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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Good Intentions Are Not Enough

In Britain, the police in one community are launching a program for church communities to be alert about crime against their churches, and to pray for the cessation of crime in their communities. Times of London has the story. Call me cynical, but I think harsher penalties for offenders would be of more use. God rarely does anything for us that we can do for ourselves.

The problem really is that many criminals don't see anything wrong with what they are doing, and so are unlikely to stop it.

A case in point: The Canadians have just arrested a serial pedophile as the result of a search for a missing boy. Two boys were found at the pedophile's home:
Peter Whitmore, 35, of Toronto, was arrested at the farm in the western state of Saskatchewan following a 10-hour standoff broadcast live on national TV. The boys, ages 10 and 14, were found unharmed, police said.

Whitmore has been convicted four times for abduction and sexual abuse since 1993 and was released in June 2005 after a three-year jail term.
The article starts with the observation that this case has prompted Canadian groups to demand improvements with the sexual offender registry in Canada. I'd say that people who have been convicted multiple times for abduction and sexual abuse probably ought to get more than three-year jail terms. If this man is now put in jail for four years, the odds are pretty high that in the fifth year, he'll do it again!

In the US, a pedophile is now in court in Cleveland maintaining that it is a violation of his civil rights to be forbidden to have sex with boys:
A man accused of sexually assaulting nine boys with physical or mental disabilities told a judge that having sex with children is a sacred ritual protected by civil rights laws.
...
"I'm a pedophile. I've been a pedophile for 20 years," he said in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Wednesday. "The only reason I'm charged with rape is that no one believes a child can consent to sex. The role of my ministry is to get these cases out of the courtrooms."

Distasio said some of his congregants are among the victims in this case. Distacio, of Rocky River, is accused of molesting two disabled boys he tutored at his home and raping seven autistic boys at a Cleveland school for special-needs students where he was a teacher's aide. All but one of the victims were under 13.
He's going to get life. He should, because I don't think the best 30 shrinks in the world can fix this guy.

People like this are now being enabled by the rhetoric of groups like Planned Parenthood, (check out this page of activities for sex ed), who maintain that teens have the absolute right to have sex. Check out this link to a Teenwire topic (a project of Planned Parenthood's) about sexual health, and be sure to read to the end which discusses "rights". The SEICUS definition of sexual health is that no sexual activity is off-limits, just as long as it's a product of a knowing choice. If your thirteen year-old wants to have anal sex, that could be a very healthy choice! Just make sure they use a condom! This is fodder for child molesters, because as any person who has ever had responsibility for a fourteen year-old knows, they often have difficulty making calm choices about what to wear, much less sex.

It's all cryingly unrealistic. Human beings are mindful animals. Our animal default settings are quite clear. Historically, in any society which permits it, adults do go after the very young sexually. It's a default setting, just like slavery. And just like slavery, it's deeply wrong, because it undercuts the "mindful" part of our human nature.

Comments:
Somewhere we began to accept that "I was born that way" is a valid defense. There are many behaviors that we are born with and still do not tolerate (ie the willingness to kill you and take your cool stuff) because it makes for a better society to be that way.

The "it's genetic" answer is sort of irrelevant, the important question is whether or not it's acceptable.
 
Why 30 shrinks?
 
Anon, "Why 30 shrinks?"
The magic number X 10.

Tommy, someone a lot smarter than me once commented that all civilization is based on us NOT doing what comes naturally.

So yes, societies have to be able somehow to decide what's acceptable and stick to it. If society decides that certain individual behaviors are uncontrollable, individuals will follow suit.
 
In the US, a pedophile is now in court in Cleveland maintaining that it is a violation of his civil rights to be forbidden to have sex with boys

This made local morning drive-time radio, with a twist.

Said guy claimed First Amendment Constitutional Rights based on pedophilia being a sacrament of his religion (Universal Life Church diploma-mill degree) and his apartment/crime scene being a "religious sanctuary".

(Judge said that he could use that as a defense, but didn't think it'd do much good.)

Oh, and at least two of his involuntary shmuck-sheaths were "disabled", i.e. unable to resist or even tell anyone.

I'm waiting for this guy (and his religion) to show up on South Park; about time Parker & Stone did a remake of "Cartman Joins NAMBLA", and this guy's justification/defense is straight out of that episode's ending with the addition of a "spiritual" angle.

The Headless Unicorn Guy
 
It is clearly established constitutional law that "free exercise" of your religion doesn't exempt you from constitutionally acceptable criminal laws. In other words, if a state or the Federal Government can legitimately declare any activity a crime, it is still a crime even if your religion says it's not. Otherwise, the country would be ungovernable.

See, for example, EMPLOYMENT DIV., ORE. DEPT. OF HUMAN RES. v. SMITH, 494 U.S. 872 (1990)

This ruling came in the peyote unemployment case:
"We have never held that an individual's religious beliefs [494 U.S. 872, 879] excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate. On the contrary, the record of more than a century of our free exercise jurisprudence contradicts that proposition. As described succinctly by Justice Frankfurter in Minersville School Dist. Bd. of Ed. v. Gobitis, 310 U.S. 586, 594 -595 (1940): "Conscientious scruples have not, in the course of the long struggle for religious toleration, relieved the individual from obedience to a general law not aimed at the promotion or restriction of religious beliefs. The mere possession of religious convictions which contradict the relevant concerns of a political society does not relieve the citizen from the discharge of political responsibilities (footnote omitted)." We first had occasion to assert that principle in Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879), where we rejected the claim that criminal laws against polygamy could not be constitutionally applied to those whose religion commanded the practice. "Laws," we said, "are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. . . . Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself." Id., at 166-167."

So I don't think his claim has a shadow of validity. It is, however, driving him to confess to the criminal acts, and that will greatly expedite matters. No wonder his lawyer refused to argue this and resigned - he was being asked to convict the man instead of defend him.
 
Anybody paying attention could see this coming, and more will be coming after. When one kind of sexual perversity (homosexuality) was declassified as a mental disorder, it was only so long before it would be tried with the rest. Really, there simply is no argument against intergenerational intimacy that isn't also an argument against homosexuality. If they no longer count against the latter, then sooner or later they won't be counted against the former, either.

Wanna give it a try? How about that little "consent" issue?

Come on. Consent is a social construct. Besides, we as a society force children to do every day what they don't want to do: get up early, go to school, do homework, go to the doctor/dentist, etc. Moreover, parental consent supplies in many cases for the consent of a minor. Why can't a parent provide consent for his minor child to be buggered... I mean, to engage in intergenerational intimacy with a loving adult?

See: it's easy.
 
Way too easy!

I understand what you are saying, but I think there is a distinction to be made between sexual relationships between adults and between sexual relationships between adults and minors.

Nonetheless, I think adults have chosen to pick freedom for themselves at the price of childrens' lives. I don't think that was an honorable or decent choice.
 
That's exactly why you have to start with what is OK and work backwards. Because any body with half a brain (half brained lawyers can make a damn good living at this) can rationalize anything.

If the intent is to show something is, or should be acceptable, you can always come up with a train of thougth that sounds reasonable.
 
"I understand what you are saying, but I think there is a distinction to be made between sexual relationships between adults and between sexual relationships between adults and minors." Mama, Mama, Mama. Let me 'splain it to you.

You just think that way because you were brought up in a bigoted society trapped in hidebound religious taboos.

This is the 21st century! You have to get rid of your irrational prejudices that are holdovers from dark ages when heretics were tortured and burned at the stake! People who think there's something wrong with intergenerational intimacy (please, please, please don't call it child molesting; that is sooooo insensitive) are like the people who thought blacks should be slaves and women should be kept barefoot and pregnant.

Fortunately, if you can't be dragged out of your medieval bigotry, we've got plenty of lawyers who'll find judges to rule against you.
 
"That's exactly why you have to start with what is OK and work backwards." You only think that's true because you were raised in a culture created by dead white European males that has trapped you into believing that such things as "logic" and "morality" and "truth" actually have any meaning beyond what you want them to mean.
 
ELC: See how Allah weakens the Infidel for slaughter and conquest?
 
Actually, if our society ever does accept such arguments, I think we WILL be slaughtered. We'd deserve it.
 
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