Recently, the Bradford County, Florida Sherrif's Department started installing signs like this in front of the homes of registrants:
Of course, that picture is little better than Lynndie England posing with naked prisoners in Iraq.
The stated purpose of these signs is to inform the public of where registrants live, a function already served by the online registry. The registry, of course, is nothing more than a "shopping list" for vigilantes looking for targets - the murder of Gary Blanton (news article link) comes to mind. In that case, a whole fan club grew up in support of the murderer, even going so far as to call him a "hero". It was sickening and frightening.
Now, others are looking at implementing a similar signage program, and even want it to be nationally required.
While this can seem like a good idea on its face, it can have all sorts of unintended consequences. Just try selling a house that's down the street or next door to a house bearing such a sign. And then there's this:
That's an actual comment on the post by Kids Live Safe (link to Facebook post) - such signs are little more than targets painted on the houses of registrants. How quickly we forget our history.
It's no secret that there's vigilante groups out there that want to kill anyone listed on the sex offender registry. Just look at this post from the "non-violent" No Peace For Predators.
"If it were legal." "Not for lack of want." "Open Predator Season." Comparing living, breathing people to animals, and suggesting that a hunting license should be issued. If the only thing stopping you is the fear of the legal repercussions, what happens when you decide that sacrificing your life and freedom to take out a few of the "monsters" is an equitable trade?
These examples alone should be enough for anyone to see that while the registry might be a useful tool (debatable), having it in the hands of the general public is akin to giving a child a loaded gun and telling them to go play - it's dangerous and irresponsible.