lives. It’s life!

So what can we do to counteract the hysteria? We can post responses to these scare stories pointing out the actual statistics and encouraging the writers (and the readers) to take a more rational look at the problem. To help us do that, we have each other. FAC has recently [better] organized our Media Committee under our new committee Chair, Sarah (who has been doing an incredible job even though she didn’t think she had it in her). We will do our best to share the news stories with you and we ask those of you who posted a response to share that response with others (in the comments section of our site). That information can be helpful in formulating other’s responses, and it’s also helpful in educating our readers and giving them the tools to be able to respond independently, whether it’s to a news article they come across, to a politician or to another individual.

Engaging the media has already yielded some very positive results in the form of drawing media attention to stories important to us, bringing more balanced coverage of unpopular topics and even re-writes and retractions when a media outlet publishes something false or misleading. If you would like to help our media committee, please contact [email protected].

Finally, we recently announced that a generous supporter of FAC has pledged to match the December donations to our “Non-Registrant Collateral Consequences (NRCC) Challenge”, dollar for dollar, up to $5,000! If we can raise $5000 in December, that will mean we will have $10,000 in this account towards the funding of this lawsuit. Please consider helping yourselves by making a donation towards this challenge so that you can take this opportunity to have the impact doubled and so that we can kick start another lawsuit.

Sincerely,

The Florida Action Committee


Amazon Smile – select (FAC Outreach Partner “Justice Transitions, Sanford FL” as your charity.  Make purchases using https://smile.amazon.com in order to be certain that Justice Transitions (and FAC members) benefit from your purchases.


Reminders:

Thu Dec 12th – 8pm ET – New Member Orientation Call.  Everyone welcome.  Dial 319-527-3487

Mon Jan 27, 2020 – Central Broward County – 6-9pm.  Community Event “A Courageous Conversation on Sexual Offense Issues”. Includes a public viewing of “Untouchable” documentary followed by a discussion of expert panelists.  Watch for details.

For more information about these events, or to RSVP email [email protected] or call 904-452-8322.  No children please.


 

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