Scott Chris Thomas Is Not A Sex Offender

Scott Chris Thomas is not a sex offender. You can't find his name or his picture on California's Megan's Law Website. When he was released by the California Department of Corrections onto parole, he didn't have to go to a police station to register as a sex offender. He didn't have to find a place to live that was at least 2,000 feet from the nearest school or park.

But Scott Thomas, a known violent offender on parole, decided to rob a San Franciso bakery and stab a fifteen year old girl who happened to be there, almost to death. She lived, but now faces the possibility of never regaining the use of her right arm. A passer-by, coming to the aid of the girl, received three stab wounds, including a punctured lung.
As it turned out, when the C.D.C. sprang him loose from San Quentin State Prison, they didn't realize that they were freeing the wrong “Thomas”. Scott Chris Thomas, who is white and 26 years old, was mistaken for another inmate with the last name “Thomas” who is black, much heavier, and in his fifties.

Here's my point: the State of California has implemented a rigid and encompassing mechanism for tracking and monitoring those convicted of sex offenses, even when the circumstances of their offense were devoid of elements of force, coersion, or violence. Those offenders receive tons of attention, not only from their parole officers, but from local police in the location to which they are paroled, the press, and the public. They immediately have to register as sex offenders at the local police station, their homes are carefully scrutinized to ensure compliance with the requirements of “Jessica's Law”, and local neighborhood “watch” committees may distribute flyers with their picture, their address, and the particulars of their offense to all of their new neighbors.

“Sex Offenders” receive seemingly unlimited attention from the government, the press and the public. But other criminals, regardless of their propensity for violence or its documented history, are unencumbered by any public registry and do not have to report to the police department, have their fingerprints taken, their photos taken, and their residence verified. Neither websites nor flyers bearing their photos can be viewed by local residents. And apparently, the California Department of Corrections can take a much more cavalier approach to their release.

The C.D.C. allocated very little concern to their release of Scott Chris Thomas, a cold and narcissistic thug whose mug shot exudes sociopathy through his contemptuous sneer. And yet I had a very difficult time finding this picture of him, despite his having recently nearly murdered a young girl. And that's because he's not on any public registry and the press spent very little time on this story compared to say, Cary Verse who, after completing years of sex offender treatment, was released into the community to the roars of public indignation and chased from one community to another, just trying to find a place to live.
How do we reconcile the difference in attention received by these two types of offenders and how do we justify these differences as a matter of public policy?

I would suggest that the key difference lies not in the exercise of some carefully considered and objective standard for dangerousness but in a knee-jerk overreaction to sex offenses, especially those involving children on the one hand and an underreaction to amoral and pathological parasites like Scott Thomas, on the other.

A Warning To Parents On Halloween

When I was a kid, the big Halloween scare for our parents was the possibility of razor blades or needles placed in the apples or candy given out, presumably by diabolical adults, to the small and unsuspecting trick-or-treaters going door-to-door. That this scare was based not at all on fact and in the complete absence of documented cases, did not keep this urban rumor from becoming a major preoccupation of our parents and teachers. Indeed, this myth is still alive, although modern recommendations, such as having the collected candies X-rayed by benevolent police departments, are the contemporary countermeasures providing the societal upper hand in any negotiations with the evil spirit world. However, like ghost stories told around a campfire by cub scouts, our contemporary Halloween mythology requires ever more frightening embellishments to this specious, and seemingly eternal, narrative.

Far scarier than mere needles placed in a miniature Snicker's bar (after all, what's the worst that could happen? A painful trip to the emergency room?) is the much more ominous possibility of your little trick-or-treater being snatched from a pedophile's porch and tied up in his basement to suffer unspeakable sexual tortures. Even worse, one suspects that such a monster would not let them live after sating his perverse appetites.

That this much scarier myth is no more rooted in fact than the needles and razors of old is of no significance to the ever-vigilant fear mongers who obsessively quote one another in a mad dash to grab market share on the local t.v. news or in newspapers. The truth is, the little bunny or princess-costumed youngsters are far more likely to be killed in a traffic accident while being driven by their parents to a "safe" and organized Halloween venue with police volunteers posted at the doors of the staged events to deter any desperate molesters who might sneak in, than they would be if left alone, amongst their peers, going door-to-door and chanting "trick or treat"!

At some point, we need to ask what effect all of this "long night of fright" has upon our children, ourselves, and our society. There is a cost- I am sure of it- but clearly, it has been completely overlooked as one of the actual dangers we, and our children, face.

"Families for Freedom" (U.K.) On Childhood Fear mongering

Children do face very real problems today. They are over-protected and prevented from developing any life separate from their parents. They are driven to school, watched at play and their activities are organised by adults. As a result, they have less and less opportunity to explore the world for themselves, to choose their own friends, and to learn what it means to be independent.

People are susceptible to the scaremongering around children because we live in a society that has lost faith in itself. Families for Freedom argues the case for less worry and fewer restraints. We urge parents to relax and enjoy their children. We implore everybody to resist the scares that may frighten the life out of our future generation.