Government & Politics
 

Child porn sickos deaf to Jindal’s tough talk

For the past three years or so, Governor Bobby Jindal has traveled far and wide bragging about how tough his administration is on child predators. He’s told audiences that violent child rapists deserve the death penalty, and that sexual predators should be chemically castrated. They’re “monsters,” he never fails to say. As he tours beyond Louisiana’s borders – something that happens quite a lot, it seems — Jindal warns would-be child predators that they’ll face harsh legal consequences if they pursue their ugly passions here. Clearly, Jindal views the state’s new anti-predator laws as powerful deterrents.

Well, maybe not so much. While Jindal talked tough and the Legislature obliged him with new laws, it seems a huge international child pornography ring “originated” in Louisiana in January 2008 and flourished until the Feds shut down their website in August 2010. The criminal network was named “Dreamboard” and boasted 600 online members from over a dozen countries on five continents. According to the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department, which busted the operation, Dreamboard amassed the equivalent of 16,000 DVDs of child pornography and well over a million images, which members produced and swapped, some of them evidently involving the torture of children and infants.

Nicolas Persac’s story in The Advertiser has the disturbing details:

All of the 72 defendants [in the Dreamboard case] are charged with conspiring to advertise and distribute child pornography, and 50 of those defendants are also charged with engaging in a child pornography enterprise.

“Words cannot describe how horrific the enterprise’s alleged crimes were,” [Assistant U.S. Attorney General Lanny] Breuer said. “Dreamboard was extreme even among online child-abuse forums. So-called ‘super hardcore’ images — those depicting adults having violent sexual intercourse with ‘very young kids’ — were highly valued.”

Content included images of infants as well as children in “obvious, and intentional pain,” which were sorted into different subcategories of child porn type on the website, like “in distress and crying.”

[This operation] represents the largest prosecution in history of individuals who participated in an online child exploitation enterprise conceived and operated for the sole purpose of promoting child sexual abuse, disseminating child pornography and evading law enforcement,” [Attorney General Eric] Holder said.

Dreamboard’s database documents many thousands of hideous crimes against hundreds of children around the world. These innocent victims were abused and tortured for the sick pleasure of “super hardcore” pedophiles in an online group that began in western Louisiana, during the exact time Governor Jindal made it his mission to deter these sorts of “monsters” with draconian laws. .

Of course I’m horrified that Dreamboard ever existed and am glad that the Feds dismantled it. And of course I agree with Jindal that the state should deal severely with child pornographers and predators. But I think it’s worth noting the disconnect between noisy political rhetoric and reality.

Maybe Jindal gives these diseased minds too much credit when he warns them about the legal consequences they face. He thinks tough laws are a “powerful deterrent” to “monsters,” but maybe monsters are monsters precisely to the degree that they are deaf to reason and consequences and answer only to their hideous compulsions. Do child porn traffickers soberly weigh the pros and cons of various state laws before deciding where to set up shop? Apparently not.

I don’t claim to have a comprehensive solution to the problem posed by sexual sociopaths. But I’ve got a strong hunch: An effective plan almost certainly is going to require more than tough talk. It’s going to take leaders with the guts to propose initiatives as subtle and complex as the problem itself.

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