I was reading an article the other day about how teenagers in American who fool around are subject to arrest as sex offenders. To most of us who have even the vaguest recollection of being a teenager this sounds like paranoid insanity and the truth is not far from it.
In most cases two teenagers engaging in sexual activities are imune from the law because we all know that human nature has a way of taking us hostage, especially when we are young, full of hormones, and prone to doing stupid things that we would never even dream of as an adult. Children need to beÂ protected from adults who would exploit them, not from themselves. So what has changed?
The problem is that with the proliferation of cell phone cameras kids engaging in sexual play are,Â understandably,Â taking photos of themeselves and then circulate those photos among friends. And once that happens a bunch of nut jobs in the American judicial system, brainswashed by right wing propaganda, have decided that this behaviour must be stopped at all costs. And of course the only way to stop this behaviour is prosecution. The logic: teach a few good kids a really nasty lesson and others will learn from it. Patent nonesense.
We acknowledge that kids are kids for a reason; because they are KIDS! They do not yet have the capacity to make adult decisions. Charging a teenager with a sex crime as an adult because she posted a topless picture of herself on myspace is a classic example of paranoid delusion. This is creating a problem where none exists and ruining the life of a young person because her actions offend the sensibilties of only the most conservative section of modern society.
Obviously we do not want our kids taking pictures of themeselves in compromising positions. That is not being argued because there existsÂ a segment of society so twisted that we have a global industry circulating child pornography. But let’s fight the real fight. Let’s go after the people who are actually sex offenders. Go after the pedophiles who exploit children and throw the book at them. There is no question about that because there are bad people our children need protecting from.
And admittedly our children need protection from themeselves from time to time. But when two consenting teenagers fool around and take a picture of the activity a crime has not been commited. When a young girl takes a picture of herself and sends it to her boyfriend a crime has not been committed. We don’t need teenagers applying for pardons because they did something foolish in a moment of passion. And we don’t need teenagers registered as adult sex offenders. This helps no one.
ThisÂ is policing at its worst. Allow me to make a small comparison. This would be like a busting a hippie commune forÂ growing weed when a bunch of crystal meth crack dealing junkies are pushing theirÂ smack on preteens two doors down the street.
Why do we have so much trouble fighting the real fight?