Measured Against Reality

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Who Polices the Police?

Read this, this, and this, and tell me that it doesn’t make you just a little bit afraid. That could happen to anyone with an internet connection. Especially if you use Internet Explorer.

But this shouldn’t be able to happen. Ten years per image? Granted, child pornography is something we should seek to eradicate, but doesn’t it make more sense to go to the supply? Prosecuting users, especially ones who clearly didn’t even view the stuff and who you can’t prove viewed it, is just ineffectual and absurd. The reason we care about child porn is that the children are being exploited, and throwing buyers into jail for 90 years doesn’t change that at all. We’ll arrest foreigners who facilitate internet gambling, why don’t we just arrest foreigners who provide child pornography? I think everyone could get behind that cause.

I also like how the Reason article pointed out that the sentencing for child pornography is actually stiffer than the sentencing for rape. Brilliant lawmaking there. I know I consider looking at pictures to be several times worse than raping someone. Kudos to Arizona. Oh, and a SWAT team to check out a child pornography lead? Seriously overdoing, don’t you think? It’s overuse of the militarized police force in incidents like this that kill hundreds of innocent people.

After the Mark Foley scandal, I remember reading an article about how pedophilia is considered by psychologists to be its own sexual classification, distinct from heterosexuality or homosexuality (which is why they don’t say “homosexual pedophile”, but “discriminating pedophile”). That got me thinking back then (and this reminds me of it) how we have completely stopped trying to rehabilitate people. If pedophilia is psychological problem (which is usually is), shouldn’t we “rehabilitate” child pornography users by trying to rid them of their problem, rather than just throwing them behind bars? I could continue on to a general indictment of the penal system, but that would be just too much.

None of that is dealing with the problem that in all of these cases the accused is not innocent until proven guilty. And these cases can destroy families. There was an article a while ago about a family who went camping and inadvertently shot some pictures of their toddler naked (in the context of camping), who had to deal with an investigation into it. It nearly destroyed them.

Protecting children is a noble goal, their very nature makes them the most needing of protection. But at some point you have to ask yourself if we’ve gone too far. When an innocent kid could be thrown in jail for 90 years or labeled as a sex offender for the rest of his life, we absolutely have. This is insanity, and it must stop.

But just like every other insanity perpetrated by the government on its people, it won’t. I’m left shaking my head at these foolish, overreaching, overemphatically enforced policies, and praying that I won’t be the next innocent victim of the police state.

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  • Pedophilia seems closer to a fetish than to a sexual orientation. And the orientation is toward children which is why many pedophiles (clinically speaking) don't discriminate as to the gender of the child. Foley was no pedophile as none of the individuals he pursued were children. Pedophilia is an attraction to prepubescent children and is a clinical term not a legal one so age of consent has nothing to do with it.

    It does make sense to go after producers particularly. Judge Posner, in Sex & Reason, notes that arresting people for possession will probably increase the number of children victimized. He argues the reason is that true pedophiles will prefer the gratification of a low cost photo to the high cost (legally speaking) of a child. Now as the laws make the low cost photo more legally costly then the pedophile is more likely to choose a child to a photo. Thus the law does the opposite of what it is intended to do. And it gets worse as the offense for offending becomes steeper and more similar to the penalty for murder. They are in fact increasing the risks to children.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:35 AM, January 27, 2007  

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