Friday, May 18, 2007

To catch a predator?

Chris Hansen with Dateline on MSNBC does these stings on alleged sexual predators. I say alleged because from what I can tell these guys are more like opportunists instead of true predators. The online world is full of everyone. Most of them are lonely and bored out of their skulls. The "predators" on the show are all men. Rather sexist that, although it has been my experience as a female that nearly all men are obsessed with sex, not as a mental illness, but because they are biologically hardwired that way.

That said, there is no excuse for these guys to be showing up at a kid's house.

But what bothers me about this story is the same thing that bothers me about what happened at Virginia Tech. These things are all symptoms of a dysfunctional society. The online world just exacerbates the mass unreality our society breeds and lives in. The source of this dysfunction and delusion is in the culture which then uses TV, it's utterly depraved programming, and its muli-billion dollar psy-ops in advertising to transmit a set of values that are decidely and inherently anti-social. Tie this in with red-blooded males looking for any opportunity to have sex and gee, guess what, you're going to find a lot of guys willing to show up for it.

I especially disagree with the decoy egging the guys to come over. To use the ruse of a willing female of a very young age being persistent and deliberately enticing is wrong. Two wrongs don't make a right. I consider this entrapment.

True predators are different than simple opportunists. Predators are the ones who are persistent. They look for likely and unwary targets, probing for weaknesses, and persisting against shyness by exploiting a young person's curiosity. And like rape being about power and not sex, predators are also about power. The only way to know if these men are in fact predators or possible rapists is to see how they behave with the girl or boy and whether they would take "no" for an answer. For the allegations of the sting to stick, true intent must be evident. This was not established in what I saw. What I saw were horny guys hoping to "get lucky." Such opportunities in real life have always been slim, so if the internet provides a greater chance of "getting lucky" then who isn't going to jump at it?

Oh, as for the pictures these guys send, hm...let's say that seeing what your getting is not such a bad thing. BUT, and this is a huge BUT, sending pix to underage kids is taboo! The shame these guys exhibit when confronted with what they thought they shared in private via a computer screen and an internet connection shows that they are not so depraved as they are depicted in the program. Such things are far more rare in real life for the very reason that real life is dealing with the physical world where the internet does not. In other words, it is far harder for men to scam on 13 year old girls in real life because the physical reality of it kicks in the normal taboos against such behavior. But the non-physical world of the internet is able to bypass all the normal real world taboos. What happens then is that the fantasy of the online world is carried into the real world with the hope of the fantasy being made real, which it usually isn't. Such is the nature of desire and its traps.

While there are indeed genuine threats to personal safety at the individual level, the real predators--those who prey on the entire American public--are nowhere in Chris Hansen's reports.

[Note to self: Public virtue and private vice. There are different types of vice. Some are genuinely taboo. Others, not so much. The online world blurs the line between inner fantasy and outer reality and America is not capable of dealing with it until it gets its values and culture sorted out and re-priortized. The legislature has to begin the process by actually serving the greater public interest. As the Great Learning teaches, "It cannot be, when the root is neglected that what should spring from it will be well ordered." ]