This morning Grits typed the phrase "Halloween sex offender" into Google News and half a dozen stories came up with a link that said 503 more were available if one wanted to "Explore in depth." So the meme appears to have hit critical mass.
As I've written before, "The annual demagoguing over sex offenders at Halloween is a classic example of what security expert Bruce Schneier calls 'security theater,' hyping (and pretending to solve) a threat that in reality is extremely remote, even to the point of diverting resources from policing activities like DWI enforcement that would protect more people and save more lives. The approach is dumb, it's wrong, and it makes the public less safe."
As a partial antidote to this foolishness, check out Michael Hall's excellent story in Texas Monthly about a man on the Texas sex offender registry who is pretty clearly innocent but subject to registry conditions, anyway. The guy's life has been a living hell. Read the whole thing, Mike did a great job with it. MORE (10/28): See a Marshall Project article on Halloween sex-offender restrictions.
Since Grits has addressed this sort of Halloween hype many times in the past, rather than repeat myself I'll refer readers to these prior, related posts:
- Halloween demagoguery on sex offenders in full swing this year
- Texas media waits till last minute for annual Halloween sex-offender hype
- Ignorance, paranoia over phony Halloween sex-offender threat more frightening than ghosts or goblins
- Annual Halloween scare tactic on sex offenders doesn't improve public safety
- More on Halloween sex offender hype
- Pushback beginning on Halloween sex offender hype
- Time for annual Halloween sex offender hype