Dear Members and Advocates,

Yesterday, numerous news outlets reported that lobbyist Ron Book has throat cancer and will begin chemotherapy and radiation treatment next week.

Ron Book, has been one of the most outspoken proponents of registration restrictions. He is the architect of the Sex Offender Residency Restriction (SORR), he has publicly called our population “monsters”, he has spread misinformation about re-offense rates to the legislature and is unashamedly responsible for hundreds of registrants living homeless in Florida. He has been the strongest opponent of our efforts since we began.

Throat cancer can effect the larynx, which can impact one’s ability to speak. To a lobbyist, one’s voice is their instrument. Undoubtedly, Ron Book and his family are going through a very scary and uncertain time right now. The weeks and months of treatment ahead will not be easy.

Our board has spent some time debating if and how to address this with our members. The news that the efforts of our biggest opponent might become frustrated through a debilitating illness is something we all have in mind, but this is certainly not how we wanted this to come about. As compassionate human beings, we don’t want to see anyone suffer, just like we would not want anyone to see us suffer.

Some of us are cancer survivors and we likely all know someone who has either beaten the disease or succumbed to it. Cancer has touched many families, just like the registry has touched many families. The ultimate objective for anyone facing cancer is to beat it. They want, more than anything, to get back to a normal life where they can be productive members of the community and beloved members of their family.

FAC has a similar objective. Everyone has. Whether it’s illness or loss, whether you are a victim or perpetrator, we all want, more than anything, to emerge from our tragedy, as productive members of our community, to have jobs, to support our kids, to have a roof over our heads and to be able to sit around a dinner table with our family or loved ones and feel content, loved, and a sense of peace, justice, mercy, and the knowledge that we are not alone in this world. If we have an even higher aspiration we want the same for everyone in the world. Nobody should live life suffering from disease, without a roof over their heads, alone, or deprived of any other essential of human existence.

Ironically, last week’s update and member call concerned a registrant who was forced into homelessness in Broward County (where Ron Book lives and where his daughter is Senator). If you have not read it, you can read it here (https://floridaactioncommittee.org/weekly-update-2022-05-04-ref206/). The homeless registrant was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was eligible for surgery but could not get it because he is homeless and has no place to recover. Both last week and this week’s weekly updates dealt with cancer and registration, but the connecting message is compassion. We ended the last weekly update with the words, “Please do something now to help save a life” and many of you stepped up and offered to take in someone you’ve never met and care for him through a difficult recovery.

As we end this week’s update, we ask you for the same. If we want those who hate us to have compassion for us, we need to demonstrate compassion for them. Whether the “love your enemy” lesson comes from religion, from an inherent sense of humanity, the blind faith that kindness will be rewarded with kindness or the longshot possibility that something in this weekly update compelled you to, we hope you will share in FAC’s official position on Ron Book’s health…

We at FAC have learned about Ron Books serious health diagnosis. We wish him success with treatment and hope that with the proper care he will get through this. Mr. Book is fortunate to have resources and certainly a place to stay and recover from and during any treatments he may require. We hope he will come to recognize how important that is. Unfortunately, that is not available to people on the registry. Due to residency restrictions and other failed policies driven and supported by Ron and Lauren Book,  many facing similar situations cannot enter shelters, rehab facilities, nursing homes or even stay in the homes of loving family members as they battle and try to recover from debilitating illnesses.

Our hope for Ron Book is that his cancer will be eliminated and it will be replaced with compassion and mercy.

Sincerely,

The Florida Action Committee


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SOME HEADLINES FROM THIS WEEK

CCNCR letter to Senator Tillis

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SC: Victory in the South Carolina Senate!

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Enough is Enough: Stop the Homeless Crisis

In this week’s update, we sent out a plea to help an elderly man in South Florida find a stable home so that he can receive medical treatment for prostate cancer.  He is only one example of those struggling to survive due to residency restrictions, especially when…read more

Building a Forgiving Society by JOSEPH MARGULIES

I am hard at work on a new book. It begins at the end. It imagines we have created a world that is considerably more forgiving than our own. Where society has neither the right nor the inclination to treat a human being as a monster, indelibly branded as unworthy of…read more

Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2022 provides the most comprehensive look at U.S. incarceration since the start of the pandemic

the Prison Policy Initiative released Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2022, compiling national data sources to offer the most comprehensive view of how many people are locked up in the U.S. — and where they are being held — since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The…read more

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