Sunday, March 10, 2013

Why An Activist?

   Many of you might be wondering what would motivate a registrant such as myself to become an outspoken lobbyist/activist for sex offender/registrant issues when there may be several dangers associated with doing so.
   First, regardless of what some may think, I am still a man. I have honorably served my country in its armed forces. I am also a practicing Christian and I still hold myself in high esteem. Of course I'm partially doing it for myself even though there might be some risk involved.
  I am also a dad to four kids, two step-kids and two biological kids. My oldest might bristle at being called a kid since she's working hard on 21 right now, but she's still one of my kids.
  Ryan my step-son passed away very suddenly in 2010 just short of his 16th birthday due to a congenital heart defect about a month after my incarceration began.
   My two biological children are 12 and 11 right now.
   My son shares my same name, me being Jr. and he the III. No matter what I do, even if I should win my appeal, my name will have irremovable scars on it in virtual perpetuity via the internet, which never forgets and due to the registry, and various other web sites.
   As I see it, my only option is to find a way to force myself back into respectable society by being a relentless cause fighter. I absolutely intend to make a name for myself by being too big to be ignored. I intend for there to be a lot more good to be found on the internet about me than bad and thereby rehabilitating my name for my kids, myself and most especially my son, who shares my name and as he gets older, has people look up his name on the internet and also find mine. The hope is, they will see a lot of good to go along with the bad.
   I was also sitting in church a few months ago and it came to me that I needed to become more involved. I had become acquainted with both RSOL and then INRSOL now Indiana Voices while incarcerated and once my internet restrictions had been lifted, I made contact with Kim, the leader at Indiana Voices and began looking for a place to fit in. 
   I had seen that the web site had been sitting dormant for a few months and asked if there was any way I could help with that since it is the one and only place many people will have any contact with us. The site is still a work in progress structurally, but we are very blessed to have a member (Nick) who owns his own web hosting company and both hosts our site as well as doing all the web master work for us, as well as the Women Against the Registry site.  
   At different times I've been given a few different titles, but I think as far as the site is concerned, Contributing Editor/Writer probably works the best.
    Our legislative session here in Indiana is in full swing and we have been very busy with letter writing campaigns to various legislators both for and against current legislation. So far, we have been very pleased with the current session, we only have one bill left that concerns us with some vague wording that we are trying to have changed to make it more definitive. I have probably written 100 e-mails to various legislators, the Indiana Public Defender's Office and ACLU of Indiana in regards to this session's legislation.
   At the moment, our organization is a collection of some very passionate, dedicated, intelligent and talented volunteer men and women. We are hoping once we get our site the way we want it and the hustle and bustle of the legislative session over to convert our organization over to a 501c group. 
   I have also filed a First Amendment complaint with the ACLU of Indiana based upon the ruling by U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, granting a temporary restraining order, preventing Proposition 35 from going into effect, which was based upon the plaintiffs likelihood of success, due to Prop. 35's requirement that offenders be forced to divulge their user names for any and all social media sites, e-mail and chat room accounts, thus preventing "Anonymous Free Speech."
   Indiana has virtually the same stipulations as part of its registry requirements in IC 11-8-8-8. This all being made possible by the recent U.S. 7th Circuit Court of  Appeals ruling overturning Indiana's social networking ban. I am still awaiting word as to whether the ACLU will accept my complaint.  
   If this isn't enough, I have enrolled in the local community college to get an Associates of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies starting in June. I want to work in family and appellate law, I also hope, working through Indiana Voices to be able to help draft new legislation involving our registry. 
   I was listening to a web based radio show this past week featuring the well known activist, Shana Rowan of USA Fair, who said about trying to get people to advocate about sex offender issues,"Fear is always going to be there anyway, as long as things are the way they are. We have a choice of, OK, I'm gonna sit back and be afraid and hope that nothing happens or I'm going to stand up and be like; Hey! This is happening, this is not right and probably be afraid, but, I mean, either way, we get the fear and to me; why live with that and not do anything about it?"
   I believe that it is my duty to live for my God, my kids and myself. If I don't stand up for any of them, then I become a failure. In the process of all this I also get to partake in the second most important commandment, which is to; love your neighbor as yourself. In some things like this, when you do for yourself, you are also doing for your neighbor. 
   That's why I'm an activist and what I'm doing beyond just blabbing away on this blog. lol


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