A few weeks ago I posted about an upheaval in my life. In it I wrote about the need to forgive everyone involved, including ourselves. I made a point not to mention the crime or the guilty party because the story involves so many innocents. I still will not mention names, because there are so many names attached who do not deserve to be hurt, but I will mention the crime, because it is a horrible one, one which makes me aware of so many other crimes. Crimes with so many victims sometimes my heart feels like it will be crushed under the weight of them all. Word to the wise, this is a biggie and consider this sentence a broad-based trigger warning. Many of you will not be able to go forward, though I hope those of you who can, do.
The crime committed by (henceforth know as) X was trading in child pornography. According to the people we spoke to, X likely did not touch any child, nor take any pictures of their own, but did correspond with like individuals and swapped pictures and movies of children. X did this under the nose of loved ones, risking their livelihood, their families, their home, and their freedom. They behaved in so many selfish ways that it beggars description. Even now I do not know if I can ever speak to them again, and I was just about as close to X as you can be to someone.
Never mind, though, the consequences of those of us closest to this person were. X went about doing this, indulging in their twisted urges, all the while likely believing the fact that they never actually laid a finger on any of those children somehow was some sort of ethical buffer. Somehow X led themselves to believe that it was not as bad just because he never knew them. To X, these were not people but abstract ideas on a computer screen. To me, and maybe I am being self-righteous here, in a way that makes it worse.
X utterly reduced innocent children to objects for his gratification. They rationalized away their behavior (keeping in mind they were ignoring the inevitable damage to their own loved ones) in a cold fashion. I wish I could say they were alone, but we see it so often. These people convince themselves that they are just taking advantage of what is already out there, that other people are the bad guys. Then again, how are they so different from society at large?
Because here is the rub people. I am angry as hell at X and they, and people like them, need to be held accountable. Knowing that though, it makes me so much angrier that as a society we can dismiss so many millions of hungry children as abstracts. We can dismiss so many homeless children as statistics. We can dismiss so many children blown to smithereens by our bombs as collateral damage. We wash our hands by telling ourselves we are not directly involved so that makes it alright.
Well, it is not alright. There are so many broken pieces of so many broken lives and so many that are so innocent and all as a result of a system we refuse to reject because we benefit just a little. Many of you will read this and feel outrage at being compared to child pornographers and their patrons. In some way you should, because they absolutely deserve to be condemned. So do we, however, and we have to accept that while X and their ilk are obvious monsters, so too, in some small way, are we all. If we cannot be honest with ourselves about this, we will continue to have the blood of innocents on hour hands. We will continue strewing about broken pieces, and we will have no way to put them together again.
- Man with ‘How to practice child love’ book charged (q13fox.com)
- Lawyers for child porn accused seek to have him tried in Ireland (irishtimes.com)
- Wichita man indicted for transporting child pornography (kake.com)
- Garda statement in relation to welfare and protection of children (irishtimes.com)