Editorial, Why was this man let into Panama?

short eyes
Robert Ryan Friedler a/k/a Ryan Smith, now a temporary resident of the David Jail.

How was he let in? Why was he let in? 

Robert Ryan Friedler, a convicted felon from Fort Myers, Florida, relocated to the Boquete area. He had done years in prison for the aggravated battery of a woman with whom he had been living, wherein he left her with multiple broken bones in her face, broken ribs and a collapsed lung. Let out after two years, he immediately violated the “stay away” order and was promptly sent back to prison. He got out and came here.

Now Mr. Friedler, who used the alias Ryan Smith while here, is accused of sexually abusing at least eight boys, aged between seven and 12 years.

The US-inspired religious hate groups are in the comment sections below newspaper articles screaming for homosexual blood, blaming such folks as Taylor Swift for Mr. Friedler’s alleged crimes because the singer believes that gay people have rights. They attack the straw man “Gender Ideology” that their US mentors coined, and they use that to oppose sex education in the Panamanian schools so that the predatory men among them can go after little girls.

The vile xenophobes and racists are working in the same places, arguing that the problem is gringos, that all of the thousands of US citizens and Panamanian or dual citizens of that ethnicity are like that. Will candidates soon join into that chorus in search of  votes?

It’s a dangerous social situation for more than one community, due to the acts of one man. But he’s not the first. The sex offenders draw the most notice. We get the occasional North American murderer on the lam. Right-wing extremists often come in hiding behind religion. By number the biggest problem is the fraud artists, whose intended targets are generally foreign residents of the isthmus.

In the latter case, the predation is undertaken with the expectation that Panamanian police and prosecutors find it a laughing matter if a foreigner is defrauded.

In the former case, often the chosen victims are indigenous and they are always poor, such that their protection is likely to be a low priority for authorities in high places. The problem for such pedophiles, however, is that many police officers come from humble origins and ignored ethnic groups. Mostly these officers have neither forgotten nor come to hate their roots. Pick on a marginalized kid and you may run into a cop ready to stand up for one of his or her own.

But wait a second. How did this man get into Panama in the first place?

Didn’t they check his passport, his name and a fingerprint against the FBI’s LEIN criminal justice database? Shouldn’t they have found out that this was a dangerous violent criminal and denied him entry into the country?

It might be interesting to see the circular finger pointing around the Panamanian government and perhaps involving the American Embassy.

In any case, three things to remember:

  • Innocent until proven guilty. Let the man have his fair day in court.
  • A man may have committed a crime, not a community. Not gay people, not gringos. One person. Or perhaps with one or more accomplices, but not a whole community.
  • Assignment of  blame other than to the perpetrator is only useful for knowing where the holes that need to be patched are. The important thing is that every foreigner who comes into Panama for any purpose under any sort of visa should have to pass a screen against the applicable criminal database from whence she or he came. It is in the interests of these other countries to fully cooperate in this matter. 


Irish martyr

Bear in mind…

The choice between law and justice is an easy one for courageous minds.
Rebecca West

The transformation of forests into deserts, fertile earth into sunbaked concrete, and running rivers into silted floodwaters show that only through care for the environment can the livelihoods of those most dependent on it be sustained. We cannot allow economic and environmental concerns to be played off against each other.
Petra Kelly

If Hitler invaded Hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.
Winston Churchill

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