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Court Says Parents Can Block PA "Sexting" Prosecutions 383

Posted by timothy
from the and-maybe-they-can dept.
mikesd81 writes "In the first federal appeals court opinion dealing with 'sexting,' a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled Wednesday that parents could block the prosecution of their children on child pornography charges for appearing in photographs found on some classmates' cellphones. Miller vs. Mitchell (PDF) began in 2008 when school officials in Tunkhannock, Pa., discovered seminude and nude photographs of some female students on other student's phones. George Skumanick Jr., the DA at the time, said the students and their parents could be prosecuted if they did not participate in an after-school 'education program.' The unanimous ruling of the judges, Thomas L. Ambro, Michael A. Chagares and Walter K. Stapleton, criticized the district attorney's reliance on the girls' presence in the photographs as a basis for the potential charges. 'Appearing in a photograph provides no evidence as to whether that person possessed or transmitted the photo,' said the opinion, by Judge Ambro."
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Court Says Parents Can Block PA "Sexting" Prosecutions

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  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:10PM (#31525444) Journal

    If I was a parent I wouldn't want to interfere with my 16-17 year old teen sex life, and I sure as hell didn't want my parents to interfere with mine when I was that age.

    Maybe so but there are a lot of parents that don't want naked pictures of their perfect child floating around the school and would like to use rule of law to discourage "sexting." It's all about appearances; the parents don't want to look like they raised their kids poorly and the state doesn't want to look like they're soft on crime.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by couchslug (175151) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:11PM (#31525458)

    The sex thing is driven by the Christian Taliban. Christianity, like the other desert superstitions, seeks to control and ration sex.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wurp (51446) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:12PM (#31525472) Homepage

    You sure as hell *better* interfere with your 16-17 year old's sex life. Teenagers are stupid fuckers, and can get HIV or become pregnant as easily as 30-somethings.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spidercoz (947220) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:14PM (#31525502) Journal
    seems to me they're trying to make up a crime where none exists
  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:16PM (#31525522) Journal

    >>>I love the fucking hypocrisy around sex in USA.

    What sex? These are just pictures of a naked human, and no more harmful than pics of a naked pig or naked bird. In fact the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled multiple times that nudity is protected speech. It's why you can find images of naked children/teens in your local Barnes & Noble.

    Underage sex photos should be restricted (because someone was raped), but not photos of homo sapiens in his natural state.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:18PM (#31525540) Journal

    So maybe they should raise their child correctly then?

  • Re:Insanity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TiggertheMad (556308) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:19PM (#31525552) Homepage Journal
    You sure as hell *better* interfere with your 16-17 year old's sex life.

    You presume that you will always make better choices than your children will? Interesting...
  • Wait a second.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:23PM (#31525612)

    On the face of it, it sounds good - it's unlikely parents will agree to child pornography prosecutions against their own child. But looking closer at it, this is just batshit-insanity dressed up with a legal fig-leaf. "Appearing in a photograph provides no evidence as to whether that person possessed or transmitted the photo" sounds to me like they judges are merely arguing that childporn charges do no apply because images themselves do not provide much evidence of who took the picture. It still completely neglects the issue that the current childporn laws apply to people under the age of consent who took naked pictures of themselves! Yes, I know, then there could be a loophole that pedophiles just force their victims to take their own pictures. Honestly - I don't care. The current laws not only make criminals out of people who really didn't do anything wrong, but also terminally fuck someone for the rest of their lives just because they took a picture of themselves.

    Yes, yes, pedophilia is the root password to the Constitution, etc. But apathy and fatalism isn't gonna cut it. Write to your congress critters, and interrupt people who blather on about the danger of random strangers taking pictures. Tell them that they ought to look up the weird uncle first.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:26PM (#31525662) Homepage

    I think you hit the mark perfectly.

    It makes absolutely no sense that you can have sex but not send a dirty picture of yourself to your boy/girlfriend, and if you do you will be taken to some kind of "education program".

    No sane person would call teens sending their teenage boy/girlfriends a dirty picture of themselves pedophiles or bring them up on child porn charges.
    But obviously just mentioning the words "child porn" makes a lot of people loose their sanity.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jawn98685 (687784) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:26PM (#31525678)
    No argument on the hypocrisy. It's an annoyingly stubborn leftover from our puritanical roots, and many of us (fundies, mostly) are all about pretending that our "founding fathers" were possessed of superior "moral fiber". The result is the staggering collection of hangups that make a naked boob a national disaster but someone's bullet-riddled naked spleen just good, clean fun.
    On the other hand, I take issue with the notion that 14-16 year olds are capable of understanding sex. In this country they are demonstrably unprepared to engage in sex in any manner approaching responsible, to which the depressing statistics will attest. Maybe, if we had the maturity and intelligence to treat the subject in an open and responsible manner, that would change, but for now (and as a sweeping generalization, I'll admit) it ain't happening. Christ, we still have a large number of idiots who believe that "abstinence only" education works.
  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wurp (51446) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:27PM (#31525694) Homepage

    You should have taught them about the risks, absolutely. Teenagers are still horribly irresponsible, and repeated reminders at appropriate intervals are sensible (and needed).

    All MHO, of course.

  • can result in fatal or permanently life-altering disease

    and, of course, pregnancy. duh

    combine this with the fact that teenagers are universally fucking retarded (they're green, they're psychologically immature), and it makes a hell of a lot of sense to bind sex up in taboos and rules

    sex is immensely pleasurable. its also an emotional minefield. there is no such thing, nor will there ever be, a successful human society with a cavalier attitude towards sex. sex is extremely powerful. as such, it is treated, and should be treated, extremely carefully, and always will be

    deal with it

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:30PM (#31525746)
    Why isn't it illegal for the school officials to be in possession of nude pictures of underage children?
  • Re:Insanity (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:32PM (#31525778)

    It's what laws are for.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vohar (1344259) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:32PM (#31525788)

    An adult at least has experience to draw on. A "don't make the same mistakes I did" kind of thing, if nothing else.

    I remember how stupid I was at 16. So yeah, I -do- think odds are more in favor of the parents when it comes to such choices.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by alexborges (313924) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:32PM (#31525790)

    Id say he presumes he has the responsability for what the child does because, hell, its the law.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:36PM (#31525866)

    The court did not rule that sexting was illegal. Nor did the court rule that is/is not considered child pornography. Nor did the court rule that parents can block any and all sexting charges. In this case the court ruled that being the subject of a photo is not grounds for child pornography charges.

    After some provocative photos were found of some teenage girls, the DA wanted them to attend a class. The girls were not nude but shown in underwear or wearing a towel. The class was optional only if the girls wanted to avoid being prosecuted for felony child pornography. The parents sued to block the prosecutions. The court unanimously agreed with the parents because being the subject of a photo does not violate child pornography laws. Possesion of the photo is where charges may occur but the DA could not prove the girls ever had possession of any photos, merely that they were subjects of them.

    Had the DA won, it would have led to some crazy interpretations. If someone installed a spy camera in a dressing/changing area, then any teenage girls secretly caught on camera could be prosecuted for child pornography.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eric52902 (1080393) <(eric.h.squires) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:39PM (#31525908)
    But that's hard! I should be able to let the TV and video games raise my kids and use the courts to fill the gaps with ridiculous litigation!
  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:40PM (#31525924) Journal

    Teenagers, having fewer preconceptions are more likely to apply rationality to their decisions. Adults are set in their ways and less open to new ideas, even if they are better. I don't think either group has a monopoly on being irrational.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:48PM (#31526058)

    So, you're arguing in favor of letting them make the decision then?

    Seriously, where do you get off arguing against it even as you begin with " An adult at least has experience to draw on "

    Where do you think they're going to get experience? Look, you let people make *little* mistakes while you watch, so they don't make huge ones later on when you're not there. Let the girl take a picture of herself pulling the bikini a bit low and showing some pink--even if it ends up all over the damned net, at least it isn't a damned video of her b/f pegging her--which would also end up on the net. Yeah, the lesson will hurt--but not as much as the later one.

    You know who the most screwed up girls were back in school? The *real* catholic schoolgirls raised by Nuns. And while having three of them go down on me at once in a dark dorm room is a *wonderful* memory--they weren't ready for it--and I regret sharing that with them. And with their screwed up perception of what physical relationships should be, I'm not sure they ever were.

    People need to screw up to learn--give them some room to fail gracefully and learn how to pick themselves back up.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000.yahoo@com> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:48PM (#31526064)

    You sure as hell *better* interfere with your 16-17 year old's sex life. Teenagers are stupid fuckers, and can get HIV or become pregnant as easily as 30-somethings.

    Then teach them safe sex. Many teens have sex yet their lives don't fall apart after that. And abstinence only does not work.

    Falcon

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:49PM (#31526090)
    "Zero tolerance" all-too-often ends up translating to "Zero common sense."
  • Victim harassment (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Moonrazor (897598) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:52PM (#31526158)
    If the judge has ruled that this photo is not incriminating for the girls in them, because the DA cannot prove that they produced, or distributed the photos then doesn't that mean that the girls are the "victims" here? And if the girls are the victims here, then what does that say about a prosecutor that threatens victims with false charges unless they agree to terms set by him? It sounds to me like the prosecutor is used to badgering the victims in his cases to get the outcome or version of the truth that he desires. I wonder how many other victims this guy has berated or threatened with other charges in order to get them to say what he wants them to say. Might make good ammunition for defense attorneys to ask to have another look at the witnesses that this guy has used in the past. Either way, it's not right. (and yes, I'm new to this planet)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:52PM (#31526164)

    Why isn't it illegal for the school officials to be in possession of nude pictures of underage children?

    Because they didn't intend to.

    Oh, wait, that's not a valid argument? My bad.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomthepom (314977) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:52PM (#31526168)

    Underage sex photos should be restricted (because someone was raped),

    It's this kind of inflexible logic that leads to situations where if 15 year old girl sends sex photos to her 16 year old boyfriend, they run the risk of being charged and prosecuted, him as a child molester and her as a child pornographer! Two lives potentially destroyed because 'someone must have been raped'. The only one doing the raping here is the state.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spidercoz (947220) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @01:55PM (#31526230) Journal
    I'll give you that one. At least when an adult does something stupid, they have a good chance of knowing it might be stupid. Not so much for teens. Socrates would probably call that "wisdom"
  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RogerWilco (99615) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:03PM (#31526374) Homepage Journal

    It has nothing to do with writings in the bible.

    It has much to do with late-roman church fathers, influenced by mainly greek philosophers, creating dogma's that survive in Christianity to this day. Guys like Saint Augustin, who defined "sin" as currently interpreted by nearly all of the church. He basically argued that libido is the "the root of evil" (radix mali).

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CorporateSuit (1319461) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:05PM (#31526420)

    You need to be stupid as a teenager to be wise as an adult and learn from things.

    That is a widespread, incorrect assumption. You will learn more by NOT doing dumb things. The only positive you get from being stupid is the ability to sympathize with others who are in the middle of doing stupid things.

  • by Securityemo (1407943) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:07PM (#31526496) Journal
    Because they are trusted. You have to keep in mind that the reasoning behind all this is that teenage sex is a problem, and that the best solution is just to remove all physical intimacy between the "kids". Nude pictures are a perversion, and if they're on the intertubes, who knows where they'l wind up? In this worldview, good trusted people and pillars of the community would certainly never consciously entertain inappropriate sexual thoughts.
  • by nitrowing (887519) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:11PM (#31526560)
    Pictures of naked people aren't porn. Pictures of naked children are not porn. Porn is sexual. Nudity isn't. Just because 'someone' thinks it's porn does not make it so.
  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by plague3106 (71849) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:13PM (#31526582)

    Actually, if you want your daughter to pregnant or start having regular abortions at age 9 or whatever, great. I don't want my daughters to be fucked by any old dude with a penis, requiring her to get HPV vaccines and take hormone pills during the time of her puberty and maturation.

    You sound too misinformed to be allowed to have children. You think laws keep kids from having sex, and if that do they start at 9?

    I also don't want you telling me how to raise my kids any more than you want me telling you how to raise yours.

    And as for "Christian Taliban" when was the last time any "christian" stopped you from raising your kid the way you wanted. HMMM?

    Well lets see, there's no nudity on TV because of conservatives, which invariably are religous. Oh and there was the outrage from christain groups because some kids saw a nipple during the superbowl. Then there are the blue laws. I think you get the idea.

    People who talk like you have never raised any kids or had to deal with the crap that results. I can't wait till you have a slutty daughter, who is pregnant at 13, by a 26 year old loser.

    Ya anyone that disagrees OBVIOUSLY can't have raised kids, and OBVIOUSLY are bad parents. My wife didn't raise her kids like you, she never hid sex, she had appropriate conversations at appropriate ages. Her kids are fine.

    But I also know a few girls with parents like you. Thank you, because girls raised by people like you are the real sluts with no limits, and its fun to watch them strip, fuck, and party.

  • Re:Waitaminute (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:14PM (#31526608)
    By the same argument that insists 3-D CGI of underage sex is unlawful, and even depictions of cartoon characters (e.g. Lisa and Bart Simpson) having sex is child port, that picture of a naked 10-year old is unlawful, even if the photographer/model consents to it's release upon reaching legal age.

    Needless to say, I disagree with these legal principles. People that exploit children should be put in jail. People that paint nude cherubs in the Sistine Chapel should not. People that photograph their newborn naked on a bear-skin rug should not. (Almost every family has photographs or videos of "baby's first bath". It ain't porn.)

    That doesn't change the fact that sending ANYBODY nude pictures of yourself is a very, very stupid thing to do, regardless of your age. On the internet, once it's out there, it's out there forever, and likely to come back to haunt you 40 years later when you're running for public office!
  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bakkster (1529253) <.Bakkster.man. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:16PM (#31526656)

    But most of the tools to raise children correctly are considered 'old fashioned' or even unacceptable. Martial punishment when young, strong leadership from the father and a nurturing mother (which is, of course, 'sexist' because men and women are the same), and actually following through with punishments (the horror!). The only proper method of parenting is found in an after-school program.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sique (173459) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:18PM (#31526702) Homepage

    As someone who actually has children and remembers well growing up himself, I tell you: No child will engage in sexual intercourse if there is something else interesting to do. So the best way to keep your child away from teenage pregnancy is
    1) support your child if it starts to show interest in some hobby, get it interested, keep it occupied with something it has fun doing.
    2) don't make the impression sex would be something overly interesting, by being completely normal and honest about it. Children notice if you feel not well talking about something, and if they get the impression you want to hide something that may be fun to do, they will engage in it regardless of anything you tell them.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schon (31600) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:20PM (#31526732)

    a lot of parents that don't want naked pictures of their perfect child floating around the school and would like to use rule of law to discourage "sexting."

    So the solution is to have their own children branded as sex offenders after they've committed the act?!?!?!

    Yeah, you've thought that out well.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dfenstrate (202098) <{dfenstrate} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:21PM (#31526752)

    You presume that you will always make better choices than your children will? Interesting...

    Not always, just 99% of the time when there is a disagreement.

    Or have you not learned a damn thing since you last technically qualified as a child, assuming you're not one right now?

    More kids need their parents to be parents. We've got enough undisciplined little hellions running around as it is, because their parents won't enforce rules, boundaries, or limitations.

    The natural state of mankind is savagery. Overcoming that is the duty of the parent.

    If you're bent out of shape after 'suffering under the oppressive thumb' of your father, it's probably because he understands things you don't, but lacks the articulation to explain it to you, or you lack the capacity to listen.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bakkster (1529253) <.Bakkster.man. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @02:55PM (#31527496)

    The only sexist part comes when you assume that women can't provide strong leadership or that men can't provide nurturing.

    You're right that there's nothing excluding a man from being nurturing or a woman a leader.

    No, the issue comes when you assume that a woman can provide the same kind and quality of leadership as a man, or a man the same kind and quality of nurturing as a woman. There's a reason why single-parent households are more likely to fail in raising children, and this is it.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @03:07PM (#31527750) Journal

    It shouldn't even matter. In a sane world, no-one should ever be prosecuted for making and distributing a picture or video of themselves, even if it is extreme porn.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @03:09PM (#31527782) Journal

    So many girls are raped because a guy says, "do it for me" or other pressures.

    That's not rape. Rape is when the guy says "do it for me", she says "no", and he does it anyway.

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @03:13PM (#31527870) Homepage Journal
    You know, I see lots of people on this topic saying teen shouldn't be having sex.

    Can NONE of you remember what it was like as a teen and sex?

    Hell, I'd say to young people...sure, be responsible, protect yourself, but get out there and FUCK!! These are you best fuck years, particularly males!!

    Lordy, when you're that age, you can fuck, blow a wad...and keep it hard and start right back up again. Take advantage of stamina and libido while you have it.

    It won't last forever...

  • Re:Insanity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @03:17PM (#31527960)

    "Abstinence only does not work" refers to the fact that people are going to fuck, no matter how much you don't want them to, and now matter how earnestly they themselves might believe they're going to hold to their pledge to keep their legs closed.

    Basically, you have two choices. You can discourage them from having sex, but make sure they're prepared when they do. Or, you can discourage them, and let them be unprepared when they invariably do. True to form, encouraging abstinence along with education into birth control and safer sex practices is more effective at reducing pregnancy and STIs than abstinence education alone (though, from some sources I've read, it's NOT more effective than just teaching safer sex).

    What is NOT an option, never has been and never will be, is convincing people to reliably ignore the evolutionary drive that is the very reason for the you, me, and pretty much every other multicellular life form. I don't know why this is so hard for people to crowbar into their craniums.

    Your lottery assertion is backwards, as is your understanding of the pregnancy rate with condoms (no, it is NOT a 2% chance of pregnancy with every incident of sex, that's 2% PER YEAR). When birth control and condoms are both used regularly, having a kid is a minor risk (and abortion reduces this risk to zero, of course). In the dark ages when we were in high school, nearly all of us were sexually active, and very few (less than 1%) ever got pregnant. Those who did were almost always the ones whose parents refused to provide them with birth control options.

    And why shouldn't having sex and having babies be decoupled? I see absolutely no moral reason why we should have to be burdened with mouths we can't feed and don't want, why women should be relegated to baby-making factories and kept from careers (and it's invariably the women who suffer more), and why we can't enjoy sex. Somehow, though, I suspect that if we *did* have perfect birth control, you'd be against it.

    You can teach kids to use condoms correctly; we certainly were. The newer ones are much better both on breakage and sensitivity. Antiviral barrier lubes (new thing) cover the remaining STI bases (HSV and HPV) and make a good backup in the event of breakage. Various other forms of birth control are also available to prevent pregnancy. Combine this with regular testing and you're quite safe. Is it perfect safety? Of course not. But neither are seat belts and air bags, and somehow most people don't encourage their kids to abstain from driving except where strictly necessary.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tophermeyer (1573841) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @03:18PM (#31527962)

    Thats exactly what it means! Zero tolerance policies are adopted so that people and organizations don't have to take responsibility for making decisions. Zero tolerance policies don't exist to protect the students/children, they exist to protect the school/state/whatever from liability.

    For god sake, think of the children!

  • Re:Insanity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by plague3106 (71849) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @03:21PM (#31528014)

    There's nothing about nudity that justifies a TV-MA rating. Why is this so difficult for people to understand?

  • Re:Insanity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HungryHobo (1314109) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @03:24PM (#31528126)

    oh for the love of god.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cmseagle (1195671) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @03:40PM (#31528450)
    Your 2% is misleading. What that means is that of 100 couples who have sex with a condom regularly for a year, 2 will have an unwanted pregnancy. It does not mean that if you have sex with a condom 50 times, you are statistically likely to get pregnant.
  • Re:Insanity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GasparGMSwordsman (753396) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @03:54PM (#31528658)
    Please restrict your generalized bigotry.

    Grouping every person who ascribes to a belief into a single batch of crazy extremists is just what the Fundamentalist right does. If your goal is to act more like Glen Beck or for that matter, Joseph McCarthy, Stalin and the like, well then you are right on track. It is nothing short of blatant hate speech and un-educated bigotry.

    Just like the majority of people, the majority of Christians are sane, reasonable people. Just like the majority of the left are sane reasonable people. Also note that the majority of the left ARE Christians as well (half of all US Citizens are Christian).

    Every time a person stands up and says things like you have just done, it weakens the point of reasonable people. If you actually care about these issues, please spend some time doing some research. Then, after some contemplative time, say what your opinion is. If you really want something to change, also suggest a solution.

    If however, your goal is to just spew FUD. Well then, by all means continue.
  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bakkster (1529253) <.Bakkster.man. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @03:58PM (#31528732)

    How does Occam's Razor apply here? Neither of our explanations seem particularly more complex. Sure, if income were the only determining factor you would be right, though.

    The relationship [between single-parent families and crime] is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature. The nation's mayors, as well as police officers, social workers, probation officers, and court officials, consistently point to family break up as the most important source of rising rates of crime. Source [cato.org]

    Oops, looks like it's not.

    As for some 'magical quality', look around. Men and women think different, they act different, they are different. To expect that one parent can perform as well across all parenting tasks as well as two parents of different genders is laughable. I'm not saying there aren't men who are terrible leader/mentors, or that all women can provide infinite amounts of TLC, but we're talking generalized averages. It's the mental equivalent of why we have different mens and womens leagues in most sports, men and women perform well at different tasks. Why is it wrong to say that men and women need each other as complementary parents to raise children well, when it's so obviously the case?

  • Re:Insanity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by compro01 (777531) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @04:20PM (#31529096)

    Car analogy? Sure. Abstinence is 100% effective at preventing pregnancies and STDs in the same manner that walking everywhere is 100% effective at preventing car accidents.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Eric52902 (1080393) <(eric.h.squires) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @04:30PM (#31529270)
    No kidding. If a girl doesn't want to have sex, she shouldn't have sex. If a guy forces himself on her, that's rape. If she does it even though she doesn't want to, she's weak willed and the guy might be an asshole, but that does not constitute a crime.
  • Re:Insanity (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:12PM (#31529844)

    Well, even as an atheist living in the midwest, I tend to agree with you. Most of my friends are Christians of some sort, and all of them are "reasonable". That said, I find it prudent to keep my atheism to myself...

    But the real problem to me is not the existence of extremist Christians - any large group will have some extremists. What I find most disappointing is that mainstream Christians seem exceptionally unwilling to engage the extremists, to try to bring them around to more tolerant views, or at least remind them that they don't represent the general views of the greater group. And I suspect that many of the mainstream Christians are willfully passive about this, perhaps hoping that the extremists will make things more to their liking without actually going too far or causing any real damage. Of course I don't have any real analysis to back that up, just many little things I've noticed over the years.

    When mainstream Christians begin to publicly stand up to the Pat Robertsons and Rick Santorums among them, then I might have some hope that the intolerance of the extremists isn't passively supported by the "reasonable" majority. Until then, I have to consider all of you as suspect, and in the larger sense, potentially dangerous to our system of government. It makes little difference if the basis of that potential danger is apathy or quiet acceptance.

    - T

  • Re:Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday March 18, 2010 @05:42PM (#31530214) Homepage Journal

    How old are you? In almost all cases, an adult WILL make better choices than a teenager will.

    Beyond fMRI studies, there are lots of other formal studies and semi-formal observations (look at actuarial data on auto accidents, for example) that show that the cognitive ability we call "judgement", the ability to weigh multiple competing factors with a fair degree of accuracy and arrive at a sensible conclusion, is something that isn't fully-developed until the mid-20s.

    Now, I'm not saying that every adult old enough to have teenaged children always exercises good judgement, or that teenagers never do, but overall adults are much better equipped to make difficult choices than kids are. When it comes to sex, the problem of poor judgment is exacerbated by powerful new emotions and sexual feelings that the teenager has only recently begun to experience.

    Really, you'd have to be crazy to expect teenagers to make good choices about sex. Hell, lots of adults make really bad choices about sex, and that's after a few decades of getting used to the issues, and with as much judgement as they're ever going to develop! Kids don't have either of those advantages, and are at correspondingly greater risk.

    Of course, many of them make bad choices and escape unscathed. But some of them don't. STDs and unwanted pregnancies can really screw with a young person's future. And if they show really poor judgment, especially when coupled with what are normally relatively minor cognitive disorders like poor impulse control (a common characteristic of ADHD), they can end up with criminal charges, and for far worse than "sexting".

    Yes, parents of teenagers find sex more than a little bit scary. Not because they're prudes who don't want their kids to have any fun. Because they see how their kids often make bad decisions -- which is a perfectly normal, healthy and even necessary part of growing up -- and they recognize that bad decisions in this area can have severe and long-lasting consequences. And parents don't want their kids to have to suffer those consequences.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Artifakt (700173) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:28PM (#31530670)

    It's never about branding their own children. It's about the parents of 'perfect angel' Girl A demanding something be done to 'that pervert' Boy B, until Boy B's parents demand the same in reverse hoping that Girl A's parents will back down. Then the DA's office goes ahead and charges everybody they possibly can because:

    A. They don't want to look soft on crime.
    B. They have decided the parents are all damned idiots and deserve all the consequences.
    C. It gets the damned idiots to finally shut up.
    D. There's just something satisfying in giving an idiot precisely what he just demanded, with a threat to have your badge if you don't, knowing that he will eventually regret it for literally the rest of his life.

    Yeah, the parents haven't really thought it out well - instead, they end up with tens to hundreds of thousands in legal fees and their kid on a sex offender list, while the local public gossips abut the whole mess until they have to move to another state to get away from it, but can't because, well, their kid is on a sex offender list.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chihowa (366380) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @06:47PM (#31530844)

    Wait, are you saying that not getting "pregnant or worse" from having sex as a teen is as likely as winning the lottery? I've always been under the impression that most teens have sex (I don't know any who didn't) and I'm fairly certain that most people alive weren't pregnant as teens and those who weren't could be described as emotionally scarred by their experiences. What a bizarre reality you live in.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by russotto (537200) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @08:38PM (#31531784) Journal

    Beyond fMRI studies, there are lots of other formal studies and semi-formal observations (look at actuarial data on auto accidents, for example) that show that the cognitive ability we call "judgement", the ability to weigh multiple competing factors with a fair degree of accuracy and arrive at a sensible conclusion, is something that isn't fully-developed until the mid-20s.

    Such interpretations assume that "judgement" is an ability -- something inherent -- rather than a skill acquired and improved through use and training. If what you call judgement is a skill or set of skills, then preventing teenagers from exercising it will prevent them from developing it. I assert that this has already happened.

    but overall adults are much better equipped to make difficult choices than kids are.

    Overall, certainly. But in areas where the teens are directly impacted, that direct interest changes things. For instance, Colin Powell is probably far more equipped overall to make a difficult choices than I am. But if I'm deciding on which house to buy, should he make the decision? Not a chance; that's a decision which affects me (and my wife) way more than anyone else, and that direct interest means we're better equipped than Colin Powell.

    STDs and unwanted pregnancies can really screw with a young person's future. And if they show really poor judgment, especially when coupled with what are normally relatively minor cognitive disorders like poor impulse control (a common characteristic of ADHD), they can end up with criminal charges, and for far worse than "sexting".

    The only way they end up with criminal charges is if
    1) They do something which is forbidden to everyone, like forcible rape. In this case, making it MORE illegal for them to do it isn't going to help

    or

    2) They commit some sort of offense which is only an offense because the legal system denies them the ability to make the decisions they make. In which case their judgement wasn't the problem; the legal systems refusal to allow them to engage in decision-making is.

    And aside from AIDS, a prosecution on sex charges will likely screw up the teen's life as bad as or worse than any of the other consequences of underaged sex. Herpes may be forever, but it's not going to prevent you from living within 1000 feet of a school or prevent you from getting many jobs.

  • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jesset77 (759149) on Thursday March 18, 2010 @09:53PM (#31532278)

    So the solution is to have their own children branded as sex offenders after they've committed the act?!?!?!

    Yeah, you've thought that out well.

    ... Nooooo.... the solution is to have other people's children branded as sex offenders as scapegoats to put the fear of god in your own.

    Keep in mind, to a conservative, throwing other people under the bus is the most effective means of propulsion available. What leaves me truly transfixed from one day to the next is how imaginatively they invent new buses out of thin air for the purpose of conveniently throwing people under them. :D

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