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John Grisham Has A Soft Spot For Child Porn Pervs. Ew?

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John Grisham Has a Soft Spot For Child Porn Pervs  Ew  author john grisham 133x200 jpgJohn Grisham is a man on a mission, and that mission is to make us feel bad about how the legal system treats people who consume child porn. Really, John? For someone who’s been familiar with the legal system for so many years, Grisham has an interesting perspective, or lack thereof, on who is most in need of rescue from under the unyielding wheels of justice.

Grisham knows the legal system, or at least I assume he must, because I believe he has written at least one legal-thriller bestselling novel every year of my life so far. So I’m not sure how it is that of all the people marginalized by law enforcement and the justice system, it’s not the poor, whose poverty is so often criminalized; and it’s not people of color, who are frequently treated like lawbreakers for simply existing in a public place. Nope! It is, specifically, ‘old white men‘:

“We have prisons now filled with guys my age — 60-year-old white men in prison who’ve never harmed anybody […] These are people who haven’t hurt anybody. They deserve some type of punishment, whatever, but 10 years in prison?”

Oh my god, they’re old WHITE men? Oh man! What are those guys doing in prison? Someone call the ACLU! Also, I guess Grisham and I have a pretty different definition of a victimless crime, because the people who consume child porn are supporting a system in which children are used in pornography. You know, children? Kids? The people who are in need of our help and protection a bit more than gross 60-year-old-white men jerking it in their basements to pictures of abused preteens? Yeah, sorry, no: you can’t pretend that nobody was hurt by a crime that literally revolves around hurting children.

While Grisham does say he doesn’t have sympathy for pedophiles, he does suggest a sort of ‘it could happen to anyone!’ mentality about this kind of crime:

Grisham said there are men in prison who “got online one night” who “probably had too much to drink” and ended up on child-pornography websites, a crime he said a friend had committed.

I will (very generously, I think) ignore the tempting “it happened to a friend” line in this and go on to say sorry, but being drunk should not turn off the switch in your head that says, “The sexual abuse of children is sick and wrong!”. It also does not absolve you of your actions. No one has a few too many beers, trips into his computer desk, and accidentally streams three gigs of child pornography. If you get behind the wheel of a car drunk, you get in trouble. If you go on a bender and find yourself downloading child porn, you should still be in trouble, lots of it.

Ten years for viewing child porn? Sure, why not? There are valid arguments for making our justice system less punitive and more rehabilitory, but “we’re not being nice enough to people who prey on children” is not one of those arguments.

(image: Neilson Barnard/Getty)

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