A few months ago I wrote a piece about Rep.Swan in Missouri who didn’t want registrants anywhere near museums, children’s sections of libraries or play areas in malls.
Now there’s a Rep. Gregory Duckworth in South Carolina, who wants to bar registrants from becoming locksmiths.
Swans, Duckworths, there’s a theme going on here and it’s not just fowl names….it’s representatives who hold state positions, who were elected by the people of those states to represent “all” of the people of the state, but who seem very biased and uneducated when it comes to their constituents who happen to be registrants.
Rep. Gregory Duckworth submitted a bbll that passed unanimously in the South Carolina State House of Representatives and is now making it’s way through the state Senate. The bill would require locksmiths to pass a national and state background check to obtain a locksmith license and it would specifically bar registrants from obtaining a license.
Rep. Duckworth’s Bill (Duckworth, bill…the theme continues) was drafted after a North Myrtle Beach sexual molestation case involving, of all people, a locksmith.
Peter Spirakis, a North Myrtle Beach locksmith was arrested sometime last year for child molestation. Whether the molestation took place while Mr. Spirakis was actually working as a locksmith is unclear. What we do know is that Mr. Spirakis was a registrant with a history of two past episodes of some type of sexual crimes against teens. He is currently in jail awaiting a bond hearing. There were two other men and a woman involved in the crime, two are in jail and one is out on home detention.
I need to mention here that the child molestation case took place less than a mile from Rep. Duckworth’s home, so perhaps his over zealousness to get this bill passed is due to his own personal feelings of insecurity about registrants rather than any facts. So let me take this opportunity to assure Mr. Duckworth that there are many law-abiding, tax paying, voting registrants who have no interest in committing the imaginary crimes that you’ve conjured up in your head.
According to Rep. Duckworth, “it’s too easy for anyone to enter your home. Anyone could walk right out of jail and open a locksmith business. It’s insane. You entrust these people to do the right thing, but more importantly you’re also entrusting them with your homes, your family, your children.” The good representative goes on to say that “if a registrant can’t get a license, they can’t unlock your doors. You wouldn’t want a sex offender to come change the locks on your house and then possibly keep a key to your home.”
Mr. Duckworth, I wouldn’t want anyone to come change the locks on my house and keep a key to my home.
Not all locksmiths are honest, whether they’ve ever been in jail or not. Same goes for any other service person you may need to let into your home. Just because someone’s never been in jail or prison, doesn’t make them honest and it doesn’t make you safe. And because a registrant has been to jail or prison, doesn’t make them forever untrustworthy or a threat to your safety..
Registrants leaving incarceration are leaving because they’ve served their time. These people need and want to find jobs to support themselves and their families. They deserve every chance to integrate back into society without representatives coming up with bill upon bill based on fear-mongering to bar them from doing that.
Here we have a representative voted in by the people, who seems to have no idea of the multitude of ridiculous offenses that comprise the registry. Representative Duckworth must assume that everyone on the registry is a violent child molester looking to commit offenses and he seems content to allow others to think that as well .
Supposedly Representative Duckworth received numerous calls from people asking what was going to be done about preventing registrants from becoming locksmiths. Many of the calls according to the representative came from locksmiths themselves and the South Carolina Association of Locksmiths. Patrick Allen, a locksmith of nearly 20 years agrees with Representative Duckworth, “when you have some bad cases it gives us all a bad name.”
But that could be said of anyone in any profession, couldn’t it? One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch and they don’t need to be a registrant.
This bill would give locksmiths a license if they pass background checks. Big deal. So what? Representative Duckworth would like his constituents to believe that because someone has a clean background check and a certificate suitable for framing, if you let them in your home you’re safe.
We know that’s not true.
Life is so much more complex than that.
Good people with squeaky clean background checks, numerous credentials and multiple state licenses do bad things all the time. It happens. That’s life.
If state representatives that are elected can’t be bothered to educate themselves about both sides of an issue, if they can’t set their personal feelings, biases and fears aside and be objective, if they refuse to state all the facts and only provide those that promote their personal agenda, then maybe it’s time to vote these lame-ducks out of office once and for all.