... every day’
Editor of the Reformer:
I was in my doctor’s office recently and an elderly gentleman and his wife came in. She helped him take off his coat, helped him get seated and helped him when he had a coughing spell. He saw the doctor and she helped him put his coat on and left. He was in his 70s, possibly older.
Another gentlemen came into the doctor’s office with his wife. She helped him with his coat and also got him seated to wait for the doctor. I knew them and we traded condensation.
As I waited my turn I thought about the fact that my wife had accompanied me here and had then gone grocery shopping.
Here were three men with wives who were accompanying and helping them get through their old age. Getting old is not for wimps. You’ve got to be tough to make it and if you are blessed with a great wife, your life will be much happier.
If you take your wife for granted, think again. Besides making the early years of your life happier, she is also going to make the years after 70 a lot more enjoyable. In your 70s and 80s you may walk with a cane, have medical problems that you have to learn to live with. It can be pretty lonesome if you don’t have a wife to help you over those bumps in the road.
My advice -- appreciate her today and every day of your life. She will stick with you when you are old and grumpy. You do not deserve such a great companion, but thank God, she’s there.
Townshend, May 8
Regarding sex offenders, concerns
Editor of the Reformer:
I am writing in regards to a recent editorial ("Remaining Vigilant," April 26), it’s good advice to remind your readers that they need to protect their children from adults (and older teens) who have harmful intentions. Clearly, there are many individuals out there who spend a good deal of time and energy locating and then grooming children, all for ill intent.
The dilemma is exactly how we can protect our kids from this threat. Staying up to date on sex offenders who are released from prison and are then required to register their address and current photo is one way to arm parents and children with knowledge. The sex offender registry reports released offenders as Compliant or Non-Compliant. Further details describe the sex offender as either "not high risk" or "presumed high risk." Readers can easily see for themselves that the majority of those listed are assessed as being "not high risk." Statistically, the great majority of convicted and sanctioned sex offenders do not commit their crime again. Both Vermont statistical research and national stats overwhelmingly demonstrate this truth.
But my point is this: even if all of the offenders pictured on the registry pose a real threat, the assumption that this is the biggest threat to our children is totally false. The ongoing risk is those predators who have not been discovered. They may be in time, but that is after the damage is done.
When deemed necessary, local law enforcement and correction officers have the statutory right and obligation to perform door to door notification in the neighborhood where a high risk sex offender will be living.
The Reformer’s claim that "many people with these deviant predilections never reform" is at best misleading. The issue is whether a sex offender will create a new victim. Vermont has designed and carries out a nationally recognized treatment protocol known as the Vermont Treatment Program for Sexual Abusers. Offenders having completed the prison treatment and then enroll in the post-prison program come to learn how their thinking was seriously flawed and dangerous. The treatment helps participants recognize their triggers for possible re-offense and actions to take if they step out on this slippery slope.
So, what to do? First and foremost it is imperative that the community understands that the sexual offending is not limited to those individuals on the registry. To do so, lulls us into a false sense of security: "These are all the bad guys out there -- so we will be vigilant about them, and only them." The real and ongoing risks are omnipresent, unfortunately. From the relatives we trust with the care of our children, to friendly neighbors, people in authority roles with our kids, and more recently all of the predators trolling the internet. For more specific information, please check with the Brattleboro Police Department, specifically our three detectives who investigate reports and determine if crimes have been committed. The Windham County Safe Place Child Advocacy Center also provides education around these issues.
Brattleboro Community Justice Center,
Child Advocacy Center
Board of Directors, May 3