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Convicted Sex Offenders & The Media

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posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 04:35 PM
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This has always been a sensitive subject, and in my local community, it has been plastered everywhere. I will refrain from posting links to any specific story here, but I will summarize the gist of it. We have an ex-school teacher in his sixties who had been found with plenty of video tapes that consisted of fifteen and sixteen year olds having sex with one another. As the story goes, the man, who is a convicted sex offender, was dealing drugs from his house, and in return for drugs, he had the young people have intercourse on camera. Sick, demented, I know. But here is where the story takes a turn. After the raid, the police came out with this "decisive win". They were coming down hard on this man, and really going to make an example of him. Then a few days later, the story takes another turn and they find out that in fact, no child on the tape was under fourteen. Which makes them eligible to partake in sexual activity. The individual did not have intercourse with any of the young people, he just possessed video tapes of them that was apparently filmed in his house.

This new piece of information left the police scratching their head, and ultimately turned to the media and said, "We can not charge him". So as wrong, immoral, unethical, etc., this was, the man had broken no crime. With that said, it was announced today that he has been charged with a 8 different crimes, can not remember the specifics, but I am sure he will receive some sort of punishment.

But with that said, I turn my attention to the subject of this thread.

Is the media itself just as big of a problem? I mean, looking at the facts, this man had committed no crime. People are going to get hot headed here and say "good for 'em", "lynch 'em", etc., but he technically had committed no crime. Yet, the media was putting his face all over the televisions 24/7 as if he were Osama Bin Laden. Here me now, and please reread if it does not sink in, I am not condoning what this man has done. It was wrong, and he deserves a serious punishment. But when we have an individual who is not being charged with a crime, how can the media take it upon themselves to what they had? Are the media not opening the door for countless other crimes? Are they not plastering his face all over the screen in hopes that it will "rally the troops" and inflict some mythical street justice?

I know this man does not deserve another breath of air, and I hope he receives a fitting punishment. But is putting his mugshot all over the television really going to help? Now keep in mind, everyone in this community all ready knew of his status. The fact he was a sex offender was no secret. So to say that this necessary to protect the public, well I don't see that applicable in this situation. There was no need to protect the public, because the public all ready knew he was a sex offender. The kids who bought drugs off him knew he was a sex offender. Yet the media appeared to make it their business, to do everything they could, to have this man killed.

Is it possible for the media to take it too far?

I believe the media prays on these stories, and takes every advantage to garner headlines, no matter what the repercussions of their actions are. I just think that there is no need to make a bad situation worse. This situation in my community recently is very bad. Yet the media will not put it to rest. It is almost as if they are going to continue to inundate us with it until our community reaches it's boiling point and takes action.

It is not my, nor your, responsibility to take action on these matters. We have a justice system that in place to deal with it. It is almost like the ATS set up. If the Moderators are forced into action, do they air the dirty laundry for the rest of the community to read? No, they do not. I can remember they did once, and it was drama everywhere. The fact that the "policing" is done behind the scenes, it allows the regular member to go about his day to day business without having to swallow this drama.

I conclude with one final question.

Is the media a bigger problem than it is a solution?

A lot happening here.

Dig In!




posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 05:18 PM
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Well, to begin with, you said that he was dealing drugs out of his house to minors. I don't know much about the law in Canada, but if video-taping or filming, or what have you, people over the age of 14 having sex is not a crime, then it's not a crime.

It seems that the fact that he was filming people having sex was only brought to light because he was caught selling drugs and that the sex tapes were only incidental.

In the States, it happens all the time that someone is caught with drugs in their home or car and also a cache of guns. The police and the media always make as much a deal over the guns as they do the drugs, even if the possession of guns in that jurisdiction is not illegal.

I'm guessing that this is the point you are making, in a way.

One thing we should always remember about the media. Their first obligation is to make money. Everything else is secondary. Sex and violence sell, so that's what will always get the attention.

Three words:

Anna Nicole Smith

[edit on 2007/3/14 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 05:43 PM
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Originally posted by GradyPhilpott
Well, to begin with, you said that he was dealing drugs out of his house to minors. I don't know much about the law in Canada, but if video-taping or filming, or what have you, people over the age of 14 having sex is not a crime, then it's not a crime.




Yeah, we are not that Laissez Faire up here. But initially, this is the story that the media had presented to us, and that is the 180 degree turn they pulled. I too scratched my head wondering how he could possibly escape this without a criminal charge. I am sure in the list of charges that have now been laid, this is one of them. Rethinking it, the lack of charges that the public were made aware of, could of been directed specifically to the sexual aspects of the story.


Originally posted by GradyPhilpott
One thing we should always remember about the media. Their first obligation is to make money. Everything else is secondary. Sex and violence sell, so that's what will always get the attention.


In large markets, without a doubt. But in this case, we are dealing with a very, very small market. Population of about 50,000 people. Being inundated with this story for days and days, I begin to feel that the media was using this story as a platform to rally the troops.

This sort of scheming on behalf of the media, just leaves a bad feeling in my stomach. I see the possibility of good, honest, hard-working people becoming enthralled in the story, all because of the media. Due to this, I can see good people doing bad things.

As I have said, this is a bad, bad situation. No need to make it worse by pressuring good people into doing bad things.

There was a scene at one point when he was leaving his house, and the camera man was seen screaming to a group of people that he was exiting the house, and then he was charged by the camera, and a mob of people. Thankfully he made it into the waiting cab before the crowd managed to get to him. I am sure if they really wanted to get him, they easily could have. But if found in this situation, I can see a lot of bad things coming from it.

Let the system deal with it and keep it out of my eyes and ears. The public was fully aware of this man's stature. I don't see the purpose of what it is they are doing here. The discussion is not specific to this situation, as any other situation along these lines are certainly applicable.

I feel the media, due to the sensitivity of the offense, is getting in the way of justice here.



posted on Mar, 15 2007 @ 08:51 PM
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I think you make a very good point. I think that the media is a big part of the problem, and here are my examples;

Our city used to have street racing for years. I can't say it was out of control. I don't condone it, I think it is very risky, but a lot of the old street racers knew how to select abandoned streets in order to avoid killing innocent bystanders. It wasn't a huge issue until a couple of dumb kids crashed their imports on a busy street while racing each other. The Police decided to form something called "Operation Dragnet". The media LOVED it. For a while all you could see on the everyday/night news was kids getting killed in "street racing". Basically any accident over 65-70 mph that happened on the highway was automatically labeled as a "street race".
When the son of a friend accidentally killed a driver who turned onto the street right in front of him, the police was quick to assume that he had been racing a mysterious Civic with a spoiler. The kid got six years in jail. Although the family of the victim were terribly saddened by their loss, they recognized the whole thing as a terrible accident. Naturally when I saw it reported on the news, it was made to look like a street race gone wrong. Both the guys were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. One inched out too far into the street, the other didn't see him because that streetlight was out, and the car was black,... the end. I was at the trial, and the Judge basically stated "I'm going to make an example out of you". He didn't want to be the one who was leniant on "street racers".

Then came the Westerfield trial. Once again the media absolutely loved this story. I can understand. We were all fascinated by it, but once it was over, the circus was not. The trial came to an end in 2003, and to this day we are still bombarded on a daily basis with sex offender cases on the evening news. It seems that once the news latches onto something juicy, they'll beat that dead horse into a grease stain. I am sick and tired of it.

First of all,... should these people's faces be pasted all over the television for the sake of safety? Even if such a person was trying to lead a normal life, it would be impossible after the fact. Everyone knows what that person looks like, and they'll not only avoid him/her, they will be tempted to make his/her life as miserable as possible even without breaking the law. What about the potential people who were falsely accused? Those kind of accusations are probably some of the worst anyone can experience.
In my opinion,... unless the police is LOOKING for someone surely connected to a crime and they need the public's help to find that person, it's O.K. to put that person's face on TV. If a person has already been caught/punished for their crime by a court of law, his/her face should not find it's way into our living rooms through the Television set. If the person has served their time, his/her face should not be posted all over television screens. We are not the Judge and the jurry. Often we don't know the whole story behind a conviction, we only know what the News want us to know, and usually those stories are sensationalized to make us stick around through the commercial breaks. It is NONE of our business. If the justice system works the way it is supposed to, those people have already been punished, they don't need to be punished over and over again by their fellow citizens. That is not our job.

If there is a truly dangerous person who is let loose into society, I have to ask myself.... What are they doing out in society in the first place??? If this is a violent repeat offender,... what the hell is he/she doing out and about??? It also makes me question why we don't see convicted killers and armed robbery criminals on our TV screens also. Is it because they don't make for such a great, "shocking" story?

Makes me think that the News is not interested in reporting true events, but creating fantastic, entertaining stories so that we keep watching. Then again,... I knew that already.
There's a reason I HATE watching the morning and evening news. Unfortunately their stories have negative side-effects which you mentioned in your original post.



posted on Mar, 16 2007 @ 12:06 PM
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Concerning the part of "Mythical" street justice, I refute that claim, and also negate. As far as the Justice System taking care of it, their care is tendency, at times, to "regurgitate" some past offenders for their sake (cryptic I know, but there's good reason).

Do I like the Media? Hell no. The are over-dramatical, irresponsible, and do tend to drum up glitz. All for profit. The working theory seems to be that even if they only attract people to watch in dismay, the commercial spots will sell good.



posted on Mar, 16 2007 @ 12:16 PM
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While I feel our current system does little as it is, my comments stand towards "street justice". Street justice is only going to cause more problems than it creates. I don't want to see good people go down for something they had no business being a part of. We have a system in place. It may be flawed, but it is what we have.

Our alternative is what?



posted on Mar, 17 2007 @ 04:24 AM
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Originally posted by chissler
While I feel our current system does little as it is, my comments stand towards "street justice". Street justice is only going to cause more problems than it creates. I don't want to see good people go down for something they had no business being a part of. We have a system in place. It may be flawed, but it is what we have.

Our alternative is what?


My comment stands, also. With the total lack of authority presented upon, sometimes it's best to "take things into your own hands". Damn the ones, Damn the Lies, and Damn the press.



posted on Mar, 17 2007 @ 06:42 AM
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Originally posted by bothered
With the total lack of authority presented upon, sometimes it's best to "take things into your own hands". Damn the ones, Damn the Lies, and Damn the press.


Why?

A crime is a crime, is a crime. You are going to take this offender and turn him into the victim. And the victim will become the offender. An old fashion "beat down" is going to prove what exactly?

As little faith as I have in the system at times, I still feel it is better than "taken it to the streets".



posted on Mar, 17 2007 @ 09:46 AM
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Originally posted by chissler

Originally posted by bothered
With the total lack of authority presented upon, sometimes it's best to "take things into your own hands". Damn the ones, Damn the Lies, and Damn the press.


Why?

A crime is a crime, is a crime. You are going to take this offender and turn him into the victim. And the victim will become the offender. An old fashion "beat down" is going to prove what exactly?

As little faith as I have in the system at times, I still feel it is better than "taken it to the streets".


There's no sense of justice in my locale. The criminal element has been attracted, Hell they've been brought in, by authoritative figures and the local population as a whole. With the hopes of drumming up a "see what can happen" attitude in an act of their own type of justice. This misalignment has caused quite an upstir, and is often displaced on the very ones who would have it something as a causal of theirs.

When faced with the option of lie down and die, or recompose those who would inflict more than a set of dreams, let's say, I'll choose to defend as I see fit. More interesting than what I've said, in the act of defensive measures, causalities have not been properly idemnified.

People often ask of: What's one word you can think of to describe the current situation...
Perverse. As is the lack of ramification for those who no longer bear the task, but instead are spoken of, glorifyingly, in absence.

To add a little "kick" to my post, I'll speak of a fellow, let's call him Mike, that I somewhat recently dealt with. Nasty character, well thought of by the locals, though. I helped ensure he will no longer promote his type of Criminally Insane type of behavior any longer, on the public. He had somehow managed to "escape the bonds" of an Institution where he essentially was to spend the rest of his life. He's no longer on the loose, but it took a little effort on my part.


[edit on 3/17/2007 by bothered]



posted on Mar, 17 2007 @ 12:41 PM
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I don't believe that any behaviour other than "taking it to the streets" is a form of lying down. I do not propose we lie on our backs and accept defeat. We need to stand and fight. But physical violence, or "street justice" is only throwing fuel on the fire.

An Einstein quote that I like...
"You can not resolve a problem on the same level in which it was created"

Sometimes the media wants to battle these issues on the level in which it was created. I think it is only creating victims myself.



posted on Mar, 17 2007 @ 03:53 PM
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I whole heartedly agree with the original thought in the previous posts that the media tend to want to create a lynching environment. This can, however, be custom fit to suit the fancy of those who would just like to see a little indiscreet violence. In that case, I do not agree with the superimposed street justice.
Say, for instance, someone was to be selected to suffer "grave misfortune" because of a political knifing thrown at the powers that be, in due process, with, oh I don't know, some type of horrendous weapon that left them sitting in a shaken pile of Sh*t.
In that case, of the unfortunate one, I'd see no other alternative than to fight however they may see fit.

The media, at large, I'll certainly agree: They tend to dramaticize for the level of excitement they might attain.



posted on Mar, 17 2007 @ 04:05 PM
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Please Do Not Evade the Automatic Censors

Tactics to avoid them are frowned upon. Just try to avoid doing it in the future.

As for the post, I do agree and might I add, well said. I'll add more of my opinions on the matter later.

Thanks.



posted on Mar, 17 2007 @ 08:09 PM
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Yes, he should be lynched just for having those tapes. The media did a wonderful job.



posted on Mar, 18 2007 @ 05:13 AM
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Originally posted by chissler
Please Do Not Evade the Automatic Censors

Tactics to avoid them are frowned upon. Just try to avoid doing it in the future.

As for the post, I do agree and might I add, well said. I'll add more of my opinions on the matter later.

Thanks.


My apologies, I logged in to edit my post, but there's no button. It won't happen again.
How should I proceed in editing that out, or is it even a concern?



posted on Mar, 18 2007 @ 06:20 AM
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Originally posted by bothered
How should I proceed in editing that out, or is it even a concern?


No Biggie.

We'll take care of it. Just as long as you bank it for future reference.


Originally posted by laiguana
Yes, he should be lynched just for having those tapes. The media did a wonderful job.


Do you think you could elaborate? Aside from the sensitivity that surrounded this case, you obviously have no objections of the media persecuting an individual that was charged with no crime. I'll withhold further comments until you have the opportunity to elaborate.

Thanks.





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