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SO YOU WANT TO BE AN ACTIVIST?
HOW TO PREPARE FOR COMBAT
By: Derek W. Logue
Written August 6, 2010

Are you tired of waking up every morning afraid of the next legislation targeting you? Tired of harassment by
neighbors, police, and self-styled vigilante groups and websites? Many people are tired of the uncertainty in their
lives and wish to fight back, but they do not. There are many reasons why most people impacted by sex offender
laws. Many of us fear retaliation. Others simply feel like they are alone in wanting to fight, and many others sit and
wait for someone else to fight for them. Others do just enough for themselves and quit when their personal
circumstances improve.
We are at times our own worst enemies.

There are 750,000+ Registered Former Sex Offenders in the USA. Out of those 750,000+ registrants are a small
but growing number of dedicated activists fighting to reform current sex offender legislation. Over the years, we
have accomplished great things with the few that have chosen to stand up, but the more dedicated warriors, the
greater the chances we can overcome this adversity once and for all.

You are not alone in this "war on sex offenders."

If you wish to become more active in the fight against over broad, ineffective, and counterproductive laws, there are
many ways you can help. Below are just a few ways to fight back.

TIP #1: JOIN AN RSO ACTIVIST/ SUPPORT WEBSITE (ENLIST)

I cannot stress enough the importance of joining a website of supportive individuals who are also seeking reform of
current sex offender legislation. Even the most resilient activists struggle at times to deal with the personal impact of
these laws, and having a support network helps us to share our burdens, discuss strategies, and gain
encouragement to continue the fight. We need more than an "army of one" here!

Many of these sites have forums to share news, ideas, or personal testimonies. Below are links to some of the
largest or most active national websites (with more listed on my links page):

  1. http://www.sosen.org/
  2. http://www.usafair.org/
  3. http://www.nationalrsol.org/

In addition, there are a growing number of sites that focus specifically on one solitary state ("state affiliate sites").
Some sites are independent (for example, Once Fallen also hosts the ReFORM Alabama state affiliate blog), while
others are affiliated with one of the national websites like
RSOL. For a list of active state websites, visit my LINKS
PAGE.

One important part to remember, verify each site is a site that  is NOT affiliated with alleged "pro-pedophile" groups
such as NAMBLA or "boy/girl chat" type websites. Most activist sites prominently displays denouncing the promotion
of illicit sexual activity (for example, Once Fallen displays a disclaimer on the front page of the site)

TIP #2: GET EDUCATED (TAKE UP ARMS)

Perhaps the scariest part of activism is the prospect of being interviewed by the media without knowledge of a
subject. Every activist had to start somewhere, even me. My introduction into sex offender activism came through an
old forum and through the eAdvocate website. Thankfully, there is a wealth of research available on a variety of sex
offender issues, and activist sites including Once Fallen offer this education free of charge. There are also a
number of suggested readings on my
LINKS PAGE for more info.

Below are a few recommended sites for facts, studies, and guides, our "weapons" in this "war:"

  1. http://www.oncefallen.com/ (Yes I'm a bit biased but I put a LOT of work into my fact guides)
  2. http://www.ccoso.org/library.php
  3. http://www.solresearch.org/~SOLR/index.asp
  4. http://sexoffenderresearch.blogspot.com/ -- eAdvocate's blog
  5. http://sexoffenderissues.blogsot.com/ - SOI blog

The latter two sites are great long-running news blogs and often offer helpful links to the latest news articles,
studies, and even videos. This brings me to my next tip:

TIP #3: STAY INFORMED (KNOW YOUR ENEMY)

If you do not keep up with the latest news, then there is a good chance you will miss something important.
Remember, the Adam Walsh Act sat stagnant in Congress for about a year before it was steam-rolled through
Congress like a freight train. Thankfully there are two equally wonderful blogs that are good at keeping you up-to-
date with the latest news and conveniently categorized:

  1. http://sexoffenderresearch.blogspot.com/ -- eAdvocate has been around for many years, and in addition to
    running a news blog, eAdvocate offers news and commentary on the latest RSO-related bill in US legislature,
    offering a daily email digest, and running blogs on specific subjects like vigilantism against registrants and
    current legislation and court cases targeting sex offenders.
  2. http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/ -- SOI has an equally powerful blog, but the real gem of SOI is a
    YouTube channel featuring sex-offender news stories, in addition to a vast offering of hard-to-find news
    stories no longer available online.

In addition, search engines have "News Search" functions to help you find the latest sex offender headlines. For
example, using Google, I can search any
sex offender news story within the past hour, which can be expanded to
the last day, last week, or last month.

TIP #4: GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY (BASIC TRAINING)

Few of us get opportunities to speak to the media or a large audience. Many activist opportunities come through
one-on-one experiences. There are many opportunities to spread the reform message. You can tell another
registrant about SOSEN, RSOL, or Once Fallen. You can leave pamphlets offered from these sites in random
places. You can strike up a conversation with someone you meet publicly and bring up key talking points. You can
leave comments on a news blog with a link to an activist site. You can send a letter to a legislator. You can
participate in Verbal Assertiveness Training classes offered by the activist sites. Each of these smaller experiences
build our confidence and hone our skills for those times we are called up to bigger tasks. I can tell a major difference
in my own interviewing skills today as opposed to my first TV appearance in 2006. Even my writing has improved as
time moves on. Practice makes us better warriors.

TIP #5: CONTACTING LEGISLATORS (THE FRONT LINES)

To kill a snake, you cut off the head and not the tail. Killing a law is far easier if it never gets passed in the first
place. Therefore, it is important we keep up with legislation that targets our very existence and fight back at the
source.

Many politicians do not stop to consider the impact of many of the laws they pass. Many blindly pass it because it
generates votes, others because they do not have the time or expertise in the field, and others do so out of fear or
apathy. It is easier to sign a law when they do not have to deal with opposition. Each of us have a story to tell.
Emotional stories are needed as much as the facts. Your legislator needs to know how you've lost your home/ job/
wife, etc.

This nation is starving for a better solution to dealing with sexual offending in the country. The laws are failing. We
must emphasize healing for both victim and offender, treatment to compliment punishment for the offenders, and the
option of reconciliation and atonement to those they offended, rehabilitation and successful reintegration upon
release from prison, and sensible education and prevention programs, such as the
Jacob Wetterling Resource
Center & Stop It Now!

TIP #6: SUPPORT WAR EFFORTS! ("BUY WAR BONDS")

It seems the moment money is mentioned anywhere on a website, eyes glaze over and people get fidgety. After all,
sex offenders are very likely to be poor, unemployed/ on welfare, and/or taxed heavily by such obligations as
registration fees and fines. Even a small contribution (a few bucks or even a few stamps) to this site or one of the
activist sites goes a long way to helping spread the word. Many sites are funded by equally poor activists (I am on
SSI/ Disability myself and spend roughly 3/4 of my monthly income for unsubsidized rent and utilities).

There are many ways, however, to contribute to the war effort besides financially. Many of the actions I mentioned in
the "get your hands dirty" tip apply here as well. Word of mouth is a great advertiser. Activist sites have to compete
with sex offender registries, websites that advocate for stricter sex offender laws, vigilante websites, news articles,
and various personal blogs for attention. A person seeking support or legal advice is most likely to find a site like
Family Watchdog than one of the activist sites. Word of mouth is better than any advertising we could do.

FINAL THOUGHTS

These are merely my own suggestions for fighting back. We currently have less than 1% actively fighting back. If we
even had the 1%, we'd have over seven thousand warriors in the fight. If we've done this much with a couple
hundred warriors, imagine what a couple of thousand can do!
CHECK OUT THE eAdvocate Community Blog FOR MORE RESOURCE INFORMATION