How many children were harmed here?

AHM Passport Office worker stole dozens of children’s ID photographs before using them to create sickening sexual images, a court heard.

James Close, 36, admitted stealing 30 pictures from HM Passport Office in Durham last year before making indecent images for his own purposes.

The point and purpose is to protect children, yes? So, how may were harmed here and in what manner?

Of course, we also have that old point that the existence of the child imagery reduces the number of attacks on children. Therefore, logically, we should be welcoming this alternative use of subsidised imagery.

Yes, of course, few are willing to argue that but then few are willing to follow logic.

24 thoughts on “How many children were harmed here?”

  1. Dunno, Tim. My logic is pedos belong in jail (or, eh, more Ecksciting locations) because they’re a yuge risk to children and can’t be reliably rehabilitated or cured.

    Regarding harm. No, he didn’t directly harm the children whose photos he stole, but we want neither kiddy fiddling or kiddy fiddling accessories. Pedos need to be removed from society because they’re pedos.

    It’s nonce sense.

    Btw I’m mildly sceptical of the idea that pornography reduces rape/molestation – I’m wondering if this is a causation or correlation thingy, since allegedly murders and arsons and other crimes have also declined since the invention of the mucky video.

  2. From an investigative pov, the last thing you want is to give the evil scum the slightest inkling that they might have a get-out-of-jail-free card. Sick does not imply stupid – and I can easily imagine someone photoshopping a non-victim child’s features on to the records of them molesting (or contributing to the molestation of – by taking the photos, for example) another child and then claiming the get-out.

    Thankfully, it’s years since I had to deal with anything this revolting …

    alternative use of subsidised imagery.

    You didn’t mean ‘subsidised’ did you? Brain not yet working so can’t work out what you did mean.

  3. “My logic is pedos belong in jail (or, eh, more Ecksciting locations) because they’re a yuge risk to children and can’t be reliably rehabilitated or cured..”
    Except that surely the ones who ‘can’t be reliably rehabilitated or cured.’ are the ones who did harm children. Lumping them in with the ones who don’t harm children is an error and a distraction and a wrong prognostication.

  4. It’s complicated, but there comes a point where it moves towards the the risk of criminalising thought crime (rather than actual crime). Swap pedo for other types of illegal activity (in the flesh) and it might look quite different. For example, making a cartoon of something that (if real) would be illegal. Yes, I know the Japs are ahead of us on this, but then apply that to less controversial crimes? And all in the privacy of one’s home (or mind).

    SE, fair point.

  5. NDReader – Well argued. Howsoever, to my increasingly simple mind (FLOWERS FOR STEVEGERNON, or HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE DIAZEPAM) this is a cleversilly distinction, akin to having a pit of vipers in your en-suite and positing it’s only the hissing ones you need to shield your danglies from.

    I believe Jacob Rees-Mogg (couchant) might put it thusly:

    Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.

    BTW I have seen both the Brass Eye and Louis Theroux pedo episodes, so I could probably teach a course on this at City.

  6. Steve,

    “Btw I’m mildly sceptical of the idea that pornography reduces rape/molestation – I’m wondering if this is a causation or correlation thingy, since allegedly murders and arsons and other crimes have also declined since the invention of the mucky video.”

    It’s possible.

    A lot of crime is generally about opportunity and there’s been changes beyond just mucky videos. e.g. later drinking hours has spread the time for people leaving pubs. Some will finish drinking at 11, some at midnight. It’s why the crime stats in that period fell. The main crime problem was people fighting over cabs, or getting robbed walking home. The less time people have to wait for a cab, the more likely they are to get a cab. Less women walk home and risk rape. Some guy who is out on his own might not spy a target for raping. Plus, people do a lot more socialising away from pubs now. Uber means more young women working late take a cab rather than a train.

    You can even get down to things like prostitution. That’s nearly all done via the internet now. Street walkers rarely exist. That’s far safer for prostitutes. There’s generally some sort of trail back to the guy like a cellphone, an ID. Someone connects via an escort site, they’d have to be clever to protect themselves, like operating from internet cafes, using burner phones. And even then, you’re going to have CCTV of someone going to the flat..

    That said, I can see that someone who can get off on porn is, if nothing else, getting at least some of their kicks. The alternative is locking them up for life or execution. Or we turn Lundy into Paedo Island and put them all there, to happily live together.

  7. Evidently folks here just know what crimes someone is going to commit before he does so. Likewise US “depictions” law, which protects foreign children, adults portraying children, and cartoon children, just because we know what a perp is going to “go on to do,” as with a “gateway” drug.

    I say the law must wait for actual harm, and punish the offender based on proof that actual harm was done.

    Agree with Steve that correlation isn’t causation; the technology that enabled deepfakes and amateur porn also gave everyone a portable video studio with which to capture evidence of crime being committed.

  8. I’m wondering if this is a causation or correlation thingy, since allegedly murders and arsons and other crimes have also declined since the invention of the mucky video.

    There was the argument about reducing harm by giving pedos completely artificially generated pedo porn as a harm reduction measure, but I’m conflicted, because you end up going from condemning such behaviour to effectively enabling it. Even if the overall risk is reduced, it still feels the wrong way to do it.

    The same argument applies to providing heroin addicts with free needles and shooting galleries.

  9. John Galt,

    “There was the argument about reducing harm by giving pedos completely artificially generated pedo porn as a harm reduction measure, but I’m conflicted, because you end up going from condemning such behaviour to effectively enabling it. Even if the overall risk is reduced, it still feels the wrong way to do it.”

    So, what’s the right way?

    The problem with the other ways is that they don’t work, don’t work as well. Drug rehab has a huge failure rate because most of them are only doing it because it’s the least worst punishment from the state. They don’t really want to stop taking heroin.

    Me, I’ll settle for some bloke wanking off to the worst fake material, if it means that he’s getting his kicks and is turning up to run Sunday School without raging lust. Some kid goes home safe, rather than raped.

    The fact is, deepfake tech is going to get used. There’s already regular porn deepfakes. There’s a few moments in them where they give away that they aren’t real, but if you didn’t know, you might think that really is Scarlett Johansson getting screwed. The software to make them is free. You need lots of GPU or CPU (like days on most computers).

  10. TomJ – I IDENTIFY as Germaine Greer, bigot.

    BoM4 – Yarpsalutely. I don’t think there’s any glib answers, though I will note that the no-nonsense Yemenese approach to criminal punishment significantly reduces recidivism.

    The internet has been a wonderful thing for prossies. It’s better that tarts don’t have to hang around in the freezing cold, waiting to be murdered.

    John Galt – Yes. There’s another thing that I’ve been chewing on but can’t quite articulate yet…

    The idea of harm, I s’pose. I’m not convinced the narrow definition, based on consenting adults or whatever, is the right one.

    It’s not right that grown men should twerk in assless leather chaps on the high street. It’s not right that pervy priests or sweaty scoutmasters should lust after boyflesh. I reckon there are social costs to normalising deviancy and pornography, and we haven’t seen the full extent of the bill yet.

    We have this cartoonish caricature of the Victorians as repressed prudes flouncing on fainting couches, but what if they had a much more sophisticated understanding of the implications of human sexuality than we do?

    Maybe hypocrisy is preferable to licentiousness?

  11. I say the law must wait for actual harm, and punish the offender based on proof that actual harm was done.

    That’s an understandable position but one I cannot agree entirely with.

    Somewhere, pedos are raping. Rape is wrong with real harm and kiddy rape is wronger with realer harm.

    There isn’t enough detail in the Torygraph report to know exactly what images this pedo was pasting the kids’ faces on to – real, v young adult, already modified, deepfake or entirely artificial. So, direct harm in this case? My internal jury is out.

    However, there is another factor here, as well as the “don’t let them think they can get away with real harm” I pointed out above. We all benefit when the law is simple, clear and enforceable (and enforced!)

    “Pedo pictures bad” is a simple, clear law. “Pedo pictures usually bad but there are some exceptions which are a bit unclear and rely on us being able to identify, after much photo-faking possibly by numerous pedos, whether it is a photo-realistic artificial image of a child (not altogether bad) or a much-altered image of a real child being abused (bad).”

  12. “Pedo pictures bad” is a simple, clear law.

    I assume by that you are defining said pictures as clearly “being abused”. But then presumably not all pedo falls into that category? At which point how does “simple, clear law” deal with parents innocently taking nude photos of their baby kids, happening since the beginning of time cameras?

  13. It also occurs that more realistic “life size” dolls are already becoming a thing (nothing to do with pedo). At which point, this gets even more complicated. Does the doll look like an adult woman or slightly younger… and other stuff.

  14. Accused James Close obviously had very poor legal representation. He should have presented evidence that “James Close” is a pseudonym he has to use because of anti-Islamic threats in the UK, and his real name is Ahmed bin Jihadi. He should have reminded the court that Mohammed (PBUH) married his favorite wife when she was 9 years old, and demanded that the Court reject religious bigotry.

    To be more serious, it is disheartening that a country has descended to the state where officialdom can pursue a wanker with the full force of the Law or pillory a dead Jimmy Saville, while spending years studiously looking the other way at ongoing Rotherhams.

  15. SE,

    “Pedo pictures bad” is a simple, clear law.”

    Actually, it isn’t. For one thing, we didn’t used to have the bit about fake photos. That’s fairly recent.

    There’s also cases like Lupe Fuentes where a man was tried for importing a video tape. The government brought forward a paediatrician as an expert witness who said that the performer was under age. It took Lupe Fuentes getting on a plane and turning up at a trial with ID to show that she was 19 at the time to set him free. Now, is that OK? What if I tell you that the videos generally have her hair in bunches, in a pink bedroom with lots of soft toys and her nickname is “Little Lupe”? There’s porn with girls wearing braces out there. Girls trying to get on the cheerleading team. I mean, that stuff is mostly for men who fantasise about statutory rape with the girl down the road. Is it OK? Should we ban it because statutory rape is a bad thing?

  16. SE,

    I’ll also add that it wasn’t that long ago that 16 year old girls got their tits out in a daily newspaper. If you own a Page 3 shot of Maria Whittaker, seen by millions 30 years ago, you’re now committing a criminal offense. Does that make sense?

  17. It’s not right that pervy priests or sweaty scoutmasters should lust after boyflesh.

    And therein lies your problem. Unless they do commit actual harm, how do you know they are lusting?

  18. Dear Mr Worstall

    The police love possession laws because mere ‘possession’ is the crime, thus allowing plenty of opportunity for people the government/police/any individual don’t like to stitch up by planting evidence. Drugs were the plant of choice for a long time. The internet makes planting images a doddle. Anyone who achieves a certain threshold in public visibility probably get their laptop seeded with a selection of porn to be conveniently discovered if they become a problem for the authorities of the moment. Possession of extreme pornography was added because it would look very suspicious if everyone the government/police/security services wanted to punish was miraculously discovered to be a paedophile in possession of pornographic images, so another category was added to broaden the scope for planted images. Maybe a week next Tuesday possession of images of a gun or a knife will be a crime: I have in my hand a picture of a gun – Neddy Seagoon*.

    At some time, which may already be past, all operating systems will come preloaded with a selection of forbidden images.

    Think what fun the authorities will have when mind readers become practical devices. Thought crime will be a very lucrative field for the punishing classes. Planting wrong thoughts will probably be easy.

    DP

    * Tried confirming the quote and came up with this: https://metro.co.uk/2019/10/09/girl-12-arrested-making-fingers-look-like-gun-pointing-pals-10890704/. Hope the girl, 12, didn’t say ‘bang, bang, you’re dead’ because that would likely get her life. Thank God we now live in the 21st Century. Oh wait…

  19. @ PF October 27, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    “At which point how does “simple, clear law” deal with parents innocently taking nude photos of their baby kids, happening since the beginning of time cameras paint brushes?

    Fix that for you. Have you seen some of the paintings in the National Gallery? How do they get away with it?

    Oh, it’s Art.

    DP

  20. The issue boils down to: Is there an irresistible, or even a strong statistical, ‘vector’ from paedophile fantasy to paedophile reality? Which is an empirical question.

    If the answer is No, then paedophile porn in which no child was harmed should be permitted.

    There is some evidence that heterosexual rape porn diminishes actual rape. But heterosexual rapists might be different in certain ways from paedophiles. We, or at least I, don’t know.

  21. The issue is one of control.

    Leaving aside the beardies as that is a culture thing then there are estimated 100 thou affected with paedo interests.

    They reckon that at any one time there are perhaps 50 who pose a real risk of child sex murder.

    The reckoning is that 10,000 are actively trying to involve themselves with actual sexual activity with children.

    Which means that the vast majority DON’T.

    Most if not all paraphillias –including homos –are likely the result of early childhood imprints. Which affect many millions. Many of these paraphillias –if mouthed over by MSM scum–could be codded up as being dangerous–but aren’t.

    10 % of the population has tried bondage. But is the country full of demented burglars who go around tying up attractive housewives? No it isn’t.

    The fact is most people –whatever imprinted desires they may have–or may even regard as being stuck with–are able to make a clear distinction between fantasy and reality. And act accordingly.

    You can’t help –by definition–what imprints you get.

    Should we be endorsing or “normalising” paedos? No we shouldn’t. But neither should we be playing into the hands of a billion quid abuse industry by listening to liars tell us that some character with an unfortunate paedo imprint must INEVITABLY become a child rapist or killer.

    Or else accept that someone with a liking for the odd lovebite is on the road to being a cannibalistic serial killer. Or kids making gun shapes with their fingers are the killers of tomorrow.

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