Thursday, August 27, 2015

Have A Seat Right Over There

You may have seen the "To Catch a Predator" series on Dateline NBC a few years back. In these shows, men who had initiated sexually oriented chats with underage boys and girls (actually undercover cops) would show up at houses where they thought those kids were home alone. Once inside, they were confronted by reporter Chris Hansen, who would interview them. When they'd leave the house, they were usually arrested by awaiting officers. All of this was filmed by multiple hidden cameras.

We also do these stings within our department. Working patrol, I'm not usually involved, but twice I've been in on the actual arrest. The initial on-line portion of the investigation is handled by a special group from our Investigations Division. Rather than the elaborate set-up in a house like the one Dateline used, they typically make arrangements to meet the subject in a parking lot - usually by a fast food place or a shopping mall. We have a description of the person and the vehicle he's driving, and park in an inconspicuous spot. When the suspect pulls in, his car is boxed in by marked and unmarked cars, and he's taken down at gunpoint. The looks on their faces show that this is the ultimate "Oh-Shit!" moment of their lives. If convicted, they are looking at serious, serious prison time.

Maybe I should have more empathy for these losers. We all have our foibles, peccadilloes and kinks, and sometimes that little voice in our head that tells us a certain thing is weird goes unheeded. And I have no problem with that when it's among competent, consenting adults, and nobody gets hurt to the point that I have to take a report. But when you're bending the mind of some little kid to gain their trust, then taking them down a life-altering path just so you can get your rocks off, you need to go away somewhere for a very long time. Never mind what this person might have been willing to do to cover his tracks had it been a real kid that showed up rather than the cops. I'm checking my sympathy meter - it appears to be stuck on zero.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for having zero empathy for these creeps. All it took was one episode in the 5th grade and 30 years later, although I manage to enjoy a decent life it still haunts me and makes me question so much.

Keep busting these creeps. The wounds may heal but the scars last forever.

lbparker said...

Agreed. I have no tolerance for adults who molest children. Yes, they themselves may have been molested when they were children, and that's how it started, but they still have free will. They can choose to NOT do that to anyone else. I tend to have very old-fashioned notions on what should be done with these perverts, male or female: Something very permanent.