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A few thoughts, some already stated in the article.1) I'ts not illegal to trace the vehicle's tag as the article seems to imply. Tracing a tag on a suspicious vehicle is both prudent and legal. And once the connection was made to the sex offender listed person , it was also prudent and legal to check the guy out. Had the cops not done so, they would have been negligent.2) I haven't a clue why the FBI was involved. And three agents? It must have been a very slow day. Seems that something is missing from the story in that regard. Was there some other allegation about kidnapping across state lines? Other sex offenders in the area that the FBI was investigating? That part seems incomplete.3) The real danger here is the lady and the other civilians who spread the word via multiple e-mails. It appears to be a virtual reality lynch mob in the making. Also, the system needs to be more detailed and up to date -- innocent people can be hurt like this just because they move into the wrong house.Finally, can this lady be sued for spreading his information via email like this? Well, of course she can be sued, but does he have a case is the better question.
Is there anything nice to be said about suburbia?
Strikes me that the lady who started this is resposible for destroying this man's reputation, possibly breaking up his relationship with his girl friend and her family and probably causing him to have to move out of town and get a new job, all because she did not bother to find out what the situation was with the report she started. I think she should be also responsible for repairing the situation. As twm said, she started a virtual lynch mob on this poor guy who had done nothing except rest before he went to her neighbor's home on a date.How she is going to do this is a problem but she caused it, she should be responsible for fixing it.What she should have done is wait while the cops checked out the situation and then based on what they found take action. That she did not and sent emails all over the place with false information is to her discredit. This is the kind of stuff that was talked about in The Children's Hour, The Victim and other movies and plays where false information destroyed the reputation of people for no reason. Now that she has done this, just how is this guy ever to get his reputation back. Future employers will check back and this will come up and there goes the job. Parents of his future girl friends will check his bona fides and this will come up and there goes the relationship. He will try to rent a home or even buy a home and this will come up and there that goes. The ramification that this evil shrew started will dog him for a long time and she will probably pat herself on the back and say she did it for a good reason.
Wait! I thought you guys have been telling me that we need to be vigilant, and that if you are innocent you have nothing to worry about.Jeez, it's because I am innocent that I haven't worried about habeas corpus, restrictions on freedom of speech, or the government wiretapping my phones and putting my phone records into their databases.I mean yeah, this guys claims to be innocent, but where there is smoke there is fire, right?Welcome to 1984.
The link to the last page of the article didn't work. Was this guy ever convicted of anything? If not, I don't know that I see this as something that will "dog him for a long time", though the other aspects of the incident seem to have been taken a little overboard. Why it proceeded beyond establishing that he was not the child molester in question and that he had business in that neighborhood is a mystery that doesn't seem to be addressed (at least in the first two pages of the article).As a lifelong suburbanoid, I can attest that sleeping in a car in that environment is viewed as extremely odd behavior, though uncharacteristic (in my view anyway) of someone intent on committing a crime - I'd be more inclined to call EMS than the cops.Finally, would he have a case against the instigator here,if he was never charged or anything? Her speculation about what was happening went a over the line in my view, but she didn't (according to the part of the article I read) actually make any false statements did she?
Acting "odd"? Most dudes of his age would do the same exact thing. Hang out in my car or hang out with that crazy suburban biddy? Hmmm, tough choice. Did you notice who had the most extreme quote of the entire article? Yes, the girlfriend's mom."Suburbia" more like Hysteria, land of the vapid and paranoid.Personally, I would've driven around for the twenty minutes or so listening to NPR before heading up the steps to hang with mom until the girlfriend showed, but circling the neighborhood too would have drawn suspicion.I think Haskett should sue the stones out of the disseminator of the misinformation and as settlement, as Dick suggests, she should rectify her pack of lies with an errata e-mail.
1. The girlfriend's mom had it right: all he had to do was act like a normal adult and come to the door -like an adult-, rather than sleeping in his car, and this would have been averted.2. Creepy looking guy 'just hanging around' and sleeping in a loser car? Cops get called every time. 3. But the cops can't be everywhere Vigilance in your neighborhood protects you and your neighbors. Standards of behavior suggest (but do not ensure) one to be unthreatening. 4. The real threats of child molestation and rape demand vigilant neighbors. Don't like it? Want to stay anonymous and be left alone? Don't move to suburbia, where we are "vapid and paranoid". Just remember that the "being left alone" part also applies when you're in trouble. And if you visit suburbia, don't be an ugly urban American, please follow the local customs!5. It's a typical adolescent whiner excuse: "Why can't I get treated with respect when I try so hard to look threatening?"6. "...rectify her pack of lies with an errata e-mail." What lies did she disseminate? Loser? CheckAsleep in car? CheckNot in his own neighborhood? CheckLives at a same address as a rapist? Check
Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins, but your right to sleep in your car on a public street without harming or bothering anyone ends right here and now in Madison Wisconsin.
What lies did she disseminate? From the article: "He [Sanders] is most likely living with and borrowing this car from Haskett".That line from the email accused Haskett of being an accessory to a felony. He might have a libel case against her.
They're coming to get you.They're going to invade your neighborhood next.Black helicopters coming out of the sky.A pervading fear, that somehow, "they" will get past the iron gates.The Moonies. Hare Krishnas, Hells Angels, the Manson family....Easy Riders that "rev" their engines a bit too loudly. Peter Fonda. The fear.They're out there.....and they are coming to your neighborhood next.Peace, Maxine
Yes, yes. I like that. It was the victim's fault all along. And for his punishment for not acting as an adult (whatever that means?), clean shaving, and having a "loser" car (assuming there are "winner" cars out there), he should "leave the area" immediately. Good riddance.In addition to sex offender registry, I also propose an "odd person" registry, just in case. You don't know how many of them may be living among us.
This seems to me to be a case of mistaken identity on the part of the woman. It seems like a case of making some poor decisions on the part of the man in question. Everyone probably could have improved their behavior.But, really. Did the guy go to jail? Did he lose his job? (It seems like he didn't.) Is is reputation (such as it may have been) really ruined? The guy works at a store that sell whopee cushions! It sounds to me like he got a little scare and now he has a great story to tell and got his picture in the Washington Post.Finally, while it may or may not be illegal (depending on where you are), I would suggest that your chances of being targeted by nosy, bitchy neighbors and/or the police increases considerably when you choose to sleep in your car. Perhaps it is best avoided.
Seems like handling this the way we do in South Philly (yelling in the street) would have been a great deal more responsible that what this lady did, and would actually have succeeded in scaring off a real predator. Suburbia loses again.
This article is doing a public service - by portraying suburbans as clean-scrubbed and slightly paranoid people, it will strongly deter "The Moonies. Hare Krishnas, Hells Angels, the Manson family....Easy Riders that "rev" their engines a bit too loudly. Peter Fonda. The fear." from moving in. Bravo, WaPo. Please continue to portray the suburbs as hell to the urbanites.
"Maple Street, U.S.A. Late summer. A tree-lined little road of front porch gliders, barbecues, the laughter of children, and the bell of an ice-cream vendor. At the sound of the roar and the flash of light, it will be precisely 6:43 P.M. on Maple Street... This is Maple Street on a late Saturday afternoon, in the last calm and reflective moment - before the monsters came."After what is believed to be a meteor flies overhead, Maple Street experiences a total power failure. Pete Van Horn leaves to find what is going on. Tommy, a reader of sci-fi, says human-looking aliens have infiltrated Maple Street. No one takes this seriously until Mr. Goodman's car cranks for a few seconds. Suspicion falls on him, made stronger by a neighbor's memory of seeing him looking up at the stars at night. Everyone begins to panic as the evening approaches. When a mysterious figure walks towards them in the dark, Charlie Farnsworth takes a neighbor's rifle and fires. The mysterious figure turns out to be the returning Pete Van Horn. Charlie is then accused of being the alien, then Tommy, then total madness breaks out. As various house lights flash on and off, rioting breaks out. Two nearby aliens watch these events. One tells the other that by manipulating electricity, it is easy to turn neighbor against neighbor. Maple Street is only the beginning."The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices - to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own - for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to the Twilight Zone."
"That's Oliver Crangle, a dealer in petulance and poison. He's rather arbitrarily chosen four o'clock as his personal Gotterdammerung, and we are about to watch the metamorphosis of a twisted fanatic, poisoned by the gangrene of prejudice, to the status of an avenging angel, upright and omniscient, dedicated and fearsome. Whatever your clocks say, it's four o'clock, and wherever you are it happens to be the Twilight Zone."Oliver Crangle has a screw loose. He sits in his apartment all day and keeps files on everybody, noting all their transgessions and any idle gossip that comes to his mind. When not keeping his files updated, Crangle is on the phone, harassing people he doesn't even known and trying to have their lives ruined. But today, at 4pm, Oliver Crangle has decided to do something about all this evil. At four o'clock, he's goig to make everyone in his filing cabinet (which would be everybody in the world) suddenly six inches tall. Can he be talked out of his plan before it comes to pass?
I wonder what Kitty Genovese would have thought of this?
Special Agent Michelle Crnkovich, . . . And so did Sgt. Palmer GrotteThese names are fantastic. They belong in a novel! I don't even know how that first one is supposed to be pronounced. Is it a typo?
number 6,She did the right thing to call the cops. She did not do the right thing to pass this information our over the net to all her friends without checking up on what the cops found. As to the the other wondering what will happen since he apparently did not lose his job. I suggest you get called a sex offender by the people in the neighborhood, get proven not to be one and then go apply for a better job. Good luck getting it. Go try to get a better apartment. They will check your references and will find that you have been accused of being a sex offender and goodbye apartment. That is the point I was making. Whether he is guilty or innocent he is now guilty because of this woman and her emails. How do you get to all the people she might have emailed and who they might have emailed and tell them all that he is innocent. All you have to do is miss one and you have started it all over again. Now suppose you have a neighborhood picnic and his girlfriend invites him to the picnic. Any bets on whether he will be a topic of conversation in some of the circles. And how will the big mouth act around him. Think there might be some tense moments. She will not admit she did wrong so again it starts all over again.If you don't think it will stick to him ask Ray Donovan. If you remember the dems accused him of all sorts of things and when they were all proven false he asked where he had to go to get his reputation back. Nobody could give him an answer.
number 6,She did the right thing to call the cops. She did not do the right thing to pass this information out over the net to all her friends without checking up on what the cops found.That is my take as well.
Ah, I see, a believer in the police as Solvers of All Things Wrong.Count me out. In some neighborhoods, no cop will ever come. Mine, for instance. Our neighborhood watch group works rather well at keeping behavioral standards passably safe. A woman or child has a much higher risk of being a victim of a sex crime than a man has being falsely accused of same. Strange unshaven men sleeping in their cars, wearing black caps and piercings invite and even demand close scrutiny as a result.The "victim" here is a whining boy who desperately needs to grow up and act like an adult. Otherwise, he can expect more of this the rest of his life, always being "picked on".
I would never dream of calling the cops about a man sleeping in a car, even a "strange" and "unshaven" one. Whatever!
"If you don't think it will stick to him ask Ray Donovan"I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that this guy could have kept his name out of the paper if he wanted to."I suggest you get called a sex offender by the people in the neighborhood"He was never called a sex offender by anyone. They thought his car was being used by a real sex offender.
"Count me out. In some neighborhoods, no cop will ever come. Mine, for instance. Our neighborhood watch group works rather well at keeping behavioral standards passably safe."Do you at least have a mock trial before you fire up the faggots under the feet of the condemned?"Strange unshaven men sleeping in their cars, wearing black caps and piercings invite and even demand close scrutiny as a result."Real dangerous scumbags often don't look like this. People dressed as clowns, on the other hand, you may want to shoot on sight.
A neighborhood watch tapping on the window would have been fine too.What is not fine, is getting the private license information and then emailing that private information and deductions around, without taking that information to the cops first.That as even Illudium-Q36 acknowleges is the first step to a lynch action.Pogo, we have met the enemy and he is you.
Those of you who think this guy got shafted make some good points, but why is it really something that we need to judge the morality of? Just like HIS privacy, isn't THIS incident a matter best left for the principals to resolve privately or, if necessary, in court? The whole incident wouldn't have made it much beyond the Shady Valley Lane if it wasn't for the Washington Post. And isn't it a good bet this guy WENT to the Post? Any negative thing that happens to him as a result of this publicity is either his fault or the Post's fault.
I wasn't aware that napping in one's car was a "suspicious offense" - I do that sometimes on break at my work. Perhaps I'm a dangerous felon!And why should the victim should "grow up" after being the victim of a mother hen's defamatory e-mail campaign. That she "meant well" doesn't wash - accusing someone of being a sex offender is dangerous business in our society. I'm hardly a fan of the suburbs-as-existential-hell cliche of movies like American Beauty, but the neighborhood here does look and feel like a small-minded, provincial place. DU
"The paranoia is just mind-numbing, and none of it lies in the suburban end of the story."I agree. If he had been a bad guy and the FBI did nothing, their "negligence" and "indifference" would be all over the media.
"the neighborhood here does look and feel like a small-minded, provincial place."Perhaps. But then again, I've lived in more than one urban neighborhood where the "I don't want to get involved" mindset prevailed. I often heard gunshots at night, found broken car windows on a regular basis, watched the police tape off a murder scene, and personally witnessed a carjacking. I never heard of any of these crimes being solved.The plus side was that the neighborhood broad-minded and cosmopolitan!
"Police Dispatch, this is Officer Smilelynice. How can I help you?""Hello, is this the police?""Yes, ma'am. This is the police.""Hello, I'm calling to report a man!""Okay, ma'am, I'm listening.""There's a man in a car, and he appears to be, well, napping!""A napping man?! Ma'am, are you sure?""Yes! And that's not all! He, he...he hasn't shaved!" "Ma'am, are you sure he hasn't shaved?""Oh, yes! I saw whiskers! It was horrible!""Ma'am, I'm sorry you had to see that! Is there someone with you?""Yes! All of my neighbors are here. We locked the front door!" "Ma'am, I'm sending out an all-points bulletin right now! Is there anything else I should know?""Well, there is. It's hard for me to...you know, I'm a church-going woman, and... I just, I don't know...""Ma'am, I need you to be brave! Please tell me what else.""Well, his paints...they're, they're...THE MAN IS WEARING SHORTS!""Holy Mary Mother of God!" "What could he be?""Well, ma'am, this man could be a child molestor, or possibly a devil worshipper. He could even be from the west coast.""No!!!!!!""Yes! Ma'am, do you have any kind of weapon to protect yourself with in case the napping man wakes up?" (To Be Continued!) or not.
Re: "I wasn't aware that napping in one's car was a "suspicious offense"Glad to fill you in. In Oklahaoma, for example, if you are drunk and sleeping in a car with access to the keys, you can be charged with DUI. In Flagstaff AZ, someone sleeping in a car may be subject to trespassing and camping violations. In some cities, it is seen as illegal parking. In many locales, it is viewed as suspicious due to its frequent association with the drug trade and illegal immigration.Sleeping in a car in a rest stop along I-90 on the way to Mt. Rushmore might be acceptable. Doing so in someone else's neighborhood is bound to make the neighbors suspicious. Why are you there? What are you doing? If it's my neighborhood, I'll ask. And call the cops. Would a woman be unafraid enough to confront him? I wouldn't advise it.Re: "That ... is the first step to a lynch action."Oh quxxo, you get all libertarian on me without even recognizing that the boy-man in question is free-riding on a civil society while at the same time disrespecting and abusing its standards and conventions. That is, he contributes nothing to the safety and order of society, but expects to be free to violate the stability of a neighborhood where he is unknown, and be left alone. He expects safety AND to be left alone precisely because it is the kind of neighborhood that he knows is safe. He does not play by the rules, but expects everyone else to do so.He's a little whining boy. He's more likely to be lynched in the neighborhood where I used to live. If he fell asleep in his car there, he'd wake up beaten, without shoes, and without his wallet. P.S. Quxxo, how cool is it that you know a Pogo quote!
Whether or not it was illegal of the lady to trace Haskett's license plate, whether or not it was juvenile of him to sleep in his car - the point is that Miss Schuster bought into this ridiculous hysteria and perpetuated it.The point is that the sex offender registry is making the public LESS safe, rather than more safe, and this is just another example.Part of that problem is what information is posted, the amount (and level) of people posted and what the public actually does with that information.It is being shown very clearly that the public just cannot responsibly handle this information. This is merely the latest incident in a nationwide spate of vigilante activities.What most people don't know is that the vast majority of sex crimes are perpetrated by someone who is NOT a registered sex offender (someone who has never been convicted of anything and is therefore not on the SOR)! And the vast majority of sex offenses against kids are committed by a FAMILY MEMBER. Check it out for yourself.Now of course no one condones sex crimes or wants them to go unpunished. With that said this system really needs some reform.Next thing you know, Haskett will be listed on the SOR right next to the lady who took a photo of her *1 year-old* breastfeeding for her family album, the guy who applied Neosporin to his daughter's armpit (at the request of, and right in front of the girl's mother), and the grandpa in FL who is on it because his toddler grandson ran out of the bathrom, around the house, before Grandpa could get him dressed (while Grandpa was putting a diaper on the youngest grandbaby) and grandpa's dog touched the little boy's winkie! Grandpa didn't even know that happened, but hey, it was HIS dog, so that makes Grandpa a sex offender.People, the registry is not terrible, but it has become so overburdened and overbroad as to be totally worthless. It needs some re-thinking about just WHO should be on it.If any of you have teens, please take note - consensual activity can put your boy on the registry. And due to those who want to eliminate the statute of limitations completely, any girlfriend that your son has ever had (or you either, for that matter) can come back and say that making out with him made her feel "icky", (read: either later she didn't like her decision to make out, or he wanted to break up with her) so obviously he molested her. Guess what? There IS NO LEGAL DEFENSE - let me repeat that - there is **NO** legal defense for that type of charge. Your son will go to prison and be a SEX OFFENDER for the rest of his life.And gentlemen, don't scratch in public, because that's a sex crime now, too. If some girl sees you rearrange yourself, you have just molested her. If you go fishing DO NOT pee off the side of your boat, even at 4 am, because if anyone sees you, guess what? You are a sex offender. Are you getting it yet?It's time for some sanity before all who left high school without our virginity intact get swept up and listed. Because IF you left high school without your virginity intact, chances are, YOU (uniwttingly maybe, but the law doesn't care) committed a registrable sex offense in your state!
I often heard gunshots at night, found broken car windows on a regular basis, watched the police tape off a murder scene, and personally witnessed a carjacking. I never heard of any of these crimes being solved.The plus side was that the neighborhood broad-minded and cosmopolitan!I'll concede that living in a neighborhood with slightly nosy neighbors is perferable to living on a block where the people long ago stopped caring about whether the next door neighbors live or die. But those are extremes, and it doesn't quite excuse overly paranoid additude of Ms. Shuster led to this story. Surely there's an acceptable compromise between complete neglect and hypervigilance. That is, he contributes nothing to the safety and order of society, but expects to be free to violate the stability of a neighborhood where he is unknown, and be left alone.Tell me that was written in a sarcastic flurry. Sleeping in a car during the afternoon before seeing a guest isn't exactly public drinking or blasting Nine Inch Nails tracks at 3 a. m. Finally, I concur that this story accentuates the possible abuse of public sex crime registries. However, any information can be abused - its up to neighbors to use it responsibly. Ms. Shuster should have called the cops to confirm her suspisions, not gossiped with it over e-mail. DU
If a woman walks down suburbia dressed like a hooker (let's forget that's the common look today).........isn't that a potential sex crime in the making?Do the members of the community have a right to call the Police and complain about a woman in a low-cut dress and/or micro-mini.....parading around in broad daylight????Double standard.Than again the Police would get there much quicker to scope out the action for themselves.Peace, Maxine.
Sorry! Didn't mean to post twice...
I hope the price of gas goes up to $15 a gallon. then, Suburbanites will be sleeping in their cars in the city."Hello police, there is a odd looking man in my neighborhood. He is white, driving a nice car, and seems polite. He must be a drug user." They are not suburbanites. They are people who are scared into living in large boxes far away from the city. They think this keeps them safe. It just allows them to be narrow minded and selfish. These are the people who drive SUV's because they think that in an accident it will be the poor immigrant family in the toyota that will die, not them. Look at the statistics for the truth on that. What is these peoples legacy? A police state.This street is a public street, and his business is his own business until he is accused of a crime. You are innocent until proven guilty. I get this odd opinion from an increasing odd sounding document, The U.S. Constitution.I hope he sues suzy homemaker into the ground.
Where in the Constitution or in the body of American law do you find the right to sleep in your car without the police inquiring about what you are doing?
Are you people kidding? I assume that right is next to the one that says I can sit in on a park bench in a public park without being hassled. Or walk on a public sidewalk. Now I fully expect someone might tap on the windshield to see if I was ok, or have the cops stop by and have a friendly conversation with me, but not have 3 fbi agents interview me. When I was much younger, I had to drive my sister to her piano lesson she had with a 80 year old teacher in a very nice neighborhood. I had the choice of sitting in the house listening to bad piano practice, OR nap in my car parked on the street in front of the house. Maybe even listen to my radio! Now, of course, I see I was being immature and acting "odd" and consider myself lucky a swat team didnt pull me out thru the window and put me face down in the street. ration action: call the cops about the strange car parked on your street.irrational action: deciding the cops didnt know their job and emailing everyone about the sex maniac sleeping in his car.major irrational action: blaming the guy sleeping in his own car on public streets for everyones over-reaction.
But again, where is the Constitutional violation? What part of the Constitution? Free speech? Peaceable assembly? Unreasonable search? I only bring this up because someone else said this guy's Constitutional Rights were violated. I used to argue that federal welfare payments were unconstitutional, until a law professor made the same challenge to me. I lost. I was wrong. I conflated my views of the world with what the Constitution provides. I no longer consider federal welfare payments unconstitutional, just riduclously bad policy. Not even close to the same thing.
In between all the comments about the young man's rights versus the neighborhood's rights, I'm completely stunned that the neighbor who started this mess, Stefani Shuster, didn't simply ask her neighbors, the Burndettes, if they knew the sleeping guy.I will guarantee it took Ms. Shuster a lot longer to investigate the car, track the address, find the sex offender registry, and then write and send the email, than it would have to walk a couple of houses down and ask "Who's the dude in the car?"The fact the local school and PTSA were alerted, and fliers were passed out - all at some monetary and time expense - proves a lot more about people who'd rather live in fear than ask a question to a neighbor. That would have saved a lot of time, effort, and hard feelings. I wonder if Eric Haskett might take Ms. Shuster to court. That could make for an interesting follow-up story, and if Haskett was getting any other backlash over this tempest in a cul-de-sac.
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