What can we do when we find that ‘Public Safety’ isn’t safe, and doesn’t serve the public?
On my drive in to work this morning there was a segment playing on NPR concerning the long awaited closure of Guantanamo Bay. The reporter stated that an amazing thing occurred at this facility. The treatment of the people there has been so atrocious that the public actually empathized with these terrorists! I thought how true and ironic that is, especially since we disenfranchise our own people on a regular basis.
Some issues have gained public awareness; homelessness, food insecurity, sustainability – while other issues remain fodder for willful blindness. When I talk to people about the systematic targeting of law-abiding men, most people immediately close their minds. We, as a nation, would never do that. I think the idea of something so unjust, so un-American is not easily swallowed, and thus completely disregarded as sole conjecture.
Even those who should know better, those privy to how the police and courts work, seem to outright reject the possibility of truth. The phrases used by those in power, given to the media, are specifically worded to elicit support, and to pull upon our own human instincts to protect our children at all cost. The story sold to us in such a way that we don’t question the motives and methods used.
We know, here in Washington, that law enforcement has so far been unable to clear their backlog of rape kits. These are open, ongoing investigations of real crime. We have victims languishing for closure and justice. There are also thousands of calls into the Internet Crimes Against Children task force hotline each year. Many of these go uninvestigated, as police departments and task forces claim a lack of resources to do so.
We also know that the ‘Stranger Danger’ campaign of the 1990’s is untrue. Well over 90% of all child abuse, both sexual and abductions, are perpetrated by persons known to the victim. Yet on the Seattle police department website, as well as the Washington State Patrol site, PSA video’s depicting ‘Stranger Danger’ can be found. Knowing the truth about child abuse hasn’t kept these officers focused on actively investigating the open cases of actual abuse. Why?
Knowing crimes already committed are backlogged; Washington law enforcement targets innocent men on dating websites with their resources. Ads are placed depicting adults having placed them. Pictures of adult females sent to these men to create confusion, even though police are allowed to send out pictures of female officers when they were minors.
If targeting men who are actually looking for children, wouldn’t one do so on a website where children are active? Not one that requires the user to indicate they are over 18? Wouldn’t you send a picture of a minor to ensnare someone looking for such a situation? Could there not actually be alternative reasons a man might continue talking to someone depicted as an adult, yet claiming to be a child? What would make an officer arrest and convict every single man who continues to chat with the adult female? Money. Every arrest, regardless of validity, is rewarded with federal funding. Every year millions of dollars are given out to task forces around the country. A significant factor in how much each state gets? Total arrests. More arrests, more money. It’s that simple.
If anyone is still listening, by this point, their answer is that this is entrapment, and illegal. And they are correct. Yet, the rule of law fails these men, because the rule of law was not made with such intentions in mind. The entrapment defense falls back on the defendant to prove, and is almost never awarded, regardless of the circumstance. These men are treated guilty until proven innocent.
What we have, in the end, are a number of innocent men in prison for crimes that were created in the minds of law enforcement. All the while the media is spouting on about what a great job our police are doing keeping the streets safe. Wouldn’t you feel safer with an actual rapist behind bars, than a 20 year old kid looking for a good time who was easily outwitted by trained professionals to engage in sexual fantasy online? I would.