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With Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida, I got to thinking about the registrants in tent cities, living under bridges, under causeways, behind abandoned buildings. What’s going to become of them? Can they go to shelters? What’s the 1,000, 1,500 or 2,000 ft residency rule in a major disaster? Shelters are often set up in public schools. What’s the ruling there? Can a registrant go to a shelter in a storm?
And then I read an article out of WAFB/Louisiana about this very thing.
And it made my blood boil !
For the hurricane season in Louisiana, there is a plan to set up an evacuation shelter (a temporary tent city) for sex offenders in the northern part of East Baton Rouge Parrish. Apparently a new state law which went into effect in August has given sex offenders something akin to “leper status” forcing them to be “housed away” from everyone else during mandatory evacuations.
And when I say “housed away” I mean “housed away”. Registrants are being kept so far away from everyone else, that the shelter being set up for sex offenders is in an isolated 1,800 acre area that is owned by the Louisiana State Police. The area which was chosen by the state’s Dept. of Social Services, was supposedly picked with an “awareness and sensitivity to people’s feelings, an area as remote as possible” according to DSS Spokeswoman Cleo joffrion Allen.
Now, I ask you, does this sound like DSS was the least bit concerned about the registrants sensitivity or feelings? This sounds like “banishment” to me.
I mean really, nowadays don’t we try to keep families “together” during disasters, we even try to accommodate pets so they can stay with their families. Is Louisiana saying registrants don’t even deserve the same consideration as our pets?
The DSS spokesperson goes on to say that “the Louisiana State Police are planning a security system to keep people out, but it will not keep the registered sex offenders in. They are free citizens who, if they come there for shelter, may come and go as they please.” “We have to remember that these individuals are free citizens who walk amongst us, even today.”
It sounds like she’s talking about a “zombie apocalypse”. “Registrants, they walk amongst us…..”
The tent city will offer segregated adult male/female temporary air conditioned structures with portable toilets and showers, with accomodations for up to 300 registrants. It will be ready for occupancy on Sept. 15.
OK, what’s happening to the registrants that are dealing with the remains of Hurricane Harvey, right now? Where are they supposed to go? If they’ve lost their home whether it be brick and mortar or a tent, they need shelter NOW, they can’t wait until Sept. 15. Are they forbidden from going to any other shelters? Do we leave them out in the storm?
The isolated shelter will be put up at the beginning of hurricane season and taken down at the end of each hurrican season.
Like they said folks, it’s only temporary.
State and federal TV announcements for the general population in a national disaster go something like this “We’ll be here as long as you need us.”
But for registrants, it’s “We’re here for you, but only temporarily and not really here, but way, way, way over there, away from everyone else.”
And of course, as always, there are objections by residents living within miles of the temporary shelter. It’s the same,”not in my backyard” (even though it’s miles away) that we’ve heard before. It’s the “what about the safety of the children, the safety of the community” that we’ve heard before (even though there’s no safety statistics to back up their irrational fears).
But now there’s a new objection added “we’ve got enough displaced people here”, meaning “we don’t need that kind here”.
I wonder how many of those objectors would have a problem with being rescued in a flood if the only person with a boat was a registrant?
Think about that folks!