You have probably heard by now that authorities in North Carolina decided to charge a young, 17-year-0ld man with possession of child pornography because he had a picture of himself, naked, taken when he was 16, on his cell phone. I am not making this up. I wish I was, but no, we live in a world in which serious, well-paid, “professional” adults, see nothing absurd in the idea of charging a boy with possession of a pornographic picture of himself.
I’m not just referring to the idiot who originally laid the charges. I accept that there are idiots in the world. No one should be surprised when one bursts into the limelight occasionally. What I can’t believe is that this idiot was not immediately slapped down and restrained by someone higher up with sense. A colleague, perhaps, or a sergeant or captain. Instead, it went on to the District Attorney, to a judge, to the courts, and the public: we are on the job, protecting young men from pictures of themselves.
They also “seized” his phone. They seized his phone. I don’t know for sure– maybe I would be surprised– but I’ll bet most people think nothing of this fact. The police seized his phone. They physically removed it from his possession and took control of it and, presumably, explored it. What do you have on your phone? What messages have you sent? What photos are on there? Who sent you photos? Who did you send photos?
This is really a shocking and repulsive act of personal invasion. Did the police feel entitled to search his phone? It was in the process of investigating what the police called a possible “statutory rape” which did not involve this boy, or his girlfriend. So on what basis did they justify asking the boy’s mother for permission to look at his phone, without a warrant, without having provided any judge with evidence that the boy may have committed a crime? Without having warned his mother, if we find any inappropriate pictures of your boy on this phone, we will have to arrest him and charge him with possession of inappropriate pictures of himself.
This is insane. I think there have probably always been people who would think such a thing was very serious and very, very naughty, should be punished with at least a prison sentence, but I think those people have, in the past, been told to shut up and stop being hysterical. Now they win. The teen was arrested. His horrible, evil, monstrous deed was publicized (indeed, it has now gone around the world), and he almost found himself saddled with a lifetime of explaining to anyone who might consider employing him that he had a felony on his record, a crime so awful and despicable that it must remain attached to his record for all of his days: for yes, indeed, I saw myself naked.
Some sense did enter the fray: they eventually consented to reduce the charges. And now they expect us to see how really reasonable they really are? We know that you didn’t drop all charges because then you would not be able to hope most devoutly and fervently that there are people out there who will think, “well, he must have done something bad or the police would never have charged him.”
His girlfriend, by the way, received the same treatment, for sending a nude picture of herself, at 16, to her boyfriend, but I’ll bet the police and the District Attorney studied her picture more carefully before laying charges. Yes, she too was charged with producing child pornography.
There are no shades of grey here, no ambiguity, no room for interpretation. These people are monstrous idiots. They are not just “idiots” because they are stupid and malevolent and, in fact, psychotic. I do not qualify the word “psychotic”: they are completely uncaring about the harm they cause in proportion to the supposed offense.
The arresting officers should be fired and arrested and charged with public mischief and given a light sentence. Because there’s no sense in multiplying the horrors and indignities of stupid, small-minded, hysterically fearful people. But they must be fired.
But it would be more keeping with the spirit of the police here to charge the police themselves with possession of child porn. Perhaps one of the officers who searched the phone could lay charges against himself.
If Americans are serious when they say they fear Sharia law, let them show it.
More Psychotic Behaviour by the Authorities. I would like to point out in connection with that case a pattern we often see when prosecutors and police get all hysterical and lay stupid charges against people: the plea bargain. The police and the DA apparently began to recognize that their case against Ms. Rausch was absurd and that they were going to look like nitwits when they dropped all the charges as they had to eventually. They still had leverage. They knew they could never win in court, but they could still make Ms. Rausch’s life hell if they wanted to by continued interrogations of her and any witness no matter how distantly related to the case, search warrants, subpoenas, and so on. So they cut a deal with her: no more harassment if you plead guilty to just a tiny little smidgen of a crime, which they defined, basically, as a hug of the “victim” (a 14-year-old boy). She agreed, to get them off her back.