Montana is now including maps of where registered offenders live. So thanks to the good folks of Google and the Montana DOJ I found three high level sexual offenders living within blocks of my home (One, Two, Three). Previously I’ve searched for offenders living on Toole Ave, but found none and felt a calm relief.
This new mapping system has kicked that feeling right in the gut.
The three men living near my home are what the state deems Level 3 Sexually Violent Predators who have a “High risk of a repeat sexual offense.” Which makes sense since they call these men PREDATORS (and not the alien kind). But “predator” is also a term for prowling animals waiting for unsuspecting prey to linger for too long, and then–POUNCE!–claws, grabbing, ripping, fear, and death. These are people the state believes are looking to re-offend.
Having made myself sufficiently worried about my wife’s security (No misogyny intended, just that most sex crimes are men on women) I allowed for the thought “buy a gun?” to cross my mind. Nearly vomiting at that NRA moment, I forced myself to think logically. But I failed because I couldn’t answer what I presumed as a simple question: Why are we releasing people we think will commit sex crimes?
Sex crimes are not like robbery, vandalism, or even murder. You can buy a new TV. You can get a new windshield. And as sad as it is to ponder, you may never stop missing the person, but you would and could overcome the grief of having a love one murdered. And for the murder victim, sadly there is nothing left for them, no trauma that lingers.
But the victim of a sex crime is never quite healed. I know this is true because I have worked with victims (at Montana State Hospital), dated them, and have had them as friends. It is years later when these people are done feeling scared and hurt by what was done to them. Hopefully. Though for many the trauma never goes away, and comes up at seemingly random points in their lives. One moment a person is fine, the next they’re crying. They call it PTSD. The same thing some ‘Nam vets go through when cars backfire.
Sex crimes take away a level of a person’s innocence and humanity that never gets replaced fully, ever again. (Don’t just take my word for it, here is a great study about Child and Adult sexual abuse. And to be sort of fair, here is an utterly stupid, dickheaded look as well.)
When I worked at MSH a doctor there told me that sex offenders are never “cured.” He said all the therapy in the world could not change the person’s psyche. I am hard-wired to be attracted to women. Some guys are hard-wired to be attracted to other guys. Other people are wired to be attracted to the little girl on the jungle gym. What this doctor taught offenders was not to stop thinking of the girl at the jungle gym, but to not grab her and run off. In essence, offenders are taught to look, but not touch.
That may seem completely twisted to you, but the doctor I’m referencing (whose name I’m withholding for many reasons) was pretty good at what he did. His patients usually left MSH as Level-1 offenders, those who are the least likely to commit their crimes again.
From here I’m going to make a logical leap. I think the sexually violent predators in my neighborhood need some therapy. Lots, actually. And that’s really the best I can come up with. Then there’s another side. At my worst I find myself thinking that that anyone who commits a sex crime — the guy who can’t take a “no,” the high school kid who feels the underside of a passed out girl, or the stranger who lures a child into a nightmare — should not ever be free. Again.
So I don’t know, really, what I think. I just know that there are some scary individuals in my neighborhood and that I’ll feel less safe tonight when I go to bed, than I did the previous. Thanks DOJ web site.