Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Duct Tape, Pranks and Child Abuse

When I first learned of the two recent cases in which parents tied up their kids with duct tape and posted the photos on Facebook, I thought -- forget jail.  These people need to be lined up in front of a firing squad.  But when I  calmed down enough to reflect on the situation, my thoughts took a 180 degree turn.  

The real problem is not immature parents, too dumb to realize that their so-called pranks are serious criminal acts.  It is rather that we as a society are stressed out by the fact that we're finding it nearly impossible to root out psychopathic child abusers until long after the damage is done.  The real criminals who maim, molest and kill children do not post evidence of their dirty work on Facebook.  In fact, they blend into society so effortlessly that, the first impulse of friends, neighbors, family members and colleagues when presented with evidence of these peoples' psychopathology is denial and an aggressive defense of them.  The two recent cases of coaches at Penn State and Syracuse University underscore that point.    

I just came across the following insightful comment on the issue:

Somebody is taking their best shot at comedy, and we have all see plenty of similar bone headed stuff in the movies each year. So basically they're saying if your a Hollywood filmmaker it's fine, but if you're just some amateur homebody with too much time on your hands you're going to be arrested. If the police are scrolling through Facebook pics looking for crime then maybe they have too much time on their hands too. People who REALLY abuse their children aren't going to be posting pictures of it. How many innocent pranksters have to be arrested before they catch one really abuser?

If we as a society cannot yet figure out who the real child predators are, let's not expend all of our legal and emotional energy going after stupid, young parents, who could use a few parenting classes rather than jail time.  

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