To me, and I will make it clear I am not a pedophile by any definition, so I am not arguing a personal cause, but I feel there is a great gulf between a pedophile and a child molester. That gulf is similar for instance to that between an agressive sexually addicted hetero sexaul for instance and a rapist. A man who enjoys sexual excitement of his partners may exhibit very little impulse control or moral restraint and not be a rapist at any level because a rapist enjoys emotions that most do not find sexually arousing.
The same with those who have pedophilic arousal. They may seek out pornographic images, many of them produced and published by children themselves nowdays and violate the law in this, but that does not make them child-molesters and that does not make them a threat to children.
Some may have violeted the law out of sheer curiosity not realizing that law enforcement has ways of finding out and even entrapping them on line for instance. What bothers me on these sights is the use of the word pedophile and childmolester interchageably.
Why should I care about this? It bothers me because I hear people talking about cutting up and "bleeding out" those convicted of possessing child porn and nothing else. I see people express a desire for those convicted of possessing child porn to spend the rest of their lives behind bars because they are "pedophiles" and by extention "child-molesters."
This is wrong. Child molesters may be people who have never even wanted to look at child porn. Some convicted of child molestation may be people who never even thought they would do something like that. Several years back an anonymous college survey of males resulted in some 75% of males saying that they would rape if they thought they could get away with it.
If child molestation and child porn were all legal, I think sex with children and child pornography would be more rampant than prostitution. Probably 90% of men would at some point in their lives engage in one form or other. The fact that it is illegal does not act a surrragate maesure for human aversion to the acts per se. Gambling is illegal and so is drinking and driving.
Also it concerns me that people in our society have allowed the notion to seemingly sink deep into our psyche that pedophiles are worse than gang bangers or car thieves or even rapists of adult women and that child molesters of any degree of severity are worse than murderers.
A man can refuse to give up his wallet and have his teeth knocked out, his ribs broken and a concussion and the perp will only do about two years for that but a man who possesses child porn will often get a sentance that in the past was reserved for murderers.
One of the collateral consequences of these notions I suspect and have for some time is that men who abduct their victims for molestation, have finally killed them out of fear of the long term in prison and the fact that they will be so far below the average murderer on the social pecking order that they will not have any reasonable amount of safety in there.
For conduct that often doesnt even include the infliction of physical pain, we give a virtual death sentance, and it's not unreasonable to suspect that many child molesters who would have gladly gambled with getting caught in the face of more proportional prison terms have murdered their victim instead out of fear of a fate worse than death or both.
Therefore it is my oppinion that the growing notion that pedophiles are some sort of freak of nature when they are in fact far more main stream than anyone would ever admit, and the assumption that all pedophiles are a potentional threat to children and that it follows inexhorably that those those who have looked at child porn on the internet and maybe saved some pictures are pedophiles and even capable of child molestation has severe consequences as is often the case when logic gives way to emotion.
If I had written these laws and handed out these sentances over the years, it is fair to say that we may have had more garden variety child molestation cases but we would also have more prison sentances, with the sex offender back living their lives under supervision and most importantly the victims would be back growing up with their parents coping with the post trauma effects instead their faces being printed of on milk cartons.
There is no correlation to draw between a desire to be more reasonable with regard to the fate of those convicted of possessing child porn, or of molesting in some way a child, and possesing some sort of personal empathy or similar impulses anymore than loud protestations will prove that you are not a pedophile.
Senator Mark foley put alot of himself into his creation of the Adam Walsh Act, and it did nothing to change the fact that he is not only a pedophile but quite certainly a child molester due to his brazen attempt to groom children for which under his own law would have made him a level 3 sexual offender.
Requiring legislators to be reasonable in passing sentances ultimately protects all of us from the erotion of our rights to not be held to cruel and unsusual punishments as Supreme courts in various states have had to find several of the sex offender penalties in recent years.