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aquatus1

Thought-Crime in America

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President-Elect Acidhead
It seems that a lot of people who are making comments did not read the article too well.

The man is not an artist. He did not draw any pictures of little girls having sex with adults. He ordered it from a Japanese comic book site.

This type of comic genre is referred to as "Lolicon", short for "Lolita Complex", and is extremely popular in Japan, with several hundreds of titles out, and more being produced every month. It is a significant part of the erotic manga world, and many famous comic artists today had their start with such erotic books (it's generally viewed as the comic equivalent to singing in truck stop bars before making it big).

I can only wonder if the people saying this man should get help would suggest the same for the hundreds of thousands of Japanese readers as well.

Recent developments in the case have been interesting as well. Charges of child pornography have been all but dropped, but the man is still being prosecuted for "Transport of obscene material across state lines". Apparently, if he had bought these comics from a comic book store, he would be free and clear.

But are these charges even worthwhile? It's almost like he's being charged out of pettiness than any actual crime.

You sure know a lot about this type of 'legal' comic genre, Aquatus...... mmmmmmmmm :whistle: LOL

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aquatus1
You sure know a lot about this type of 'legal' comic genre, Aquatus...... mmmmmmmmm :whistle: LOL

I know a lot of all types of comics, including this one. I have about 8 gigs worth of nothing but comics from the US, Japan, Turkey, Belgium, Spain, France, and several other countries. On my bookshelf, I have albums of Spirou and BD (Buddy Longway) that I purchased when I was 12 in France. I love comics in all their various shapes and forms. I am convinced that, if one truly wants to understand what a culture is about, the most direct source is to study that cultures comic books.

But, truth be told, I love reading comics for the sheer pleasure of it too. :blush: I could probably put together a firly impressive intellectual argument for it, but when all is said and done, it's simply a guilty pleasure of mine.

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Leonardo

I've been thinking about this because I felt uncomfortable about the 'freedom of speech' or 'artistic freedom' aspect of this, and then looking at post #50 by acid-head I realised what was making me uncomfortable.

Using nude or semi-nude subjects - even minors - in art is not illegal and not immoral. Even the Great Masters of the Rennaisance painted cherubs which were effectively nude children. However, in none of this art are the minors sexualised. The record cover in post #50 could be said to be sexualising a child because of the association of the young girl with the word 'virgin' and the placement of the 'impact lines'. It would not surprise me if it was decided this is mild child pornography and withdrawn (and was in several countries). However, I accept the explanation given in the Wiki article that the song on which this image was based carried no sense of sexualising minors.

In the OP, however, it is clear that the minors in the drawings are sexualised, and performing sexual acts. This is not art, it is child pornography.

I have no issue with depicting the human form, male or female, young or old. Depicting a child as a sexual object, however, I do take issue with. The authorities were right to charge the person under the child pornography laws and he should have been tried and committed to the sex offender's register. Society has an obligation to protect children and we have a lot of laws which assist us with this. We should not allow that protection to be circumvented under the guise of 'art'.

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KRS-One
I've been thinking about this because I felt uncomfortable about the 'freedom of speech' or 'artistic freedom' aspect of this, and then looking at post #50 by acid-head I realised what was making me uncomfortable.

Using nude or semi-nude subjects - even minors - in art is not illegal and not immoral. Even the Great Masters of the Rennaisance painted cherubs which were effectively nude children. However, in none of this art are the minors sexualised. The record cover in post #50 could be said to be sexualising a child because of the association of the young girl with the word 'virgin' and the placement of the 'impact lines'. It would not surprise me if it was decided this is mild child pornography and withdrawn (and was in several countries). However, I accept the explanation given in the Wiki article that the song on which this image was based carried no sense of sexualising minors.

In the OP, however, it is clear that the minors in the drawings are sexualised, and performing sexual acts. This is not art, it is child pornography.

I have no issue with depicting the human form, male or female, young or old. Depicting a child as a sexual object, however, I do take issue with. The authorities were right to charge the person under the child pornography laws and he should have been tried and committed to the sex offender's register. Society has an obligation to protect children and we have a lot of laws which assist us with this. We should not allow that protection to be circumvented under the guise of 'art'.

This is a very nicely stated argument, thank you for this post.

As a counter argument, are you then equally offended at the depiction of brutality, murder, stealing, or obscene acts in other pieces of "art"? They depict crimes of possibly even worse and more taboo topics, yet they are not criminal themselves, nor is it criminal to posses or create them.

While the sexualising of children is comparatively perverse and morally offensive, I do not know in what way it compares to other crimes depicted in an artistic manner other than moral subjectivity.

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Cadetak
It's like a woman can be in public in a bikini but not in her underwear . . . .

lol exactly

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aquatus1
In the OP, however, it is clear that the minors in the drawings are sexualised, and performing sexual acts. This is not art, it is child pornography.

I have no issue with depicting the human form, male or female, young or old. Depicting a child as a sexual object, however, I do take issue with. The authorities were right to charge the person under the child pornography laws and he should have been tried and committed to the sex offender's register. Society has an obligation to protect children and we have a lot of laws which assist us with this. We should not allow that protection to be circumvented under the guise of 'art'.

It is true that artwork is protected by law, and that comics have been found to not have sufficient artistic merit to warrant protection. Legally, this type of drawing cannot claim Freedom Of Expression protection.

But now we are back to where I started this topic from. Are children in danger here? In order to claim that children are in danger, there must be some connection between depicting children being sexualized and the act of sexually molesting children? While it may seem intuitive to say so, perhaps, prior to placing a person under arrest, prior to putting them on trial, prior to forcing them to register as a child molester for the rest of their lives...perhaps there should be something a little more solid to base that on?

Is the obligation to protect children sufficient cause to remove the freedom of a person based on nothing more than a personal fantasy? How do we differentiate between what has been done here, and a thought-crime?

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BlindMessiah
In the OP, however, it is clear that the minors in the drawings are sexualised, and performing sexual acts. This is not art, it is child pornography.

What minors? Which minors were sexualized in the art? What are their names?

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Beckys_Mom
What minors? Which minors were sexualized in the art? What are their names?

BM.ll....re-read the article..it says the comics contained female minors being sexually abused

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Beckys_Mom
But, truth be told, I love reading comics for the sheer pleasure of it too. :blush: I could probably put together a firly impressive intellectual argument for it, but when all is said and done, it's simply a guilty pleasure of mine.

I loved comics...I collected them as a kid......ohh man every week I bought a couple of comics....sigh.those were the days.......only the comics I read where the Beano and the Dandy :lol:

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KRS-One
BM.ll....re-read the article..it says the comics contained female minors being sexually abused

He meant what "real" minors were exploited. You can't exploit lines on paper.

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aquatus1
BM.ll....re-read the article..it says the comics contained female minors being sexually abused

The problem is that you are saying:

"the minors in the drawings are sexualised, and performing sexual acts"

However, "the minors" actually are the drawings. No children were hurt in the making of this comic book.

If we remove the redundancy, we are left with:

"the drawings are sexualised, and performing sexual acts"

Well, that doesn't seem such a reasonable thing to arrest someone for.

Unless the ink for an adult cartoon is somehow different that the ink for a child cartoon.

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Beckys_Mom
He meant what "real" minors were exploited. You can't exploit lines on paper.

The problem is that you are saying:

"the minors in the drawings are sexualised, and performing sexual acts"

However, "the minors" actually are the drawings. No children were hurt in the making of this comic book.

Ok ok LOL I picked him up wrong LOL it happens !!!LOL

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BlindMessiah
BM.ll....re-read the article..it says the comics contained female minors being sexually abused

Comics, exactly. My point is, no minors were actually sexualized. They're fictional.

Edited by BlindMessiah

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Beckys_Mom
Comics, exactly. My point is, no minors were actually sexualized. They're fictional.

Ok scroll to post above...87 lol

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Odd Christian

In the united states the supreme court has ruled that drawings are not considered child pornography, so long as the drawing is not based on an actual child. For instance a drawing of two young boys with a teenage girl is legal. If the artists makes them look like say... the sprouse twins and miley cyrus then it is porn.

http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/...ild+pornography

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President-Elect Acidhead
I know a lot of all types of comics, including this one. I have about 8 gigs worth of nothing but comics from the US, Japan, Turkey, Belgium, Spain, France, and several other countries. On my bookshelf, I have albums of Spirou and BD (Buddy Longway) that I purchased when I was 12 in France. I love comics in all their various shapes and forms. I am convinced that, if one truly wants to understand what a culture is about, the most direct source is to study that cultures comic books.

But, truth be told, I love reading comics for the sheer pleasure of it too. :blush: I could probably put together a firly impressive intellectual argument for it, but when all is said and done, it's simply a guilty pleasure of mine.

sometimes you're too honest .. :geek:

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Leonardo
What minors? Which minors were sexualized in the art? What are their names?

This is a very good point, these are not photographs, and it does not say the drawings are based on real-life subjects.

I would look for a comparison to another freedom of expression situation. The preaching of violence against a group of people.

Hate speech is now a crime, but should it be? In preaching violence against a group of people, who is actually hurt?

Well, we have fairly good evidence that a lot of innocent people are hurt. Not specific people, but people nonetheless. So, a crime against person need not be directed against a specific person to be a crime, and freedom of expression doesn't have to be directed at specific people to violate that freedom - you have to express yourself responsibly.

People can be encouraged by words and images to commit crimes. Hence the criminalisation of hate-speech. I see no difference, in this argument, with the images in these comics.

As a counter argument, are you then equally offended at the depiction of brutality, murder, stealing, or obscene acts in other pieces of "art"? They depict crimes of possibly even worse and more taboo topics, yet they are not criminal themselves, nor is it criminal to posses or create them.

While the sexualising of children is comparatively perverse and morally offensive, I do not know in what way it compares to other crimes depicted in an artistic manner other than moral subjectivity.

Another good question, KRS.

Glorifying violence may be morally dubious or reprehensible, but there is a case for using depictions of violence to 're-sensitise' people to the horror that violence can bring to lives. The pro's and con's of 'shock art' have been well argued in many cases, but there does seem to be some value to it - witness 'shock art' advertising campaigns against drink driving, or teenage (minor) pregnancy etc. They do re-establish the concern about these things in the public consciousness.

Now, I believe there was an advertising campaign on TV here in the UK some years ago which was aimed at highlighting child abuse. While there were no depictions of children being involved in sexual activity in the ad, there definitely was the inference. However, the aim of the implied sexual activity/abuse was not the gratification of the viewer/reader.

In the case of the comics we are talking about, what is the aim of depicting children involved in sexual activity in them? If it is for the gratification of the reader, or completely gratuitous, then it is morally reprehensible and child pornography.

But now we are back to where I started this topic from. Are children in danger here? In order to claim that children are in danger, there must be some connection between depicting children being sexualized and the act of sexually molesting children? While it may seem intuitive to say so, perhaps, prior to placing a person under arrest, prior to putting them on trial, prior to forcing them to register as a child molester for the rest of their lives...perhaps there should be something a little more solid to base that on?

For an answer to this, aquatus, I would look at the depictions of child-abuse in the comic(s) as effectively being an advertisement. Not all people are going to buy the product, but some will. We know advertising works, why should we blind ourselves to this form of advertising simply because it is not overtly 'selling' anything and it involves punishment for those who might 'buy'?

I would ask, in this 'Lolcom' genre, does the story always end up with the children being 'regifted' their childhood and any adults involved being punished? If so, then they could be seen as a morality story, if not then they are for the purpose of gratification.

Edited by Leonardo

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CausticGnostic

There is no such thing as a "thought crime," no matter what the screwed up U.S. justice system says about the matter. A crime always involves a deed, or, minially, an intent with planning to commit a deed. Even "conspiracy to commit a crime" must involve actual planning for an intended deed.

If we start criminalizing thoughts, however repugnant they are, then we have surrendered the sanctity of our own minds to the government. I don't trust the b@st@rds to balance the national checkbook. I definitely do not want them telling people what they can and cannot think.

The argument that "it's the law, and that's that," is nonsensical. Laws passed by elected officials, usually without public referenda, are not absolutes. The history of the United States is replete with examples of bad laws being repealed, in many cases with civil disobedience and protest paving the way for change, and, in one instance, civil war deciding a major issue. Just obeying all the laws would be fine, if we didn't have so many laws that not even the politicians and lawyers know them all. Hell! the Congress is signing into law bills they haven't even read!

As for the OP, I don't think anybody will argue that the subject matter of the comics aren't heinous. At the same time, though, freedom of speech and freedom of expression are the very foundation of our democracy, and those freedoms include people saying and depicting offensive or heinous things. I don't even agree with the "hate speech" laws. "Hate crimes," maybe, since those crimes concern actual acts. However, its difficult enough to determine somebody's motives and intentions when a criminal act has been committed, where there's an actual victim. But the 1st Amendment, which guarantees us "freedom of speech," doesn't except speech that we disagree with or find reprehensible. Are we going to reinstitute the "treason and sedition laws" now? What about "anti-heresy" laws as well?

Protecting children from physical and sexual abuse is a laudable goal, but it should be used as a pretext for dictating what people can and cannot think, say, or depict. Our criminal justice system should devote its time to preventing "conspiracies to commit a crime" and actual criminal acts--not arrogate to itself the power to control people's thoughts.

Edited by CausticGnostic

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Paranormalcy

I'd just like to say that I am on the side of the freedom of speech issue here, so I formally dissent and protest the American law against abuse of fictional child characters - why not adults too? I'm sure there are plenty of bondage and rape comic books and cartoons and stuff involving adults (usually women) being abused... are those also illegal? They should be because they're glorifying violent abusive crimes, right?

Yay, maybe we'll get rid of all that furry porn on the net, if we can prove the little girl fox being fondled is a minor.... we wouldn't want anyone to be encouraged by this to go out and fondle a real fox child would we?

I personally think that is absolute BS.

I do not believe the government has ANY duty or right to "monitor" and pass judgments on someone's own creations, nor what they are reading or looking at - that isn't even freedom of speech; the guy didn't draw and distribute the stuff, he ordered it 'for his own gratification' as someone else said - so he is guilty of... simple being in possession of a fictional depiction of something that The Government deems to be dangerous in that it... what exactly is it that this comic book does again?

To be a bit dramatic: It's mere existence is an abomination that must be struck down and it's possessor smited by the Grace of the High King and Council of God? Get that authoritarian dictator religious condemnation of things "we think are bad" out of my FREEDOM! You know, I hear it was nice when freedom of speech was a right enjoyed by citizens here. I'm not sure when that was, I guess it was before my time. I'm sure glad we're still living in the Middle Ages.

I am honestly astounded, disappointed and frankly, scared, for what freedom is next to fall.

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BlindMessiah
This is a very good point, these are not photographs, and it does not say the drawings are based on real-life subjects.

I would look for a comparison to another freedom of expression situation. The preaching of violence against a group of people.

Hate speech is now a crime, but should it be? In preaching violence against a group of people, who is actually hurt?

Well, we have fairly good evidence that a lot of innocent people are hurt. Not specific people, but people nonetheless. So, a crime against person need not be directed against a specific person to be a crime, and freedom of expression doesn't have to be directed at specific people to violate that freedom - you have to express yourself responsibly.

People can be encouraged by words and images to commit crimes. Hence the criminalisation of hate-speech. I see no difference, in this argument, with the images in these comics.

Pushing aside the subject of whether or not hate speech should be a crime, your analogy is flawed. This would only be an accurate comparison if this man was actively promoting the images in hopes of inducing pedophilia. This would be no different than a man being arrested for being caught doodling a swastika.

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Leonardo
Pushing aside the subject of whether or not hate speech should be a crime, your analogy is flawed. This would only be an accurate comparison if this man was actively promoting the images in hopes of inducing pedophilia. This would be no different than a man being arrested for being caught doodling a swastika.

No, the analogy is not flawed as you say it is. Portraying minors (even imaginary minors) as sexually active and as sexual objects has the intention of sexualising minors - with the caveat as I stated above, in cases where the intent is to highlight a social issue. These comics are not, to the best of my knowledge, being used to highlight a social issue, they are being used to sexualise children for the gratification of the reader.

Is the intent of a hate-speaker to induce hatred of his/her subject in those he/she is addressing? Yes. The hate-speaker is not responsible for the actions of those he/she induces hate in, but is responsible for facilitating those actions by inflammatory oration.

Is it the intent of the comic drawer who draws sexually explicit images of children, to sexualise children to the reader? Yes. The comic drawer is not responsible for the actions of those who then see children as sexual objects, but is responsible for facilitating the perception of children as sexual objects.

Why else would images of children be used in a sexual context, if not to sexualise children?

CG and Paranormalcy,

While the freedom of expression and artistic freedom arguments do have some merit, they are not arguments that should, in this instance, be used in isolation. There are other arguments against why these images should not be viewed as 'artistic freedom' that, to my mind at least, outweigh the moral objectivity of expressive freedom.

As for the argument about 'thought-police', this is a paranoic reaction to the 'freedom' argument and presumes the beneficiaries of criminalising images such as children engaging in sexual activity, are the authorities setting the law. The beneficiaries actually are the children who are being protected by the laws set.

Freedom of expression is all well and good, but should not come at the cost of our moral/ethical responsibilities.

Edited by Leonardo

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CausticGnostic
No, the analogy is not flawed as you say it is. Portraying minors (even imaginary minors) as sexually active and as sexual objects has the intention of sexualising minors - with the caveat as I stated above, in cases where the intent is to highlight a social issue. These comics are not, to the best of my knowledge, being used to highlight a social issue, they are being used to sexualise children for the gratification of the reader.

Is the intent of a hate-speaker to induce hatred of his/her subject in those he/she is addressing? Yes. The hate-speaker is not responsible for the actions of those he/she induces hate in, but is responsible for facilitating those actions by inflammatory oration.

Is it the intent of the comic drawer who draws sexually explicit images of children, to sexualise children to the reader? Yes. The comic drawer is not responsible for the actions of those who then see children as sexual objects, but is responsible for facilitating the perception of children as sexual objects.

Why else would images of children be used in a sexual context, if not to sexualise children?

CG and Paranormalcy,

While the freedom of expression and artistic freedom arguments do have some merit, they are not arguments that should, in this instance, be used in isolation. There are other arguments against why these images should not be viewed as 'artistic freedom' that, to my mind at least, outweigh the moral objectivity of expressive freedom.

As for the argument about 'thought-police', this is a paranoic reaction to the 'freedom' argument and presumes the beneficiaries of criminalising images such as children engaging in sexual activity, are the authorities setting the law. The beneficiaries actually are the children who are being protected by the laws set.

Freedom of expression is all well and good, but should not come at the cost of our moral/ethical responsibilities.

Yes, well, I don't want the government telling me what my "moral/ethical responsibilites" are, either. Considering the corruption, greed, and incompetence that far too many of our elected officials display, they're the last people on earth who should be dictating what's legal, much less what's moral or ethical!

Freedom is all well and good, it seems, as long as nobody has any. . . .

Leonardo, the same arguments you're using to justify this intrusion on the 1st Amendment can be used to justify any instrusion against any Constitutional right.

But rights, I suppose, are all well and good, as long as nobody has any.

We'll all just let the government tell us what to think, what to say, what to read, and what to do. I'm sure we'll all live in a much SAFER country, once Big Brother converts it into a thought-police state. After all, they've done such a grand job with it as a mere police state. . . .

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Leonardo
Yes, well, I don't want the government telling me what my "moral/ethical responsibilites" are, either. Considering the corruption, greed, and incompetence that far too many of our elected officials display, they're the last people on earth who should be dictating what's legal, much less what's moral or ethical!

Freedom is all well and good, it seems, as long as nobody has any. . . .

Leonardo, the same arguments you're using to justify this intrusion on the 1st Amendment can be used to justify any instrusion against any Constitutional right.

But rights, I suppose, are all well and good, as long as nobody has any.

We'll all just let the government tell us what to think, what to say, what to read, and what to do. I'm sure we'll all live in a much SAFER country, once Big Brother converts it into a thought-police state. After all, they've done such a grand job with it as a mere police state. . . .

To be honest, CG, this sounds an awful lot like...

linked-image

Do you agree that art can be performance, as well as image?

If so please answer me, if two adults were to engage in sexual intercourse on a stage in a theatre as they were actors and the script they were following required this act, is that art?

Now, ask yourself if one (or both) of the actors was a minor. Is that art?

If your answer to the second is "Yes, but...." or "No." then your argument (above^) is simply one of "I want my line in the sand, not someone else's, to be what everyone follows".

If your answer is "Yes", then you are abandoning moral responsibility for the sake of your own beliefs.

There are reasons for laws. We might not agree with all of the reasons and some of them might, in fact, be unreasonable. I don't see a reason being "for the protection of children" being unreasonable.

Edited by Leonardo

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CausticGnostic
To be honest, CG, this sounds an awful lot like...

linked-image

Do you agree that art can be performance, as well as image?

If so please answer me, if two adults were to engage in sexual intercourse on a stage in a theatre as they were actors and the script they were following required this act, is that art?

Now, ask yourself if one (or both) of the actors was a minor. Is that art?

If your answer to the second is "Yes, but...." or "No." then your argument (above^) is simply one of "I want my line in the sand, not someone else's, to be what everyone follows".

If your answer is "Yes", then you are abandoning moral responsibility for the sake of your own beliefs.

There are reasons for laws. We might not agree with all of the reasons and some of them might, in fact, be unreasonable. I don't see a reason being "for the protection of children" being unreasonable.

Since you enjoyed my last tantrum so much, I'll throw another.

First off, you've given another bogus analogy. The OP dealt with illustrations, not actual children or real acts--dramatized or otherwise. Sex between adults as art is called pornography, and, yes, I've been known to patronize such art from time to time. Sex between an adult and a child, hoewver, is a crime. Those are acts, not depictions of acts. No actual children were involved in the illustrations. If the man had, instead, bought a video tape of real children being sexually abused, then he definitely would have committed a crime--possessing child pornography. Those who produced the video would have been guilty of a worse criminal act. And whoever was filmed committing the crime would have been even more guilty. We already have laws against all of those crimes. And we ought to be able to distinguish between different levels of criminality, since our justice system depends on it. Buying a comic book that depicts children in sex acts is not at all the same as buying a video tape showing real children being sexual abused. Nor is the latter the same as personally sexually abusing a child, whether it's filmed or not.

And while I agree with you that it isn't "unreasonable" to enact laws for the protection of children, the children being protected ought to be actual children, not illustrated or animated ones. And I think it entirely unreasonable to want or try to "child-proof" the entire world. If I'd wanted to live my life in accordance with the needs of children, I'd have spawned some of my own. I can see how parents would want to make everybody responsible for the safety of their children, and I'll go a long distance out of my way to prevent a child from being harmed. But, notwithstadning your own humorous little ad hominem, I'm an adult, and I want to live in an adult world--not some police-monitored romper room where everybody is treated as a child. Making bad laws that police thoughts and violate the Constitution is not the way to protect children. We should police criminal acts, not objectionable thoughts. Prosecuting intent, with actual planning, to commit a crime is as far as the law should go. Going further to criminalize thoughts, or intentions without any actual evidence of planning a crime, is not just a "slippery slope," it's a blueprint for the erosion and eventual dismantling of all our freedoms. The police have a hard enough time enforcing all the laws on the books that deal with actual crimes, without inventing new "crimes" to enable them to arrest anybody they want for whatever reason they want.

Finally, I would just like to point out that the image of the crying baby in your last post is clear evidence that you are in possession of a depiction of an abused child--and therefore, according your argument, are guilt of child abuse! :)

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2nd Reign
So, here we have an interesting case in which a man has been arrested and is on trial for child pornography, however there are no actual children involved. If convicted, he will be sent to jail, and thereafter be registered as a sex offender, without ever actually having had sexual contact of any kind with any child.

Australia set the precedent for this. How should the US react?

Even though I think this is sick but no "real" children was involved,so this shouldn't be an issue.It's like spiritual adultery where a person is guilty of sin in God's eyes just for thinking and having the desire to pursue another religion. This man is seen as being guilty just for have drawing of this type.

In the book titled 1984,a thought crime was more serious than an actual crime.

Edited by 2nd Reign

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