Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Most Feared Man In America

At least he is to the lowest form of human being -- the child sexual predator. Chris Hansen has teamed with Perverted-Justice.com (also known as PeeJ), an organization dedicated to identifying adults willing to have chat room sexual encounters with minors. Taking it a step further, Hansen then confronts those men who physically show up at a determined location in order to have sex with an underage boy or girl.

Dateline NBC has been airing To Catch A Predator for a few years now. The shows both repulse and fascinate me. While I cannot understand the idea of having sex with someone who hasn't even begun puberty, I am curious to find out what drives these men (and it's always men on this show) to this desire.

Of course, most of the predators deny knowing the age of the person they are meeting, even though Hansen whips out copies of their Instant Message exchanges, and then uses the predators' own words against them. Almost all of the predators are repentant, and most say they visited the location just "to talk" - even though they show up with condoms, with lube, with alcohol, and, in one man's case, completely naked.

Some people argue that this show violates some kind of civil rights. Flashing these men's names and faces on television before they have been convicted of anything is supposed to be wrong, somehow. But the show is humane in its treatment of the predators. Hansen represents me - wanting to know what motivated these men to want to commit such an act.

Personally, I consider Hansen a hero. It can't be easy to stand in a kitchen or living room and try to have a mature conversation with a man who was seconds away from sexually abusing a child. But Hansen does so without judging (for the most part), and then steps aside to let the law do the right thing.
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