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Re: “Defending the Innocent

The definition of the crime should be narrowed slightly, to specify that the actions of the accused person could reasonably be construed as having the potential to cause harm to a child or children somewhere in the world. Potential to cause harm must certainly include redistribution of the images, since increasing the spread of this stuff presumably may tempt some susceptible individual(s) to exploit a child. Also if any money changes hands, that constitutes prima facie harm to unspecified children, since it creates an economic motive for more exploitation.

There also should be -- must be -- some provision in the law to exempt non-exploitive photos of people's own children. It just doesn't make sense to prohibit people from taking a few pictures of their kids in the bathtub. Surely it's legitimate for parents to create and save such images to remind them of happy past times spent with their own babies. Or are we also going to say that people have to wear blindfolds while giving their own child a bath, so as to avoid seeing anything? Reductio ad absurdum. QED.

What we definitely do not want is a full-scale, self-sustaining "War On Kiddie Porn" resembling the multi-decade, catastrophically expensive "War On Drugs," which has done nothing to reduce the use of illegal substances and has actually made the trade more profitable for traffickers.

One more essential point: don't fall into the trap of thinking it is possible to cleanse the world of bad behavior and evil intentions. We humans are the nastiest and most dangerous creatures on the planet. Crimes, errors and stupidity "R" us -- and that is never going to change.

7 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Ralph on 05/19/2011 at 8:54 PM

Re: “Danehy

Two weeks out from the shooting, your column still makes better sense that a lot of other stuff I've read since then. You successfully argue that the atmosphere of political speech makes a difference to people's behavior.

Like you, I doubt that many Republicans or Tea Partiers would have wanted Loughner to shoot Gabrielle Giffords. Yet the mad fringe of the right wing pushes so hard on a narrative of anger and hatred that there is bound to be some destructive influence on mood and conduct.

What is the enormous appeal of owning guns? I don't begrudge anyone their hobby, but guns are terribly dangerous toys. It is an objective fact that the U.S. has the highest level of gun violence of any country in the world. What leads the NRA and its enthusiastic adherents to believe that guns actually add something positive to mostly sedentary, mostly urban lives?

Posted by Ralph on 01/27/2011 at 1:53 PM

Re: “Watch That Rice

Well the trailer looks pretty good. Good sound, good cinematography. I'd watch it, I think, based on the trailer, but I'd skip it, of course, based on your review.

Posted by Ralph on 02/11/2010 at 1:18 PM

Re: “Guest Commentary

Thank you for speaking out on this. It's a courageous act and a point of view long overdue in the press and public media.

Posted by Ralph on 07/09/2009 at 11:11 AM

Re: “Confessions of an eBay opium addict

NA = Narcotics Anonymous
You will find many soulmates there who understand what you are going through. You will mutually, as a group, help each other. There will be people you can phone any time, when you feel like you can't get through the night.

I went through a related kind of addiction and I'm here to tell you that the 12 steps DO work.

1 like, 13 dislikes
Posted by Ralph on 06/08/2009 at 11:17 AM

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