I've been watching and reading this thread with interest and I've learned a lot from all of you. I don't want to repeat a lot of things I have said already, but I would like to highlight a few things that have been said and then comment.
Let me begin by saying that I respect all the people I am quoting here, and I know that in some respects I am quoting out of context. Please forgive me for that and let me assure you that I don't mean anything personally - I'm just trying to go from these statements to a few points I think are important.
And Adam, I know where you are coming from, don't I? We were both formed in a similar hell. I respect your right to your anger and opinions, but I hope you will hear me out and not feel you are being picked on.
So anyway, here are a few quotations I have taken from this thread:
And civil liberties be damned, I don't care if they were entrapped....In this case, I think the end justifies the means.
if one potential perps is caught then yeah its a good thing...nobody else is doing a damn thing to stop these sick pedos.
These are people you have to meet at their own level.... I have no pity for them. none. I don't care what needs to be done. They need to be stopped....I have seen too much pain here to give a damn about the right of perps.
if you wanna catch a predator you gotta use what they feed on ,then when they start to circle you gun them down.
its cool to protect peoples rights ,but dont lose sight of whose rights your fighting for
i just think your on the wrong side ,cause its kids lives at stake not some friggen pedos civil rights
i wanted to post this message from a former well respected member of this site who got so fed up with this protect the perp bullshit that he left....
What Shadowkid has done is quote an earlier post from a member here who rebelled against the 'protect the perp' mentality.
I could have included more, but this is enough to work with. And as I said, please bear in mind I'm not trying to pick on anyone.
The first point I'd like to make is that we are all on the same side here. There is no "protect the perps mentality" on this thread or on Male Survivor. In all honesty, I'd like to say it's pretty unfair to take arguments for the rule of law and misrepresent them as reflecting a pro-pedophile mentality. I know passions run hot with this topic, so okay, but perhaps we can recall that everyone commenting here knows exactly what the horrors of child abuse are all about.
My second point has to do with something I commented on earlier, and which John (WalkingSouth) got to before me. And that is the clear fact that by highlighting and legitimating the old worn-out "stranger danger" myth, Perverted Justice is misrepresenting the true nature and danger of child abuse on an absolutely massive scale - it's just staggering. And for what? Not for us, or for future generations of children, but for profits and power and nothing more. Anyway, that's already been said. What I'd like to do here is ask for a show of hands: Of those of us who have commented on this thread so far and shown an interest in it, how many of us were actually abused by a total stranger in a way similar to the scenarios PJ is setting up?
That is, a boy who meets a stranger on the Internet and then invites him to meet somewhere. I bet I already know the answer: not a single one of us. Right there is the stark reality of how the issue is being distorted and misrepresented.
I'd like also to come back to the comments made about protecting perps and so on. I do understand that emotions run hot on this subject, and some of you have actually said how heated up you were when you commented. That's fine, and I'm okay with that. But still, the comments bear a bit of discussion.
What's at issue here is not the rights of perps at all - that has nothing to do with what others and I have been talking about. The key issue is the rule of law. In a democracy, society holds together based on the rule of law and the idea is that everyone is equal before the law. Everyone means everyone, and that has to be carved in stone. Once you begin to make exceptions, regardless of how noble-sounding and emotionally satisfying they may be, the whole idea of law itself is subverted.
If we say that child abuse is a terrible crime (and of course I agree it is) and therefore the ends justify the means when it comes to pedophiles, well, then who else gets to jump on that bandwagon? Do we throw away the rule of law when we are looking for murderers, rapists, pimps, and drug dealers? Why not throw in gang members, car thieves, burglars, and so on. Where does it stop? Law by its very nature has to be rigid and absolute: you either have it or you don't.
The way PJ operates skates right on the thin ice at the edge of the law, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of the convictions they win eventually get thrown out on appeal. But by analogy what they are doing justifies all sorts of similar vigilante actions. For example, suppose my little brother is killed on his bike by a drunk driver. I am (rightly) furious at drunk drivers, so I decide to go out to bars and encourage likely looking people to drink to excess and then get in their cars to drive home. I buy some guy shots and call for doubles for him even if he objects and says he's had too much already. Then I escort him out to his car and encourage him to drive. If the guy says no I'll call a cab, I say, "Oh what the hell, your house is just up the road - you look okay." Then as soon as he takes off I call the cops. Exactly what does that contribute to the problem of drunk driving, and is that how the problem should be addressed? How many convictions I get this way is beside the point.
I don't know who it is who left the site over this thread, and I would say again it's a gross mistake and unfair to sling around accusations of "protect the perps mentality". Apparently that guy has in mind to set up a website where he will encourage vigilante action similar to what PJ does in the USA. If he does, that will involve the same problems I see in PJ.
Adam, you mention that no one is doing a damn thing about child abuse. I understand and respect your feelings, but that statement is wrong. These days the majority of pedophiles who talk to kids on the net are actually talking to police operatives! These are trained police officers who know what they are doing and what will hold up in court. There are active programs to combat pedophilia in every state and also in most western European countries, and the FBI has at least one major task force (I think there are more) set up specifically to investigate inter-state aspects of this activity. And it's not just the police. Schools have programs to warn kids about staying safe, educators have written age-appropriate books for kids (this is extremely difficult to do, by the way), and youth organizations have been working to address the weaknesses that allowed perps to infiltrate them in the past. In the Boy Scouts, which is how I was abused, all leaders are now vetted and trained, there are strict guidelines for relations between the boys and their leaders, and the Scout handbook now comes with a CD on staying safe and all new boys are shown a video on the subject. Hazing and humiliating "initiation" practices, such as stripping a boy naked and staking him out on the ground, are gone for good.
Sure, it's true that lots more needs to be done, but it's also true that things have changed dramatically since the sexual abuse of boys was first recognized as an issue in the mid-1980s.
I go into all this not because I need to sit up arguing over it at 2:00 am
, but because I think there are better ways to do things in a democratic society. If we think a crime isn't getting the attention it deserves, we can become activists for our cause: writing letters, speaking out, addressing public groups, telling our stories, and keeping the problem in the public eye. We can campaign for better laws and stiffer sentencing, and if we don't get what we want we can turn the issue into a campaign issue and get more responsive people elected to office. That's how things work in a democracy, and that's how the major social changes of the 20th century were brought about: universal suffrage, civil rights, trade unionism, etc.
If people want to get involved, hey, there are already a million possibilities. Quite apart from the fact that there are always committee openings here on Male Survivor, I will just speak for the UK. Hotlines need trained volunteers, the NSPCC needs support, groups like Shy Keenan's Phoenix Survivors can always use people, and support groups for survivors would be welcome almost anywhere in the country. The results that such groups can achieve are demonstrated by Dave Lloyd, one of our retired mods. Chris Mallon in Ireland and Duncan Fairhurst in England have published their stories, and Duncan's book in particular has been a huge success.
It can of course be argued what the priorities should be: on stopping the perps or on dealing after the fact with the kids they harm. But the last thing we need are self-important vigilantes using legal loopholes to cash in on a terrible world tragedy - of that I am very sure.