Debate and Discussion

"to catch a predator"-- justifiable?
Kristen Gudsnuk at 6:11AM, Oct. 22, 2007
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I know child molesters are bad, obviously. But I was bored and watching some clips from “To Catch a Predator” on youtube, and I was just struck by how.. wrong it seemed. For those of you who haven't heard of it, it's a TV show where they lure sexual predators into houses via the internet and then confront them.
There's something about getting arrested for dirty-talking with some NBC employee posing as a thirteen-year-old girl that seems unfair. I mean, they're not ACTUALLY attempting statutory rape, even though they may think they are. No minors are involved. So since their crimes are imaginary, doesn't that make their punishment null as well?
Also, I highly doubt that any of those people gave permission to display their faces on that show. it all just seems shady to me.

I think this is the kind of topic where my opinion might be in the extreme minority… well anyway I'm curious to hear other people's thoughts!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:22PM
DAJB at 6:21AM, Oct. 22, 2007
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Interesting question. My gut feel is that it is justified but maybe that's just because child abuse is such an emotive subject.

Would we be just as happy about putting out adverts to “recruit” potential hitmen or burglars for a fictitious job and then having those who respond arrested even though the job never existed?

It has echoes of “Minority Report” about it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
Pixie at 7:37AM, Oct. 22, 2007
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Scaremongering and vigilante justice, hurrah. This is just an example of extreme tv gone wrong… and this sort of cheap titillation makes me worry for humanity. There's nothing wrong with the police catching people using this sort of device (they can and do), but doing it in the name of ‘entertainment’ isn't just shady, it's pretty sickening.
Alaka-bwee-oop! Old school.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:45PM
mlai at 8:06AM, Oct. 22, 2007
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What about the episode where the “predator” stood outside the house for 10 minutes bantering with the teenage actress inside the house, but in the end decided not to go in and just went back to his car.

Then the cops jumped out and floored him.

Um, WTF? He didn't do anything. Can't he sue?

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
StaceyMontgomery at 8:15AM, Oct. 22, 2007
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I'm with Pixie mostly - it's one thing to set up stings, its another thing to do it for cash and our entertainment.

But I agree with Mlai that some of these things seem to go way too far.

I can recall Once or twice in my life when I have talked about doing things that I should not do - and then I did not do them. Haven't you? I would hate to think that the next time I spoke too loosely at a party that I would be nabbed by the combined forces of the government and hollywood.

I do think that if you take the “pedophilia” aspect out of it, it looks different.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
mlai at 8:29AM, Oct. 22, 2007
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Someone
I would be nabbed by the combined forces of the government and hollywood.
That's a potent combination.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
ozoneocean at 8:48AM, Oct. 22, 2007
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Heh, we had a thread on this in the media forum. I'd never heard of the show before, but after watching the Youtube clips I found it disturbing. These entrapment exercises are dodgy enough without making crap TV out of them. I agree that the guys who're stung are people worth watching by the authorities, but since it's a completely fabricated scenario it seems more like they're being actively recruited to engage in problematic activities, it's like the reverse of the paedophile “grooming” thing. lol!

Yeah… Stings and entrapment bring to mind those fabricated cases against the Pakistani businessmen in the US who were supposedly trying to get stinger missiles to blow up jet airliners. It turns out that the whole thing was made up, some lying toe-rag hired by the FBI approached some fellows and asked if they'd supply part of the money for a dodgy cash transfer. All those guys were out for was a profit on the funds and yet this corrupt system fabricates a terrorism case against these men just because they're Pakistani.

Yeah, you have to be VERY careful about entrapment. Heh, if they really care about hunting paedophiles, they should get off the internet and into schools, churches, child welfare, foster homes, child correctional facilities, the justice system, orphanages, social groups, holiday camps… Those are the hunting grounds of these animals, THAT'S where it's endemic and institutionalised.
Eh, that'd involve real investigation and real journalism though. Not much of that around these days is there? ;)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:28PM
bobhhh at 9:12AM, Oct. 22, 2007
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Kristen Gudsnuk
I know child molesters are bad, obviously. But I was bored and watching some clips from “To Catch a Predator” on youtube, and I was just struck by how.. wrong it seemed. For those of you who haven't heard of it, it's a TV show where they lure sexual predators into houses via the internet and then confront them.
There's something about getting arrested for dirty-talking with some NBC employee posing as a thirteen-year-old girl that seems unfair. I mean, they're not ACTUALLY attempting statutory rape, even though they may think they are. No minors are involved. So since their crimes are imaginary, doesn't that make their punishment null as well?
Also, I highly doubt that any of those people gave permission to display their faces on that show. it all just seems shady to me.

I think this is the kind of topic where my opinion might be in the extreme minority… well anyway I'm curious to hear other people's thoughts!

My biggest problem is that they technically havent committed a crime, but it stands to reason that they very clearly may.

So if your intent is to spare potential molestation victims, perhaps instead of making this all about entrapment and incarceration instead the people nabbed could be steered very strenuously towards councilling, as in “we are wise to you, so you better seek therapy so we can close the book on your potential bad judgement”.

Some of these guys were just sad, lonely and pathetic. That doesn't make what they were potentially capable of any less reprehensible, but since these stings give you the benefit of preempting possible molestation, why not use the opportunity to neutralize a threat instead of ruining what ever life these guys have left, and almost guaranteeing that they become unrehabilitatable.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
Fuzzy Modem at 10:02AM, Oct. 22, 2007
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Remember when society pretended that perverts and predators didn't exist? Now it's being broadcast into every home in America (and subsiquently the world) simply for entertainment value. Kids are watching this shit, yet let a nipple slip at a half time show and “it's the work of the devil!”

and people ask me why I don't watch television…

BTW, can anyone say “Entrapment”?


I've given up following my dreams. I just asked where they're going and I'm gonna meet them there.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:32PM
Vagabond at 5:51PM, Oct. 22, 2007
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That, and three quarters of them get out because a lot of the evidence is inadmissible in court because of the fact that reporters and media are involved in all of the steps. Great job guys.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:38PM
Phantom Penguin at 6:39PM, Oct. 22, 2007
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Yes but even talking to a minor like those people do is aganist the law, even if they don't show up to the house they can still be arrested. Being confronted on tape is just that extra kick in the balls those guys need.

Child molesters are some of the sickest bastards out there, anything they are doing to catch them I am all for.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
Fuzzy Modem at 9:03PM, Oct. 22, 2007
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But that's the rub isn't it? We've convicted them in advance for having a mental condition, and then exploiting that same condition, we convince them to do something morally reprehesible. Isn't spurring the psyco on and then calling him on it equally perverse? It's like giving a recovering addict drugs and then busting him. I mean, we're encouraging pedophiles to act on their cross wired impulses for the sake of our own entertainment. And on TV no less. WTF!

Ever seen the movie Hard Candy? Fucking awesome movie. Go rent it. Now.


I've given up following my dreams. I just asked where they're going and I'm gonna meet them there.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:32PM
mlai at 9:04PM, Oct. 22, 2007
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Phantom Penguin
Yes but even talking to a minor like those people do is aganist the law, even if they don't show up to the house they can still be arrested.
Talking trash is against the law? Is it now? I'd call that totalitarian bull****.

1. When you're typing trash with someone online, you don't even know if it's an underage girl/boy. For all you know it's a 40 y/o fat hairy man. These ppl are just playing out their little fantasies with each other. It's lame but it's not criminal.

2. You walk up to some girl on the street because she has the exact same type of new electronic gadget your niece wants for her B-day. You ask her about it and the whole thing takes 5 minutes. You start to turn around and -BAM- 5 cops slam you to the ground. You give the gov't the leeway to do whatever they want, and they'll use it to do whatever they want.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
subcultured at 11:02PM, Oct. 22, 2007
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you gotta ask yourself, is it wrong if you don't get caught?

sure you can throw out words like “entrapment”, but really those predators have a plan when they go to those houses.

what would a predator be doing in a teen chatroom? if he was busted before or is trying to not be tempted, why would he be in the chatroom?

maybe if they do get caught, maybe they will seek the help they need.
maybe this time the show saved a little girl from being raped or killed.


J
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:03PM
ozoneocean at 11:17PM, Oct. 22, 2007
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Maybe consider that the entire situation is completely contrived and artificial from the moment the idiot is in the chat room, to the time when the idiot is at the house. Not one single thing about it is real apart from the consequences they face, and even those are probably exaggerated since this is TV and we already know it's entrapment.

As I say, there are places and institutions where it is WELL KNOWN that paedophiles not only exist but are entrenched and thrive, that's real ones, not opportunistic perverts (schools, the justices system, social groups, churches, holiday camps, welfare systems, foster homes, correctional facilities, orphanages…). I don't really see anyone going after them all that much…? So I'd say that shows like this are more harmful to the cause if anything because they promote an illusion that they're doing something useful about the problem when they're only pretending and in actual fact nothing useful is being done at all.
 
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bobhhh at 11:44PM, Oct. 22, 2007
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ozoneocean
Maybe consider that the entire situation is completely contrived and artificial from the moment the idiot is in the chat room, to the time when the idiot is at the house. Not one single thing about it is real apart from the consequences they face, and even those are probably exaggerated since this is TV and we already know it's entrapment.

As I say, there are places and institutions where it is WELL KNOWN that paedophiles not only exist but are entrenched and thrive, that's real ones, not opportunistic perverts (schools, the justices system, social groups, churches, holiday camps, welfare systems, foster homes, correctional facilities, orphanages…). I don't really see anyone going after them all that much…? So I'd say that shows like this are more harmful to the cause if anything because they promote an illusion that they're doing something useful about the problem when they're only pretending and in actual fact nothing useful is being done at all.

These stings are conducted like a fkn duck hunt.

Pull people aside and they get all serious in an interview, but watch them at work and it all smiles, snarky comments and high fives. These folks use the protection of children as an excuse to engage in mental manipulation, fraud and subjucation of rights. It is ironic that many pedophiles are just grown up victims like thos they profess to care about. To deny these sick individuals basic human dignity and treat them not like mental patients, but disgusting human trash says a lot about the humanity of these self apointed vigilantes.

I find it curious how easy it is for them to be duplicitous and predatory when they have the protection of children as a moral hammer.

These people are thugs and have even less excuse than those they persue because they don't even have mentall illness to explain their bad behaviour.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
Phantom Penguin at 3:05AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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mlai
Phantom Penguin
Yes but even talking to a minor like those people do is aganist the law, even if they don't show up to the house they can still be arrested.
Talking trash is against the law? Is it now? I'd call that totalitarian bull****.

1. When you're typing trash with someone online, you don't even know if it's an underage girl/boy. For all you know it's a 40 y/o fat hairy man. These ppl are just playing out their little fantasies with each other. It's lame but it's not criminal.

2. You walk up to some girl on the street because she has the exact same type of new electronic gadget your niece wants for her B-day. You ask her about it and the whole thing takes 5 minutes. You start to turn around and -BAM- 5 cops slam you to the ground. You give the gov't the leeway to do whatever they want, and they'll use it to do whatever they want.

Even if you just think it is a underage girl/boy and you start talking about acting out sexually with them its against the law in some states. And those are the state the ‘To Catch A Predator’ guys go to.

That wouldn't be illegal, and you wouldn't get arrested. Unless you walked up and started wispering sweet nothings into her hear and flashing your wang like they do in the show.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:42PM
kyupol at 4:53AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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lets just legalize pedophilia shall we.

Because its a lifestyle choice and the government has no right to tell you what lifestyle choice you want. Let us all stop this horrible horrible oppression of pedophiles.
NOW UPDATING!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
StaceyMontgomery at 5:16AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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I'd just like to make an observation about the word “pedophile”

A pedophile is an adult who is sexually attracted to children. That is, to pre-pubsecent people.

These guys are not pedophiles. They think they are going to have sex with a teeenager - at least, that's what I understand about these stings.

For a straight guy to be attracted to a teenage girl does not make him a pedophile. It does not make him sick in any way. It just makes him a creep who's trying to do something nasty.

(Teenagers are too young to make decisions about sex - that's also why we don't let them vote, and why we don't sentence them as adults - because we know they aren't up to that sort of responsibility yet)

Look, let's be clear - I know lots of straight guys. If you let them drink too much, they will tell you that they see lots of teenage girls that they think are “hot” - but they don't act on that thought, and they generally don't talk about it, because they're adults and they know right from wrong. But they won't suddenly tell you that 3-year olds are “hot” because pedophilia is actually pretty rare.

But the guys in these stings - They not pedophiles. They don't even seem particularly dangerous to me. They just seem like losers. If you offered them a million dollars to kill someone, I bet they show up to take the money.

But that wouldn't make them Ninjas.
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7384395948urhfdjfrueruieieueue at 5:24AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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I like the part where the guy shoots himself….

And his sister threatens to sue the show. -_-
i will also like to know you the more
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:05AM
Ronson at 5:31AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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The thing that bugs me is the convoluted method of entrapment used. An adult - usually male - pretends to be a teenage (or younger) girl who likes to talk dirty. After some time, they create a situation where the guy on they're stringing along can supposedly hook up with the girl without fear of being caught.

For this to be a valid, we have to first accept that teenage (and younger) girls would chat like this online. I think I can probably buy that.

Then we have to accept that after chatting like this, these same girls would invite complete strangers to their homes. That seems unlikely.

Also, if you are the parent of a young girl - or boy - it would behoove you to monitor everything they do online to prevent something horrible happening. I'm willing to bet they aren't as bad as these “pretend” children, but it is parental responsibility to take care of their kids.

The way the online pedophiles work has nothing to do with these types of chats, from what I understand. They try to become the kids friend (not sex talker) and then slowly convince them to meet them somewhere … usually someplace public. Then they build a relationship and only eventually make is sexual. In fact, this is how non-online pedophiles work, which is why ozone's comments about the types of professions that pedophiles thrive in makes the most sense. Beware of people who have some power over your children.

As far as I can see, these stings are so completely divorced from the real problem of sexual predators that they are most likely nearly useless.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
mlai at 5:56AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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Ronson
As far as I can see, these stings are so completely divorced from the real problem of sexual predators that they are most likely nearly useless.
There is a reason why an ineffective route of pedophilia is so prominently flaunted and used to create a main venue for a show. Because it sells a good scare.

At this point, everything with the word “internet” sells a good scare. Current parents know just enough to know what it is but ignorant enough to buy the sell. “Oh noes the internet is like a highway straight into my daughter's bedroom~!!” Nevermind the kid goes to day camp, or basketball practice, or whatever. As long as it's not in the house it must not exist.

Foster homes? Welfare systems? Ppl dun wanna watch that - it's too depressing and it doesn't concern their house. And the moment a show like that tries its shit on an organization, the teachers or the coaches unions would have a field day with it. Better to target hermit losers who don't pose a threat.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:05PM
freefall_drift at 8:00AM, Oct. 23, 2007
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kyupol
lets just legalize pedophilia shall we. Because its a lifestyle choice and the government has no right to tell you what lifestyle choice you want. Let us all stop this horrible horrible oppression of pedophiles.
Grrr. I know you were being sarcastic but it's “Consenting ADULTS”. It's ok between consenting ADULTS.
(I suppose you could glom onto the Kids charged as Adults thread and make discussion that a kid's an adult when it comes to murder but not a adult when it comes to sex.)

I take guilty pleasure watching “to catch a predator”. It is like watching a train wreck or COPS. It's fun watching losers. I watch them and wonder how stupid or desperate or horny these guys must be.

StaceyMontgomery
For a straight guy to be attracted to a teenage girl does not make him a pedophile. It does not make him sick in any way. It just makes him a creep who's trying to do something nasty.
There was a computer site a while back, that showed a grid of women's faces, each slightly different. Of the set, you choose the one you found most attractive. That one was used as a template for the next set of 9, each with variations on that and the face evolved to the ideal beauty for each man.
The numbers were aggregated and, for male web surfers in the year 2000, the perfect woman for them was a pixie type girl with a blended age about about 12-14. Kinda creepy. But they justified it as some psycho babble about it being the age a girl most fertile for cavemen or some bs. Maybe all the bulk of the guys who took the survey were perverts. I donno.
Freefall Drift - A sci fi space opera of a starship's mission of stopping the Endless Kings.
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TnTComic at 12:03PM, Oct. 23, 2007
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I want to hire a kid to pose as a 30 year old in a chat session. And then when the kid posing as the 30 year old goes to meet the NBC guy, they arrest HIM for soliciting a minor.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
bobhhh at 12:51PM, Oct. 23, 2007
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kyupol
lets just legalize pedophilia shall we.

Because its a lifestyle choice and the government has no right to tell you what lifestyle choice you want. Let us all stop this horrible horrible oppression of pedophiles.

Nice.

Your point?? Are we wasting our time by having this discussion? Is it so wrong to consider the rights of the accused here? Or does this blind obsession with the prtection of children make any behavior, no matter how gratuitous and petty, ok as long as it's in the service of helping kids.

Color me stupid, but I seem to remember a little axiom from youth that went something like: “THE ENDS NEVER JUSTIFY THE MEANS”

Go figure.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
bobhhh at 1:08PM, Oct. 23, 2007
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mlai
Ronson
As far as I can see, these stings are so completely divorced from the real problem of sexual predators that they are most likely nearly useless.
There is a reason why an ineffective route of pedophilia is so prominently flaunted and used to create a main venue for a show. Because it sells a good scare.

At this point, everything with the word “internet” sells a good scare. Current parents know just enough to know what it is but ignorant enough to buy the sell. “Oh noes the internet is like a highway straight into my daughter's bedroom~!!” Nevermind the kid goes to day camp, or basketball practice, or whatever. As long as it's not in the house it must not exist.

Foster homes? Welfare systems? Ppl dun wanna watch that - it's too depressing and it doesn't concern their house. And the moment a show like that tries its shit on an organization, the teachers or the coaches unions would have a field day with it. Better to target hermit losers who don't pose a threat.

Right on. This is like that assertion in Bowling fo Columbine that says although violent crimes in innercities went down during a certain decade, reporting of same VC on the local “if it bleeds, it leads” news casts went up some ridiculously high number like several hundred percent.

It's why Maury and Springer exist, we are fascinated with the outrageous and the scary. It's like how our brain shuts off when we are in a big budget special FX movie.

We are less interested in the realities and complexities of the problem as we are in nuking it.

My name is Bob and I approved this signature.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
TnTComic at 4:02AM, Oct. 24, 2007
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bobhhh
Color me stupid, but I seem to remember a little axiom from youth that went something like: “THE ENDS NEVER JUSTIFY THE MEANS”

Oh no no… color ME stupid, because i've never believed the axiom “The ends never justify the means”. I can think of all kinds of circumstances where the ends justify the means. Its one of those expressions that sounds real good on paper but isn't practical at all.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
Ronson at 5:28AM, Oct. 24, 2007
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TnTComic
bobhhh
Color me stupid, but I seem to remember a little axiom from youth that went something like: “THE ENDS NEVER JUSTIFY THE MEANS”

Oh no no… color ME stupid, because i've never believed the axiom “The ends never justify the means”. I can think of all kinds of circumstances where the ends justify the means. Its one of those expressions that sounds real good on paper but isn't practical at all.


In this case, the end - to make a profitable television show - is justification for the means - entrapping lonely men who may or may not have ever done anything without the encouragement they've received.

I think all axioms must be taken with a grain of salt (ha! there's one!), but in this particular case I can't see how the ends justify the means.

But maybe I think making profitable television isn't really a worthy goal.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
TnTComic at 6:02AM, Oct. 24, 2007
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Ronson
In this case, the end - to make a profitable television show - is justification for the means - entrapping lonely men who may or may not have ever done anything without the encouragement they've received.

I think all axioms must be taken with a grain of salt (ha! there's one!), but in this particular case I can't see how the ends justify the means.

But maybe I think making profitable television isn't really a worthy goal.

The ends is not to make a television show. They just happen to film it.

To Catch a Predator is a sting operation, plain and simple. They don't make the pedophiles show up to the house, just like they don't make the druggy try to buy, or the solicitor go up to the prostitute. I really just don't have a problem with sting operations at all.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:31PM
StaceyMontgomery at 6:38AM, Oct. 24, 2007
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TNTComic said -

>


that statement does not appear to be true. After all, the first two installments of the show did not have law enforcement officers present - the men were interviewed for the show and then let go.

The “internet chat” part of the operation is handled by an activist group called Perverted Justice. They seem like serious and well meaning people to me, I think I like them. However, they are not law enforcement officials and despite the use of the term “volunteer” their group gets a lot of money from NBC. They must be seen therefore as paid operatives of the network. Personally, I think it does make a difference whether you are getting paid to catch criminals or getting paid to put on a show.

So just to be clear - This “sting operation” was set up and run entirely by NBC and their paid associates, the Police became involved later. Since NBC makes shows and is not a Law enforcement group, the end here was clearly to make a television show.


That doesn't make it bad, of course, but I think it's important to start with the facts.


edited for etiquette


last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM

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