By Jeanne Sager
If you’ve heard about Aliahna Lemmon, the 9-year-old girl tragically murdered late last week by a man who was supposed to be babysitting her while her mom fought the flu, you’ve probably heard the child was living in a trailer park that was crawling with sex offenders. The question is why. Why have you heard about all those pedophiles? – Sensationalism, that’s why.
Is it because they have anything to do with the horrible death of an innocent child? Well, no. Michael Plumadore, the man charged by police for bludgeoning the girl to death, has never been convicted of a sexual crime. And depraved as the crime against Aliahna was, it wasn’t sexual in nature. Which leaves only one conclusion.
The news media smelled a way to make an already awful story seem that much more disturbing. Because there’s nothing quite like the presence of a sex offender to get people’s blood boiling. Heck, who doesn’t hear the word “pedophile” and want to go string those creeps up by their toenails? – Yes, anytime you want to draw attention to a story, insert “sex offender” into it.
Sadly, going after the sex offenders wouldn’t do any good. Unfortunately, for Aliahna Lemmon, the sex offender registry really couldn’t do a thing to help her. – And the registry never will prevent a crime or protect anybody from somebody intent on committing a crime.
The fact is, Aliahna and her mom, Tarah Souders, had moved into the trailer park to help care for an ailing relative. And it was indeed teeming with creeps: 15 of them in fact, all registered sex offenders. That included James Lemmon, the man who Souders was caring for up until his death in early December from emphysema. – Hey, Mrs Sager, not all sex offenders are creeps.
It’s creepy and odd, and depressing. Just think: a 9-year-old girl spent her last days on earth in an area where she couldn’t just ride her bike like a normal kid. Every day she had to spend on high alert because the safety of her neighborhood had been compromised by deviants. But as Tarah Souders sadly found out way too late, those people weren’t the ones she should have been most afraid of. In fact, the guy in her neighborhood who wasn’t on the sex offender list actually turned out to be the last person she should have let her little girl with.
And yet, the media’s reporting on this case is irresponsible at best. Because while they continue to throw the sex offenders in Aliahna’s neighborhood into every story, those of us who keep a watchful eye on the watchlist in our neighborhoods are lulled into a false sense of security. As long as we keep an eye on those creeps, our kids are safe, right?
If Aliahna’s tragic death taught us anything, no, not at all. It’s the old adage come to life: better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. At least we know when a registered sex offender comes to town. It’s the sick people who aren’t being tracked who we really have to worry about.