Monday, July 02, 2007

On "Child Pornography" Laws

We've been having a heated discussion on the forum again, this time on the subject of Child Pornography Laws.

Many different aspects were covered, such as the age of the people involved, the intent of the viewing, relationship to the victims, abuse of the existing laws, wrongful arrest and/or prosecution, making emotional appeals to justify overreaching legislation rather than rationally addressing the issue etc. It was an interesting discussion.

The following was my summary judgment on the matter, and I feel that it bears consideration, as even though a few people do obviously feel conflicted about the matter, they agree with the principles I've stated.
Sorry, I still simply don't think it should be illegal to be in possession of pictures if you could prove that you didn't take them and weren't in any way involved in their manufacture. I hate censorship laws where certain material is deemed illegal because the government is making a moral judgement and deems you incapable of viewing such material without being criminal or intent on committing a crime. Banned books are one such an example in history. Adult pornography in many areas still fits that description, because prudish religious types feel that it's sinful and will lead to criminal and sinful activity etc.

My point is that you have committed no crime, you are in no way linked to the crime, and as long as you're not committing a crime, your thoughts shouldn't be policed. I resent the idea of a government telling you what you can and can't look at, what you can and can't read, and what you can and can't think about. And that's what we're dealing with here. And all your excuses about "well, it's illegal. you're probably a criminal and will commit a crime if you look at it." are hollow attempts to justify what is essentially nothing more than government policing what you're allowed to think.

Taking the pictures should be illegal. Molesting the children should be illegal. Actually paying for the pictures should be illegal, as that does provide material support and thus motivation for the crime. But making it a crime to even look at the pictures and treating that as a sex crime that can land you on the registry for life and ruin your life... that is nothing more than a lazy authoritarian government restricting your freedom to read or look at what you please. You're not committing any crime other than looking at something they've decided you shouldn't be looking at.

And in todays world of digital information, where an image can be endlessly duplicated with no contact with the original required etc, the crime is already committed. It's like a murderer taking pictures of his victims and those pictures being viewed later. Is your viewing of that photo killing the victim? If you don't view the picture is the victim going to come back to life? Is your not viewing the picture going to stop murders? Is your viewing the picture going to unquestionably provoke you to go out and murder someone yourself, even if you can sit and think of what it would be like to do so? Of course not.

Part of truly being free is to be able to entertain thoughts that aren't approved of by an authoritarian government. To sit and think about building bombs, or murdering people, or child pornography, or amputation fetishes or necrophilia or whatever else you feel like.

It reminds me of the words of Thomas Jefferson, when he spoke about government meddling in religious affairs; "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."

It neither picks anyone's proverbial pocket, nor breaks their proverbial leg, for you to read or view whatever you choose. You're simply restricted from doing so out of a fear that doing so may at some later point motivate you to commit a crime. It's not about a crime being committed, it's about the possibility that it might contribute to a crime, or that the mere thought that you might view the picture might contribute to someone else committing a crime. It's not about the actual crime that was committed, that is already rightfully illegal.


Anonymous said...

I understand that eveyone is entitled to their own views and opinions but I think you be ashamed of this article. Even the thought or someone obsessing to have sex with my daughter who is not even 1 yet absolutely discusts me. You are saying that as long s they don't do it for real that that is ok? Or if when I was a child some pervert took pictures of himself molesting me and then gave them out to his buddies and are still being past around that that wouldn't hurt me if I found out about the later now that I am a legal adult? Whether you believe in God or not which you obviously do not or the thought of children being hurt to satisfy some discusting fettish would really bother you. Sin does exist and children being harmed for any reason is just wrong especially if its to get some hairy pervert off. People get hurt by this because they are pictures of real people who did not and could not consent to these actions taking place to them. Children should be free to not be scared or worried about perverts not the perverts feeling free to think about little kids naked. Also, there is proof that viewing this trash desensitizes a person to its effects and can lead to more sexual deviance in wanting to do it themselves. Wake up and smell the coffee and don't hide behind amendments and past presidents who would be ashamed that you typed their name. We should be free to live in a safe world not free to live in a world without rules. And check the records .....most of the great men who signed the Constitution were Christians...they also believed in freedom of religion.....if you don't believe that is fine but you are wrong to spread this kind of thinking.

JStressman said...

You're only proving my point here.

The crime is in the CRIME itself. A person looking at an anonymous picture years later completely removed from it is in no way responsible for the initial crime, nor are they even on the same level. The crime was already committed, and as I said before, it's no different than looking at a picture of a murder scene or even pictures from a rape. You're not guilty of the crime pictured in those photos. PERIOD.

You're letting your emotions control you and thinking that because the idea that someone might look at a picture of child sexually upsets you, that you have the right to treat that as EQUAL to that person RAPING THE CHILD DIRECTLY.

That is simply ridiculous.

I am not in any way ashamed of this article. The irrational, purely emotional responses that people like you make are what lead to laws being passed that put people in prison and brand them as sex offenders for life for DRAWING PICTURES WITH A PENCIL ON A PIECE OF PAPER.

Or for instance being convicted as a sex offender for looking at a COMIC BOOK of drawn children in sexual situations, even though NO CHILDREN AT ALL WERE INVOLVED.

When a society convicts people of "thought crimes" for even THINKING of something they don't agree with... they've absolutely lost all respect for human freedom and liberty.

You can't punish a person for thinking things you don't agree with if they don't DO anything. If a person openly says they're going to murder someone or tries to get other people to do that, then that is a crime... but looking at a picture of someone you don't even know? And with that person having no way of knowing you'd done so etc... no actual crime is committed in that act. No child was magically raped at the moment you looked at the picture... the crime was already done, by someone else, who is wholly guilty of that crime and SHOULD be punished harshly etc.

Your irrational "logic" would have anyone who looked at a crime scene photo be guilty of that murder directly themselves. Anyone who looked at nude photos of amateur adults on the net shared by boyfriends or girlfriends would be directly guilty of stalking, voyeurism, rape etc...

I'm sorry that you cannot grasp that fundamental difference.

Maybe you should go read 1984 or something...

JStressman said...

And here's another in the news TODAY...

This is the kind of insanity that needs to stop. This is just one of the many reasons I've grown to hate Christianity so much... ignorant religious morons thinking they have some god given right to enforce their own personal biblically based ideas of morality onto others at the point of a gun in spite of no actual crimes against persons or property being committed (sex, drugs, drinking, etc). Christians think they have the right to control what other people think, what other people do in the privacy of their own homes... what sexual material they look at, what they put in their own bodies, etc.

Christian mentality is the very antithesis of the ideals of Freedom and Liberty this country stands for (or at least used to before those religious buffoons hijacked it... and most notably unConstitutionally injected "Under God" and "In God We Trust" into the Pledge of Allegiance, into our Motto and onto our paper currency, in a direct and open establishment of religion in violation of the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution in order to make the US take a "Christian stand against the godless heathens of Communism" during the Red Scare of McCarthyism... another period in which civil liberties and freedom of thought and expression were trampled under the ignorant feet of fear mongering thought police.