A friend of mine who works in a dirty bookstore told me about this dude who sauntered up to the counter and asked him if he had any “kid vids” behind the counter. “No fucking way,” he replied, “and get the fuck out of here before I punch you out.”
That’s standard operating procedure in Pornworld. People in the adult industry are especially sensitive to the issue, in part because everybody hates child predators but also because it is so easy to attack porn on these grounds.
I don’t really hate the sickos because...well, they are sick. But I don’t shed any tears when they keep these guys locked up beyond their sentence on the grounds it would be dangerous to let them out. At the same time, I have some problems with the current rash of TV stings. Over the last couple of months, hardly a night goes by without a full-scale blast against the predators on Fox, MSNBC or Dateline. It is a trip to watch—these idiots bouncing into the arms of a TV reporter instead of the 14-year-old boy or girl they had contacted online.
NBC’s Dateline has been in the forefront of this action. Since 2004, Dateline has aired—and re-aired MANY times—three reports on sting operations entitled “To Catch a Predator.” The TV newsmag has been working in conjunction with Perverted Justice, a group out of Portland whose members pose as minors in Internet chat rooms, like this:
Joe Perv: Can we play all night, but not Monopoly?
Hot 14: If ya com bout 4 we got lotta time.
Joe Perv: Can I get nekked and play with your pussy?
Hot 14: That sounds like fun.
What amazes me is that any guy wouldn’t figure out immediately this will not be fun but a bust. On grounds of stupidity alone, these dudes deserved to get popped. Just last week a high-ranking official in Homeland Security got caught in a sting like this. This dude was hired to protect us from a terrorist threat. That doesn’t inspire my confidence in Homeland Security.
Dateline plans on airing another predator series over the next few months. From the get-go, the TV mag has worked with Perverted Justice. The volunteers on perverted-justice.com monitor chat rooms posing as kids. When an adult launches into a pervy chat with a person he thinks is a kid, he gets a rude surprise. Frequently he gets ousted on the spot, is told he is talking to a Perverted Justice volunteer, then his picture, if available, his name and his phone number are posted on the site. Example: “You might wanna bookmark that site. Your name, telephone number, photo, and a transcript of this chatlog will appear on the front page [of our site] in 24 hours.”
And it doesn’t always stop there. PJ’s members in some cases have contacted the target’s family and employer. Adding to the fun, visitors to perverted-justice.com can rate the target’s sliminess from one to five.
Many would argue all this is to the good. Whatever it takes to nail predators is fair game. But on a one-to-five scale for slime, I’d say PJ is at least mid-range. While I’m in the middle of the road on this, another website, perverted-truth.com, views PJ as nothing more than vigilantes on a trolling crusade, using methods “akin to the old west posse,” mercilessly harassing the accused, pumping out false information, gloating about their busts on their website, and doing all this “without a conviction in a court of law.”
If you check out both sites it sometimes sounds like a flaming war, but it is a good measure of how one action aimed at rooting out evil bangs up against another force arguing it is dangerous to use any means necessary to achieve an end.
There’s another nasty wrinkle to this. Dateline shelled out $100,000 to Perverted Justice for the sting operations. Bad enough NBC acts as an arm of the law by nailing these guys on the tube followed up with scenes of the pervs walking into the arms of the cops. Even worse when they pay a dubious operation to help them out with their sting operations.