John Grisham apologized, still makes point about pornography

Today in my local paper, the Bangkok Post, there was a brief article saying that one of my favorite authors apologized for statements made in the British Daily Telegram.  “In our current politically correct world we have to be very careful what we say.”  John Grisham said, quoting the article, not necessarily Grisham:  “not all men who look at child pornography should be sent to prison and that sentences for such crimes were too harsh.”  What do you think?  

In my case, as a contrarian regarding the subject of trafficking, I agree that an apology is needed in order to allow Mr Grisham to continue with his career in a world gone a bit mad.

I strongly oppose child pornography

My opinion is that here is no room whatsoever for any kind of child pornography and attacking it from the demand side of economics makes good sense.  I can not understand child pornography.  But, in the nuanced sense of what Grisham said, not everyone should go to prison.  If a person creates, purposefully shares, or markets child pornography then, yes, I think prison is appropriate, far more so than is the case if a person simply has inappropriate pictures of children.  But even that circumstance requires good sense and justice.  That quality seems to be lacking especially in the United States due to social panic about that crime.

And that is a subject of Mr Grisham’s up coming book.

The article I read concludes this way, quoting John Grisham: “There’s so many “sex offenders – that is what they’re called – that they put them in the same prison.  Like they are a bunch of perverts, or something – thousands of them,” he said.  “We’ve gone nuts with this incarceration.

America seemingly has “gone nuts” over many things and more so now than ever before.  I want to refer anyone who is interested in the excessive hyperbole Mr. Grisham is referring to to consider the 2010 book:  The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things, Barry Glassner, 1999.

Pornography

This book offers some history of Americans going a little crazy (or a lot crazy) over issues far out of proportion to reality.

As I write this in 2014 America is going more than a little nuts over fears of spread of embola.  This is something to keep watch over but hardly something for ordinary people to fear.

America has been on a rampage over trafficking for about 15 years.  Some would say the principle of national sovereignty suggests that America should leave that issue alone .

Thanks to John Grisham we are talking about both pornography and sex offender lists.

I have a little more to share about sex offender lists and Mr Grisham would probably like you to this know too.  I read recently, and can’t cite the source now, that America has roughly 700,000 people on various sex offender lists.  Crazy!

If it is true that would be 5% of America’s population.  There are roughly 3,500,000 Americans.  If 700,000 are on a sex offender list, that is 5%.  Look around you and count 20 people.  In theory one of them is a sex offender.    I don’t believe that!  I just don’t!

Common sense tells me that is another issue out of proper perspective!

Another source I will share in just a moment explains that many people on sex offender lists are children as young as 10 years old.  Something as simple as urinating in public can lead to being on a sex offender list.   Construction workers with no portapotty, marathon runners, and college students who drank to much may urinate where people might see them, and as a result they may be required to register as a sex offender – for life.

Trust me when I say that secret urinating is purely a recent American phenomena.  Travel guides will tell you even a major first world city like Amsterdam is known for people standing to the side of a building or behind a bush when they need to urinate.  American sex culture would require that all of them be arrested and put on an offender list.

Grisham has become a celebrity champion of a tough cause.  We need his book.  Just like America’s other inappropriate fears, these sex offenders lists are out of control.

Many people are harmed by sex offender lists.

But many more people face inappropriate fears because of these lists and what they are supposed to mean.

I strongly recommend this website:  

Catherine Carpenter, a law professor,  offers a very rational legal explanation of the current state of sex offender lists – – 

 

3 Comments

  1. This cuts across many subjects I have strong opinions on.

    The first thing is that I do have concerns about John Grisham playing down the seriousness of kiddyporn. Police will tell you that the only reason that people have an interest in this is because they want to have sex with children. But that has to be tempered with the fact that there are countries in the world where the age of consent (AOC) is as low as 12.

    So immediately, there are going to be paradoxes in most cases. For example, there is an almost universal AOC which is 18 for paying a prostitute. However in the UK there is nothing to stop a girl selling herself at 16, though it is illegal for the man to pay her.

    Similarly, a 16 year old UK girl can get married and consent to sex, but it is illegal to film her in the act regardless of whether she consents to filming. Again, in the UK, they categorise these pictures on a scale from one to five. But I don’t believe any attention is paid to the age of the “models”. At the risk of getting lynched, I would in categorising these images take into account if it can be shown where the model comes from, she was legally consenting.

    But the Catherine Carpenter vid, raise many of the issues I try to rationalise. One example is the viciousness of sentences handed out in the US. I read somewhere that 98% of all juveniles serving life without parole (LWOP) are locked up in the US. These include a boy that was sentenced at age 11. The biggest problem with the “Justice system” in the US is that the participants such as judges, senior police and prosecutors, are either political appointees or elected officials, and most of them get their appointments by outbidding their opponents in how nasty they are going to be in dealing with alleged offenders. Consequently the US has nearly as many prisoners serving LWOP (49,000 including 3,000 for non-violent crimes) as there are prisoners in Italy (52000). Adding to the perspective of this, 1-in-47 US prisoners are serving LWOP. In the UK which locks up more prisoners than any other country in the EU, it is 1-in-2000.

    And then you hear that people are being put on a Sex Offender Register for life for public urination. I don’t think that there is a man in the world, and probably quite a few women as well, who have not been caught short and done this behind some bushes. If you are going to register people as sex offenders for this, then I think every man on the planet will have a criminal record.

    When you look at the US, there is this total lack of proportionality when dealing with crime and even more so, when it comes to dealing with so called sex crimes. I heard a story recently of a 19 yr old man who was convicted of the statutory rape of his 16 year old girlfriend on the basis of a complaint by the girl’s mother. This was not a predatory male because shortly after his conviction, the couple eloped and married. Nevertheless, he is still required to register as a sex offender for life.

    And though this particular blog article has nothing to do with Trafficking, it does give you an insight into just how easily, the US in particular can accelerate for Zero to Hysteria in under one second.

    • So, true. America is going through some hell. The UK and the EU too. Thanks for your input. Regarding the issue of sex offender laws I recommend this YouTube vid. It is very thoughtful and very enlightening and covers a lot of ground: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qyA9TU8nE8

      And this article about the faux-issue of rape on US college campus is just amazing, another faux US issue as you will see: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/12/college_rape_campus_sexual_assault_is_a_serious_problem_but_the_efforts.html

      Frankly I have become amazed by the economic issue of wealth inequality, especially in America, but everywhere too. Many industries of seemingly good hearted people find their life’s work as champions of one issue or another. All these issues including trafficking, including sex offender lists, including huge numbers of Americans in prison, and campus rape, and more. All these kinds of issues are a huge distraction from the overwhelming issue of the way we all are returning to a feudal system with a few extremely wealthy people and a huge mass of poor people and a ting middle class.

    • I agree with everything you say but I dread saying it. The reason is that I have to focus only on as much as I can handle. To be more exact I will attempt to do what I can by myself. I was distracted by some personal issues and have not even done proper justice for this one issue of trafficking.

      Sex offender list abuses are a really difficult problem, but it is almost exclusively an American problem. It could be indicative of what we all face worldwide as the world continues to change in the direction so many of us see. America has huge problems not only with its criminal justice system but also with inequality across the board. I will stick to one issue here of trafficking and, since I live in Thailand, I limit my interest mostly to international trafficking. I am glad you say the Catherine Carpenter vid. I hope a lot more people will see it too. Here it is again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qyA9TU8nE8

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