April 21, 2021

When It’s No Longer Shocking

Lauren Nelson Miss AmericaIt never ceases to amaze me. How many times have they run TV specials where they have a girl pose as being underaged in a chat room, get gullible men to show up at the front door, get them inside, tape them and arrest them?

The curious thing is that these shows must be thinking that it’s getting too routine to catch these bad men. Some of the shock value must be gone as more and more Americans are seeing just how many of their neighbors, bosses and pastors (yes, this is a tragedy) are involved in this malevolence.

This is the one of the only reasons that I can see why Miss America is helping out on sex stings. Yes, she’s now the girl making the calls and being sent to the chat rooms to impersonate a 14 year old girl. What a mixed message– you’re headed to jail because you were caught by the girl parading in her underwear on TV just a few days ago!

To me, however, I go back to my question– has this crime been turned into just another thing for us to be entertained with? Is catching perversion to get us riled up about those out there just another means to get ratings?

Obviously they’ve tried to show you all ages, all body types, all professions to show you that no one is immune. If you have ever seen these shows, you know that they try to suck you in by trying to get you into the mind of the predator. However, it comes of feeling like a reality show, and you have no idea both to what extent these people have been practicing this before they chatted with Miss America, nor what their true heart condition.

Worst of all, there seems to be no help in trying to get these men not to be predators. No call for the ban of pornography. No call for a return to moral values and abstinence. No plea to people to make sure their children are safe. No, what we do get is an interesting look into the criminal act, and the conversation leading up to it, but no examination of how they got there or a help line to help you prevent from getting there yourself.

It’s no longer shocking because it’s become routine– and now glamorized. It’s the newest way to get on T.V. Mark my words, there will soon be a group of people trying to scam these types of shows by having some type of alibi or some way to get out, and yet some way to get on T.V. That’s about the only place left these shows have to go.

Update: The men that Miss America helped to arrest may end up getting off, because Miss America is not going to testify against them. Thus the defendants are saying this was a publicity stunt and not done by law enforcement, and those arrested may get off.

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14 thoughts on “When It’s No Longer Shocking

  1. I think you also have to consider the morality of entrapment. It is absolutely not a Biblical practice to lure someone into sin just so you can punish them.

  2. That’s an interesting point, Samantha. You could go so far as to say that you shouldn’t be providing opportunities to stumble for people. In this case, creating a fictitious underaged girl to catch the predator is actually providing something where a person is being tempted to do wrong.

    However, how do you stop the predator if they are able to carry on in this way and do it anonymously through the internet? How do protect the 14 year old that is engaging in sexual activity against the law, and finding contacts on the internet?

    I’m curious here– do we just let them do it because it’s consensual?

    Obviously, on one hand the answer is that we should be out seeing people get saved and changing hearts. Another is teaching parents to monitor computer chat rooms, e-mails, and teaching their sons/daughters the values of purity. But when these things fail, what do we do?

  3. First and foremost, the problem is sin (but we know that). Everyone in this scenario is sinning – the parents of the girls who have not only the freedom to roam in chat rooms, but the freedom to actually slip out and meet these guys; and the men and girls who are seeking to fornicate. I have to say that the fact the girls are “under 18” is not such a huge concern for me. There have been plenty of girls throughout time in this country and elsewhere who were married and or “doing it” by that age. They are old enough physically to have desire and to become pregnant. Most 14 year old girls are not really children, and in this day and age, I don’t think most of them are so naive that they think they are just meeting a nice fella who is going to buy them ice cream.

    So, what would I advocate in this situation? If the girls are really raped, they should press charges. If they are truly young enough to be considered children, then the parents should press charges of rape and assault.

  4. So, I would break this up two different ways:

    1. If the 14 year old is a child, then it’s the parent’s responsibility to “police” their children’s activities. They are the ones responsible for protecting their child from predators on or off line, and they should make sure that their children are not behaving incorrectly.

    2. If the 14 year old is an adult, then the laws should reflect that, and they should be responsible for what happens.

    In order for this really to have teeth, though, I would think that the parents (bearing the responsibility) would also have to bear part of the punishment if their child was out doing this and it was against the law. Maybe something as simple as denying the house internet access or something.

    The problem is that you really want to be more preventative than reactive in this situation because of the value that the older people know that sex has versus what the 14 year old knows.

    Do I want to have a predator outside my kids school watching them hoping to take advantage of them and my only recourse is to charge them for rape and put them away after they take away my child’s innocence? What if it’s a 12 year old or younger, does that make a difference?

    But then, I may be talking two different cases– one is solicitation and deception over the Internet for entrapment, the other is the predator that kidnaps. One you have much more control over than the other. But they are linked.

  5. I guess I have to say that prevention is not the job of the law; the job of the law is to punish those who have done evil. So, if there is someone outside a school looking for children to molest, the question would have to be asked – if this person has raped and assaulted in the past, why are they out, or even alive? And if the person has never been tried and convicted of these things, there is nothing you can do, since the sin is still internal.

    I think a lot of how you interpret this depends on how you see the law. Do you have a more theonomic idea of law, where many or most external things that are sins are also crimes, or do you take the approach that things can be sins, but need not be crimes? If you took the theonomic view, to be consistent you would also have to take the Biblical standard of evidence, which is two eyewitnesses, and consider whether entrapment constitutes eyewitnesses, and whether solicitation is actually a sin. It would seem that you could solicit, but not go through with the plan. In that case, Biblically, I would think the sin remained in the thought life, which is not in the realm of the earthly law.

    Interesting discussion! Thanks…

  6. The other problem that I have is the whole “ends justifies the means” problem. If it is wrong to entrap or to provide opportunity to let a person believe they can sin, then does that justify the capture of these men– who have in many cases taken advantage of many 14-year-old (this one is not their first).

    The hard part of this whole discussion rests around how person the violation, the question of whether an individual is really old enough to consent, the irreversible properties of the crime, and the mental damage that accompanies it.

    I see this as a cue to the fact that we have a society that doesn’t really know what it wants to be. If it upheld a high moral standard, like a Biblical standard, and enforced it then we wouldn’t have a problem. If they loosened laws to be open, then the problem would disappear because it wouldn’t be a crime.

  7. I believe it just the medias way in adding more shock value to its viewers.

    I have never actually seen the show and basically have cut off watching all reality programs and such.

    It just goes to show you how gullible and ignorant people can be to be so candid on camera or in a chat room.

  8. I love your blog for the fascinating conclusions that you draw and the accurate, yet funny observations that you make (for example about the reality tv shows). Also as you are very honest about things that are wrong in Christianity. I guess I like your complete honesty! Anyway – Here is my point:

    Pedophilia and a few other things too disgusting to mention are probably the only sexual taboos left!

    Everything else is now more or less acceptable in the eyes of contemporary society.

    With that perspective: How long until the remaining taboos start going mainstream too?

    It’s a very slippery slope!

  9. I think you’re spot on, Cordelia. I was reading something in the New York Times today where it said that the standard for what is obscene (according to the U.S. Supreme Court) is what the average U.S. citizen would consider obscene. So that means that part of the tactic to increase any of these sins (porn, violence, etc) is to keep doing things that push the envelope so that our definition of what is obscene keeps moving. It’s a planned thing.

  10. I’m certainly not trying to mainstream pedophelia. I personally think 14 is too old to be considered a child in this matter, unless the 14 year old is mentally handicapped. It’s hard to pick an arbitrary age where it IS pedophelia, but how about 12, since that was the Biblical age of bar mitzvah, when a young man was expected to know and keep the law for himself?

    Either way, it is certainly true that many things that were once considered obscene, or at the least, something to be hypocritical about, are now being seen as increasingly normal. Perhaps God is giving people up to their debased minds, to do those things which are not fitting (Romans 1).

  11. Cordelia, that is an excellent point about taboos. But we run up against Min’s question: how do we prevent peadophiles from sinning?

    Clearly not just by saying their sin is just a lifestyle choice. Sin is sin. But at the same time, we can point to the hypocrisy of a secular world that says that sexual orientations are just different but perfectly valid… except peadophilia, where the people concerned are malevolent, disgusting people who need to be locked away.

    So here is my radical thesis: I think that Christians should be willing to accept, encourage and support people who are struggling with paedophilia, in the same way they should accept, love and support people struggling with homosexuality, or just plain old lust.

    Why? Because if we are open about the problem, and truly non judgemental, then we may be able to encourage such men (usually men, although apparently occasionally women) to be open and honest about their struggle. We can then strive to help them avoid stumbling. We can ensure that we don’t place them in the way of temptation, and we can pray and help with counselling.

    Would this work? Probably not in every case. A peadophile must never fulfill his sexual desires as long as those desires are wrong. But I think we could make progress if we were honest that the problem exists in our churches too, and if we broke down the taboo, whilst standing firm on the moral issue.

    Maybe that is too radical – too controversial. Maybe it is what Christ would call us to do. I’m not sure (and a disclaimer, I have never counselled a peadophile, so I am speaking from ignorance as to the complexities and legalities involved).

  12. I’m certain Christ would have us help, but here we run into the legal law and statistics. Legally, if these people fall once they should be imprisoned according to our justice system. This is where some libertarians would ask the question what sins should be criminalized and which should not.

    Tough call.

  13. Yes, I agree that falling in this area should lead to imprisonment – on the basis of child protection. The question is how to prevent these people, wherever possible, from falling once.


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