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JWR 2.45 - Just Who is the Wolf?

 

I know that I should probably attempt to stay out of the controversial end of the pool, but hey, what do you pay me for, right?  What’s a little head cracking in the shallow end, yeah?

 

I used to read Ann Landers (Dear Abby’s sister) when I was ten or so simply because it was on the same page as the comics in the Racine Journal Times for the longest time.  I read about lots of interesting things including but not limited to marriage, infidelity, cross dressing, homosexuality, bisexuality, who should pick up the check, etc.

 

It was never great reading, rather like watching Oprah, but less annoying.  Looking back, it seems as if every subject was covered except one.

 

About a year, maybe less, ago there was a news story about police raiding a home in Texas where a husband and wife ran a child pornography website out of their home.  The computers were seized and the hard drives examined which led to dozens of subsequent arrests of the people whose credit card numbers, used to purchase pictures and videos from that particular site, were found.

 

Not too long after, I heard a story about a man being arrested in this area for taking pornographic pictures of a child in a bathroom at the Seven Mile Fair.  He was caught because he dropped the pictures off to be developed and the developer sent copies to the F.B.I. who waited for the man to come and pick up the photographs.  This is when they nabbed him.

 

And then just two weeks ago or so there was the story that spurred this Rambling.  A Milwaukee man was arrested on charges of possible possession of child pornography after he was...“ratted” may be too harsh a word, so let’s stick with: brought to the attention of the authorities by Dear Abby regarding a letter he sent to her asking for advice (advice of all things) concerning a sexual fantasy he had been having that involved either his girlfriend’s daughters or a daughter and other underage girls, depending upon which article you read.

 

There’s the news blurb.  Here’s what happened:

 

This guy, twenty-eight years old, finds himself having “impure” thoughts about his girlfriend’s kid or kids possibly, possibly other kids, the articles, as I said, were unclear in this point.  His girlfriend has two daughters, ages ten and three, kids he plays with and spends time with, maybe tucks in at night or reads stories to.  Naturally, he feels guilty about it, so he recalls his mom always mentioning that Dear Abby always “gives such wonderful advice.”  Little did Paul, that’s his name, Paul Weiser, realize that the original Dear Abby, Abigail Van Buren, had been replaced several years ago by her daughter, Jeanne Phillips.

 

He decides to write a letter to her for help, after all, it’s free and confidential.  Someone with the reputation of Dear Abby can surely give this guy some good advice.  So, he writes this letter, divulging his most dark secret and waits for a response, maybe his letter would be printed in the paper.  Hey, that would be pretty cool, huh?

 

Knock.  Knock.  “Mr. Weiser, open up.  This is the police.”

 

What the hell do you mean Dear Abby turned me in?

 

So, all the articles say is that he was arrested for possible charges of possession of child pornography after police found forty lewd photographs of children in his computer.

 

Well, one of my questions would be, how the hell did the police obtain a search warrant based on Dear Abby’s tip for someone’s thoughts?

 

Let’s be clear here: this guy did nothing.  He had fantasies about children.  Yes, this is wrong (although let’s face the fact that there are cultures around the world that allow thirteen year old girls to marry and even in this country minors can marry, so this line of adult versus child is not so clear cut), but he DID nothing.  As a matter of fact, he was looking for some guidance when he was ratted out--I think it’s appropriate to use that term now.

 

And just because this guy’s girlfriend had a three year old does not mean that she was included in his fantasies--everyone assumes it, but this point is not specifically made with a consistency that would allow me to believe it off the cuff.  Based on my earlier statement: ten is not that far from thirteen.  If a thirteen year old can marry, is it absurd to assume a ten year old could, too?  And if they’re married, they’re having sex.

 

I just find it somewhat scary that our thoughts are now substantial enough to warrant a legally binding search.  I mean, I think violent things sometimes and even lewd things.  I guess I’d better keep them to myself or risk the federales busting down my door.

 

The fact that “lewd” pictures of children were found on his computer is not lost on me.  However, how do we define lewd?  “Lewd: 1 obsolete : EVIL, WICKED; 2 a : sexually unchaste or licentious b : OBSCENE, VULGAR.” (Webster’s online dictionary)  Obscene is a very subjective term.  For example: my wallpaper on my home computer is a picture of Jessica Biel (you may know her as Mary from TV’s Seventh Heaven) sitting in a bathroom sink looking over her shoulder toward the camera wearing, I don’t know, something covering her ass but no top.  Now, there’s no nudity in the picture, however, you can see the side of a breast and simply put, a lot of skin.  My brother dislikes this picture because he thinks of it as pornography and actually removed it as my desktop pattern (let it be known that the only reason I had my computer on that day was so that my mom and aunt could listen to “Bootylicious” by Destiny’s Child; now if that’s not irony, then call me Alanis Morrisette) much to my annoyance and anger.  I think it’s a very artistically framed picture, and yes, sexy.  So?  Art can be sexy.  It’s not like she’s getting fist fucked by some guy wearing rubber gloves...(Although, it may be of some interest to you to know that it is my suspicion that this photograph comes from a Gear magazine photo shoot which was taken when Ms. Biel was only seventeen.  And it doesn’t matter to me for one very simple reason: I’ve seen a fifteen-year-old naked.  Just because I was fifteen at the time doesn’t change the fact that I still have in my memory a picture or perhaps forty lewd pictures of her.  Can they retroactively come and get me for that?  Just in case, let’s keep this between the two of us, yeah?)

 

Are you aware that many respected book stores carry and will order for you books on photography whose sole subjects are nude children?  I recall seeing an article for the longest time that hung on a bulletin board in the D-1 level of the CommArts building at Parkside entitled “Child Porn or Art?”  I’ve even received catalogs from book clubs that had an art section with a book or two on nude child photos.  Honestly, I’m not sure where or how you make the distinction, but if I understood The People vs. Larry Flynt, if you keep the legs closed, it’s art.

 

And forty pictures?  Wow, that’s hardly anything.  Do you suppose the Kohl’s ad in Sunday’s paper featuring young girls modeling underwear could be considered lewd?  Do you suppose what girls wear to the mall or the movies could be considered lewd?  ANYTHING can be considered lewd.  Is it?  Why am I not arrested as I walk through the mall and notice; or as I flip through the Sunday ads, why isn’t my door kicked in and the flyer confiscated as lewd evidence?  It happened to Paul Weiser; why can’t it happen to you or me?

 

It seems to me that the way to handle this would have been to personally respond to this man and set him up with a psychiatrist in his area.  He was looking for help.  “According to a criminal complaint, Weiser said he has sought help from four doctors, who told him he did not have a problem.”  So, four doctors said this guy was okay, but Dear freakin’ Abby says no, he’s a sexual predator--an S.P.--based on a letter.  At least he didn’t go see a priest or priests.  They may have inducted him right there, thinking they found a kindred spirit.  Oh, yes, she turned him in so he would get the help he needed.  "I lost sleep, didn't sleep for days, because I really believe this man wrote to me genuinely seeking help," Phillips told the newspaper.  "I was torn, because my readers do turn to me for help, yet there was the priority of the safety of those young girls."  You are aware how child molesters are treated in the booty house, right?  As Chris Rock stated in his stand up: “Yeah, I killed four people, but you’re SICK.”  They make you toss the salad.

 

I think this kind of subject most people skim over when they confront the morality issue.  They see the word minor and go right to the judgment of “wrong” no matter what the issue is.

 

I wrote a short story about a middle aged man’s affair with a teenage girl, an underage girl, although her exact age was never confirmed, only hinted at.  The two scenes were this guy and the girl and then the guy’s two friends in a bar where one takes the position that it’s wrong and the other says it’s love, it’s not wrong.  Personally, I liked it so much because the mood was very still and intimate for both scenes, very barren, driven by the conversations of one couple and the actions of the other.  I think my roommate read it but disliked it because it was so different from my thesis which was about fighting and drinking and smoking and family and puking.

 

So, this is not a new thought process for me.  I’m not backing this guy.  But if I was on that jury, there’s no way I would convict him.  (Unless he actually DID something.)  He pleaded not guilty to the three charges of possessing child pornography he had against him.  (What happened to the forty?)  And possession is all they get him on?  It’s a loser of a case.  But I’d love to see this letter which in all probability say’s nothing more than: “Dear Abby, I’m a 28-year-old man and I’ve been having some sexual fantasies that include my girlfriend’s kids.  I’m pretty sure that I have a problem here, but I’m unsure of what to do about it.  Could you please give me some advice?”  Then all he hears is the tie wrap zipping tightly around his wrists behind his back and his head protected as he’s pushed into the police cruiser by the Selective Enforcement crew.

 

You know what wouldn’t be a loser case?  How about all these adults (aged more than eighteen) who show up on Jenny Jones and Jerry freaking Springer and Maury Povich to confront their girlfriends or ex-girlfriends, who are nearly all under the age of eighteen, regarding the children they fathered.  What happen to statutory rape laws in this country?  Why are none of these men arrested?  Maury and Jerry and Jenny don’t seem to have the welfare and safety of these girls who they KNOW have been raped (because if she’s under eighteen, it’s rape no matter what simply because she’s still a child) because they never alert the police.  But Dear Abby does, because she’s a good person.

 

Not to put Dear Abby down, because I do believe that she did what she thought was right.  But I simply think she went about it the wrong way.  Angela Lansbury in Murder She Wrote, she ain’t.

 

John

 

Relevant Moments in Movie History from The Big Lebowski

-WALTER  He’s a convicted sex offender with a record.  He did six months in Chino for exposing himself to an eight year old.

-DUDE  Oh.

-WALTER  When he got out, he had to go door to door and tell everybody he was a pederast.

-DONNIE  What’s a pederast, Water?

-WALTER  Shut the fuck up, Donnie.

 

Copyright © 2002 John Lemut

 

Resources: 10 years after I wrote this thing, I can't find the original articles I used, but here are a couple about it:   link   link