'Mob' Detains, Threatens Photographers Because Single Adults Are Probably All Pedophiles

from the unburdened-by-evidence-or-logic dept

To live in the US is to live in a nation of fears — most of them, irrational. The Department of Homeland Security — the eerily nationalistic-sounding phoenix that rose from the ashes of the World Trade Center — has done all it can to turn Americans into government informants, where they’re encouraged to turn in complete strangers for suspicious activities like not packing enough clothes or purchasing cookware.

The DHS fears nothing more than a person armed with a camera. If any citizen aims a lens at public transportation, infrastructure, certain manufacturing plants or government buildings, they’re assumed to be practicing the dark art of terrorism.

Terrorism is only one of the nation’s collective fears: one so seldom realized that the amount of attention paid to it by a vast number of government bodies is almost laughable.

Another fear that is almost inversely proportional to the amount of attention paid to it is child victimization, especially kidnapping and pedophilia. From a young age, parents and educators drill into kids’ heads that all strangers are inherently dangerous. This is somehow supposed to protect children from abusers despite the fact that nearly 90% of abuse is committed by someone the child knows and trusts — family members, child care providers, neighbors, close relatives, family friends, etc.

This hysteria over child sexual abuse has reached the point that being an unaccompanied adult (especially male) in an area frequented by children is considered inherently suspicious. Toronto’s Legoland exhibit turned away a 63-year-old Lego fan simply because he wasn’t accompanied by a child. The stated reason for this bizarre policy? To “protect the children.” Likewise UK’s Puxton Park, which turned away a 53-year-old man for the same reason. The explanation given by the park’s director for its stupid policy is equally stupid:

He added: ‘There is a lot in the headlines about paedophiles and things that are going on with children.’

Perfect. The media says child molestation is happening pretty much nonstop and so it must be. Therefore, no single adults allowed. The perception is the reality. But as Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip pointed out in “Thou Shalt Always Kill:”

Thou shalt not think any male over the age of 30 that plays with a child that is not their own is a paedophile/Some people are just nice.

Combine cameras, overwrought pedophile fears, insular communities and former homeless MTV VJ Jesse Camp, stir vigorously and you end up with the sort of mob “justice” rarely seen outside of horror movies set in remote, backwoodsy locations. (via PetaPixel)

“I received a call that there was a suspicious vehicle, a light brown Volvo station wagon, Massachusetts plate, and there was a male and female in the Raysal area taking pictures of some children,” says Chief Deputy, Roger Deel.

Jennifer Adkins, the mother of three kids, and a resident of Raysal, is the one who contacted Chief Deputy Deel. She also confronted the photographers, with a group of others.

Audio recording captured the encounter. You hear a McDowell resident say, “And there are no pictures of any children on there?”

“No. And you can check it, not of your kids. I can show you. Jesus Christ. We didn’t stop and approach like, yeah; you guys are making us out to be like crazy pedophiles. You guys are making us out to be people that we are not,” says Marisha and Jesse Camp.

“Have you looked at yourself in the mirror? You all don’t look like upstanding citizens,” says Jennifer Adkins.

The audio recording of the confrontation can be heard at WVVA’s website. According to Marisha, another person threatened to “beat them and their cameras into the ground.” Whatever violence might have resulted from this confrontation was prevented when a state trooper arrived and escorted the couple out of town. But the angry crowd already had all the justification it needed for harassing, threatening and detaining the couple — and it’s every bit as eloquent as the Puxton Park director’s defense of his “no single adults allowed” policy.

A man says, “There’s just too much going on with kids getting hurt and Y’all might be cool, I’m not saying you’re not.”

That’s what irrational fear gets us: irrational behavior. Not every adult with a camera is a security threat or a pedophile. Strangers may be unknown quantities, but they are not inherently dangerous simply because they’re unknown. No combination of these factors should be considered untrustworthy by default.

But that’s where we’re at. And these irrational fears are stoked by some of the most trusted members of the community: law enforcement officials, educators and the media. Two of those three directly profit from permanently-heightened fears. The other — educators — parrot the skewed information delivered by the other two. The perception becomes the reality. And that “reality” manifests itself as the ugliness detailed above.

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Comments on “'Mob' Detains, Threatens Photographers Because Single Adults Are Probably All Pedophiles”

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David says:

Well, there's another bad side to it

Previously, when your child was playing in the neighborhood and potentially got into trouble, other adults (and children) tended to keep an eye on it and help out when necessary.

Now they stay the hell away or call the police. Anything else might get them into trouble.

Basically, that’s an acerbation of the single-child family: the double (or these days more often single) adult community. Of course, this leads to cultural inbreeding and people who are unable to comprehend more than a single opinion and actually make choices regarding their own life.

Anonymous Coward says:

Reminds me of that story from the UK when a bunch of kids were shitting up some old mans garden and the cops did nothing, so he recorded them doing it. Pointing a camera at kids is a no-doubth sign of a pedophile so he was lynched by the locals.
Justice fuck yeah!!1

Yes, as mentioned, in most cases the problem could be avoided if the kids parents gave a fuck about them.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s not just single men that aren’t allowed into Legoland. My girlfriend and I tried to go to the Legoland Discovery Center in Kansas City only to be told when we got to the front of the line that we would not be allowed to enter because we didn’t have a child with us.
Apparently they have an “Adult Day” where adults unaccompanied by children are allowed to enter, but this only happens on every 3rd Monday of the month; which didn’t do us any good since we were only in town for 2 days.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

By no means was my list meant to be exhaustive. But usually if you talk about leaving the country, the first two places people always assume (as if they were the entirety of the rest of the globe, along with the USA) is Canada and the UK.

Frankly, I’d hightail it to mainland Europe.

scotts13 (profile) says:

People need more threats

Clearly, there aren’t enough dangerous things in the world to keep them occupied. Two summers ago, I was walking through a public park on a sunny afternoon. Being a bit of a birdwatcher and former professional photographer, I had a DSLR and a long lens with me.

I was approached by a police officer, who wanted to know what I was doing there. I told him birdwatching and walking. He was kind enough to tell me I’d been “turned in” by the staff at a municipal building, located the other side of the park, across a street, and up a hill.

They were worried I “might photograph” the outside of their building for “terrorist purposes.” This critical facility housed three employees and two lawnmowers.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Not more threats, more courage

It’s not that there aren’t enough dangerous things, it’s that a lot of people have bought in to the fearmongering that the government is constantly pushing, and/or completely lack spines.

They’ve been told for so many years that they need to be terribly afraid of a (statistically insignificant) threat that they’ve started to believe the hype, and as a result have thrown all common sense and courage right out the window.

That of course leaves them jumping at shadows, and not so coincidentally completely ignoring the real threats to their safety and freedoms coming from the very groups that are constantly telling them to be afraid.

OldMugwump (profile) says:

Re: People need more threats

Exactly right – the world has become so safe that people freak out at harmless things.

It’s exactly like the allergy epidemic. Our ancestors lived with filth and parasites, and evolved immune defenses against them. Today we live in clean houses, shower, and use disinfectants. Result? Immune system freaks out at nothing, because it’s evolved to react to SOMETHING.

Same with danger. Our fears are tuned to react to SOMETHING. Without something real, we react to harmless things.

We either need to end this civilized-living thing (it’s unnatural), or start hacking the genome to make ourselves better suited to today’s world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

In my opinion, constantly digging up Adolf Hitler’s metaphorical corpse to mount on a pole and wave around going “OOGIEBOOGIEBOOGIE!” to scare people awake and/or make a point actually weakens any point you have to make. The man was not evil incarnate (though of course quite bad enough), and he’s been dead for over half a century. Quit calling up his memory at the drop of a hat (thus granting him a kind of immortality).

Besides, we’re closer to the Soviet Union than Nazi Germany.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Applied Godwinism: The trick is to not specify Hitler personally...

Unless it was something specifically that Hitler did (such as believe strongly in Social Darwinism as a justification for harsh worker and soldier treatment policies.)

I like to just point out the key words that seem to have applicability here in 21st century US: untermenschen
friekorps, judenfrage, lebensunwertes leben. The United States does not make a perfect comparison to Nazi Germany, of course. But the similarities and differences are certainly a worthy discussion.

We just need to actually have that discussion with sincerity rather than simply associate things with Hitler in order to demonize them.

ECA (profile) says:

Its funny that the facts..

Interesting that Facts never get into the news..

How do pedo’s work?
They dont have to..They are those that kids most trust.

Yes warn your kids about strangers..until you can train them to protect themselves.
Yes warn your kids about WHAT NO ADULT, SHOULD DO to them..

Also, get your kids to KNOW that you wont, NOT listen to them about problems..

Anonymous Coward says:

If you had a victim with you, you could go in.

I went to winnipeg in hopes of seeing an indoor train at a childrens museum. I was told it was fully restored, and I thought that would be a fun thing to see. I got turned away being a single male and told I had to have a kid with me.

What does this all mean?

It means that if I was a pedophile and had a victim with me already, I could have gone in and found some more victims.

So basically, to get a ticket at one of these places, all you have to do is already be a pedophile with a current victim in tow.

eye sea ewe says:

Society considers women the only ones capable of compassion

This is something that has grown over a period of at least forty years.

While at university in the late 70’s, I was on my usual walk around campus at night, when I came across a young woman (around my age) who was crouched in the middle of one road in great distress. I approached her to see what help she needed. Within less than a minute, some of her friends turned up and I was treated with suspicion because she was in distress.

As a grandfather, when I see children in distress and alone, my immediate reaction is see what help they need. I do this with my own grandkids. Yet the immediate reaction by those around (who are actually doing nothing except ignoring the child) is to be treated with suspicion. If my wife is with me, she gets no such reaction.

I grew up in a small country town where it was expected that you helped each other, but that changed over the years because of high profile kidnapping and killing of little girls in the state.

This fear has led to a situation of NOT wanting to help one another because we expect that we will be treated as dangerous individuals.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Society considers women the only ones capable of compassion

On the other hand… I (male) was at a park with my kids. I was sitting on a swing while they played on some other equipment (so I was not definitively there with someone else). A little girl wandered over, I asked if she wanted to swing with me and she said yes, so I put her on my lap and we swung for a while. Her mom came around and didn’t seem to have any issue with it. So not everyone freaks out about things, it’s just that we hear about it when they do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Harper Lee hakes her head in disgust.

You forget that Lee’s book is “banned” by many school districts in the south because she committed the unforgivable sin of demonstrating sympathy for a dark-skinned man.

Also, according to urban legend, Scout grew up to be a lesbian. That’s a double-banhammer in Dixie.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’ve noticed that in middle-class neighborhoods these days, you almost never see any children outside anymore. When I was growing up, we used to play in the streets, the parks, and other public areas like the hundred-yard-wide swarth under those high-power electric lines.

In stark contrast, Mexican immigrant neighborhoods have a lot of children running around (actually, more than a lot) perhaps because the parents watch a different set of television channels that don’t fear them up.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re:

When I was growing up, we used to play in the streets, the parks, and other public areas like the hundred-yard-wide swarth under those high-power electric lines.

Well, notice people need to be warned, and fined the moon, to not speed through playground zones, yet they still do it? There really is a lot of stupid roaming around out there, and a car bumper in the face is arguably worse than shady pedos hanging about snapping pics. I’d be overly protective of my kids too (if I had any) these days.

Anonymous Coward says:

This has gone so far as to children being reported to the cops over being unescorted by their parents while playing outside. WTF? How do you teach your child to deal with the world outside if you can’t let him/her be free enough to get a few bruises discovering things that aren’t cool to do? When did it become illegal to allow your child to play or ride a bicycle on their own?

It was common for me to ride through two towns to go to school and come home every day. This was not something I was made to do. I did it because I didn’t like the bus, but it was my choice. I would cross a busy 4 lane twice a day. I had enough sense to know it was a time to be alert and it was dangerous and I had to have my mind on that, not some ball or something. With the exception of bad weather I did this every day for two different schools in two different years. No one worried about it. It was not unusual. It was just a kid on a bike.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

This has gone so far as to children being reported to the cops over being unescorted by their parents while playing outside. WTF?

Some parents equip their children with little cards explaining that they’re not lost or in trouble, but that they’re allowed to be outside on their own. Sad that we’ve gotten to the point that that is necessary.

Padpaw (profile) says:

To live in the USA is to live in a country where the government practices terrorism on its citizens to keep them fearful and submissive when their rights are illegally ignored and/or removed.

Where justice doesn’t matter as you are treated guilty until proven innocent. Where government sanctioned goons beat up and murder people with no accountability.

Where the saying “it can’t happen here” has blinded generations to the corruption that has taken over their country.

Anonymous Coward says:

Tempting solution

Start running accurate PSAs on TV and in schools targeted to kids. The real danger from isn’t from strangers it is from someone you trust, like your parent, your aunt or uncle, a member of the clergy of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple you attend, your coach or your teacher.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Tempting solution

Yes, well remember this is an evolving situation. When I was a kid, it was only slightly controversial that my dad had a choice between the belt end and the buckle end. Nowadays, belts aren’t even an option, and I’m not that old. Today, my dad would be in jail for “edumacating” me. Consider the result. Woohoo, I’m not Jeffrey Dauhmer, Ted Bundy …

tc says:

Not just singles

I’m a father in Canada. Not single.

Until I was a “familiar” face at my local park, I spoke to cops at least once every week or so while taking my daughter (a toddler) there to play.

I wasn’t taking pictures, I wasn’t speaking or interacting with other kids, just pushing my kid on a swing or letting her slide while Mommy was still at work. Yet, too often, the soccer moms glued to their smartphones would glare and a patrol car would stop and stroll over to “chat”. It was never accusatory, but always kinda roundabout to see if I was really her dad.

Same thing with a local mall, while waiting for my wife, I took my daughter in a stroller around to window shop. A guard followed me for a solid hour before approaching me and finally asking me if she was my kid. I mean, what the hell?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

My usual rant points regarding pedophilia, child sexual abuse and child welfare in the US

~ Being that we’re a highly social species, we have bunches of instincts encouraging us to hang around with kids, to interact with them and engage them reflectively. And by far for most of us, that doesn’t get crossed with our sexual arousal wires. Interacting with children is generally a healthy thing for both kids and adults.

~ Most pedophiles (that is people with sexual attractions to children) are inactive, meaning they don’t engage in inappropriate behavior with children, whether familiar or strange. I’m not sure why it’s regarded as contrary to logic that pedophiles like children and are aware that pre-sexualizing them is harmful. (Especially in a society in which victims are regarded as used goods) And as a social species we tend to avoid harming people we actually like.

~ Among convicts, child sexual abusers have one of the lowest recidivism rates. Really, they are capable of (and often seek to) empathize with the victim and recognize that what they’ve done was harmful. And there are safe, functional alternative ways in which to engage and explore chronophilic fetishes so that they involve only consenting adults.

~ Children in the US are these days one of the most isolated demographics in the world. When all the parents are breadwinners by necessity (who have to work 40+ hours a week) it’s commonplace for them to have no energy left to actually parent. Schools had in the 2000s averaged about fifty kids to the supervising adult. So kids are either left with their siblings or on their own, and serious questions are being raised in pediatric sector about if this degree of separation and isolation is even less healthy than premature sexualization. Given that US children are also one of the most impoverished demographics whose rights are least defended, it’s pretty clear that the United States hates its kids, except when they can be utilized as a flagship victim to push a specific agenda.

~ Actual child sexual abuse including sex trafficking is not addressed by any of the suspicion or precaution we take in trying to prevent exactly that sort of thing. Child prostitutes are commonly pimped by their own parents or sold by them into slavery. No kidnapping is necessary, except when it comes to runaways and other forsaken children on the streets. And the promise of food and hospitality is usually enough to reel them in.

~ In my experience, those who hunt pedophiles don’t care about children, they care about hunting pedophiles. They have a target against whom it’s socially acceptable for them to direct their hatred, and so they do. It’s like a pyromaniac who just wants to watch the world burn, so elects to burn down abortion clinics to throw off investigations and garner support.

Pragmatic says:

Re: My usual rant points regarding pedophilia, child sexual abuse and child welfare in the US

~ Most pedophiles (that is people with sexual attractions to children) are inactive, meaning they don’t engage in inappropriate behavior with children, whether familiar or strange. I’m not sure why it’s regarded as contrary to logic that pedophiles like children and are aware that pre-sexualizing them is harmful. (Especially in a society in which victims are regarded as used goods) And as a social species we tend to avoid harming people we actually like.

~ Among convicts, child sexual abusers have one of the lowest recidivism rates. Really, they are capable of (and often seek to) empathize with the victim and recognize that what they’ve done was harmful. And there are safe, functional alternative ways in which to engage and explore chronophilic fetishes so that they involve only consenting adults.

Citation? From what I’ve seen and heard they are incapable of empathy except when they’ve been caught and held to account, after which their apparent turnaround is either an act or they’re genuinely trying to change. I’m friendly with some victims of this horrible crime and believe me, it’s a) more widespread and under-reported than you realize, and b) my information comes from people who are NOT trying to make a living out of discussing it, nor do they have an agenda to push, so I consider them to be more reliable sources of information.

Since what you’re saying contradicts what I’ve been told over and over again by people on the receiving end (and those trying to protect them), I’d like to know what your sources are so I can learn more about this. I thought pedophilia was a variation on NPD; that they’re simply unable to see themselves as having done anything wrong because they’re unwilling to see themselves as being capable of doing wrong. If it’s something else, what is it?

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: My usual rant points regarding pedophilia, child sexual abuse and child welfare in the US

I thought pedophilia was a variation on NPD; that they’re simply unable to see themselves as having done anything wrong because they’re unwilling to see themselves as being capable of doing wrong.

I’d like to see your sources – I’m no expert but I’ve never heard pedophilia described as NPD or psychopathy (which is basically what your “no empathy” description sounds like). And victims would not at all be a reliable source of objective information on the nature of the condition.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder vs. Pedophilia.

There’s a difference between pedophilia and child sexual abuse, and there’s a difference between child sexual abuse and narcissistic personality disorder, and I’m having a hard time drawing the line that you did connecting the first and last of this chain.

My sources came from an institution that specifically studied and treated both offenders and victims of child sexual abuse, but occasionally we see articles such as this one or this one that pull numbers. At the same time, since the 90s the industrialized world has been on a witch hunt for pedophiles, exasperated, no doubt, by the revelations of offenses within the Roman Catholic Clergy. Still, if you have a preferred source, say a recent report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, I’d like to see it.

Pedophilia is a paraphilia, essentially a sexual fetish, plenty of which manifest across the human spectrum. (Mind you this is according to the DSM V. The DSM III only considered those who were active, ruling out those who fantasized about children but did not act on those fantasies.) Fetishes themselves are not generally dangerous, and given that we’re a creative species we have countless ways to be sexually expressive without generating risk or impropriety.

I suspect the incidents you and your associates have encountered were by assailants who featured dangerous conditions other than a mere paraphilia. (Such as Antisocial Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder). If that were the case, they might have been compelled aggress regardless. Their pedophilia may have informed their choice of victim and behavior, but wasn’t, itself what drove them to hostility.

I can’t speak specifically to Narcissistic Personality Disorder but would be curious if there is a correlation between NPD and sexual abuse or sexual offense in general, and not just child sexual abuse. From what I know of NPD, I’m pretty sure there is.

While I don’t question the severity of the specific crimes committed against your associates, I suspect that a handful of anecdotes does not serve as an adequate sampling by which to paint the broader picture. Your victimized associates might not, for instance, be well informed about the numbers that don’t offend, given their specific experiences have been (obviously) with those who do.

Rest assured that not everyone who is mildly aroused by a passing encounter with a young person in public is destined to act upon it.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Until the 1970s teacher-student relationships weren't regarded as a crime

Until the 1970s if the teacher was female and the student male, even if the student was underaged. Some states still only criminalize it if the student is under 15. And yes there’s at least one publicized incident with a 11-year-old male student.

It’s one of those things where it was regarded as commonplace and an accepted perk of being a teacher. We have curiously few statistics as to the actual frequency of reported cases (though like many crimes it usually goes unreported, even if discovered).

So I’d argue that only hot ones (i.e. hot according to media standards) only get lots of press, but we’re attracted to a much greater variance than the narrow gamut that is favored in media or show-biz. And I’d argue that someone particularly plain might still be personable and approachable. Not all women in other illicit relationships are necessarily media hot.

But getting back to the original issue, child sexual abuse statistics weigh heavily on adult men aggressing much more commonly than adult women. I suspect that would somehow inform the statistics regarding teacher-student relationships, but I don’t know to what degree.

And the guys in their mug-shots are certainly not Hollywood material. (Oh and our justice system is much harsher on discovered male teachers than female teachers.)

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: A robust Critical Thinking curriculum would help.

My experience in switching to a diverse set of news sources has changed my perspective in a number of ways.

~ Catastrophic things happen that just aren’t reported by mainstream news, or are reported with a high spin. Entire nations are ignored.

~ Sometimes every news sources gets all their data from a single dubious source, and no-one bothers to find other sources.

~ Often mainstream priorities are off. Superbowl Halftime antics can lead over disasters that affect the nonindustrialised world.

The greatest sin of high-spin outlets such as Fox News or CNN is really that they perpetuate the illusion that everything is fine on the homefront. They report about the ongoing war and ne’erdowells and the liberal war on Christmas as if these are the only things that need to be fixed before we can achieve a status quo in which everyone is happy, where in the real world, the neither the status quo nor the Fox-News-conservative ideal is tolerable for very much of anyone.

The police message is pretty much the same, dismissing those who complain in or act to disrupt the peace, when things as they are, when huge demographics are suffering, dying or going mad in the current state.

Anonymous Coward says:


Law and Order
The Killing
Criminal Minds
Chicago PD
The Blacklist
American Crime
Hawaii Five-0
The Following
Person of Interest
True Detective
Blue Bloods
Battle Creek
How To Get Away With Murder
The Mentalist
Orange is the New Black
Homicide Hunter
Major Crimes
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Deadline: Crime

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