Many modern issues are incendiary in nature, the mere mention of which get the blood boiling and the media circus pulsating. Case in point: The recent Tom Flanagan debacle (at least, for him).
Flanagan had the temerity to seemingly trivialize the simple viewing of child pornography, as distinct from participating in its production and distribution, as a supreme social evil. The revulsion and scorn that was heaped on Flanagan had to be one of the most spirited public shunning ceremonies of modern times.
The end game of this exercise appears to have been that no intelligent discussion of this topic is heretofore allowed that doesn’t start with the premise that viewers of child pornography are equally culpable to the monsters that produce and distribute it.
What utter nonsense!
Degree of culpability is a fundamental principle of law, a discerning criterion of public discourse and an aspect of intelligent discrimination for thinking people. To equate the (sick) people who watch porn with those who subject children to those indignities (for money) is beyond ridiculous, it’s stupid.
Just as concepts like minimum mandatory sentences offend the notion of proportional response to offences based on circumstances, a knee jerk blanket assertion of equal blame is essentially a totalitarian response to a social problem more consonant with regimes like Iran, China or North Korea, those bastions of the nuanced application of law.
Of course, the minute that an issue involves children, it seems that all common sense goes out the window. I’d venture that those railing against mandatory minimum jail sentences for guns, drugs and other “scourge” offences, are pretty much uniformly in their favour when it comes to simple viewing of child pornography.
One need not be indifferent to the evils of child pornography to feel strongly that each case should be assessed with a view to a full range of sentencing options taking into account the particular circumstances of the offender. You’d expect nothing less for your day in court.