View Poll Results: Is Morton Berger's 200-year sentence for child pornography justified?

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  • Absolutely! If anything, they took it easy on the dirty cur!

    20 40.00%
  • 200 years seems a little long. Surely 100 would have been enough.

    10 20.00%
  • He's a bad man, but not that bad. A single ten-year sentence would be better.

    13 26.00%
  • No way! Child pornography shouldn't be illegal anyway!

    7 14.00%
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Thread: 200 Years in Prison for Possessing Child Pornography?

  1. #21
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    Re: 200 Years in Prison for Possessing Child Pornography?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leofric View Post
    ...I think possession of child pornography shouldn't be illegal in the first place.
    Got kids?

    I think pedophilia is as sick and as evil as the next man, of course...
    Clearly you do not. Indeed you make a hard and fast distinction/qualification that the suplpy side of child pornography is the side of the spectrum, and the only side of the spectrum, worth punishing. I, for one, recognise that they are each responsible - in the manner that each is responsible - for abusing children. In short, you do not believe the demand side is as negligent as the supply side, which is absurd: were there no demand, there would be no supply; were there no supply, demand would remain. It follows that it is the demand side that must take ultimate responsibility for production. - Demand is the constant in this equation.

    But possessing ... images that aren't doing any real damage to anyone but the possessor is no crime and shouldn't be illegal.
    Eh? Was there, or was there not, a child harmed in the production of the images, regardless of who posesses them after their production?

    I think that that is very "real" damage.

    Furthermore, it is a crime and is illegal for these (amongst other) reasons.

    Who's harmed by the images themselves? No one but the idiot who's looking at them
    Scores of people beyond the individual in possession of the images. Not the least of which, the little boy or girl that had their Soul ripped away in their production.

    and he's doing it with full consent.
    The child he is looking at did not/could not consent to the production of the images, which would not have taken place did he not demand them. And it doesn't matter: thank the gods, the law does not recognise the demand side of child pornography to be 'consentual'. For something to be legally consentual, it must involve the carrying out of an action, that is legal, by mutually agreeable parties - moreover, parties that are legally endowed with the capacity to be mutually agreeable.

    The only mutually agreeable parties in instances of child pornography are those involved in production, and those involved in distribution and reciept. And it doesn't matter, because they are not legally endowed to come to such an agreement, as such an agreement hinges upon the victimisation of a child and/or children in order to take place.

    I don't think we should prohibit activities that only hurt consensual participants — if folks want to mess up their own lives, they're more than welcome to. They own their lives, after all.
    Please provide an example of any kind of child pornography that has not harmed a child.

    I understand what the law is trying to do here, of course. We all know that the production of child pornography (if we're talking about actual children and not, say, 17-year-olds) inherently involves abusive treatment of children who can't really give informed consent. And we know that it's produced only because there's a demand for it. And so we come up with laws like these to try to reduce demand for a product whose production is so inherently evil.
    It doesn't seem that you do, Leofric. The law radiates from the idea that children are precious and innocent: it radiates from the idea that harm to a child in the instance of child pornography is particularly hateful, odious, abominable, and reprehensible: it radiates from the idea that such acts by anyone involved in any way, in any child abuse as wretched as child pornography, are deserving of a people's sublimated vengeance - we call this retribution.

    That it might deter, is icing on the cake.

    I think it's comparable to photographs of murder. I have photographs of murders being committed (like, say, the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald) or the effect of their having been committed. They come in the news with some frequency. Murder is more heinous a crime than child abuse (since an abused child can, albeit with great difficulty at times, actually recover). But no one says it's criminal for me to have images of murder. No one accuses me of being an accessory to the crime after the fact because I have the images. No one even thinks I'm a sicko for having the images...
    This is a poor analogue, as well as a straw-man: one would be hard pressed to find two more mutually exclusive things as murder and child pornography, unless it were a case in which one involved the other. Otherwise, the link isn't even tenuous. Further, you have changed your wording from "child pornography" (the thread topic) to "child abuse". All child pornography is child abuse; not all child abuse is child pornorgaphy.

    Possession of child pornography is no more criminal than possession of photographs of murder.
    Per se, yes it is. Indeed, we would not be having this discussion were it not. One is not necessarily participating in the production of a murder for having photographs of one. Whereas the individual in possession of child pornography is an integral link in the chain of abuse that that child has undergone, for all the reasons already stated. It is, therefore, and beyond per se, "more criminal" to possess child pornography - in theory, and application of law.
    "...The moral man is a lower species than the immoral, a weaker species; indeed - he is a type in regard to morality, but not a type in himself; a copy...the measure of his value lies outside him. ... I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage; I do not account the evil and painful character of existence a reproach to it, but hope rather that it will one day be more evil and painful than hitherto..." (Nietzsche)

  2. #22
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    Re: 200 Years in Prison for Possessing Child Pornography?

    ^ That was excellent post SuuT.

    Unfortunately child pornography is not something that occurs in a vacuum. They are often businesses not just something produced for the criminal’s personal enjoyment.

    Here are some excerpts from articles dealing with child pornography/erotica/modeling as business.

    Starting with Andrew Vachss
    Child pornography has become a business so profitable that it is no longer limited to pedophiles. Demand exceeds supply and always will. (Some pedophiles, if they had the resources, would acquire a copy of every single piece of child pornography ever produced.) The risk/gain ratio is extremely favorable. And the return on investment is extraordinary. What crime syndicate would pass up such an opportunity?
    Source
    The testimony was stark and dark yesterday as Congress took one of its periodic looks at child pornography on the Internet.

    Specifics replaced the usual generalities with the focus on pay-for-view live webcams of underage children -- including infants and toddlers -- engaging in sexual acts. In some cases, the parents of the children shot and produced the videos.

    Congressional estimates put the online child pornography business at $20 billion a year and growing. Online or offline, child pornography is illegal in the United States and most other countries.
    Source

    The international internet child porn business. That has already beeen posted on skadi

    For $25 a month, "Lil' Amber" fans can ogle pictures of the little girl coyly hiking up her miniskirt or posing in a bikini on a faux bearskin rug. For $50, they can purchase a video of Amber "dancing and running around" in outfits that leave little to the imagination.

    The money goes to her college fund, the site says.Lil' Amber is one of several websites featuring "models" as young as 9 owned by Webe Web Corporation, an Internet hosting company in Florida. A list of the sites is available at Child Super Models.
    Source

    In online conversations observed by The Times over four months, pedophiles portrayed model sites as the last of a shrinking number of Internet locations for sexual images of minors.

    ”I considered the authors of those sites as leaders of a rebellion movement for child porn,” a man calling himself Heartfallen wrote in an online site for pedophiles, discussing the decline in the number of sites featuring images of naked minors. “They’ve vanished. There is much less freedom on the Internet now. We still have a rebellion made up of nonnude child modeling sites. But are they going to suffer the same fate as their predecessors?”
    Source
    The photograph captures two boys, about 6 or 7 years old, cavorting naked on a beach. One of the boys looks coyly over his shoulder. The other has an erection.

    Child pornography or art?

    Definitely art, according to a growing number of websites charging up to $40 a month for subscribers to gain access to images of naked children as young as 4 years old.
    Source
    A group of 18 corporate giants intends to share information, issue cease-and-desist orders to offenders, and try to expand its reach to almost every financial institution that matters. The aim: to snuff out the commercial spread of the smut by 2008.

    By many estimates, child pornography has mushroomed into a giant business, attracting organized crime. At least 200,000 websites sell such images, according to Mr. Allen, and rake in from $20 billion to $30 billion a year. "Its use is absolutely exploding," says Allen, whose organization each week fields as many as 1,500 tips on illicit sites.

    "We have no illusions we will make the problem go away," he says. "But if we can get the focus back on hard-core pedophiles, [the problem] will be a much smaller magnitude, and we'll be able to use more traditional means to track [pedophiles] and bring [them] to justice."
    http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0316/p01s03-ussc.html
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  3. #23
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    Re: 200 Years in Prison for Possessing Child Pornography?

    To me the answer is simple. If a person is found to be in posession of child pornography or to have ingaged in sex with a child they should be executed, preferably hanged. But Glynd Eastwd may have a point about fathers being scared to be seen with children other than their own, if they choose to give them a ride home from school. If people are becoming suspicious of a simple act like that, there's something wrong with our society. And maybe that's simply the fact that there seem to be so many pedophiles today, and people have a reason to be suspicious. Once again, as with any sort of serious crime, execution would act as an effective deterrent to pedophilia, nipping the whole problem in the bud.
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  4. #24
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    Re: 200 Years in Prison for Possessing Child Pornography?

    Quote Originally Posted by SuuT View Post
    Clearly you do not. Indeed you make a hard and fast distinction/qualification that the suplpy side of child pornography is the side of the spectrum, and the only side of the spectrum, worth punishing. I, for one, recognise that they are each responsible - in the manner that each is responsible - for abusing children. In short, you do not believe the demand side is as negligent as the supply side, which is absurd: were there no demand, there would be no supply; were there no supply, demand would remain. It follows that it is the demand side that must take ultimate responsibility for production. - Demand is the constant in this equation.

    Eh? Was there, or was there not, a child harmed in the production of the images, regardless of who posesses them after their production?
    I think the response to the first of these paragraphs is in the second.

    We can distinguish between the production of child pornography and the consumption of child pornography because its production (assuming the use of live subjects who are actual children) inherently involves harming a child. Its consumption does not.

    Can you make explicit how consumption of child pornography (and notproduction) inherently harms a child? I think we all know its production harms children. There's no need to rehash that. How about its actual consumption?



    Scores of people beyond the individual in possession of the images. Not the least of which, the little boy or girl that had their Soul ripped away in their production.

    The child he is looking at did not/could not consent to the production of the images, which would not have taken place did he not demand them. And it doesn't matter: thank the gods, the law does not recognise the demand side of child pornography to be 'consentual'. For something to be legally consentual, it must involve the carrying out of an action, that is legal, by mutually agreeable parties - moreover, parties that are legally endowed with the capacity to be mutually agreeable.

    The only mutually agreeable parties in instances of child pornography are those involved in production, and those involved in distribution and reciept. And it doesn't matter, because they are not legally endowed to come to such an agreement, as such an agreement hinges upon the victimisation of a child and/or children in order to take place.
    If you can't discern between production of a commodity and consumption of a commodity, then we may not be able to have a reasonable discussion about this. You're trying to say that I'm wrong because I don't see the harm in the production. But I already said I find its production criminal. I'm talking about the consumption. You don't want to address what I'm saying, and instead are attacking what I'm not saying.



    Please provide an example of any kind of child pornography that has not harmed a child.
    I thought I did. A pornographic painting depicting children subjects would be an example of child pornography in which no child has been harmed in its production. It's just one sicko sharing his fantasy with another.



    It doesn't seem that you do, Leofric. The law radiates from the idea that children are precious and innocent: it radiates from the idea that harm to a child in the instance of child pornography is particularly hateful, odious, abominable, and reprehensible: it radiates from the idea that such acts by anyone involved in any way, in any child abuse as wretched as child pornography, are deserving of a people's sublimated vengeance - we call this retribution.

    That it might deter, is icing on the cake.
    Not true. If retribution were really the goal, then the law would spend more time hunting down the dogs who produce the garbage. After all, they are the ones actually engaged in the hateful, odious, abominable, reprehensible act of harming precious and innocent children.

    Cases like Berger's are just cheap scapegoating so that we can assuage our consciences, which ache because deep down we think it's just too much work to go after the real criminals.



    This is a poor analogue, as well as a straw-man: one would be hard pressed to find two more mutually exclusive things as murder and child pornography, unless it were a case in which one involved the other. Otherwise, the link isn't even tenuous. Further, you have changed your wording from "child pornography" (the thread topic) to "child abuse". All child pornography is child abuse; not all child abuse is child pornorgaphy.
    Murder is criminal. Forcing or coercing children into sexual activity is criminal. Both are criminal acts. And if they are not equally criminal, then it seems that murder is the worse crime, since the victim of the other can recover.

    Possessing an image of a murder taking place, even if the murder was performed primarily to allow for production of the image, is not only not criminal, it's not illegal.

    Possessing an image of sexual child abuse taking place, even if the abuse was performed primarily to allow for production of the image, is illegal.

    I see an inconsistency here. It seems to me that possession of either image is not criminal and therefore should not be illegal, regardless of the fact that the acts depicted in the images are horrible crimes.

    I have tried to spell out this analogy as clearly as I can. You have claimed that this analogy is poor. Why don't you spell out in full clarity why you think so? If you can't do that, I'll have little choice but to conclude that you're calling the analogy poor simply because you don't like its implications.



    the individual in possession of child pornography is an integral link in the chain of abuse that that child has undergone
    No. He's not. The only way you could even make that argument plausible is if the possessor of child pornography has actually purchased it from its producer or the producer's licensed distributor.

    A great deal of digital child pornography is distributed person to person. Person to person distribution of media and its beneficiaries are not only not an integral link in the chain that produces that media, but are in fact counterproductive to that chain. Were it not so, Jon Johansen wouldn't have had so much legal hassle in his young life. A person who possesses child pornography acquired through person to person distribution is not the person whom the pornographer is abusing the children for.

    Furthermore, since pedophilia is pretty old in the world's history, and since pornography is pretty in the world's history (both have existed since ancient times), it is not at all impossible that child pornography exists in the public domain. If a person possesses pornographic daguerrotypes of children who died of old age before the person possessing them was born, how on earth could that person be an integral link in the chain of abuse?

    Granted, old pornography of any type is almost certainly a miniscule percentage of extant pornography — the vast majority of child pornography available today that involves live subjects probably depicts people who are still walking the earth and younger than 25.

    But the law doesn't care about that. The law is set down to be applied universally. And with juries who have been stripped of their rightful powers, anyone who runs afoul of the laws because of possessing 19th-century child pornography is likely to get the same treatment as someone who specifically commissions the production of particular images — if the state decides it needs another handy scapegoat.



    One thing that hasn't even begun to be addressed here is the production of child pornography by children for children. I know for a fact that it happens — back in elementary school I had classmates who would do it, and it was a lot tougher back then. With the proliferation of digital cameras capable both of shooting stills and capturing footage, I can only imagine that the prevalence of such pornography has increased dramatically. It can be made with a camera phone and text-messaged to friends, all without any grown-ups even knowing it's going on.

    As our society becomes more and more pornographic and sex-crazed generally, the children want more and more involvement in it. They want to feel like grown-ups. It's really perfectly natural. The only thing that's unnatural is that the adults are modelling behavior that's sicker and sicker all the time.

    The children who do this clearly don't understand the full ramifications of their actions. They can't make fully informed decisions about what they're doing. But at the same time, it's not like anyone is taking advantage of them. They're doing it on their own. It's a different kind of thing than child pornography produced by adults or even by teenagers, even if it ends up getting leaked into adult circles. Its production and distribution cannot be treated in quite the same way as the production and distribution of adult-produced child pornography.

  5. #25
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    Re: 200 Years in Prison for Possessing Child Pornography?

    This is not ment as an insult to you Leofric but there were several things that you had apparently not considered. I hope that someone more knowladgeable and erudite can help fill in the answers that I did not give.
    Quote Originally Posted by Leofric View Post
    We can distinguish between the production of child pornography and the consumption of child pornography because its production (assuming the use of live subjects who are actual children) inherently involves harming a child. Its consumption does not.

    Can you make explicit how consumption of child pornography (and notproduction) inherently harms a child? I think we all know its production harms children. There's no need to rehash that. How about its actual consumption?

    I thought I did. A pornographic painting depicting children subjects would be an example of child pornography in which no child has been harmed in its production. It's just one sicko sharing his fantasy with another.
    Or one sicko using it to groom a potential victim. Or using it as trade for 'real' porn. To me it is by far the lesser evil but still evil.
    An image that is created without a child and is not shared is better than one that is shared.
    Cases like Berger's are just cheap scapegoating so that we can assuage our consciences, which ache because deep down we think it's just too much work to go after the real criminals.
    I agree that he is getting a scapegoat sentence. He deserves more than ten years but 200 is more than he can serve. I think the makers and distributors should be a much higher priority.



    Murder is criminal. Forcing or coercing children into sexual activity is criminal. Both are criminal acts. And if they are not equally criminal, then it seems that murder is the worse crime, since the victim of the other can recover.
    I agree but they boty deserve severe punishment. You cannot me a murder survivour, you can be a rape/mostetation survivour.

    Possessing an image of a murder taking place, even if the murder was performed primarily to allow for production of the image, is not only not criminal, it's not illegal.
    I am under the impression that snuff films and images are generally illegal but it is not well defined.

    No. He's not. The only way you could even make that argument plausible is if the possessor of child pornography has actually purchased it from its producer or the producer's licensed distributor.

    A great deal of digital child pornography is distributed person to person. Person to person distribution of media and its beneficiaries are not only not an integral link in the chain that produces that media, but are in fact counterproductive to that chain. Were it not so, Jon Johansen wouldn't have had so much legal hassle in his young life. A person who possesses child pornography acquired through person to person distribution is not the person whom the pornographer is abusing the children for.
    Licenced distributor?!?The demand encourages criminal sindcates to create it. I would assume that they to not go running to the RAA about copyright violations.
    File sharing is not a new way of distributing child porn. The need barter new images to join some of these groups increases the market.
    If a person possesses pornographic daguerrotypes of children who died of old age before the person possessing them was born, how on earth could that person be an integral link in the chain of abuse?
    Already produced child porn is frequently used to 'groom' a new child.
    Internet technology has helped the child pornography underground evolve from the clandestine physical exchange of grainy Polaroid photos to virtual, anonymous transmission of millions of high-quality images of children as young as 2. For predatory pedophiles who use Internet "chat rooms" to meet potential victims, the pictures are useful tools in a psychologically manipulative "grooming" process that lowers kids' inhibitions and makes them easy prey.
    Source

    But the law doesn't care about that. The law is set down to be applied universally. And with juries who have been stripped of their rightful powers, anyone who runs afoul of the laws because of possessing 19th-century child pornography is likely to get the same treatment as someone who specifically commissions the production of particular images — if the state decides it needs another handy scapegoat.
    That is a valid concern but does not change my opinion that it should be illegal. I do not know what should be done with images from 100's of years ago. They still have potential to be traded or used in the production of more porn.

    One thing that hasn't even begun to be addressed here is the production of child pornography by children for children. I know for a fact that it happens — back in elementary school I had classmates who would do it, and it was a lot tougher back then. With the proliferation of digital cameras capable both of shooting stills and capturing footage, I can only imagine that the prevalence of such pornography has increased dramatically. It can be made with a camera phone and text-messaged to friends, all without any grown-ups even knowing it's going on.

    The children who do this clearly don't understand the full ramifications of their actions. They can't make fully informed decisions about what they're doing. But at the same time, it's not like anyone is taking advantage of them. They're doing it on their own. It's a different kind of thing than child pornography produced by adults or even by teenagers, even if it ends up getting leaked into adult circles. Its production and distribution cannot be treated in quite the same way as the production and distribution of adult-produced child pornography.
    Not a subject that I have found much on. If anyone can help with that I would appreciate it. Teenagers who take pictures to share should be counciled and have their homes looked over by childrens services.

    It is past my bedtime so if there are any errors in this post I will have to correct them tomorrow.
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    Re: 200 Years in Prison for Possessing Child Pornography?

    Quote Originally Posted by ladybright View Post
    Or one sicko using it to groom a potential victim. Or using it as trade for 'real' porn. To me it is by far the lesser evil but still evil.

    Okay, sure, pornographic paintings can be used for criminal purposes, too (like using them to corrupt children). But that doesn't mean they have to be so used. When we're discussing laws with universal application, it seems to me to be worthwhile to consider whether the law can be abused to harm people who shouldn't really be harmed. Why should we punish people who are not harming anyone against his will? A painter of pornographic images involving children who exhibits his work to other (consenting) adults is not hurting anyone who doesn't want to be hurt.



    I agree but they both deserve severe punishment. You cannot be a murder survivour, you can be a rape/mostetation survivour.

    Sure, punish them both severely. No question.

    But we're talking about people possessing pictures of rape (forced or coerced) or molestation of children — not people actually raping or molesting children. Those two just can't be conflated with any degree of honesty.



    I am under the impression that snuff films and images are generally illegal but it is not well defined.

    The link you direct me to seems to suggest that such films don't even exist. I really don't know about that, though.

    I had been thinking of stills, actually, rather than motion pictures. I got the impression that the images in Berger's possession were stills (some of them print photographs rather than digital files, even, if I remember correctly).

    Do you know of any legal code prohibiting the mere possession of such images (whether moving or still)?



    Licenced distributor?!?The demand encourages criminal sindcates to create it. I would assume that they to not go running to the RAA about copyright violations.

    No, silly! I'm not talking about mainstream film distributors. I'm talking about people that the producers grant license for distribution to. Such license could be granted like, "Hey, Vinny! (Yeah, Moishe?) I got some new pics for you to put on the site. (Sounds great!)"

    Of course they're not going to pursue legal action against copyright violators. They might well pursue illegal action against significant copyright violators. But whether they do anything about it or not, if they're trying to sell their product, they won't like anyone but their own middlemen (i.e. licensed distributors) distributing the product very widely. That's the just the way it goes when you're dealing with intellectual property for sale.



    File sharing is not a new way of distributing child porn. The need barter new images to join some of these groups increases the market.

    I'm not quite sure I follow you here. File sharing is definitely a new way to distribute child pornography, since the technology has not been available for more than about three decades at the most (and not widely available for more than about one). The article you linked to, for example, was from 2003. That's pretty new. I guess I'm not really sure what you're driving at here. But you did say it was a bit past your bedtime when you wrote this.



    Already produced child porn is frequently used to 'groom' a new child. Source

    But still, it needn't be. Exposing a child to pornography is different from merely possessing pornography. When we write laws to punish crimes, we should target the actual crimes — not people who put themselves into a position to be capable of committing a crime. If someone possess child pornography, he could use it to corrupt a child in the way you're describing, but that doesn't mean that he does or even that he will. He might just practice self-abuse and go to bed.

    There are enough people behaving monstrously in the world without our dreaming up monstrous intentions in the minds of the average vice-ridden individual. Most vice-ridden folks damage only themselves with their vices. Most vice-ridden people I've met seem pretty disgusted by their own vices and would never want to instill their vices in other people. I've rarely met an addict of any vicious shade who hasn't urged me never to go down his path.

    Most folks, even those who are drowning in vice, are pretty decent folks. They don't want to hurt anyone. They wish they knew how to stop hurting themselves. That kind of person doesn't need to be punished.

    The ones who need to be punished are those few folks who are deliberately trying to hurt others for their own twisted ends. But they're the needle in the haystack. It's a lot easier just to burn some hay to divert the public's attention from the real problem.



    I do not know what should be done with images from 100's of years ago. They still have potential to be traded or used in the production of more porn.

    Potential crime and actual crime are two different things. Let's target actual crime and actual criminals, I say, and leave the potential criminals (who, by definition, are also potential non-criminals) alone, to see how they finally decide to live.



    That is a valid concern

    Yes! It is!

    Scattergun legislature that hopes to ensure hitting the targeted criminal by hitting everyone around the target as well is immoral. I mean, if we really want to ensure that no crimes be committed and that every criminal face justice, then the surest way to do that is to execute everyone.

    Instead, we should craft laws that target criminals as precisely as we possibly can. We want to get every criminal and not a single non-criminal.

    Once we get lazy and start using targeting folks we are almost criminal but not quite, then we're just pouring Quaker State on the slope to tyranny.



    but does not change my opinion that it should be illegal.

    That's all right. I didn't figure I'd change many minds on this matter, since the way folks were talking in this thread, it seemed like they had their minds well made up.

    I honestly more people would see things my way on it when I posted the thread. I've seen the topic discussed on other fora where the vote was just about unanimously opposed to Berger's sentence.

    I'm mostly just glad that you're willing to see that my point of view is based in "a valid concern," as you put it.



    Not a subject that I have found much on. If anyone can help with that I would appreciate it. Teenagers who take pictures to share should be counciled and have their homes looked over by childrens services.
    First let me say that I'm not talking about teenagers when I talk about children producing porn for other children.

    I think it's better not to think about teenagers as subjects of child pornography at all when we discuss child pornography. Technically, pornography involving a girl who is 17, produced on the day before her 18th birthday, is (in the United States at least) child pornography and illegal, while pornography involving the very same girl on the very next day is just hunky-dory porn involving consenting adults. It's a totally arbitrary line and it's too easy to make arguments going either way when we get close to it.

    I think it's better to limit discussion of child pornography to pornography involving pre-teen children. They are clearly unable to give proper consent to any sexual behavior they might be coerced into doing for the photographer and, as you have pointed out, unable to give proper consent to being exposed to pornographic images. A 17-year-old might not be a victim of the pornographer. But no one can question whether a 7-year-old is.

    Also, the children I knew when I was a child who were involved in the production of child pornography solely with other children and solely for the consumption of other children were all pre-teens.

    Now, it's possible that there was child abuse going on behind the scenes that I didn't know about and that these kids were already sick because of criminal adults. I'll never know.

    But it's also possible that they were just affected by the increasingly erotic media and decadent culture of our times. Everywhere, pornography of various shades is becoming more and more acceptable in our society. The kids I knew didn't have to be abused to be interested in sex at that early age and fascinated by images of sex like those found on television, in the movies, and so forth.

    These days, twenty years later, I can't but imagine that such behavior has only boomed among pre-teen children, and without any help from child abuse. Poor parenting may be present in every situation, but maybe not. Growing urbanization almost necessarily puts children into the path of erotic media pretty early on. And improvements in technology have made the production of pornography a thousand times easier than it ever was before.

    But you're right. Cases like these should be treated as sicknesses rather than crimes. It's a different scenario. If adults possess child pornography produced under such circumstances, then which crime are they participating in, since there would have been no crime in the production of the pornography, which is the stage that everyone seems to agree is the most criminal?

    It's my contention that such adults, like the children, need counselling rather than incarceration. Furthermore, it's my contention that a law that fails to see this difference and the others we have discussed is an inappropriate law; instead we should take the time and the effort to write and enforce laws that will target the actual criminals, and leave the sickos to the psychologists and the ministers.

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    Re: 200 Years in Prison for Possessing Child Pornography?

    All three opinion in Arizona v. Berger, No. CR-05-0101-PR (Ariz. May 10, 2006) (available here)
    "...The moral man is a lower species than the immoral, a weaker species; indeed - he is a type in regard to morality, but not a type in himself; a copy...the measure of his value lies outside him. ... I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage; I do not account the evil and painful character of existence a reproach to it, but hope rather that it will one day be more evil and painful than hitherto..." (Nietzsche)

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    Re: 200 Years in Prison for Possessing Child Pornography?

    Quote Originally Posted by SuuT View Post
    All three opinion in Arizona v. Berger, No. CR-05-0101-PR (Ariz. May 10, 2006) (available here)
    That certainly clears up a lot of the facts in the case.

    We can learn from this that there is no evidence whatsoever that Berger ever touched a child improperly. Furthermore, we learn that there's no evidence that Berger ever paid anyone for the images in his possession — as Justice Berch put it, "Although purchase of such items undoubtedly drives the market for their production, it is unclear that mere possession does so." And we learn that this is his first offense.

    I also think some of the points brought up in these opinions are rather telling.

    First, the court, in its majority opinion, seems to think that writing a bad check is a more passive felony than possessing (without purchase) a pornographic image depicting a child. It seems to me that actively defrauding a person in order to steal his property is just a wee bit less "passive" than looking at dirty pictures. Berger in no way assisted in the production of these images — not even by giving money to the people who produced them. I'd say that's more passive. But the court disagrees. They think that getting a life sentence for habitually stealing through fraudulent means by writing bad checks and, after repeated convictions, showing no intent to reform is just absurdly rotten, while passing a mandatory minimum sentence of 200 years for possessing twenty images is just to be expected. Their idea of passive seems a little off — maybe even a little politically motivated.

    Second, they are basing their decision in part on the precedent of a sentence of life without parole for a first-time offender caught with 672 grams of cocaine. That defendant was not involved in any activity other than a very non-violent possession of the material. But because cocaine is involved in such a great deal of criminal behavior in our society — that is, because of the crimes of people who were not the defendant — the court had upheld the life sentence of the defendant caught with the cocaine. That is to say, the court believes it acceptable to punish a particular defendant more severely because of crimes committed by people who are not that particular defendant. If that's not scapegoating, then I really don't know what is. The precedent on which the majority opinion in this case is based explicitly condones penological scapegoating. Personally, I don't like that a bit.

    Third, the court defers way too much to the legislature. Two of the justices actually wrote that the sentence seems really quite too long. The rest all agreed that it was at least "lengthy." But almost all of them sort of felt like they had to march to the tune set down by the legislature. This, I think, is where the take-home message lies. If we had real juries — juries like we used to have, juries that have the full power over trying the case, juries like our ancestors always had going back to Anglo-Saxon times — they wouldn't feel like they needed to bow to the legislature. They would feel like they could examine the case for themselves and judge for themselves how Berger should be treated. And one thing is almost certain — such a jury would never give a sentence of 200 years for this crime: they might sentence him to death; they might sentence him to exile; they might sentence him to ten years in prison; they might sentence him to one year in prison; they might even acquit him; they might even, if they really felt like they wanted the drain on their coffers, sentence him to life in prison; but they would never invent such an absurd sentence as 200 years in prison so that he could be sustained at the state's expense for a crime like this.
    Last edited by Leofric; Sunday, March 4th, 2007 at 04:52 PM. Reason: typo corrected

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    Re: 200 Years in Prison for Possessing Child Pornography?

    Hmm, let me see: a hacker invade your computer using a trojan and put some child pornography in a directory that you dont use for some months and are, by all means, forgotten. Then he manage to call the police and show evidence you have child pornography. You go to the jail and get 200 years, at the same time that a serial killer gets 100, or a politician gets none for driving wars that causes the death of thousand youngs. Hmm, very interesting, welcome to the world of morality. Of course, he is a paedophile, have sick ideas, but if he dont raped a child or dont shoted these pics, he should not be sentenced to 200 years, maybe one week but not more. How many rapists get much less than this? How many rapists are released just in some weeks?
    Morality can get absurd tones when it comes to the release and exchange of information, but not when it comes to a physical, real attack. Seems the censors are eager to take a first example to open the doors to more censorship in other areas. Their main enemy is the internet, the mp3, the p2p, not the rapist in the streets. So they want a excuse, and use these perverted paedophiles as first-hand examples.

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    Re: 200 Years in Prison for Possessing Child Pornography?

    The case is, in multiple ways, precedent setting.

    The law evolves in theory and application.
    "...The moral man is a lower species than the immoral, a weaker species; indeed - he is a type in regard to morality, but not a type in himself; a copy...the measure of his value lies outside him. ... I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage; I do not account the evil and painful character of existence a reproach to it, but hope rather that it will one day be more evil and painful than hitherto..." (Nietzsche)

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