The government made me a sex offender

Same name, same birthdate

David Miller, pictured left, is a registered sex offender. David Miller, pictured right, is not.
  • David Miller, pictured left, is a registered sex offender. David Miller, pictured right, is not.

I stood silently as the customs official swiped my passport through the card reader at his station. He swiped it again then lifted his head and stared at me judgmentally. Turning to his terminal, he began typing frantically. “Is something wrong?” I asked, knowing that something indeed was wrong. “Is it the magnetic strip?”

Illegitimate traveller

Illegitimate traveller

“No,” he stated tersely. “The computer has flagged you as a sex offender.” He called out something like, “I need an assist,” and a rather large agent quickly approached. “Sir, you need to go to secondary. Follow me.” I did. His imposing size left few options. Plus, where was I to go?

As we walked to a room off the main inspection area — “secondary,” I assumed — I saw a Latino man, perhaps Mexican, tackled to the floor by two or three other agents. I watched as a pair of legs and arms struggled beneath blue jackets. I believe “runner” was the term bantered about.

I should probably make clear at this point that I am not a sex offender. I have never been accused of, tried for, plead to, or convicted of any criminal offense (a few speeding tickets aside), much less a sex offense. What, then, was happening? Perhaps I would find out in the small backroom called “secondary,” a room littered with occupied, plastic chairs, fluorescent lamps and flanked at one end by a raised platform, a dais, manned by several agents, each either flipping through a file; typing, eyes fixed on a terminal; or phone in hand, on hold, waiting to speak with some unseen, unnamed superior, whose word was likely final. In the back, I noticed two other rooms, interview rooms, with their doors cracked. A crying woman sat in one. In the other, an agent walked past the door before pushing it closed.

Before sitting down, I reached for my cell phone and was quickly reprimanded. A long arm pointed to a sign on the wall. No cell phones allowed. I guess Hector, my friend who was waiting for me on the other side of the border, would have to wait much longer than expected. Though I worried about him, I was more concerned with my own fate.

I sat anxiously. Why anxiously? Perhaps my experience as a government attorney had given me insight into bureaucracy. Or, perhaps I’ve just read too many Kafka novels. Either way, anxious I was. So, without my cell phone, sudoku, or someone to speak with, I sat uncomfortably in my plastic chair. I stared at the ceiling tiles. I took note of the cracks in the linoleum tile. And, I watched with ever-growing despair as several people rose from their chairs after hearing their names called, approached the counter, argued hopelessly with agents, and with shaking hands fumbled through pockets and bags for documents, only to be told moments later to sit back down. They would be called back up “shortly.”

Approximately an hour after being escorted into the room, my name was called. I approached an agent. He was in his mid to late 30s, well groomed, and with an appropriately stern expression that failed to mask the frustration and boredom he felt listening day after day to the same excuses and stories. He had signed up to protect our borders, to be a hero of sorts, not to read files, click-clack away at a keyboard, man phones, and listen to people whine and cry. It was with this face, he greeted me.

“David Miller,” he stated more than asked.

“Yes.”

“Have you ever been arrested?”

“No.”

“Have you ever lived at…?” Here he listed a series of addresses.

“No,” I said after each.

“What is your Social Security number?”

I told him.

It went on like this for a few more minutes. After which he said matter-of-factly, “Okay. You can go.”

“Wait, what?” I said, confused. “I don’t understand. What just happened? Why did I get detained?” “Someone has the same name and birthdate as you, so your passport was flagged.”

“Does he look anything like me?” I wanted to know. Did I look like a sex offender? I had never been told so. I don’t wear seersucker suits. I don’t have beady, little eyes. I don’t own a van with blacked-out windows.

“We don’t have access to photos.”

“Wait, what?” How could that be? How could the immigration system, our Department of Homeland Security, protectors of the free world, not have a photo of this sex offender who wandered the world with my name? How simple that would be. Sex offender picture appears on screen. My clearly-not-a-sex offender face in person. A couple of glances back and forth, my face, screen, face, screen. Then, rather than being dragged into the abyss that was “secondary,” I’d be given a nod and a pleasant, “Enjoy your day, Mr. Miller.”

“Thanks,” I would have said. “You, too.”

So, the Commodore 64 or TRS-80 that they obviously used at the border port of entry lacked the kilobytes and pixels necessary to form a picture on the screen, but it must be linked to a passport database. He did, after all, scan my passport before declaring me the worst kind of felon in the hierarchy of criminal offenders. I saw him run my passport twice.

Was it a charade? I had to ask. “What about his passport? Is the number the same as mine? Or somewhat similar?” The image of a dyslexic or overtired government employee sitting at his/her desk and transposing a number or letter danced through my mind. A “54” accidently typed as “45,” a minor mistake leading to an unfortunate series of events, somewhat like our Mr. Archibald Buttle, a humble cobbler, from Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, who died during interrogation after he was confused for the notorious terrorist Archibald Tuttle. In that case, the confusion was caused when Tuttle’s “T” was converted to Buttle’s “B” after the guts of a fly were caught on a typewriter’s key and the wet ink spread across the paper.

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Comments

That guy on the cover picture looks scary!

Apologies for posting this twice but it appears if it is only posted via the Facebook plugin then the comment does not appear when the page is accessed via some methods.

Mr. Miller:

If you support the Nanny Big Government (NBG) S#x Offender Registries (SORs) then I am so very happy that this happened to you. I wish a lot worse would have. All people who support the SORs deserve a lot of punishment. If you do not support the SORs then I am truly sorry that it happened to you.

A "s#x offender" is a person who is committing s#x crimes. At this exact moment, in the U.S. there are likely less than 500 of those people who are actually known. Using the term "s#x offender" to refer to people who are listed on the SORs is inaccurate. It is also lazy, un-American, and hateful. They could be referred to as "Registered Citizens (RCs)".

I also find it shocking that Homeland Security (HS) is not more capable of identifying RCs. Seriously, what is their budget? It is not a large mandate of theirs that they harass RCs? How many hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars does HS waste every single year with all their constant nonsense? The kind of technology that they would need is completely trivial and has been for years and years.

And really, what good is this HS harassment anyway? What the heck do they dream they are accomplishing? I know NBG bureaucracies are obligated to be dumb, but really! Do they ask the people, "Did you commit any s#x crimes while traveling? We don't care about ANY other crimes, no matter how heinous ... unless it involved s#x. We don't care if you shot 10 children in the face. As long as you didn't touch their rear ends."

I know, I know, HS and other NBG bureaucracies like to brag how they are harassing RCs and "monitoring" them. So funny. I'm sure HS thinks they are doing a lot when they search through each RCs' personal belongings. They dream that they are going to find child porn all over the place! Do they really think that anyone who is going to go to the trouble of committing a s#x crime abroad is going to bring their child porn to HS? The whole concept is just stupefying to anyone with a brain. But that is the status quo for the SORs and the "s#x offender" witch hunt.

And in case you didn't know, the criminal U.S. government is trying to stop all international travel by RCs. They have stopped most of it. They are still working on it. And there aren't any Americans who support that. Not a single one.

There aren't any Americans who support the SORs either. It has been proven beyond debate that the SORs are not really for "public safety", "protecting children", or any of those other lies. Anyone who support the SORs is an immoral, un-American, harassing terrorist. Someone who cannot mind their own business or leave other people alone. Those people must be treated exactly as the terrorists that they are. By all good Americans. We need not have concern for them.

I didn't appreciate the "stereotypical s*x offender" descriptions, since people of all shapes and sizes land on the list. I hope this man has learned that the registry is a farce and needs to be abolished.

Remember this next time you want to vote for more government.

I've never understood the reasoning behind the "sex offender" registry. "OK, we've got this guy, he's a really bad guy, he's going to do awful things one day because he's accused of doing... something... in the past. But we don't want to put him in prison for life! No sirree, that would be a violation of his rights! So, what we'll do is, brand a scarlet 'A' on his forehead and then send him out into society! That way, he'll be certain to learn his lesson and not do bad things again!"

If someone is a threat to society, they belong in a cell. If they're deemed to have "paid their debt" and to not be a threat any longer, we should let them go completely.

The S#x Offender Registries (SORs) are pure through and through stupidity. Idiotic social policy.

Having said that, I completely understand why a person might think they would be a good thing. If you know that a neighbor, co-worker, or whomever has done something bad in the past, then you can be extra wary of the person. Seems reasonable.

But one huge problem with that is that we seem to only think that would be useful for s*x crimes. I'm sorry, but if we have that for s#x crimes, then there are zero legitimate excuses to not have it for every other crime. I should be able to pull up a dossier on any of my neighbors.

The other HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE problem with the SORs is that people living in the U.S. cannot use them responsibly. If the SORs were only used so that people would be "informed", then they likely wouldn't be such a bad thing. But obviously they are misused to the point that they are immoral and no American could support it.

And the SORs aren't needed at all either. A person who attempts to molest your child or whatever is not going to be Registered. If you do what you actually have to do to protect your children or yourself, you have zero need for any very, very, very incomplete list from big government of people who might have done something bad in the past.

All that said, the damage that is being caused by the SORs every day can't be overestimated. Families that are listed on the SORs do not have any obligations at all to be good citizens. And that is just the start of it. People who support the SORs like to dream that doesn't matter, but of course it does. They also don't care anything about the children who are affected.

Just more U.S. stupidity. Like the segregated water fountains of not so long ago and a hundred+ other examples prior to that.

To those of you who have been terribly angered by this story, it truly must be very difficult for someone to have committed a sex crime, be charged and convicted of such crime and then have to suffer the consequences of their actions.

I wouldn't say that I was angered by this story. In fact, I would so love to see this happen to millions of people.

What I have been angered by is that a person can commit a relatively minor crime and then be subject to ex-post facto harassment for decades. And for many people for the rest of their lives. The harassment changes and increases all the time. It varies all over America. And it is certainly not based on facts.

And of course we have to note that people think this kind of harassment is fine for people who have done such things as look at bad pictures in the privacy of their own homes and done nothing else. They think those people are "dangerous" and that career criminals who commit crimes EVERY SINGLE YEAR are not dangerous even if they broke into their neighbor's home a year ago and beat them nearly to death. Or perhaps they just drove by a school and tried to shoot up a bunch of people. Not dangerous, clearly.

The fact is that there are exactly zero informed Americans who support the S*x Offender Registries (SORs) because it is beyond clear that they are not REALLY for "public safety", "protecting children", or any of those other lies.

Experts have never supported any of it. Politicians do. Uninformed people do. People who are getting something from it do.

F all people who support the SORs. Any family that is listed on an SOR should neutralize it. That is trivial. Beyond that they should do everything and anything that is legal every single day to retaliate for the mere existence of the SORs. They should identify people who support the SORs and treat them as the terrorists that they are.

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