I never understood why all the paranoia with pedo...
I mean, I can see why it is a bad thing, but I saw even some really silly stuff, like a muslim friend that I know, being resolute that anyone having sex with a minor is evil and must be punished immediately.
Then I pointed that their prophet had a 9 year old wife (that by the way this girl also wrote good part of their holy book) and then she said that this does not count...
You know, my grandmother married when she was 14, and she is still married with the same guy, they make a great couple (last time I saw them, it looked like a typical teen couple, with my grandma JUMPING into my grandpa and hugging him like if it was a japanese anime or something, it kinda startled me to see old people do that, but then, why not?), and I have a hard time believing that a 14 year old girl is so dumb to the point of needing heavy-handed state protection in deciding her relationships.
Likewise I can say that I am a perverted evil man too... I started seeing porn when I was 14, and I found out girls of roughly the same age attractive, not some random aunt... Probably the hard-drives with that porn is still somewhere on my electronic quasi-junk stash... What happen if someone fiddle with my junk and find them? According to our current law I will go arrested for posession of child porn, even if I got it when I was a child myself...
At least, Brazil only buckled to US pressure regarding the porn laws (That I think are absurd and silly, you should prosecute those caught in the tape abusing the kids, and maybe use the fact they filmed it as a aggravating factor, prosecuting random people for having any kind of porn or media is really stupid), the child sex laws make more sense... (here people above 14 can have sex, not 18 or 21... and if you think the law is wrong about that, then tell me how you will punish half of the 14 year old people in your area)
> Then I pointed that their prophet had a 9 year old wife (that by the way this girl also wrote good part of their holy book) and then she said that this does not count...
Tell a Christian that Jesus' mother, Mary, was probably 13 years old when she became pregnant, and they freak out as well.
* "In biblical times, people were married in early youth…" 
* "Until late in the Middle Ages, marriage consisted of two ceremonies which were marked by celebrations at two separate times, with an interval between. First came the betrothal [erusin]; and later, the wedding [nissuin]. At the betrothal the woman was legally married, although she still remained in her father's house." 
* "During the first century, however, it appears to have been the general rule that young people who were "of age" could arrange their own marriages. A girl was considered of age at twelve years and one day." 
* "The betrothal period was fixed by law. For a maiden, it was from ten months to a year; for a widow, three months." 
Growing up in a Christian household (in Canada) it was common knowledge that Mary must have been really young. Not just my family, but family friends, talking about how people long ago had a shorter childhood. It was even mentioned in church. I've never run into a single person that was upset about it.
Since the term 'Christians' captures a sample of about 2.35 billion people, differences are to be expected. I admit I should have added a qualifier somewhere.
Anyway, there's also a difference, in my opinion, between the more fuzzy term "very young" and the more concrete term "13 years old".
For instance, consider the depictions of Mary throughout the centuries. In most, Mary is depicted to look like a young woman, but not as a 13 year old kid. I guess, a comparison of the different Bible translations could also produce some evidence. In general, more literal minded Christians seem to prefer ignorance about many details discovered by scholars in the last 100 years or so.
Another indicator is the look of actresses playing Mary in movies and documentaries . More "realistically looking" actresses appear only rather recently, for instance in BBC1's 'Nativity' . Still, even the young actresses act mature; for instance, in this short clip from the U.S. TV series "The Bible" . Whether maturity can be expected in such a culture is open to debate, of course, but I have my doubts.
> For instance, consider the depictions of Mary throughout the centuries. In most, Mary is depicted to look like a young woman, but not as a 13 year old kid.
In quite a large number, Mary looks like a woman of young-but-marriageable age of either the same culture/ethnicity of the place where the depiction was made or one idealized there.
> Still, even the young actresses act mature
Which, given the depiction of Mary in the Bible, is unsurprising; even if social context didn't play a role (along with brain development) in maturation, it would be inconsistent with the source material to depict Mary as typical of her age.
Online, when someone writes "Christian", it's hard to tell whether they're referring to fundamentalists, or not.
I'm from Toronto (Canada), and it would be a bit weird for someone in my social group to just offer "I'm a Christian" except in response to "What's your religion?". It seems that in a lot of the US "I'm a Christian" is short-hand for "I'm a Christian Fundamentalist."
I don't think that holds. I would see "Christian" as implying they're evangelical, where fundamentalists have a specific code they're living by and proselytizing, so they tend to use their specific denomination. There are lots of different kinds of Christian fundamentalists, but the specific fundamentals of their church differ between groups (7th Day Adventists, etc.).
I agree with gp, over here the evangelical churches are almost always more extreme in their doctrine so myself and my friends perceive them as fundamentalists. You often find other Christians present themselves by their sect to distance themselves from the evangelicals.
I understand, but my sense is that fundamentalists are separatists where evangelicals are communitarian and trying to build the flock, so to speak. Fundamentalists are "you're with us or you're with the enemy." Maybe I have only experienced relatively friendly evangelicals, though. :)
Well, my specific denomination named themselves evangelical presbyterian, but we're fundamentalists. While you can glean that we have a Presbyterian form of government and purport to be evangelical in nature, to be honest, you cannot read too much into a name - a group of Christians are best understood by their fruits.
I've always struggled to reconcile how someone could suggest they're Christian but only choose to believe certain parts of the bible and dismiss the rest as just stories (note, I'm not referring to how specific parts of the bible are illustrative in nature). For me, the whole thing crumbles away if you dismiss parts of it.
I've heard people suggest that it's more important to take away the good things and good examples than to actually believe in the stories as facts.
Anyway, that's just a slice of my opinion.
I'm interested in your statement that evangelicals are communitarian and fundamentalists are separatists, I see this practically in some church communities - but I see the opposite in others. I would consider my church more on the separatist side than communitarian.
> "I've always struggled to reconcile how someone could suggest they're Christian but only choose to believe certain parts of the bible [as literal facts]"
"For who that has understanding will suppose that the first, and second, and third day, and the evening and the morning, existed without a sun, and moon, and stars? And that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? And who is so foolish as to suppose that God, after the manner of a husbandman, planted a paradise in Eden, towards the east, and placed in it a tree of life, visible and palpable, so that one tasting of the fruit by the bodily teeth obtained life? And again, that one was a partaker of good and evil by masticating what was taken from the tree? And if God is said to walk in the paradise in the evening, and Adam to hide himself under a tree, I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance, and not literally."
That was written by Origen of Alexandria, one of the most prolific Christian writers ever, in the early 200s. Yes, that's the right number of zeros. Those very modern sounding remarks are 18 centuries old.
The rise of Liberal Christianity in the 1800s (which decided that everything in the Bible, including Jesus, was figurative) led to the rise of Fundamentalism in the 1900s (which decided that nothing was figurative). Prior to that, most Christians understood that parts of the Bible describe real truth, but within the mold of figurative stories. They would consider it "dismissive" to treat the stories as literal and therefore to miss the real truths being communicated figuratively.
It can be quite enlightening to read ancient mythology and discover the ways some Biblical stories use the same elements but turn them on their heads. For example, the Genesis creation account uses almost all of the same elements as the Egyptian creation account -- but the things that are "gods" for Egypt, like the sun and the moon, are treated as mere objects not even worthy of being called by name in the Genesis account (read it carefully; they're just "lights".) The point isn't to communicate that the sun and moon were created approximately 6000 years ago, but that they are objects with no personality or power or claim to godhood, which God created specifically in order to shine on the earth.
I hope this illustrates how someone can be a thoughtful and serious Christian, and yet not treat every part of the Bible as literal fact.
I recommend reading ancient Christian texts. Start with http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html . You'll find a large number of references to parts of scripture as figurative. You might especially enjoy Augustine's "On The Literal Interpretation of Genesis".
Counterchallenge: find me ANY citation older than ~1870 AD that states that all of scripture should be read literally.
I must admit, my studies have not been completely exhaustive. But I'm quite confident in claiming that "some of scripture is figurative" is by far the majority view in Christian history.
I think I may be confusing things by conflating disparate ideas. And this is the basis of my interpretation of your statement - which I still see as slightly ambiguous.
Biblical hermeneutics is a separate concern from biblical inerrancy. They're similar because they're both concerned with the ultimate interpretation of scripture, but separate in their scope and effect.
What I was referring to in my original statement was the interpretation of decidedly hermeneutically-literal passages as figurative due to their apparent improbability. These include miracles that Jesus performed, historical events, and even extends down to the account of creation.
I do not disagree that some parts of scripture are designed and meant to be read figuratively - much of Revelations comes to mind as a basic example.
At least in Georgia, "Christian" usually implies you're non-denominational as opposed to Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, etc. It would be interesting to see a regional map of religious terms similar to the linguistic maps that are on the front page right now.
This is very true and is something I notice online a lot. People often bring up that Christian's don't believe in evolution and they believe the earth is only 5000 years old when that's not true of all of them. Catholic's for example follow scientific teaching on evolution.
I think the reason all Christian's have been lumped together is US Politics. Candidates want to show they believe in God but don't want to side with any particular faith and therefore use the Christian moniker..
Moreover, the only candidates who do take a stand as being of a specific faith are doing it to appeal to voters who largely fit the Young Earth Creationist/The Bible Is Literally True In Every Word mold, so that's the faith they profess.
Then, when they win, say, a House seat on the strength of a single district (a small part of a single state), they automatically have a national platform they can parlay into a global platform if they say something batshit crazy enough, thanks to the global 24-hour news cycle and the endless linking and repetition in the blogosphere.
It's a classic case of a very loud minority making the uncritical thinkers of the world believe "They're all like that".
> According to the latest Gallup poll, 46% of Americans are sufficiently fundamentalist (christian or otherwise) that they believe that "God created humans in present form".
That's not particularly either Fundamentalist or fundamentalist; "Fundamentalism" is a particular school of Christian theology for which specific creationism of that type is not distinguishing, and "fundamentalism" in the generic sense inspired by Christian Fundamentalism is "the demand for a strict adherence to orthodox theological doctrines" and cannot be identified by simply belief in a particular doctrine on a matter of "what happened", its defined by beliefs of how you treat people who disagree with your beliefs on such doctrines.
creationist often means fundamentalist, but not always.
EDIT: there is definitely a lot of fundamentalist influence in the US on certain topics, particularly on literal creation. But that influence has been waning for 30-40 years. And many of those who have been influenced on one or two topics are nonetheless very much not-fundamentalist on other topics.
That is subject to interpretation, but I disagree. If you can't consider your creation myth to be a metaphor, a nice back-story, or whatever... then basically you are unwilling or unable to budge on what should be a pretty uncontested point. Maybe you are progressive on other fronts, but at least in that regard you are a fundamentalist.
I would say that fundamentalist does not imply creationist (you'll find fundamentalist Roman Catholics for instance), but creationist does imply fundamentalist. Creationism is one of many fundamentalist stances.
> "you are unwilling or unable to budge... in that regard you are a fundamentalist."
In Christianity, "Fundamentalist" refers specifically to a Protestant/Evangelical movement that was named for a series of essays published before and during WWI, which outline certain specific doctrinal positions. The movement arose largely in response to opposing beliefs which themselves date to the mid-late 1800s. Being "unwilling to budge" might make someone a literalist or a dogmatist, but being a Fundamentalist is more specific.
Among Americans who call themselves Christian, few are anything close to true Fundamentalists . Most are hybrids whose beliefs have been assembled in bits and pieces from pastors, books, etc. which includes some fundamentalist-inspired ideas, some ideas that resemble fundamentalist ideas but are actually much older, and some ideas that are completely opposite of fundamentalist ideas. People whose beliefs are mostly Fundamentalist are a very small subset of Christianity, both globally and in the US.
 note that "no true Scotsman" is only a fallacy if one is using inappropriate criteria to determine group inclusion/exclusion. It's not a fallacy to point out that James Doohan wasn't really Scottish.
I define Christian Fundamentalist according to its actual usage within the relevant community . If we were referencing Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu Fundamentalism the definition could be substantially different.
I have already proposed better terms: "literalist" and "dogmatist". Those terms may be insufficiently pejorative for your purposes, but here on Hacker News we have guidelines and cultural expectations against name-calling and incivility.
 note that I am not a member of the Fundamentalist, literalist, dogmatist, or creationist communities.
If you're interested in serious discussion, whether about religion, spiritualism, medicine (real or "alternative"), or any other topic, you should choose your terminology carefully and remain open to correction when others point out that you aren't using it right.
Fundamentalism in Christianity stretches at least as far back as the Spanish Inquisition. Modern Europe has been shaped by centuries of infighting over the fundamentals of the religion. Similarly, Galileo is frequently proffered as an example of the church demanding its holy book's passages over actual observation.
To describe fundamentalism as modern is flat-out bizarre.
The term 'Fundamentalism' refers to a specific American religious movement that took off around 1920. It has it's roots in a series of essays called "The Fundamentals" which were published in 1909-1910.
Age of consent is one thing, but "the idea that people under 18 are somehow not ready for marriage" certainly IS old. Just FYI, the median age for a bride on her first wedding was somewhere around 22-23 in the Middle Ages.
I wonder about the tradeoffs involved here. Tentative hypothesis: in Northern climates, the labor of daughters was more valuable, so fathers kept them around for longer before marrying them off. I'd enjoy an expert monograph on this topic.
this number may have been roughly accurate for Britain/ Northwest Europe, but not for the Mediterranean
I admit that I have significant holes in knowledge regading the "Middle Ages in the Mediterranean" region of space-time. I am biased towards the NW region of Europe partly because there's a wealth of material accessible to me pertaining to the area, partly because I derive most of my income from providing language services for the language spoken in the region, and therefore I am expected to have more than just a passing familiarity with this region's culture and history (although I am partially excused from having to know it to any significant depth as I specialize mostly in technical and engineering texts where this knowledge isn't all that important, and history is merely my part-time hobby). I haven't seen a general work dedicated to the Romance-speaking and Mediterranean regions either in English or in my native tongue yet, therefore I plead incompetent on this charge. :-)
I might, however, try to dig up some data pertaining to my native, i.e., Central European environment; however, not on such a short notice for it to be relevant to this discussion.
EDIT: I wonder about the tradeoffs involved here. Tentative hypothesis: in Northern climates, the labor of daughters was more valuable, so fathers kept them around for longer before marrying them off.
My take on this - I believe that some of the factors involved were:
- the necessity for young people to help their families work on the household,
- the necessity for young women to earn their dowry, if their families couldn't provide it for them (usually by entering into service of nobles or townsmen for a few years),
- the stagnation of land development outside periods of borderland colonization (different periods in various countries, in Central Europe, this period of colonization would have taken place between 11th and 13th century), meaning that someone had to retire first for another pair of young people to get their household.
I'm quite sure there would have been other reasons that I can't recall right now.
Citation needed. Also, in the Middle Ages, weddings were seen as business arrangements between families. Such arrangements could be made revolving very young children. Matilda was betrothed to Henry V when she was an infant and the two married when she was 12, so clearly, society didn’t feel one had to be 18 to marry.
"Historians have demonstrated that peasants married at significantly later ages than aristocrats. Whereas members of the nobility usually married between age 14 and age 20, peasants probably married in their mid- to late twenties. It is likely that new families could not form until the parents of the potential couple were either dead or old enough to retire, so that they could turn over their land and dwelling to the new couple." [Linda Mitchell, Family Life in the Middle Ages, Greenwood 2007, p. 40]
"Reliable statistics are rare for the Middle Ages, but the evidence suggests that the typical age of marriage among the peasantry was the late twenties for men, the early twenties for women; similar ages probably applied for the urban laboring classes. The ages decline, particularly for women, further up the social scale. Among prosperous urban families, the marriage age for women was typically the late teens; the age varied widely for men. In the aristocracy, ages in the mid-teens for women and early twenties for men seem to have been common." [Jeffrey L. Forgeng, Daily Life in Medieval Europe, Greenwood 1999, p. 27]
[The following text is concerned with the very beginning of Early Modern period-post Late Middle Ages] "When individual ages are looked at, however, we do find very occasional marriages in the early teens. One girl gave her age as thirteen, none as fourteen, four as fifteen, twelve as sixteen, but all the rest of the brides in the sample, 990 of them, were seventeen or over, and more than four out of five had reached the age of twenty. Only ten of the men were younger than this. The commonest age for women was twenty-two, for men twenty-four; the median - the age below which as many got married as above it - was some 22.75 for women, 25.5 for men." [Peter Laslett, The World We Have Lost: Further Explored, Routledge 2001, p. 83]
Thanks for the citation, but it doesn’t actually address my earlier statement. Nowhere in the text is it mentioned that was it believed that folk under 18 were not ready for marriage. The reason peasants got married in their twenties was a practical one, mostly financial. Ethics and mores are mentioned nowhere, on the contrary: the text mentions teen marriages did occur.
I'd say that "somehow not ready for marriage" DOES include material reasons. If most marriages didn't happen early because of this, that still makes early marriages quite unusual for most contemporary people. That was the point I was trying to make. (And I do have the experience that people regularly scoff at things that defy social norms and customs, and I have no reason to believe that people in the Middle Ages were any different.)
I am not sure that marriages of royalty are representative, their marriages had entire countries, delicate alliances, and survival of families on the line. That probably drives extreme decision-making.
Except that the Henry V in question was a German guy. :) "The Holy Roman Empire", despite its name, was initially a Frankish and then a purely German institution, comprising a lot of the lands of Central Europe (plus a bit of Western Europe, for as while).
Most Christians that I know refuse to read the bible properly, then I take the bible and teach them the stuff in there, several freak out, to the point I do not do it anymore to stop freaking people out...
I am a Christian myself, and the bible asks you do not be a "stumbling block" (or something like that the english term), so I guessed that is good idea to stop freaking people out pointing those things.
Not that I won't talk about them, to those that come to me and ask I cheerfully explain everything I know about the Bible, even the taboo (for example, why the Bible regulamentates slavery)
I have never met a biblical scholar who denies that Mary was a young teen. In fact to the best of my knowledge there is not a single christian denomination (Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox,... ) that believes anything to the contrary. So who are these Christians you know and do they actually _follow_ their claimed religion ?
I'm Catholic and this was never brought to my attention.
There were a lot of things which were left out which I sought out answers to later in life - like how Jesus spent the majority of his life in the Middle East, but is represented as about Anglo-Saxon as you can be. Or what was he doing between 12-30 when he suddenly reappeared and was baptized by John and starts his ministry?
Again, I was never informed of these things, and to be honest, I really didn't care. These "discrepancies didn't make me a better Catholic, nor did they make me want to renounce my religion had I known them.
By that standard, the guy on the bus who tells me about lasers from outer space that make his legs hurt when he talks about the government . . . he's a fair representative of "most scientists".
If you want to take random encounters with people on the street as representative of a philosophy, you have to at least go to a place where that philosophy is practiced. To talk to the 'average scientist', you'd better at least be looking for him on a university campus -- better at a conference somewhere. To talk to the 'average Christian', you had better at least be looking in a church.
It's not just a sampling issue; those groups also police their membership. What you want to take an average over is not people who declare themselves 'hackers', but people who the community of hackers agrees are 'hackers'. Best way to do that is go to where they meet.
Something rather significant in the development of the human female usually occurs between the ages of nine and 13. This does not justify sexual contact between and adult and a 13 year old, of course. Are you suggesting the Holy Ghost had taken indecent liberties and should have waited until Mary was a few years older?
I don't think so, at least not if they actually read the New Testament. I remember very little of it, but I do remember it mentioning that Joseph did not 'know' her until after she gave birth. Pretty sure that means they didn't wait another 5 years to consummate their marriage.
So marrying at 13 is fine as long as you don’t consummate the marriage until you’re 18? I haven’t met many Christians who feel that way. Most of the time, the rationale is ’those were different times, it was normal then’.
I'm not interested in an argument over this, since it's off topic to the OP. My original comment's purpose was to point out the inaccuracies in the comment I replied to. Otherwise, this article  is a good read.
I'm not surprised you don't want to argue it if your source is that revisionist diatribe. According to the article it's certain that Aisha went on to be an incredible stateswoman but equivalent sources that say she was 9 when [she and] Mohammed consummated their marriage can't be trusted?
Also it cunningly ignores Mohammed's [other] documented rapes - like Saffiyah - and breaking of the rules he'd laid down (taking more than 4 wives, taking the wife of his [adopted] son). Such records paint a pretty consistent picture.
A bit on the creepy side for someone on the other side of 20 to date
For some people, perhaps. Individuals differ, I've met a few 16yo girls who were very much adult, as far as their intellect, personality and temperament were concerned, and I have a very hard time trying to picture a relationship with someone more mature than an average 20yo male as "creepy".
The thing that matters is the power imbalance, which would be nearly always present. This is highly undesirable, as it invalidates consent to a large degree (i.e. while the initial consent might be unquestionable, it gets really murky when things get into withdrawing it). It's similar as with employee-boss relationships and teacher-student. All of those can imaginably be okay, but the amount of dominance that the superior has over their partner makes things at least suspicious.
In fact, the "temperament" thing is one of the most commonly invalid, as having the "temperament" higher at 16 than 25 is not really that uncommon, intellect basically stays the same until 30, just gaining experience (!). And yet your 16 year old is (most likely) going to be dependent on their parents, and people will treat the older partner significantly more seriously even if they're a drunken slob, because the younger one is "a child" (and despite the older one being perceived as creepy. Ain't society great?).
Child porn laws and the variable obscenity standard are meant to protect the majority of children. While there are notable exceptions such as your grandmother when she was young, the courts have recognized that most 14-year-olds may not be capable of understanding and / or advocating for their sexual health, plus making life-changing relationship decisions.
As for your last point about porn, prosecutors do try to track down the producers of child porn. However, finding the producers is often extremely difficult. That's why they also target those who traffic and distribute the material as a means of stopping children from being exploited. United States vs. Stevens (2010) is a good example.
"Child porn laws and the variable obscenity standard are meant to protect the majority of children."
That may have been the original goal, but in today's world I think we have observed a shift. Rather than protecting children, the purpose of the law seems to be punishing adults. What other explanation can there be for including cartoons in the definition of child pornography? What children were harmed in the making of a cartoon?
We have not entirely emerged from the insanity of the 1980s, when thousands of innocent men and women across America were imprisoned for crimes that never happened.
It's basically impossible to enforce a ban on "real" images but not fake ones. You could just claim all of the images are fake and unless they find the pictures on your camera, they would have a hard time prosecuting anybody.
1. It is obvious that manga or imagery of the Simpsons having sex are not photographs nor are they depictions of real people.
2. We have forensics experts who can examine photographs and determine if they are real, altered, or fake. We can even determine when two photographs were taken with the same camera. If it came down to it, there would be no difficulty in prosecuting someone; an expert could be called in to testify.
Not to mention, it's incredibly difficult and time consuming to create a realistic fake of a photo, so this fails the basic common sense test - child pornographers would simply not waste the time creating fakes which were indistinguishable from real photos under any kind of serious inspection.
Well, 14 year olds are not capable of that because we force them into that state until 18 years old, and some might say 21 years.
Keep them eight hours a day interacting only with people their same age, give them zero spending power in a world where money is the primary objective, give them no political clout, zero challenges and a pretty much zero chance of failure.
And of course what you get is individuals that can't make these decisions.
We're discussing two issues. First, there's the issue of granting minors basic legal protection from unwonted sexual material and sexual advances. Second, there's the issue of coddling them and not properly educating them about sex.
The first issue is not necessarily synonymous with the second. Sex ed in this country is certainly inadequate. For example, many school districts continue to teach abstinence-only ed, despite dozens of studies showing that it doesn't work. The solution is to focus on improving children's access to sex education while granting them basic legal protection against sex offenders.
Children don't have to choose between being coddled or protected from abuse.
right but what Dylan and silverstorm are referring to is the fact that until about 20-21 the part of your brain that regulates fear and common sense isn't fully developed (which is the main reason that car insurance goes down after 22).
> until about 20-21 .. fear and common sense .. isn't fully developed
Total nonsense. It's just used to retrocon why teenagers are given less and less responsibility.
For virtually all of recorded history by 20-21 you were an adult with approximately 3 kids. If people had no common sense by that age they would be dead.
The brain responds to input - if you are given no responsibility, then your brain never learns responsibility. People keep "chasing" the magical age when you are responsible, when actually you have to learn it. And you have to learn it by doing it.
You can't wait until after you have it - it doesn't work that way.
Car insurance goes down after 22 because by then most people have had 6-8 years of driving experience. If you started drivers earlier, then insurance rates would go down earlier as well.
> > until about 20-21 .. fear and common sense .. isn't fully developed
> For virtually all of recorded history by 20-21 you were an adult. If people had no common sense by that age they would be dead.
There is a pretty gigantic difference between "isn't fully developed" and "doesn't exist at all". Try not completely rewriting the position you are responding to just so you have something laughably easy to rebut.
This is particularly silly in a medium where the original you are responding to is readily available, and even more silly when you quote the bit you are radically rewriting in your own response.
The problem with that is that "fully developed" is a meaningless phrase.
There is no fully developed - as I wrote in my earlier comment, it keeps developing for a persons entire life. There is no point where it stops.
Another problem is that this type of development is more influenced by environment than it is by age. So using age as a cutoff because of "developed" is silly - that's not the thing that matters the most.
> The problem with that is that "fully developed" is a meaningless phrase.
Even if that were true, that would justify pointing that out and/or seeking clarification, not simply making up your own strawman to argue against because the person you wanted to argue against hadn't posted something for which you had a canned argument handy.
Its also not really true; while "fully developed" may be somewhat imprecise, its a fairly decent non-technical characterization given the research showing the course of physical development of the relevant brain centers and how they track with age.
Nowadays, the vast majority of producers of ‘child porn’ are kids themselves. The combination of webcams, Internet access, and sexual curiosity guarantees that images of underage nudity will only be more prevalent as time goes on.
Okay maybe comments get dead from certain words in them. Let me try reposting a redacted version of Samuel_Michon's post:
I think you’re missing my point: there are millions of teens experimenting on the Internet, [...] in front of webcams. The number of people involved with what you describe is orders of magnitude smaller.
> The kind of material you describe is very much borderline
Do you think there are limits to what young people will do in front of a webcam? Or do you believe only older teens perform such acts? Which part do you think is considered ‘borderline’ by law?
> not really the sort of CP that the law is largely concerned with
I’d be very interested in a copy of the book you’ve got that mentions which laws count and which ones don’t. As you admitted to yourself, there have been plenty of cases in which teens using webcams have been convicted for producing and distributing child porn.
> Do you think there are limits to what young people will do in front of a webcam?
You misunderstand; by borderline I mean that the observed age of the participant is subjective. And it relates back to the age old issue; at 17 years 364 days it's illegal, the next it's legal.
As an expert analyst you have to give it some degree of leeway because it's very hard to judge the difference.
> Or do you believe only older teens perform such acts?
Well, yes, to a certain extent. It's getting worse because younger generations are more sexualised, but for younger teens on-webcam activities are more often related to coercion (MSN is still a favourite avenue for grooming).
> As you admitted to yourself, there have been plenty of cases in which teens using webcams have been convicted for producing and distributing child porn.
Plenty amongst.. millions (by your count). I never saw a case (out of the hundreds I worked on and many more I saw) of that sort, but when they happen they make the media (because, rightfully, it is ridiculous).
The guidance may have changed in recent months, as I am not 100% current, but not very long ago CPS feedback was that prosecutions were targeted at those seeking younger pornography, particularly of the "commercial" variety, or those actively grooming youngsters.
The argument against piracy is it reduces the amount of new content that gets produced.
If states believe this argument, they should legalise the distribution of child porn where no money changes hands. Alternately, if they don't believe it, they should stop trying to shut down The Pirate Bay and other Torrent sites.
They cannot have it both ways, without being hypocrites.
The CP topic is not about teenagers, but about children less than 10 years (you might easily find a 18+ photo model that looks like 14 if that's your thing). Last time I checked, sexting was not a big issue around kindergartens...
> The CP topic is not about teenagers, but about children less than 10 years
I don’t know where you get that idea. The law makes no such distinction. Nude depictions of individuals who appear to be younger than 18 years of age are usually illegal. In many countries, this includes drawings and animations. In other countries, the subject doesn’t even have to be nude, striking a suggestive pose can make the image illegal.
In practice the law is interpreted though. Not just for CP!
When an analyst looks through some images they have to make a subjective judgement because it is very hard to judge age in many cases.
To be clear; striking a suggestive pose is very very rarely illegal in itself. It may be classified on a relevant scale as part of the investigation (e.g. COPINE) but that is only because it is of obvious relevance to the charge/conviction.
If someone was caught with "suggestive" images on their computer in the UK, for example, the CPS wouldn't prosecute (because it's not actually illegal).
Have a look at Wikipedia:
"Most possessors of child pornography who are arrested are found to possess images of prepubescent children; possessors of pornographic images of post-pubescent minors are less likely to be prosecuted, even though those images also fall within the statutes."
Those prosecutions are rare because they are hard to win. If there were a reliable way to prove that a picture or video involves someone younger than 18, those prosecutions would be far more common. It is not as though the prosecutor receives a case of someone has pictures that appear to be of minors, and they say, "Gee, I think we can let this slide. Those girls are clearly sexually developed!"
At the end of the day, a prosecutor's career depends on their ability to win cases. Prosecutors choose cases they believe they can win, regardless of whether or not those cases actually make sense.
I feel that BUYING child porn should be illegal, as it incentivises child porn production. No matter if you pay with money or by exchanging other child porn. By that rules, most people who possess child porn act illegally.
We need to be careful with the details here. There are a lot of scenarios that might fit your description:
1. An innocuous imageboard where someone posts child pornography, but the moderators quickly remove it.
2. A dedicate child pornography forum where people gain access to "higher levels" by posting more child pornography.
3. A peer-to-peer network, where by connecting to the network a person contributes to its operation, and where some child pornography can be found (but plenty of other files as well).
I do not think we would want to see people prosecuted for downloading child pornography in the first case (maybe for uploading it); that would allow anyone to poison any forum they want. On the other hand, we clearly do want to prosecute people for the second scenario, as it pretty clearly encourages more child pornography to be produced.
What about the last one? On the one hand, there is an exchange occurring -- by connecting to the network, someone is providing increased bandwidth and potentially increases the anonymity of the system, both of which likely benefit a child pornography producer. On the other hand, if we prosecute people for that, we would effectively outlaw many of the protocols in use on the Internet right now, and make criminals out of the millions of users/operators of those systems.
Personally, I would make a requirement that the defendant's actions directly encourage the production of child pornography, and that the defendant knowingly undertook those actions for the purpose of obtaining child pornography. Yes, it is a high bar, but that is how the American criminal justice system is supposed to work (cannot speak for other countries) -- the bar is supposed to be high, as a protection from tyranny.
Investigators are trying to shut down a black market economy that harms children, and going after the consumers in that economy is one effective strategy. Going after the producers is important, too, but as I said, they can be extraordinarily difficult to find and prosecute.
There are unfortunate cases, like the one in this article, in which a person possesses child porn but may not have intentionally purchased or downloaded it. However, these are edge cases.
If prosecutors had to prove that the offender purchased the material in every case, it would create a very high burden for law enforcement, enabling people to violate child protection laws that are already difficult to enforce.
"There are unfortunate cases, like the one in this article, in which a person possesses child porn but may not have intentionally purchased or downloaded it. However, these are edge cases"
Did you RTFA? Are you claiming that this man having pictures of his own grandchildren playing in their yard naked is "unintentional possession of child pornography"? You might as well lock up every grandparent in the country now.
"going after the consumers in that economy is one effective strategy"
Yes, just like how effective it's been in the "drug war"...
I absolutely agree children need to be protected from being exploited, but this practice is not the answer.
It's a crime to possess images of children that are "lewd and lascivious." In fact, there have been many cases of people carrying images of their children or grandchildren. Convictions in such cases are extremely rare under this standard because the possession doesn't qualify as lewd and lascivious. The problem in this case is a court's interpretation of a statute, not the statute itself.
And the idea behind targeting the consumers of child porn is really quite simple. If we can agree that creating sexual videos of a minor constitutes abuse, then those who purchase the tapes are supporting the abuse.
Bringing charges of child pornography against someone can be so damaging, you might as well convict them. Certainly if your employer finds out you're likely to lose your job. Friends and acquaintances will likely ostracize you, indefinitely. Do you really think just because you aren't convicted, you don't become "that guy who got accused of kiddie porn"? Of course you do.
I don't think we can agree with such a blanket statement as "creating sexual videos of a minor constitutes abuse", if you're going to classify all imagery of naked children as sexual. Have you spent much time around kids? When it's hot out, it's all you can do to keep the clothes on the young ones. Likewise, parents take lots of photos and videos of their kids when they are young, often candid photos of them playing. Those are cherished memories when they grow up.
You can't classify something as porn because someone somewhere might get sexually aroused by it. If there's one thing I've learned from coming across some bizarre stuff around online in the past 20 years, it's that there is someone, somewhere, who finds a way to be sexually aroused by anything and everything.
"And the idea behind targeting the consumers of child porn is really quite simple. If we can agree that creating sexual videos of a minor constitutes abuse, then those who purchase the tapes are supporting the abuse."
Shouldn't the crime be purchasing child pornography? A person could consume child pornography without purchasing it, in secret, without contributing to its production at all. Say, someone who downloads it from a peer to peer network.
I have pictures of my son and daughter taking baths together. My daughter often takes her clothes off when she's swimming or playing in the sprinkler or, hell, just whenever she finds it funny. My son thinks it's funny to pee i the yard. Some of these instances have ended up in pictures and video. Do these make me a pedo? What about similar pictures my in laws have taken? What about pictures of my young nieces and nephews doing similar things? Additionally, have you been around kids in bathing suits? Sometimes the ones for little girls don't fit too well. There aren't exactly many curves to hold things in position at that age. What about accidental pictures of those mishaps?
I bring all this up, because this is precisely the type scenario depicted in the article. This isn't a pedophile. This is a family taking pictures of normal family stuff. And let's not forget the consequences of just being charged with child porn much less a conviction.
This whole government infatuation with pedophilia is absurd and nothing more than a convenient distraction to push ever more draconian agendas.
Things used to be really bad in America, back in the 80s and early 90s. In a lot of places, people simply assumed that if a child claimed they were sexually abused and gave details of the abuse, then the child must have been abused. There was little understanding that children are easily coached and eager to please adults, and police questioning methods often led children to accused people of crimes that never happened. Thousands of men and women were thrown in prison (many remain in prison) because of such dubious testimony.
Even more bizarre were the later years of that hysteria, when people were accused of engaging in complex rituals involving child sex abuse, animal sacrifice (or human sacrifice), and satanic worship. It was an actual witch hunt, in an advanced, industrialized society. The moral panic cooled down once attorneys general started investigating the DAs cases, psychologists began pointing out the flawed methodology used to question the children, and people generally started realizing just how crazy things had become. Unfortunately, the hysteria is not over, it is just a bit less ridiculous than it was 20 years ago.
The mandatory bathing suit thing in the US for girls under a certain age (lets say 5) is quite funny from a European viewpoint. It's not like you can tell which gender the kid is anyway (unless intentional).
It's very normal here to dress your kid of either gender in just the pants or nothing at all (when they're very small) - no problem.
I don't have children, but this is my understanding:
> Do these make me a pedo?
In the eyes of the law, likely.
> What about similar pictures my in laws have taken?
Yes, it's not advisable to take these kind of pictures.
> What about pictures of my young nieces and nephews doing similar things?
Yes, if there's nudity.
> Additionally, have you been around kids in bathing suits?
Not a problem.
> Sometimes the ones for little girls don't fit too well. There aren't exactly many curves to hold things in position at that age. What about accidental pictures of those mishaps?
Don't take pictures of kids in bathing suits.
Pretty much the rule is don't be around kids and don't touch kids unless they're yours, and I think everybody knows this today. And as a global rule, don't take pictures of kids at all, but especially avoid any that could involve any type of nudity, intentional or accidental (I'd avoid bathing suit shots for sure).
There might be a greater societal harm being done here, because as a male in my 20s, I have almost no interaction with children (which I think is fairly typical, at least among my peers). This could be a problem for my generation, as we're less likely to know how to handle kids; and it could be a problem for the younger generations as they don't get to interact with many adults besides their immediate family and friends. Either way, I think the societal rules about what's ok and what's not ok are reasonably well defined, if very arbitrary.
I hope you're not being serious,
>Pretty much the rule is don't be around kids and don't touch kids unless they're yours, and I think everybody knows this today. And as a global rule, don't take pictures of kids at all, but especially avoid any that could involve any type of nudity, intentional or accidental (I'd avoid bathing suit shots for sure).
This seems kinda extreme, like not using electricity because of a potential fire hazard.
I pick up my friend's kids, I read to them, they climb over me, I find it incredibly offensive that you assume I'm a child molester because I've held a child that didn't come out of my wife's uterus.
I'm not saying that I assume you're a child molester. What I'm saying is that you're taking a risk every time you interact with children (especially if they're not yours), because there's a disturbingly large amount of people that will assume you're a child molester.
It's more like not doing your own electrical work because you're not an electrician. You need to evaluate the risk and decide for yourself, but if you're a male in the US and it's not your child, you should be aware that you are in fact taking a risk.
For the record, I also find it offensive that people will assume you're a child molester, but obviously (from the article) these kind of assumptions do happen, and IMO you should proceed with caution.
So basically, don't take pictures of your kids in the summer.
This is insane. With my kids and their cousins, we have 6 kids in the 0-8 year old bracket. The 1-3 year old kids all take baths together when we get together and they run around in their diapers (topless - omfg!).
These are wonderful years for all of us (the glee they have running around together in diapers and through sprinklers). Not capturing these memories should be the crime.
Your argument assumes that the majority of people who possess child pornography engaged in some kind of trade for it. I am not sure that is true anymore, given its prevalence on P2P networks and blogs, forums, etc.
"If prosecutors had to prove that the offender purchased the material in every case, it would create a very high burden for law enforcement"
You make this sound like a bad thing -- having a high burden of proof before we throw people in jail and restrict where they can live after their release from prison.
Investigators are trying to shut down a black market economy that harms children, and going after the consumers in that economy is one effective strategy.
That's what we thought about drugs, too, and with drugs we could be confident that someone in possession of them either produced them or supported their production by paying for them. Consumers might be able to give you information about producers, and the threat of prosecution might induce them to do so... but that too is reasoning that failed us in the drug war.
> Investigators are trying to shut down a black market economy that harms children, and going after the consumers in that economy is one effective strategy.
I think Johnathon Swift would agree that killing all of the children is a way more effective strategy at stopping CP. I mean investigators only care about stopping this behavior.
> If prosecutors had to prove that the offender purchased the material in every case, it would create a very high burden for law enforcement, enabling people to violate child protection laws that are already difficult to enforce.
Wouldn't that mean that it isn't an effective strategy? It's only an effective strategy, because you can easily arrest anyone -- all you have to do is email them photos that makes them a felon.
The Florida Supreme Court decision on this was particularly funny: The fact that the underage photos were on the teenagers' computers meant that someone could hack in and distribute them. This would cause irreparable harm to the children. The way to remedy this? Uphold the conviction of teenagers as child pornographers and brand them sex offenders for life. I.e. we need to protect them from the hypothetical possible future by punishing them with an actual future that sucks just as much. Logic!
Pedophilia frightens people because of the recidivism rate, the damage it causes to the victim and the fact that the young age of the victim means they will live with the consequences of the crime against them for decades.
It's also a classic case of projection -- roughly 90% of cases of child sex abuse occur within the family and are perpetrated by direct relatives of the child, or close family friends.
The stereotype of the evil drooling paedophile lurking behind the bushes by the school gate with a panel van and a sound-proofed cellar back home is vanishingly rare, but it makes a good target for psychological projection.
Apparently the old wives tale of getting a sexually transmitted disease of a toilet seat was due to doctors not being able to figure out how a young girl would wind up with the same sexually transmitted disease as her father. I mean, the father is an upstanding member of society, and a respectable church going pillar of the local community (yadda yadda), so he can't have sexually touched her, it must be from something like a toilet seat.
I'm not sure if this is a statistics or a philosophical (or third category) question: given you are the one making that statement, is it still true? I.e. statistically over a population it may be true that I could look at you and make that claim, but based on your own feelings, is it possible for you to know "I will never abuse or murder my children"?
That's kind of just a random food-for-thought that your wording put into my head, but I guess it leads onto a more interesting question - do sexually-abusing parents (and extend that to other sexual abusers, or indeed other criminals) see it coming from the start, and therefore are always at a state of either "I must try to resist" or "I must wait for a good time"? For example, fathers who raped 10 year old daughters, how many of them were waiting ten years for it, how many didn't think about it until shortly before? No idea if there's any answers to this question though.
Typical confusion about the meaning of statistical data. Did you know that far more children are physically abused by women than by men? Does that change your estimation of the "most likely" person to abuse your children? Should it?
Often, (not at all a majority,) the child feels anything but damaged. In fact, they feel like the centre of the universe. Only afterwards, once the councillors, etc have gotten to them, do they understand that they are supposed to feel damaged. The damage and hurt they end up dealing with for decades is what happens when the state rushes in and destroys a relationship they themselves had little problem with, and they see their "partner" humiliated and hauled across the coals, while some nasty adult coaches them in to being a victim.
Oddly, in that sort of scenario, the parents can be the ones who have most to deal with. Guilt, failure, etc. Then blame the child for it, because the child doesn't seem damaged.
My only point here, is that society has us believe that these relationships are default abusive, nasty, even violent and coercive. There is a spectrum, from my example above to the traditional view.
And all this because of an arbitrary age of consent, which changes from country to country, culture to culture.
As an aside, this is why I love HN: the parent said something completely inflammatory (considering the prevalent opinion of society) and instead of immediately attacking and trying to paint him as evil, the default is to ask for sources. On just about any other sites on the internet the parent would have been completely roasted.
I'm not one for requiring a fully cited research paper for random internet debates, and I think the "citation needed" meme is extremely tired and only serves to stifle discussion. But in this case it was totally appropriate and the only way to continue on a discussion like this productively.
I guess I can't agree. In light of the delicacy of the subject matter, the question seemed designed to stifle debate.
OC made several claims about which respondent could be asking for a source. I'll assume it's the claim that the reactions of other people causes the "damage" since that claim's implications are most relevant. To which I wonder: Can respondent provide academic sources demonstrating that societal or cultural response doesn't exacerbate (or largely cause) victims' feelings of acute horror?
I have a couple of impressions about this. The average person isn't all that good at understanding where their feelings come from or separating whether they come from a specific event or the culture's evaluation of the rightness and wrongness of that event.
I also notice that academics often have a hard time getting funding for things that might have unpopular results. One only need to review the comments section of any article that mentions pedophilia to know that citizens are united on both sides of the aisle regarding how we should feel about it.
Unfortunately, most of our judgments in life still have to be made without the benefit of academic sources, simply because the number of such sources are rare and ambiguous signposts on the vast territory of decision-making we trek through. Instead we have to turn to other means of rationality.
I happened to come across an interview with one self-aware victim who was able to separate the event from society's reactions to it. This kid Jody Plauche was molested by his karate coach. Later, after the coach was in custody, his dad Gary Plauche shot him to death.
ESPN had a good article about the case in which they interviewed Jody.
And how did the boy feel? He was angry -- at his dad.
"I didn't want him dead," says Jody Plauche, now 40.
"I just wanted him to stop."
Jody went on to be a four-sport letterman in high school,
but the most important thing he's done is teach parents
how to reduce the risk of pedophiles such as Doucet and
Sandusky molesting their kids, through his work at a
victims' services center in Norristown, Penn.
"I got a letter once from a woman, who wrote, 'I told my
daughter if somebody ever touches you inappropriately,
it's not murder. It's worse than murder. It kills a
child's soul.' So what's that little girl supposed to
say if she ever gets molested?" says Plauche. "She
doesn't want her soul to die. So she doesn't tell
Jody's dad made the same mistake.
"My dad was absolutely too extreme," Jody said. "He used
to tell people, 'If anybody ever touches my kid, I'll kill
him.' I knew he wasn't kidding. That's why I couldn't tell
anybody. And that's exactly what he ended up doing."
>I also notice that academics often have a hard time getting funding for things that might have unpopular results.
While this may be true, it does not mean that we cannot try to look for what research we do have available says. Often times we can find research on related questions which may inform our opinion, and we may find papers in which a researcher in the field compiled the results of many studies to attempt to address more directly the question we are trying to ask.
I have yet to find a single question where I could not find scientific papers which shed light on the answer. Furthermore, in absence of evidence to the contrary, I believe that humans are fundamentally rational, and that being sexually abused as a child will not have significant negative effects outside of the cultural influence.
That is probably the most disturbing thing I ever read. State and Federal legislatures unanimously condemned the study because it was used by a group they disagree with. I knew we were bad, but ... unanimously?
Unless you are trying to argue that we are incorrectly using the word pedophile, I don't think that study is relevant to this discussion. It is a comparison of recidivism between child molesters, some of whom meet certain criteria for 'pedophile' and some of whom do not. I think informally they would all be considered pedophiles.
Being technically correct - the best kind of correct - pedophilia itself is just a paraphilia and doesn't cause any damage, child molestation (or behaviors that cause it) does.
Though I'm not sure what's the incidence rate, so the point may be moot.
Can't speak to "should" but I can speak to that's how it is. Cause a car accident thereby turning an 85 year old reiree into a quadriplegic. The 85 year old will be lucky to find an attorney because his actual damages are fairly low.
Now replace the 85 year old retiree with a 40 year old at the peak of his career. Attorneys will chomp at the bit for this case because you've caused literally millions of dollars in damages.
To go further down your tangent, after witnessing my terminally ill mother die from cancer after months of morphine-clouded torture I would have thanked anyone that would've ended her suffering early in a way as humane as we treat dogs at the end of their life.
> Pedophilia frightens people because of the recidivism rate
Does the recidivism rate matter as much as the number of pedophiles? Even if every real pedophile committed the crime 3 times, that's the same as having 3x as many first time offenders. The rate and the number of pedophiles is far more important.
Unless we buy into the idea that pedophiles are lurking around every corner, the recidivsm rate should't scare us.
Pedophiles are lurking around every corner. Check out a sex offender registry and look at a map. Those are just the ones that got caught. They're like cockroaches that we as a society tolerate because there are so damn many of them and there are enough sympathetic people in power to allow this atrocity to continue.
If we as a culture were to truly value and care for children, this wouldn't be a problem because we'd stamp the fuckers out of existence. But we are a sick society, unfortunately.
> Pedophiles are lurking around every corner. Check out a sex offender registry and look at a map. Those are just the ones that got caught.
I have looked at the sex offender registry. I'm not too frightened by the "sex offenders (L1)" that were peeing in the woods near a kids' soccer game, mooned some girls, or were convicted of statutory "rape."
> They're like cockroaches that we as a society tolerate because there are so damn many of them and there are enough sympathetic people in power to allow this atrocity to continue.
251 registered, and how many unregistered? That, to me, qualifies as "around every corner" - not some rare boogie man, but I'll leave semantics alone.
I have volunteered helping the victims of these people. When you have heard the desperation of a woman crying at 3:00AM calling to talk to a stranger on a hotline because of the horror show her life has become, you tend to take a dim view of the perpetrators. Every single call, and they are numerous, sticks in your head forever. All because some subhuman wanted to get his rocks off and didn't care who he hurt.
We live in a society where you can get an order of magnitude more prison time for distributing weed than for raping children. If that's not a sympathetic public, I don't know what is.
> 251 registered, and how many unregistered? That, to me, qualifies as "around every corner" - not some rare boogie man, but I'll leave semantics alone.
Zero? Without the numbers, i might as well also create a fiction that supports my argument. 251 in a city of millions.
> We live in a society where you can get an order of magnitude more prison time for distributing weed than for raping children. If that's not a sympathetic public, I don't know what is.
That is a ridiculous conclusion. If anything the public supported the massive prison time for distributing weed because of politicians being "tough" on crime -- not the other way around. The public is completely irrational when it comes to "saving the children." Why do you think urinating in public (a non-sexual act in most cases) is a L1 sex offense?
I saw a referee of a children's soccer game run into the woods at halftime to go to the urinate. According to the current laws, he should have been arrested, locked up, required to register as a sex offender, and prohibited from being any where near kids. Those laws are sympathetic?
> Every single call, and they are numerous, sticks in your head forever. All because some subhuman wanted to get his rocks off and didn't care who he hurt.
That's awful, but I don't think this means the public is soft on perpetrators.
That's very different than people thinking being upset that getting spammed CP into your inbox makes you an instant felon. Or that a 16 year old girl becomes a sex offender the second she sexted a nude photo of herself to her 16 year old boyfriend. Or if he forwards it to a group of school friends that they are all instantly felons.
I don't really disagree. I don't think public urination is anything other than poor behavior at worst. I don't think prosecuting teenagers for making out is the slightest bit sensible. The ritual of rugby players running around the field bare ass naked after they score their first try is nothing but funny, even if a kid happens to see it. And especially funny if a puritanical adult happens to see it. Separating out things that are not abusive from things that are is a different problem than dealing with people who we know are abusive.
The number of people doing truly horrible things to children is not small in that you have to organize groups of people just to deal with the wake of psychological destruction they leave behind, and we are disturbingly soft on those perpetrators if you ask me. That we have convicted violent child rapists out there to register in the first place is a problem.
I happen to think part the reason for that is that we don't truly care that much about kids and they have no voice to protect themselves. There are those who say "it's not that big a deal" - respected people who are in positions of authority- cops, judges, attorneys. It is a big deal, though.
The problem I see with your approach is that we risk contributing to the problem. As the story posted above of Jody Plauche shows, and it's far from rare, knowing the event will generate an extreme reaction can contribute to the child not reporting it and/or feeling even worse about what happened to them.
Now, by extreme reaction I mean the "stamp the fuckers out of existence". Personally, I'm in favor of life in prison for convicted violent child rapists. But I don't think it should be treated as a punishment or revenge (including for the problems I mentioned above), but because we simply can't allow that to happen again.
I was being a tad hyperbolic, which I suppose makes your point. I don't care if we kill them off literally or not, so long as they are confined to life away from the rest of us. I have thought about your point, and I think it has some merit. On the other hand, perhaps we need to ratchet up the reaction a bit as I could also see harm being done by downplaying what is at its core a vicious crime. What is the cost of a victim watching a perpetrator of a horrible crime walking free with a slap on the wrist?
I certainly don't advocate teaching children to fear strangers or filling them with thoughts of horrible boogeymen sex offenders. But once in hand, and convicted, the punishment should prevent further abuses by the offender.
> Pedophiles are are a sociopathic rot, and should be treated as the worthless dangerous filth that they are. I'd feel worse stepping on a spider than I would putting a bullet in a child pornographer.
I think the biggest issue is that people see such a black and white division between "good" and "bad". Firstly, there's the fact that general scientific consensus is that paedophilia is not something they can control, all they can control is their urges. And then, those who do act on their urges, there are still many levels.
- Paedophile who never acts on attraction to children
- Paedophile who looks at non-nude legal photos of children
- Paedophile who looks at cartoon child pornography
- Paedophile who looks at nude / suggestive child pornography
- Paedophile who looks at hard core child pornography
- Paedophile who makes nude / suggestive CP
- Paedophile who makes hard core CP
- Paedophile who has a relationship with a 15yo who consents
- Paedophile who has a relationship with a 15yo who doesn't consent
- Paedophile who has a relationship with a 6yo who consents (** SEE DISCLAIMER)
- Paedophile who has a relationship with a 6yo who doesn't consent
PLEASE note that I am not suggesting a 6yo can ever properly "consent", nor am I saying this relationship would ever be an OK thing. But I still presume that there's a difference between a young child who doesn't know any better, v.s a young child who is being forced to do something they hate.
So yes, I'm with you about child pornographers (well I wouldn't personally shoot them.. but no problem with strong laws against them), but I think there are many shades of paedophile, from "not their fault and they do nothing wrong" all the way down to "scum of the earth".
edit to respond to your edit: So you're happy drawing a straight line and place it between "done nothing" and "done something"? Does your moral code line up with the law? If so in which country? Are the following consensual relationships OK or not OK: 16+15, 16+14, 16+13, 18+15, 18+13, 21+15, 21+13, 40+15, 40+13....
> presume that there's a difference between a young child who doesn't know any better, v.s. a young child who is being forced to do something they hate.
Your disclaimer is troubling. Are you saying one is somehow a lesser problem than the other, even if only by a degree? By that logic is it "less" of a rape to sexually assault a 30-year-old with a mental handicap who doesn't understand what's happening vs. assaulting a 30-year-old who fights back?
Raping a six-year-old is rape. It doesn't make a difference whether he or she "hates" it or whether situation plays into some vulnerability.
The victim is no more or less responsible because he or she had an awareness of what was happening, and the criminal is no less culpable for his or her actions.
That's a really good question... and I'm not sure. Certainly if, outside of the context of this topic if you asked me your mentally handicap question I would say that no, there's no difference.
But think of it from a different angle, and separate each individual action. Let's define "causing physical pain" as a bad thing. Now take an example of child abuse in which physical pain is not caused - let's say fondling, or maybe consensual (ignoring subtle manipulation/etc.) sex with an older child - would you say that adding physical pain into that equation doesn't make it worse? And if adding one bad thing doesn't make it worse, what other things could you add before it does count as making it worse - murder?
Now to come back to a more specific example - if an adult has a sexual relationship with a child which the child is, at the time, untroubled by, then is there a chance that they could come out of it without any harm being done? Yes. I've no idea what the stats are, but certainly there are adults who as children had relationships with adults and who, now they are adults, still don't think there was anything wrong with it. So however likely or unlikely that is to be the case, a consensual relationship has a higher than 0% chance of doing no harm. On the other hand, a forced relationship in which the child hates it at the time, already is at 100% doing harm - even if the child gets over it and lives a happy life, there was already some harm (however serious or not serious) caused at the time. So doesn't that mean the odds suggest one is better than the other? Even if only by a tiny amount?
edit: Another thought - from a moral judgement point of view, I think it's also possible to see that there might be a difference in motivation from the abuser's point of view, who could look at a consensual relationship with a child as justifiable (i.e. deluded) vs. one who clearly knows the child doesn't want it (i.e. evil). Of course I'm sure that some of the consensual relationships (maybe the vast majority) involve adults who are just scheming and thinking about what makes their abuse easier, but some definitely justify to themselves that it's not OK. (Probably more likely with children older than 6, though.) Mental handicap example: difference between having sex with an adult who you believe to be consenting (but they're not, they just don't tell you because of their handicap) vs. having sex with an adult you know doesn't want to have sex.
You're trying to make the case that if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, then it didn't fall.
If a stranger breaks into your home, goes through your belongings, and takes your prized possessions, it doesn't matter if you're well insured or if you're poor. It also doesn't matter if you're the extremely rare edge case who does not feel violated and doesn't press charges. The actual act of burglary occurred and the degree of it doesn't change based on your response.
Likewise, when a child is molested, it doesn't matter if he or she is not harmed physically. (Indeed, the psychological effects might be the longest lasting and most painful in many cases.)
Certainly, we can be thankful that they weren't physically harmed -- or in your rare edge case, that they are able to live the rest of their lives without any apparent repercussions. But that doesn't change the fact that there was an abuse of power (the other person was bigger, in a position of authority, more mentally capable, or more sober, etc.) And as I said before, it doesn't place any more responsibility on the child, nor any less culpability on the abuser.
Firstly, I do think there's a difference between a burglar who thinks "they're insured, I'm only taking items they won't have any personal attachment too (e.g. money) and other than the nuisance of claiming insurance they won't mind" as opposed to one who just doesn't care. And that really does make a difference - I've been the victim of credit card fraud once, I just notified by card provider and got the money right back, and therefore it effected me far less than if they broke into my home and stole my computer.
And secondly: "when a child is molested, it doesn't matter if he or she is not harmed physically"
Really? In the burglar analogy is that not the same as saying "if someone breaks into your home it doesn't matter what they steal"?
<Got a bit confused here, not sure if I posted the above alone and then kept writing more below, or... so think this was an edit point here.>
Let's say you and I were walking along and discovered an adult having sex with a young child somewhere. The adult runs off. I then walk up to the child and punch them in the face - do you think "well that punch doesn't matter"? Assuming not, why is it different if that pain is caused by the sexual abuser as opposed to a different person? And/or why is it different if that pain is caused by a punch after the abuse or by the abuse itself? You do then go on to suggest that actually it is better if the child isn't physically hurt.. which seems like disagreeing with yourself.
> And as I said before, it doesn't place any more responsibility on the child, nor any less culpability on the abuser.
First off, I hope in none of my comments have I at any time suggested any responsibility be assigned to children in these situations. I can't see where I might have, but if I have.. it was by accident.
As to culpability, well I think it's a bad word since in my understanding of it that is much more binary in this sort of situation, and yes I would say both adults are 100% "culpable".
Think of it another way: if you were forced to chose between a child having sex with an adult and the child not minding it (at the time of the abuse, who knows how they will feel in the future) or a child being physically forced to have sex with an adult and crying as it happens, would you still think "doesn't matter which"?
In my opinion, your opinion is being clouded based on the fact that both situations are still extremely serious, and extremely wrong. In either situation you and I would both despise their actions strongly enough that it would be irrelevant to analyse the exact act and try to define exactly how bad it is. But that doesn't mean there still is a scale.
> The adult runs off. I then walk up to the child and punch them in the face - do you think "well that punch doesn't matter"?
You're muddling the context of "doesn't matter". In your hypothetical, the rapist would be prosecuted for rape and you would be prosecuted for assault. So yes, it matters in that it should not be ignored. In mine, I am saying it is inconsequential to the morality of the situation whether the child feels harmed or not. A prosecutor may still charge the abuser with additional counts for physical abuse if warranted.
> t it would be irrelevant to analyse the exact act and try to define exactly how bad it is. But that doesn't mean there still is a scale
This is my point. Trying to define a moral scale of abuse based on the response of the abused -- consent, nonconsent, etc. -- is not more than an irrelevant intellectual exercise.
> In your hypothetical, the rapist would be prosecuted for rape and you would be prosecuted for assault.
Legal issues haven't been part of the discussion, we're talking morals/ethics. Would you judge me for doing that?
> Trying to define a moral scale of abuse based on the response of the abused
I'm not talking about basing it on the response, I'm talking about doing it based on the way it is carried out.
If an adult sets out to have consensual sex with another adult, and the other adult shows they don't want to do it (maybe at first contact, or maybe when they're both naked and just about to get started, maybe even after they just had sex already and one wants to go again) then that adult can chose to continue (rape) or stop (not rape).
I doubt (though fuck knows, could be wrong) that any adult has ever set out to rape ("rape" as in, with physical force, blackmail, etc. rather than "rape" as in statutory) a child and then discovered that the child enjoyed it afterwards. But there are definitely cases of adults starting consensual relationships with children - maybe if those relationships didn't go well they would then move onto rape, or maybe they would pull back like any normal person would in a comparable adult/adult situation.
It's all about intent of the abuser, not response of the abused.
If there is abuse of a child occurring, it is a particularly egregious form of it, and it should be dealt with harshly. Watching cartoons, although disturbing, is not abusing anyone. Making or watching any form of actual kiddie porn is over the the line.
I don't think teenagers making out with each other is abusive, and it admittedly gets grey when you have gown men (lets be honest, it's mostly men we're talking about but that is irrelevant) in relationships with teenagers. If I had to draw a line, it would be at 16, with an exception for age + 5 years or something along those lines that goes in the spirit of preventing abuse of children. It is not too much to ask a grown adult to control themselves around a 15 year old.
> Making or watching any form of actual kiddie porn is over the the line.
Where do you draw the line of what counts as porn, and even within that do you not agree there are levels? For example the photos taken by the man described in this blog post, they were nude children, I'm sure plenty of paedophiles would enjoy them. Or is it about intent, if this man had taken those pictures because he wanted to enjoy them sexually later, would that be over the line? Or distribution, if he shared them with paedophiles? Or if someone other than him got hold of them and distributed them?
What about very similar pictures to the ones in this blog, but this time they were taken specifically as pornography, and posed as such - but still no specific sexual acts depicted or taking place?
I suspect you and I both agree that the man in this blog is completely innocent, morally and legally, but between that and setting up a film studio and forcing children to have sex with each other on camera, there are many levels, both legally in terms of how they'll be punished, and I think morally in terms of how they should be judged.
As to 16 being the line, I think that's probably my preference too with regards to the law, but you were talking about moral judgement, specifically that you wouldn't mind "putting a bullet" in them. Do you honestly think that having sex with a 16 year old on their birthday is fine and the day before that would be evil? Of course there needs to be a line drawn for the law, but you don't need to base your judgements on this too.
And what about a paedophile who secretly took pictures of a young child in the shower and never shared them with anyone, vs. one who got into the shower and raped that child. Or even within physical abuse, someone who fondles a child vs. someone who penetrates. I'm not saying you should look at it as "well he didn't penetrate, so that's fine", just that your hatred should really be scaled according to the crime, not in a binary state.
>Pedophiles are are a sociopathic rot, and should be treated as the worthless dangerous filth that they are. I'd feel worse stepping on a spider than I would putting a bullet in a child pornographer.
No, pedophiles are regular humans suffering from a terrible mental disorder. They are no less deserving of compassion and respect.
A child molester or someone who has otherwise abused a child is more deserving of your vitriol. The two are not necessarily the same and we need to stop acting like they are. Last I checked, thoughtcrime was a bad idea.
Perhaps "fetish" or "fantasy" would have been a better way to describe it.
Plenty of people have fetishes ranging from the distasteful (rape, both from the perspective of the rapist and the victim, cuckolding, etc) to the absolutely bizarre (inflation? transformation? vore? what the fuck, who comes up with this shit?) that they have absolutely no desire to participate in in reality. It exists purely as fantasy for them, never admitted to anyone but strangers on the internet or perhaps a very accepting (or similarly deviant) partner.
Of course this is the case. You don't hear stories about strange men chasing people down with bicycle pumps, do you?
In other words, it's almost as if the average person understands the line between fantasy and reality! What a relief, maybe they aren't all ticking time bombs after all.
| In other words, it's almost as if the average
| person understands the line between fantasy
| and reality!
Then why must these fantasies be hidden in the closet? Do you honestly believe that there wouldn't be a lynch mob if someone admitted to fantasizing about children (but had no intention to ever act on it)?
>> "Pedophiles are are a sociopathic rot, and should be treated as the worthless dangerous filth that they are. I'd feel worse stepping on a spider than I would putting a bullet in a child pornographer."
Who's the sociopathic rot now...? Well at least statements like that clarify whether the witch hunters are taking their stance because they're fighting for human rights and the alleviating of people's suffering, or whether their stance if merely about feeling good about themselves.
I'm not convinced I buy this argument. I mean, yes Romeo and Juliet were probably 13 or 14, but if we didn't accept that we can hold ourselves to higher moral standard than our predecessors we'd still be crucifying rebellious slaves on the road side.
Just from the _comedies_ we've inherited from the Renaissance, we can tell that young girls marrying old men was pretty common until pretty recently. We can also tell that they didn't much like it. Tbh, I think age of consent laws are as much about women's rights as public decency.
Arguably the age of consent laws in the U.S. are being perverted by the far right, but that's a whole different argument. The age of consent rules (both in theory and in terms of enforcement) in the U.K. are, I believe, on the whole moral and sensible.
It is said that those who discriminate against homosexuals often have homosexual tendencies themselves, and use that discrimination as a way to hide their inner feelings. I feel like the pedophilia paranoia comes form the same place. People are afraid of being called a pedophile, so they speak out against it as a way to mask their true thoughts. That creates a vicious feedback loop, causing people to speak out even more often as a way to battle the increased scrutiny of others speaking out.
Define children? Because last time I checked, "child" pornography with 15 years old "children" were postulated, and they even made a few 15 years old "children" sex offenders for sending naked pics of themselves.
I wasn't "a child" when I was 15. I was watching porn already.
I'll draw a parallel. It's a crime to kill yourself, so it's also a crime to TRY and kill yourself. Arguably it's so that people who attempt suicide can be institutionalized to get them through a rough patch, but you have the same untenable situation. A crime with no victim.
Killing a person is murder, a crime because someone who arguably did not want their life cut short is now dead. But if the killer and the "victim" are the same person, no crime has been committed because the underlying argument for why murder is a crime no longer holds. You can't be both the perpetrator and victim of a crime.
The same is for a kid who takes and sends pictures of him/herself. Child pornography is a crime to prevent bad people from taking advantage of kids and documenting it for whatever sick reasons they have. But a kid can't be both the perpetrator and victim of that crime.
In normal situations when you run into such a logical fallacy you have to discard it. But this is the law we're talking about and there's no such need. So yes kids can get prosecuted even though no crime has taken place. It's a symptom of people doing their jobs exactly by the book with no thought whatsoever for if it's the actual, correct thing to do. It's too bad.
Well, I think this the intent of people who wrote that book.
I mean, "they didn't think of it" argument does not work because the law is pretty old and the failure in question happens all the time and gets in the press.
So either they wanted to punish teenagers OR they were so afraid of missing one or two real child pornographers that millions of false positives and hundreds of cases didn't counterweight them to add respective exceptions.
Anyway, we're dealing with people who are very, very misguided to the point of being danger for humanity.
Just because the failures happen and get press doesn't mean that the law gets fixed. There is TREMENDOUS hysteresis in the law. The only way anything ever gets fixed is if the majority of politicians think they will all not get re-elected unless they fix something. That doesn't happen too often. Besides none of them will go anywhere near something that sounds like "being soft on crime" or "think of the children" or what-have-you.
Ultimately it's what happens when the system is highly skewed towards zero accountability. The cost to the individuals pursuing these cases is small and there's good upside risk: putting away child pornographers is great for your career. And the downside risk is HUGE! Failing to put someone away for it is going to make you look really bad. So reasonable people making reasonable decisions need never happen.
> The vast majority of people don't find children sexually attractive.
I hate to ask as I'm not a big fan of the meme, but I am really curious about the numbers. Do you have a source for that?
30% of the people are under 18 themselves. It would be pretty weird if they didn't find each other attractive. That doesn't leave much of a margin for what say to be true, especially when a switch doesn't magically get flipped on your 18th birthday making you instantly attractive.
As you were talking about crime, Randomdata and I were assuming you were referring to acts concerning persons under 18. Pedophilia is not a legal term, it’s a psychological term. It’s not a crime to be a pedophile. Rape, child abuse, etc are.
> The vast majority of people don't find children sexually attractive.
Then why are there so many underage fashion models and pop stars? Why is leering at underage girls so often a theme in TV series? Just yesterday, I saw an episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry and George couldn’t stop looking at the cleavage of a 15 year old girl. Also, who has seen Blue Lagoon and can honestly say they didn’t fall in love with Brooke Shields?
If the circumstances allow both hypothetical parties to be of sound mind to make a consenting decision, and consent was given by both parties, then I see no reason to get upset over it. Why should I be able to tell consenting people what they can and cannot do?
It is certainly not my place to project my feelings onto someone else. Perhaps even projecting my desire for consent might be crossing the line. Definitely an interesting topic with no fully answered questions.
> I never understood why all the paranoia with pedo...
Because there's no punishment for being harder on pedophilia than your opponent is, and frequently there is a reward. The safest thing is to avoid the issue entirely, but when it comes up, being seen as stronger (that is, harsher) on the issue is always better than being seen as weaker (less harsh), so the spectrum of acceptable responses ratchets towards the hardest possible end.
How disappointing to see anti-Islam polemic as the top comment. The comment then ties a marriage from 1,300 years ago to his justification for possession of child pornography. Real quality content the community is endorsing.
The person is very dear to me, and I was only pointing how there is a clear dissonance between values, even in the same person...
The Bible is also full of things that most people dislike, and I am fine with them. Most people think I am evil because of THAT.
I got kinda tired of avoiding commenting about Islam, or Jews, because every time someone talk about Islam people think it is a anti-Islam thing (mostly, because many times it is, unfortunately... I still remember when I told a person that rode the commuting bus every day with me how sad I was about Libya civil war, and he replied that muslims were all stupid evil dirty people and deserved to die, I never talked with that guy again, who knows what other shocking shit he might say), and every time someone say something bad about Jews it turns into anti-semitism (even if the object of the criticism is true).
I guess maybe I should have invented some fictional names for the historical figures mentioned, to still give a example of my point of someone that favours throwing the baby with the bathwater but at the same time respects a historical figure that clashes with their own values.
Disagree, lots of people hold opinions on things that they haven't really thought much about so those views are likely to be similar simply because by virtue of them consuming similar news sources and echo chambering their views amongst each other.
There aren't really distinct groups of "racist" or "liberal on race" , this is an over simplification. There are in fact many separate and overlapping issues which relate to race and it is possible to have differing opinions on any or all of them.
It is certainly worth re-evaluating your position if you have new information or a good argument to consider, but not simply because category X of people mostly disagree with you.
I'm responding mainly to this "Well, then I'll just expand on my previous comment to add racial groups to the cultural/religious groups that you should probably re-examine your views on if everybody finds them offensive."
The guy upthread related an anecdote as an example of where people might engage in doublethink, the example included a guy who was a muslim because that is who he happened to have the conversation with.
He then stated that he is hesitant to use muslims as an example because that tends to bring with it all kinds of personal biases. Then you made the comment quoted above, which is what I am mainly referring too.
You talk about "the liberal coast of america" as if it is some defining oracle of truth and if you disagree with it, then you are wrong.
Sorry but, historically speaking, Asians are by far the most hated people in the US.
Our first laws restricting who can immigrate were designed to prohibit Asians.
In Plessy v. Ferguson (the Supreme court case which upheld racial segragation on trains), the dissent for that case made the arguement:
"There is a race so different from our own that we do not permit those belonging to it to become citizens of the United States. Persons belonging to it are, with few exceptions, absolutely excluded from our country. I allude to the Chinese race. But, by the statute in question, a Chinaman can ride in the same passenger coach with white citizens of the United States, while citizens of the black race in Louisiana, many of whom, perhaps, risked their lives for the preservation of the Union, who are entitled, by law, to participate in the political control of the State and nation, who are not excluded, by law or by reason of their race, from public stations of any kind, and who have all the legal rights that belong to white citizens, are yet declared to be criminals, liable to imprisonment, if they ride in a public coach occupied by citizens of the white race."
During WWII, the only people we locked up in concentration camps were the Japanese, despite the fact that many other countries were clearly hostile to us, and the fact that many of the Japanese clearly had no loyalties to Japan (they often didn't even speak Japanese).
So sorry, but Asians do have a special place in this country for being discriminated against.
This type of racism carried out by people who are too lazy to realize they are hurting other people by their social blindness. It has to do with being oblivious to social context, due to one's priviledge.
The subject of Mohammed's child bride is frequently used to justify hate against muslims, and has a social context of islamophobia. If there weren't that social context it would be fine to bring it up randomly, but since there is, bringing it up is offensive. It's part of the discriminatory pattern muslims experience.
> The subject of Mohammed's child bride is frequently used to justify hate against muslims, and has a social context of islamophobia. If there weren't that social context it would be fine to bring it up randomly, but since there is, bringing it up is offensive. It's part of the discriminatory pattern muslims experience.
Is there any criticism of Islam that can be made that wouldn't be offensive? Or is it offensive to even hypothesize that someone might criticize Islam?
Let alone the fact that he wasn't even criticizing Islam, but using it to talk about a friend that was inconsistent in his beliefs. He never once said that Mohammed having sex with a minor was wrong. In fact he said exactly the opposite a few different times:
> never understood why all the paranoia with pedo...
> my grandmother married when she was 14...I have a hard time believing that a 14 year old girl is so dumb to the point of needing heavy-handed state protection in deciding her relationships.
So, how exactly is he criticizing Islam when he agrees with the example of Islam he used?
I never said you couldn't criticise islam. In fact, I think Islam is terrible and deserves criticism and mockery.
However, it is also true that many Muslim people are unjustly persecuted, and randomly bringing up that "their prophet had a 9 year old wife" fits into the pattern of discrimination. People who bring that up are either bigots who enjoy namecalling at Muslims, or people who are unaware of that social context of their words, which is a form of racism/privilege itself.
So, feel free criticise Islam (including for the 9 year old bride), but don't randomly bring it up if it's only vaguely related to the topic of discussion.
But they would if they were allowed to.
They want to criminalize abortion? That's women lives on the line. "Pro life" is actually "pro death of poor under-age mothers from bleeding from illegal abortion", always call them that.
They want to make porn illegal? They just made everyone a felon, and they can pull anyone over and land him in a camp. Even fascist didn't have such a good tool. CheKa grade.
They want to tinker with age of consent? They'll make a 16 year old girl and her 17 year old boyfriend both felons. Is that nice?
They agree to predatory, murderous, bloody ideas all the time and they are still "good people". As a group they do that.
That's so nice of them.
I try to find one thing religious people are getting right over agnostics/atheists and I seriously can't think of one.
UPD: I'm not saying people are inferior, just that their beliefs are and they would be better off without those.
Your problem isn't with muslims, it's with social conservatives and specifically social conservatives who want to legislate their morality on the rest of us (a population that, in the US at least, is 99% non-muslim and in fact most of them hate muslims). I'd suggest that focusing on muslims distracts from the issue, unless your actual problem is really with muslims specifically and you're being disingenuous with your policy concerns.
And no, my friends would not be operating death camps if they were allowed to. They're nice people, good work ethic, live and let live types.
Mad social conservatives (or I would call them social sociopats) are using religion as a medium of legislating their morality on the rest of us, AND people who are religious do not visibly protest against that, AND social sociopats use the sheer numbers of people who "believe in something" as if they were all agreeing with sociopats on the basis of believing.
If only people stopped being "a bit religious" social sociopats will lose a lot of turf and become a lot less scary. And currently they are very scary.
What's wrong with anti-islam comments? We don't tolerate things like power balance bracelets or homeopathic medicine. I don't see why it's somehow "bad" to be intolerant of religious fairy tales as well.
If I say apples are fruit, you don't "fix" that by mentioning that other things are fruit, too, as if I had claimed otherwise. You're just being a needy doofus.
Also, pffff. Senseless religion hate? I came to my conclusions as a believer, and I read the Quran with anticipation and hope, actually. Those were sorely disappointed, to put it mildly. My stance now is "if that's from God, God sucks and we're all fucked. If it's not, I can't wait until it goes the way of the dinosaurs." That's not hate, that's just paying attention. Not being American I don't particularly care about Christian fundamentalists. In Europe, there is ONE active religion and ONE that matters, and that's Islam.
Make yourself familiar with intellectual honesty and OT, NT and Quran, and then tell me they're not documents of fascism. Whatever any person does, if God says it's evil, it's evil; whatever thing God does, no matter how much more selfish and brutal in nature, is good.
It's very fucking easy to be "tolerant" about things you hardly know, or don't take seriously at all. I don't senselessly hate, I have reasons for my dislike. Are you, however, senselessly sucking up?
I love thought and logic; those religions hate them. Put differently, I didn't start this; I'm just not rolling over. If you don't want beef with me, don't put a pistol to my head, and don't call me wrecking that pistol an attack. For me that's real basic, but if you only deal in feel-good slogans, it's obviously going to confuse you. Well, good riddance.
I'm sorry but I just laughed at your entire post. I'm an ardent atheist so that little diatribe was cute.
There are plenty of reasons to not like religion, you didn't really bother having that discussion and instead resorted to a cheapshot driveby comment. That was what I was mocking.
And yeah, there's plenty of "fascist" behavior in American Christians too. To sit there and tell me I don't know what I'm talking about... in the same breath that you say you don't know or care about US Christians is a special kind of braggard ignorance.
Good riddance? I guess? I don't even know what your point against me was at this point.
I'm not even going to address your shit attitude and comments and just focus on the libel you're committing. If you're going to throw a fit because you're incapable of having a discussion elevated beyond "Kill everyone who ever looks at a child", at least try not to make false accusations of CP possession against others.
This reminds me of what David Simon called the thesis of "The Wire", that institutions inevitably corrupt and destroy the individuals within them. It's possible that just about everyone in the system (except the original person who makes the accusation, though he/she may just have been made overly paranoid by the system) is a very decent person who, at any point, could've looked at the photos and called bullshit on it. But that opportunity doesn't arrive once the momentum of bureaucracy is involved.
Of course there's the poor grandfather here within our institution of justice. But his arraignment was the result of a chain of bumbling actions. At some point, someone in authority made a terrible decision. But the decision involved something that generally, almost no one wants to be on the defending side of ("Oh, but are you sure it's child pornography?")...and soon, you have the momentum of one bull-headed decision just propagating to other agencies and departments until anyone with the decency to stand up in the bureaucracy and say "Wait a minute" will already have been deterred by the mountain of echo chamber-derived evidence.
The incident as described here is abhorrent. But I can see why most of the actors here did what they did...certainly, no one at CPS wants to be the one who says, "Let me see those pornographic pictures just to double check"...And no one in law enforcement wants to be on the hook when a real child pornographer is caught, and it's learned that police had investigated him months/years before and did nothing about it.
If you are ever arrested, don't say a word especially if you are innocent.
The cops never arrest anyone unless they think they're guilty, so anything you say -- as the saying goes in America -- can and will be used against you. It'll be filtered through that cognitive bias.
Part two of his advice was: even if you are guilty of something, don't assume you're being busted for what you're guilty of. (So again keep your mouth shut.)
He related a case of someone busted for trafficking drugs. (Turns out he was.) He wound up being charged with murder. (He didn't do that!) Apparently someone had been killed in a way that made the police suspect it was drug-related, and there was circumstantial evidence linking the suspect to the scene, so...
It's one of the most profoundly revealing videos I've ever watched on the Internet, certainly the only (non-movie) video I've watched for 50 minutes. But I can't think of many other 50 minute periods in my adult life where my mind was so thoroughly changed from beginning to end on something related to politics and civics.
IANAL of course, but it would depend on what the courts have ruled on non-incrimination. But in terms of law-enforcement, it's hard to imagine that the possible errors/misunderstandings that the professor describes here would also not apply to any law enforcement bureaucracy (the tendency for authorities to mistakenly remember things, and the intense pressure not to admit mistakes, to the detriment of the accused)
> If you are ever arrested, don't say a word especially if you are innocent.
In the UK (which is where the OA is set) we don't really have that option. The police will warn you when arrested:
"You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."
So basically, you're required to mount your own ad-hoc defence when arrested, or "it may harm your defence" in court. This when you might be under extreme emotional stress from the arrest, or the incident which led to it. When your state of mind might be borderline rational or worse. Effectively, we do not have a right to silence.
Nope, the police can start questioning right away. You can decline to answer without a lawyer, which isn't an admission of guilt and cannot be used as evidence of guilt, then the solicitor can council you on what you can and can't say. However, if during the questioning even with a lawyer present you omit something and use it in court, the prosecution is allowed to say "Well, this is a new piece of evidence" and use it against you however they can, or ask for it to be disallowed.
I think. It's been a while since I looked at the strict policy and regular interpretations. Police don't have to wait for a solicitor though, that's up to you and you have to ask for one straight off. If you're in the UK and you are arrested, be very polite with them, ask for a solicitor and wait, even if you know you're innocent. Actually, especially if you know you're innocent.
You have to, unless you want to use the duty solicitor who's a free resource. The duty solicitor should be perfectly fine for most situations unless you really actually are guilty, or you think you've been stitched up, to use TV crime drama parlance.
Sure they can, you can even question people without a lawyer present in the states. There's a woman in jail on death row - because a cop that's a known perjurer claimed that she'd broken down and confessed to murdering her kid to him
Misleading. Substantive protection of rights in the UK is, overall, as strong or stronger as in the US (weaker in some areas, stronger in others). That the sources of those rights (centuries of common law tradition, ECHR & HRA rights, the EU, and more) aren't a convenient single document with the words "The Constitution" at the top doesn't mean they don't exist.
Exactly. That's also why they ask "Do you know how fast you were going?". It's less burden on them to provide calibration charts, etc. in court. Also, the only good answer to "you don't have anything illegal in here you don't want me to find, do you?" is "you do not have my consent to search the vehicle, and if you're going to search it anyway I would like your supervising officer to be present".
Depending on the country they do have the right to ask you to show them first aid kit, fire extinguisher and spare tire. Since they are usually hold in the trunk of the car, and the tire on the bottom this is as a good as a search.
It is a pretty weird world we live in where nudity is automatically pornography. But that doesn't compare to the recent prosecutorial practice of trying to avoid a trial at any cost, including innocent lives, which has become a truly disgusting game, and now includes trying to bullshit the process of discovery. How many innocent people, with worse legal connections, went to jail over similar mishaps?
To be fair the UK is much better than the US, where we have little kids who are on the sex offenders list for life for taking naked pictures of themselves with their parents iPads. Some of them probably aren't even old enough to read yet, and they're not allowed with 2,500 feet of school. And if they're lucky they have to go door to door to tell their neighbors that they're sex offenders, if they're unlucky they have to live under a bridge with a bunch of 50-year-old child rapists. The US is basically like the arab countries where the victim gets blamed for rape, only in this case we have judges ruling that kids need to go on the sex offenders list because they're too sexy and tempting for adults or whatever.
>It is a pretty weird world we live in where nudity is automatically pornography.
I am concerned. Should people here call their parents and ask them to destroy all pictures of them being bathed and oil massaged in the sun as an infant if they exist? Is it CP if I possess a picture of me as an infant? What is this absurdity?
I believe there has been cases of accusation based solely on pictures of children while bathing. Pictures taken by the parents, in their own homes, for few others to see.
I also believe there has been accusations based on photos where no nudity was evident as well. They were just "suggestive" somehow, which says more about the person making the accusation than the photographer to me.
More relative to the topic, what about adults looking at pictures of clothed children that they find attractive (even with clothes on).
The problem with these mass hysteria "think of the children" problems is that they're almost all universally solved for in one of two ways: True thought-police or absolute control of media and censorship.
> It is a pretty weird world we live in where nudity is
> automatically pornography.
I fail to understand it completely. Must be some of the "thought killing cliches" thing.
Just compare it with the attitude to violence and it's absurd. Think of all the video games where you can kill, bomb, stab, bludgeon, splash the brains out of your enemy and the age of kids playing them. Well, technically maybe 12 years old should not supposed to be playing those games, but nobody cares much if they do.
No imagine there is a game with similar amount of realism, only related to sexual activity. Now imagine 12 years old playing it. What can of scandal would that be, and how many years in jail would producers and anyone letting the child play get? Who would be called creeps, perverts and worst possible humans ever?
So if you enjoy images of death (not only games, movies too) you are normal, and everything is ok.
But if you enjoy images of naked people and depiction of sex, something is very wrong with you.
Despite that most people never kill, and most people have sex, and all people have bodies.
Any crime or supposed crime involving children always brings out the worst in society and demonstrates just how flawed the justice system in this country is. These problems exist with most crimes but they're exacerbated when children are involved because people have this innate need to prove they care about children, to prove that children are the most important thing in the world and anyone that doesn't sacrifice everything to protect children is sub-human scum. If the police hadn't tried to prosecute this man and a year later he was caught with actual child pornography the police officers involved would have campaigns against them, demanding they're sacked, demanding they lose their pensions and some would go as far as to demand they are put in prison.
Ask the average person what a paedophile is and they'll say someone that rapes children. Ask the average person what should happen to paedophiles and they'll say they should be given the death penalty. People are not rational in normal circumstances, add children and abuse to the mix and any semblance of rationality is lost. A justice system built on the values of a society that acts like this can never be good and will always have problems like this.
The book "How to bbe invisible", by J.J. Luna gives stories like this as one of the (many) reasons why privacy is important. The media jumps on stories like these and the victims are labelled in some way. When it later turns out that they are innocent, no amount of apologies will remove the label. For this reason (and many more), one should not make it easy for others (media or whoever) to find out things about you without your knowledge and consent, even for seemingly innocent purposes...
Having said that, I'm not nearly as anonymous as I'd like to be. In fact, its pretty easy to find out who I am and lots about me.
He took it to his local computer repair shop. The geeks there went to work. In the course of their work they found a number of images of naked children.
I want to believe that the blame is on the image thumbnails on the Desktop or some folder that is difficult to circumvent. But still, such privacy violation and lack of professionalism from the technicians is not ever mentioned again in the OP.
I guess I'm struggling with a) Computer technicians view photos and are distressed enough to call the police. b) Police view photos and believe it serious enough to press charges and prosecute. Yet the photos are simply of naked children playing in a back yard with a hose and buckets? And it was drop dead obvious to the Crown prosecutor upon first look but not at all to the shop technicians and police etc? The police were just gunning to go after an elderly man with a completely clean rap sheet? I suspect we're missing some key piece of this story - not surprising given the author.
They have no idea if these are his grandchildren and they're happy, or if these are his grandchildren and he's abusing them, or if these are his grandchildren and he's on the sex offender's register and prohibited from being anywhere near them.
So, when they call police they're not saying "This guy is a paedophile, lock him up" they are saying "There might be a problem here, but we're not child protection experts and we don't have access to all the information, so please could you take a look?"
It's very annoying that police totally overplayed this case, and that CPS didn't look at the images before taking it to court.
But still, in general, you want people to report early and report often. The fight isn't against them, it's against overworked underfunded poorly trained social workers (many of whom are fucking idiots) and overly aggressive police forces.
What is totally baffling to me is to contrast this case (naked children on a drive; arrest and prosecution) and the child grooming gang cases (14 year old girls telling police that they were being gang raped, drugged, forced into prostitution, and police not doing anything and child protection social services telling the family that a child working as a prostitute was a "lifestyle choice". We must do something to stop abuses of the system like that, but we must also make sure innocent people don't end up in court needlessly. Especially because, as the blog says, access to legal aid is getting tricky and barristers are expensive.
But. In my time as a computer forensics investigator in the UK I never saw a case like this. That's not to say errors were made (don't get me started) but I am very cautious about this particular tale.
For example, there is no way that the computer would not have been subjected to a full analysis, by experts. The CPS simply will not prosecute without this, period.
Any competent analyst would have seen the obvious truth, and the report would have reflected that. The CPS actually is very very cautious in charging for CP cases when there is only a little or dubious evidence - without supporting evidence of the user searching for and downloading material stuff graded level 1 will not make it to court.
I guess some critical process failed (I'm assuming the story is entirely true as told), which I think is horrific, but I don't think it reflects what happens all the time. I guess "Exhibit A" at no point said "I only have images of my grandchildren on there, from holiday", or similar, and the police assumed (totally understandable!) denial mean't the images were dodgy - that's a horrible failing.
What does need to be exposed is how any reasonable claim of CP possession (e.g. by a relative or whatever) will mean an automatic investigation, suspicion, and often seizure of your computers. The number of cases I worked through which were total negatives is depressing (although not a massive percentage, maybe 3-5%, it still feels we could do better).
There were opportunities for discretion at every step of this process.
A bunch of kids running around in the backyard naked happens all the freakin time. Used to be more often. The technicians could have exercised common sense. The police could have exercised common sense. The police could have refrained from writing up a description of the photos that appears to have no correlation with the actual photos.
Ultimately, the problem is with metrics, police want easy cases to bump the stats, and that's what they're incentivized for. That's the problem at the root of most excesses in the drug war as well.
I would advocate making what the repair technicians did a criminal offense. They should be obligated to treat the contents of the drives as confidential unless they are clearly evidence of a crime. And it is quite suspicious that they were examining images at all.
I suspect we're missing some key piece of this story...
I find this (extremely common) attitude rather distressing. People are all too eager to believe that the authorities are always right, and when presented with a case showing the contrary, they assume "we're missing some key piece of [the] story."
Nitrogen. How often do you feel comfortable completely believing something you read on the Internet when it's from a single data source that is emotionally linked to the case and advocating an agenda as part of the story?
Jusben1369. As often as it takes to counteract the significant bias in favor of the overly powerful voice of the status quo.
Or, if you prefer a less hyperbolic response, there's a difference between healthy critical skepticism and skepticism biased in favor of a presupposed belief. I'm not accusing you of the latter, just pointing out that it is disappointingly common.
My objection was to the one sided nature of the content vs having something a little more balanced. Individuals and powerful organizations are both prone to that. It was coming from a default assumption that the State was right.
Assuming that you meant, "It wasn't coming," that sounds reasonable. Restated, my general complaint is that, in general (not necessarily on HN), people are more likely to say "there must be more to the story" if the accused is portrayed as even moderately sympathetic than if the accused is painted as scum. In other words, prosecutors and police are given the benefit of the doubt more frequently than those they target.
I don't find the story hard to believe at all. There have been several prominent cases very closely resembling this story reported in the US, so I'm not surprised that these things can happen in the culturally similar UK. Some of the stories also involved repair technicians working on a laptop; some involved workers at photo shops, back when people still took their film in for development. Some of the people being prosecuted had taken pictures of clothed children in public, but the police judged that the photographs were dirty. I realize this comment would be more useful with links, but I don't have the time right now.
In 2004, a District Attorney in the Netherlands was targeted by a crime reporter. Near the DA’s home, this reporter had found a computer that the DA had discarded, and which upon examination was found to contain sensitive information and ‘child porn’. He was never arrested, and two years later, the State decided not to bring charges, they concluded that all the material had been downloaded from mainstream websites. The affair did damage this person’s reputation, and he quit in 2004.
That actually is a concern. It would be exceedingly simple for someone to plant images on another person's hard drive. Much easier than planting other physical contraband.
Taking it one step further entirely possible that the person who was the object of the plant had other borderline images as well which in some way enhanced the guilt of the truly law breaking images. (For example let's say the grandfather had the hose pictures and some really bad stuff. The existence of both would seem to make a stronger case for the law breaking images than just the clearly law breaking images alone.)
Hell, install the porn as part of a setup.exe payload and put it in an obscure folder 9 levels down from C:\Windows\System32\drivers. Who would ever look there besides the friendly officers inspecting your machine?
Child porn pretty much tops the list of scumbag behavior, but the fact that the judicial, legislative and enforcement arms are such technological noobs is not helping the world be a better place.
This is just another reason I am very scared about the Government's proposals to push through the "Snoopers' Charter" giving government agencies a record of all emails and SMS messages sent, web pages visited, and phone calls made.
I'm more worried about the very real and considerably more developed plans to drastically change how the legal aid system works in the UK.
In brief, the UK government is planning to stop the current legal aid system - where solicitors (lawyers) are paid based upon how much work they've actually done on the case - and replace it with a flat rate. The flat rate is the same regardless of a guilty or not guilty plea. It should be immediately obvious that this means it's in a solicitor's best interests for a client to plead guilty, as they'll the same amount of money but for considerably less work.
Additionally, the government plans to remove the right to choose your own lawyer when on legal aid, and allow law firms (or, indeed, any company) to 'bid' to provide legal aid services exclusively across a geographic area.
What's particularly bad is that these proposals are being brought in as secondary legislation, which means they don't require a debate in parliament. That's very much unlike the 'snoopers' charter', which has a very strong chance of either being killed outright or considerably watered down as it works through parliament.
The problem here wasn't that he was accused, but that the entire case was seemingly going through based on an interpretation of the primary evidence, as opposed to the evidence itself, which seems ridiculous to me.
There is an interesting story in "Three Felonies a Day" where an employer discovers child pornography on an employee's computer . They contact their attorney, and the lawyer deletes the offending content to protect the company since simple possession of child pornography is crime in the United States. He then alerts authorities to the employee. The attorney is eventual prosecuted for evidence tampering.
I don't know if this is some quirk of the UK system of justice, but in the U.S. federal system, people don't even get charged, let alone go to trial, unless the prosecutor has reviewed all the evidence and determined that the case should go forward.
Reminds me somehow the story of my friend, convicted killer.
His ex got pregnant and he did not want the child but she did not want to abort. You talking about state where abortion was legal for many years (side issue to many including me its immoral). So he was at the party with bunch of friends drunk. One of his friend asked him about her and they start talking. My friend was drunk and angry and said to him: "damn I wish someone would just punch her in the stomach that would solve my problem". I know him long enough to know he wasnt serious but he was drunk and upset and let's be honest -- who has never wished another person bad in their mind or outspoken while drunk? Next morning he got cops knocking at his door. Long story short -- because of his friend testimony and his ex testimony that she "is afraid of him", he is sentenced for more than 10 years for a solicitation of 1st degree murder. A decent good guy with nothing on his record. Its been 20 years ago and he was released after couple years for well behave and never broke the law again, but honestly shake someone's hand and tell them: hey, I am ex-con convicted of 1st degree murder, nice to meet you.
The scariest thing about the anti-pedo craze is that it is incredibly easy to get falsely convicted. If you don't like someone, you can download some child porn on their computer, call the cops on them, and there is absolutely no way for them to prove themselves innocent (which they shouldn't have to do, but in our system this is the case.) Yes there are measures you can take against this, but if the person knows what they are doing and has physical access to your work place or computer, then all but the most paranoid of individuals is vulnerable. I remember reading a case where a sociopath did this just to get rid of an employee whose parking place she wanted (who knows how many others have done the same and gotten away with it.)
It's also easy to accidentally download or access a site with it, or have a suggestive picture or drawing, etc. Not to mention teens "sexting" and stuff like that.
Years ago many people were falsely convicted of child molestation by unreliable child witnesses who were basically told what to say.
Many of the people who did get falsely convicted were heavily abused in prison by guards and other inmates because of the stigma associated with pedophiles. If you ever get out, being a registered sex offender can destroy your life. Even if you aren't convicted, just the accusation can destroy families and reputations.
And yet on the other hand child abuse is absolutely terrible and I want to do everything possible to stop it. But way too many innocents are sacrificed for it.
I am from India. Recently Indian government wanted to pass a law legalizing consensual sex between people above 16 years old (the current limit is 18).
I wrote a lengthy blogpost supporting the move.
I was also applying for US immigration during that time and my attorney advised me that I better take it off my blog before applying because if the US authorities search for my name on Google and find it they might think I am a pedo.
One day I hope to bridge law enforcement and the tech community over the massive CP problem. I know there are many talented people here that would contribute solutions if they only had access to the right information and knew they could build something to help.
For now you'll have to take my comment at face value, but you would be shocked at the number of major offenders in each community - and I'm not talking about the Sex Offender Registry. Too few sheriff's offices take advantage of funding for internet crimes against children, and just as few prosecutors pursue these cases. If your local law enforcement doesn't make it a priority, you won't hear about CP arrests in the paper. That doesn't make it any less of a problem.
I encourage tech companies on HN to send someone to http://www.cacconference.org in Dallas to join the likes of FB, Google, and Yahoo! for education on the topic, or contact me. In the future there will be more I can share.
As the majority of this thread seems to be about the morals of pedophilia, I'd thought I'd chime in with the specific issue at hand here.
The cutting of legal aid will mean that only the rich or lucky will be able to afford justice. The crucial point is this: you are assigned a lawyer who will get a fixed sum regardless of the outcome. As a defendant, you will not be able to fire your lawyer if he/she is shit.
In the new system there is no need to specialise. All you need to be able to do is persuade your client to plead guilty as quickly as possible. Failing that finding a way to get the case dismissed as quickly as possible with the minimum amount of work.
It is a cruel and deliberately unjust system. Potentially it will be brought in without so much as a vote in parliament.
On the plus side, it will drag britian kicking and screaming into the 19th century, which is where most torys want to be.
One of the more outstanding part of the story I would claim is this:
> The geeks there went to work. In the course of their work they found a number of images of naked children.
In what way is looking at the customers files and images in line with the work of repairing a laptop? As a sysadmin, that looks to be both a breach of ethics, but also borderline illegal. If a car repairman would go and rumble in the glove box for letters/pictures/money, he could very likely be sued. If a handyman would do the same thing while fixing up something at someones house, he would without doubt be thrown in jail. Why do the police allow laptop repairmen to rumble in peoples private information without consequences?
For a bit more context you can learn more from the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0213yfh/live. They have an interview with Conservative MP Bob Neill and Sir Anthony Hooper, a former appeal court judge. The links to the interview and other useful info can be found at the bottom of the page.
Yay let's all go back to biblical times to try and explain our perversions!
Seriously guys we have come a long way since then. Scientific discoveries, food, culture, skill sets, in fact almost everything has changed since then yet there are people among us the beat the dead horse still.
"Oh it was OK in biblical times when women were just objects so it must be OK now!"
Get a grip guys.
The short version (for anyone who is unwilling to view the link from work): Guy brings his computer in for repairs, techs discover pictures, he's arrested. In court he's finally presented with the evidence (apparently innocuous photos of naked children running around in the yard, playing) and announces that these are his grandkids.
So what computer repair shop actually called the police on him? Spyware typically injects all sorts of nonsense into somebody's computer and most of these shops are pretty jaded to the things they see and I doubt that the crazy images are almost ever actually owned by the person who is bringing their computer in for repair.