You know what that is?

Hard to tell because of all the sex offender dots smothering the map but that’s my hometown, New York City. I was on the random section of a laissez faire imageboard website, saw a thread that read “ITT: the closest sex offender in your neighborhood,” inviting people to visit one of those sites, look their address up, come back to the imageboard and post a mugshot and rapsheet of the local offender, a poignant blend of rubbernecking, voyeurism, sociopathy and other personality disorders fueling the thread.

Me, I was just rubbernecking the rubberneckers –- don’t lump me in with those guys, I’m totally normal.

So one of them asks for a link to a site like this so he can join the fun, another one coughs one up and, why not I figured, I fired it up. I hit it I suppose because though I do live in a pretty nice area, Central Park West, I’m on the clip of CPW that lies in the neighborhood known as Manhattan Valley which, though undergoing, with my help, aggressive gentrification, is a long way from Fifth Avenue in the East 60s, the only surrounding dots representing schools. I guess the rent’s too damn high for the bad guys. Well I wanted to see some dots. Show me the dots baby. Click.

But I didn’t think it through. It’s New York City which is stuffed with people and when you smush a bunch of people together and give one in a thousand of them really big colorful hats and look down at them from the sky, well it looks unusually colorful for a Google Maps map that’s not in satellite or hybrid mode. I’ve got no kids, not yet, but I’ve got a wife so to discover that in a ten minute walk I could stroll by the residences of a handful of men who did time for being convicted by the criminal justice system of sexually-based offenses which are considered especially heinous (see what I did there?), meanwhile my wife’s outside somewhere were there are probably plenty of other dots, well shit my head is messed up right now and I need some chill pills and to vent right here (proceed no further if you’re looking for some sort of point to this). Wish the thread was another pony thread. Wish I’d never seen this. And why do I still go to that other site anyway.

Damn. I’m jaded now. Well, for now I’m perturbed, I guess jadedness sort of emerges when you’re old.

I’m aware there are many apps for my phone and yours that would not only let me do the same thing I did on my computer but maybe even do it augmented-realty style so I could aim my phone around and get a Terminator heads up display of the perverts nearby. But I’m done digging, clicking to try to figure out what these guys did or remember their faces (though when our lease is up I’ll probably pay this website another visit).

So among the things it got me thinking about was the old debate about whether or not this information should be available to the public given that these men did the time prescribed by my state, I think those who had been on the fence about that were thinking that occasionally you’d get some lady with a stapler and a bunch of fliers ostracizing a man perpetually but most people wouldn’t be tuned into this information. But now we’ve got this Internet where if you’re not watching where you’re going you’ll just walk into this information. And you can also do the same on your local app store for something mobile and GPS-enabled. How impossible should we make it for these men to assimilate into society? If you said “duh, completely impossible,” might as well just kill them in a specially designed easy to clean room adjacent to the courtroom, no? How about a compromise, giving them the option?

Maybe right now I’m a bit ambivalent but I guess it wouldn’t be too hard to pick a side if I had a kid to worry about.

You know what the kicker of this is to me? Take a look at that little block of land just a bit northwest of Laguardia Airport. That’s Rikers Island, the clink, the city of jails as mentioned a million times in interrogation scenes of Law and Order. As you can see it’s got some red dots on it stacked on top of each other so I’m thinking well yeah, no shit there are sex offenders living there, but more than eight, so why isn’t it smothered like H-Town an inch to the left? Maybe this website is really low on data and the situation is much worse than I’ve thought?

Ahh, maybe because those particular offenders are hacks, corrections officers of the jail with a rather short, convenient commute. If you watch television you may have been under the impression that if you’re sent to prison for a sex thing you’re especially screwed as even criminals have social standards of decency and draw the line someplace, that place being just in front of your toes. Also hated, I understand, are the prison guards, both groups being no strangers getting stabbed and killed (and even made fun of). So a prison guard slash pervert, that’s gotta be a hell of a scarlet letter to wear on Rikers Island 24/7. That’s too hard to believe though, probably some non-officer job, but still you’d think they’d want to get the hell away from there. Or while locked up they learned how to hack computers and to escape their darker days they’ve tuned up the database to cloak their true location, giving people peace of mind that they’re still in the bighouse.

Now I’m wondering what professions there are that are heavily concentrated with sex offenders. I suppose now that I think about it another twenty seconds, yes, I can picture ex cons, even sex ex cons, becoming prison guards. Doubt people are lining up, even in this economy, to be prison guards, they’re familiar with the system, some survived and have thick skin and need to eat, okay. I watched this National Geographic thing on what they deal with routinely just by handing out food trays, let’s just say that network can be very graphic indeed. Why am I wondering this, I have no need to wonder this, and one of the purposes floating in my head of writing this thing was to dissuade you from making the same mistake I think I made, loading up your neighborhood on one of these sites, withholding links for your own protection from your wandering cursor.

Ahh right, chill pill time, I’m shutting this down finally. Yeah, a chill pill. Maybe one of these red dot guys could lend me a roofie to help me forget this.

Bad joke. Sorry.

Doug Simmons

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