Sunday, April 8, 2012

Life in No-Mans-Land

        Life in the trenches of World War I was ghastly.  Rain turned them into miles-long troughs of mud in which whole armies huddled.  The threat of bombardments and snipers filled every waking moment.  Short rations and long watches wore down the mind and body. paving the way for disease.  But as bad as it was, life in no-mans-land was far worse.  Out there the solider ceased to be a man and became only a target.  Exposed, with only the occasional shell-hole for refuge, any move could be their last.  Invisible walls, consisting of fields of fire and land mines, marked the difference between life and death.  Fear was just another name for life.
My son and I have discovered that life in the no-mans-land of the registered sex offender is much the same.  There, you are no longer a man, you are the enemy.  There, only certain places are safe.  Make your home within the invisible wall of two thousand feet from a school, park, or day care, and someone comes and throws you into prison—no trial, no appeal.  Stand around within the other wall of five hundred feet, or cross the one that marks three hundred feet, and the end is the same.
In this battle ground as well, the rations are short and the watches long because no one wants to hire a RSO.  It also has its snipers and land mines: malicious people who consider the ROC subhuman and go out of their way to cause them grief or trick them into some violation.  Fear becomes another name for life.
I have felt this fear for my son.  I have felt the callous disregard and enmity directed toward him.  A man who never harmed another soul is pined down in a thirty-year bombardment by the laws of the United States and the state of Oklahoma.   

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