Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? -Juvenal (Literally: “Who will guard the guards themselves?” modern usage: “Who watches the watchmen?”)

Stephen Mason, blogging for Psychology Today, posted a piece he called Kiddie Porn. It’s a great read. It’s theme is very much the theme of the fox in the hen house. But the best and most relevant part of his post I’ll save for almost last. In all the clips below the emphasis was made by me.

Years ago, practically the entire staff of a day school in Southern California was locked up after kids related lurid tales of Satanic rituals conducted in a series of underground bunkers. In the end, the school building was razed and the grounds torn up in a futile search for the lustful lairs .

This reminds me of the Salem Witch Trials. Neurotic adults spurred on a couple of fantasy prone kids and, before you know it, there were bonfires of little old ladies. I think it’s telling that, in every case, the accused were said to have had unnatural sex with the devil. Of course, this opens the door to “natural” sex with the Devil but that’s beside the point.

Nobody spoke out and yet and you just know that at least of few of the locals must have recognized nutty behavior when they saw it. The reason for their silence is clear enough. They were afraid of being condemned. When hysteria breaks out, even if you never fooled around – naturally or unnaturally – with the Devil, it doesn’t matter. You’re going to be accused for the sins that exist mostly in the heads of the accusers.

Then:

A simple truth – if you want the truth – is that run away emotion speaks to an unresolved conflict in the individual. The guy who wants to kill all Queers is not the guy you want standing behind you in the Men’s Room. The same applies to those who would kill all pedophiles {or CP viewers, who may or may not be pedophiles} but love coaching the junior softball team.

Now for the best part:

Years ago, I did some work for a police department in a major US city. Walking past Vice, I noticed a detective watching a kiddy porn video. When I asked about it, he told me he watched for a few hours every day. It stimulated him to go out and catch the “%#@%$# Chicken Hawks.” I abhor crudity to animals so maybe I should spend time watching cock, dog and bull fights? It might stimulate me…you think?

Sounds like a sweet job for a child porn fan. Finally some very sage advice from Dr. Mason:

When a finger points, don’t look at where it’s pointed before you first look at whose doing the pointing.

That’s got ‘Ernie Allen’ written ALL OVER IT.

Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. suggests in a recent column that “maybe we should legalize drugs.” I suggest maybe we should legalize child pornography.

Then there’s the collateral damage. ”When somebody gets arrested,” says Cole, ”it’s not only that person whose life is crippled. It drags down their whole family.” This, because the conviction makes it nearly impossible to get a job, go to college, even rent an apartment.

With child porn, the collateral damage also affects whole families. Increasingly, the child porn witch hunt is ensnaring the very people the anti-child porn laws are supposedly meant to protect.

If the girls are charged and convicted of child pornography violations, the plaintiffs contend, they would have a felony record and could be subjected to state Megan’s Law provisions, which would require them to register as convicted sex offenders.

What warrants such punishment? The rape of a child? No. The sexual abuse of an infant? No. How about:

The first image shows two teenage girls lying side by side in their bras. One of them is talking on a phone, while the other makes a peace sign.

In another picture, a third girl is seen just as she emerged from a shower, wrapped by a towel but with her breasts exposed.

There’s more on this case at a Wall Street journal blog post. That is what the child porn witch hunt has come to. I’m sure some hard core child porn does exist, but over-zealous police and prosecutors and lawmakers are no longer content to go after those responsible for the real abuse of children. Now children themselves are the targets.

Pitts writes more:

And for what? This ”War” has been an exercise in futility. In 1970, says Cole, about 2 percent of the population over the age of 12 had at some point or another used an illegal drug. As of 2003, he says, that number stood at 46, an increase of 2,300 percent — yet we’ve spent over a trillion dollars and imprisoned more people per capita than any country in the world in order to reduce drug use?

The laughable “war” on child porn follows the same trajectory. More police, more resources, more prosecutions, more time in prison, more sacrifices of our civil liberties, and what do we get for our efforts? A problem that is “exploding”.

How many hundreds of billions of dollars will we spend, how many hundreds of thousands of men will we imprison for decades before we realize the uncanny similarities between the “war” on drugs and the “war” on child porn? How long before we realize that when there is a demand, and when there are people (suppliers) able and willing to meet that demand, the demand will be met?

Interesting Quotes

April 26, 2008

“Child porn prosecutions have become the modern-day equivalent to McCarthyism, the Spanish Inquisition, or the Salem witch trials. Once accused, it seems that there‚Äôs no defense that can save you, not even innocence.” -Me, in a comment I left to Megan’s Flaw.

“That is a very scary statement, and exactly how the witch trials were conducted.” -The blog author’s comment back to me.

“When the possibility of child pornography consumption is raised, the court system slips into some sort of guilt-until-proven innocent trance.” -David Berlind, an Executive Editor at ZDNet, in Beyond a shadow of a pornographic doubt, don’t rush to judgment.