Monday, October 13, 2008

To save them we must destroy them.

Our laws are out of touch when it comes to teens and their sexuality. And that means teens will continue to be victimized by the laws. Add in cell phone technology and we have yet a third teen under arrest as a child pornographer because our laws on photos say anyone under 18 is a child.

This took place in Waunakee, Wisconsin. Three teens were driving around in car. A 17-year-old male and his 15-year-old girlfriend were having sex in the back seat. A 16-year-old was driving. The driver held his cell phone up and took about 30 seconds of video of the incident. According to the older young man all that anyone saw was about 30 seconds of his butt going up and down. The older teen saw the video and described it: “All you could see was my white ass for approximately 30 seconds.”

This certainly was tacky since this was done without anyone’s permission but it is hardly an invasion of privacy given that the couple were doing this in full view of the driver. The girl wasn’t thrilled and decided to stop, the older boy didn’t mind. So ended the incident.

But another girl heard rumors and turned the teens into the police. Please note that no victim complained. The police then arrested the 16-year-old for possession of child pornography and the local paper reports “he would face a maximum penalty of 24 years of combined prison and extended supervision if charged and convicted as an adult.”

That last part is where the utter hypocrisy of our legal system comes in. When it comes to the 30 seconds of video the teens in the video are considered children. When it comes to legal responsibility for making the video they become instant adults. Our prosecutors want to treat teens as responsible adults and sentence them as adults and not as children. When it comes to issues like this they are considered children.

The double-standard is not lost on the young. One minute they are told they have all the responsibilities of adults but the next they are told they have the rights of children. When it serves the power seeking activity of prosecutors they will paint a teen as an innocent child and then, when it serves their interests, they turn around and paint them as threatening, dangerous adults.

I don’t condone what the 16-year-old did. It was pretty rude. I probably would concede that is a criminal act in that it violates the rights of the teens in the back seat who didn’t consent to the filming. But given that they were humping in full view of the other boy, unconcerned about their privacy, I wouldn’t make this a serious offense. At worst he should be required to apologize and be warned about his activity. But the idea that he could face up to 25 years in prison is absolutely absurd.

And we really have to stop referring to this sort of thing as “child pornography” which needlessly and inaccurately panics the stupid masses who can’t read past a headline. These were not children. They are sexually mature individuals but the law is treating them as if they were 8-years-old.

What is worse here is that this case has the potential of landing the other teens in prison as well. Wisconsin law says a 15-year-old can’t consent to sex so her boyfriend, who admitted he was having sex with girl friend is guilty of a felony. He can not be listed as sexual predator, called a pedophile (a term that is tossed about inaccurately by politicians and the press) and forced to register as a sex offender.

The girl might escape much legal punishment because it is assumed she is incapable of consenting and didn’t know what she was doing. On the other hand, if a girl who films herself is a child pornographer, then why should an underage girl, who willingly has sex, not be accused of enticing a child (herself) into illegal sexual acts?

Now I’m going to tell it just like it is, and if you don’t like harsh language leave this blog now. You have been warned. Teens fuck. They like to fuck. They have all the sexual desires of adults and most of the rational capability of adults. Whether they should do this or not is not open to debate. Reality is what reality is. And that means teens have sexual desires and large numbers of them will act on those desires. Very large numbers in fact.

Our politicians have criminalized the sex lives of these teens in order to “protect” them. From whom? Themselves? And exactly how are we protecting teens by turning them into felons, forcing them to register as sexual predators and imprisoning them?

What went on in the back seat was typical teenage behavior but we criminalized it. What the other teen did with his cell phone was a prank at worst but we have turned him into a felon as well. We could easily see two teenage boys subjected to life as adults in prison. And even if no charges are filed against the girl exactly how do you think the prosecution of her boyfriend and her friend will impact her life? Do you think she’s going to cheer on the prosecutor and fall on her knees in gratitude for him saving her from herself?

We have reached a stage where the sexual pathologies of the political classes are now law and that means we are victimizing young people for engaging in the very acts that teenagers have engaged in since we first climbed out of the trees. We are not helping young people with these laws. We are turning them into criminals. And the Christianists in this country get hysterical if anyone tells the truth.

My advice to teens would be to wait on sex but if they don’t take my advice I don’t want them in prison. I can’t see how sending a teenage boy to get raped in a prison shower is going to teach him a “proper” attitude toward sexuality (no matter how you define proper). Our laws on sexuality were promoted to “protect” the young yet, time after time, it is the young that are being victimized by these laws. Shouldn’t someone say something? Shouldn’t someone do something?

But they won’t. Few politicians have the guts to tell the truth and fewer still to do what is right. The politicians will cave in when the Mormons, Catholic Bishops and fundamentalists come marching on their offices demanding that they protect the young. But then these same groups wanted to protect heretics from their heresy by burning them at the stake. So, protecting our teens by turning them into felons and imprisoning them is nothing to these people.

This is the third similar case in almost as many days. How many more take place without noticing them? Exactly how many young people are being victimized by these laws every year? We recently saw police arresting a teenage boy because a girl sent him a nude photo. And we had the equally absurd situation of girl being arrested as a child pornographer for taking a photo of herself. In all three cases teens are being prosecuted as child pornographers. The world has gone mad.