Proportion

Proportion

A few months ago, a few teens in the Normandy School District were doing what teens these do, but shouldn’t. They were passing around videos of themselves being, well, intimate.

Stupid? Yes. Grounds for discipline by their parents? You betcha.

But the prosecutors of St. Louis County went one further. They charged at least one of the teens with promoting child pornography.

Think about that for a minute. Charging a teenager with a felony. The possibility that the teen will go to prison, and spend the rest of his life as a sex offender.

Normal folk realize that this is way out of line. That the penalty felony charges bring down on a teen, even a 17 year old, are way out proportion to what the kid did. Best case, he gets probation. And spends the rest of his life labeled a sex offender. On Halloween, he needs to turn out his lights, avoid the door bell. Can’t live too close to school. Can’t even walk too a school.

But, if St. Louis County prosecutors are bad, then the police officers of Manassas City, Virginia, and the prosecutors they work with are worse. Again, a 17 year old is charged with sexting (though his 15 year old girlfriend, who started the exchange of naughty images is not). And what do the cops and prosecutors want to do?

They want to take pictures of the young man’s intimate areas. For comparison, they say.

Apparently, the crime of taking nude pictures of one’s self is so great, that the police want to take nude pictures.

That is an incredibly failure of thinking. But it veers into disgusting, because the officers are not content with any normal pictures. No, no. the officers want the young man to be aroused. And if he won’t arouse himself, then they will have the kid dosed with a drug that will do the job.

Nothing about this is right. Nothing about this is correct. The lengths that the State will go to throw some 17 year old in jail, destroy their lives, are entirely out of line with the point of the law, which is protecting kids. But something about prosecuting people leads to a complete loss of any sense of proportion.