What Kind of a Sick Mind Calls This Child Porn?

The internet has given anti-sex lawmakers the opportunity to create entire new classes of crime. Predictably, petty bureaucrats are seizing these laws to go after an assortment of “perpetrators,” no matter how trivial, petty, or pointless their “crime.”

America has always aspired to have laws which punish the actual harming of actual people. Admittedly, we haven’t always attained this ideal; examples include criminalizing interracial marriage, arresting people who burn the flag, and banning grocery stores from operating on Sundays.

But the biggest legal bonanza of digital technology is that it offers a virtual world in which activity that doesn’t harm real people can be criminalized anyway. And so a number of states have criminalized texting or IM’ing about sex with people you think are minors. Prosecutors are going to adult chatrooms pretending to be minors, talking with other adults, and then arresting those adults. The defense of “I knew it was an adult pretending to be a minor, that’s the whole fun of it” has mostly proven ineffective.

Then there’s sexting, in which young people are charged with creating, distributing, or receiving child pornography just for emailing sexual photos of themselves or each other. Laws designed to protect minors from exploitation by adults are being used to crush the minors themselves. These laws label the same person both perpetrator and victim, destroying various young people to save them from themselves.

Now we come to the bizarre case of Evan Emory, a Michigan man facing 20 years in jail for a prank that has a whole town quaking with indignation, even though no one can point to any actual harm done to any actual humans.

Last month, Evan received permission to play a song for a first-grade class. Under the watchful eye of their teacher, Evan sang “Lunch Lady Land” and, with school permission, videotaped the event. So far, everyone wins.

This stupid jackass goes home, edits the video, and splices in shots of himself singing sexually explicit lyrics, so it looks like he’s singing that to the kiddies. The lyrics, by the way, are not about them. He apparently thinks it’s hilarious—sophomoric humor on steroids. Three days ago he puts it up on YouTube with the disclaimer that “no actual children have been exposed” to the song.

A mommy finds out and goes ballistic, saying her child has been “humiliated.” She tells the principal. The principal says he’s “outraged at the “perverted” clip made for “personal gratification.” He calls in the law. The law puts him behind bars for—and this is the crucial part, so pay attention—“manufacturing child sexually abusive material.”

Yes. He’s facing 20 years in jail—more than many child molesters and even second-degree murderers get—for creating (not selling) a You Tube clip that deliberately gives the appearance of singing a dirty song to a bunch of 6-year-olds.

He’s not charged with invasion of privacy, or trespassing on school property, or of being an immature butthole. He’s charged with “manufacturing child sexually abusive material.” Those not familiar with the Michigan vernacular can just substitute the magic words “manufacturing child porn.”

Which child was sexually abused? None.
What harm has any child experienced? None.
If any child has been “harmed,” has that child been “sexually abused?” No.

Think of it: if it were your child, and if you were angry about this, would you say that what this character did was equivalent to “sexual abuse,” or to starring your kid in child porn? Anyone who says yes doesn’t know anything about the dreadful realities of actual sexual abuse or child porn.

But why care about actual children when you can score political points, career points, or points with your God, raving about non-existent events creating non-existent harm? This school principal is either terrified of dirty words or cynically calculating about making himself a hero. And the prosecutor is either completely clueless about what real crime looks like, or he’s eager to prove what a powerful tyrant he can be.

Either way, both the principal and the prosecutor are far more dangerous to little Sallie and Juan than the dumbass Evan Emory. Parents should be annoyed at what Evan did. They should be outraged about what the principal and prosecutor did, and demand their resignations.

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