these are the laws everyone wanted.

Six underaged teenage girls and boys from a high school in Greensburg, PA are charged with manufacturing, possessing, and distributing child pornography…because the girls took nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves on their cell phones and sent them to the boys.

Think this whole “sex offender” thing has been stretched a bit far?  Think it might be a bit ludicrous to brand those kids with the scarlet letter of a sex offender for doing stupid teenage things?

That’s the problem with passing laws that are badly written and badly thought out–they will invariably be used to the extreme of whatever elastic definition the lawmakers cooked up, so a bunch of school officials and district attorneys can pat themselves on the back for “just doing their jobs.”  The laws may have been passed with the intent of targeting adults who manufacture and distribute porn pictures featuring little children, but now we’re spending taxpayer money to prosecute teenagers for being teenagers. 

I guess we’ll file that one under “Good Intentions, Bad Results”, right along with RICO laws, asset forfeiture, and a shitload of other laws that were designed to only be applied to Really Bad People, and then fitted with a universal adapter for use against just about anyone…


16 thoughts on “these are the laws everyone wanted.

  1. OrangeNeckInNY says:

    Well, that how anti-gun laws work. They’ve been doing that for decades.

  2. Heath says:


    Go figure, these are the same folks that brought us “zero tolerance”

  3. Phil says:

    If you’ve been paying attention to the Lori Drew Myspace bit, you can see this in operation. She only violated the website terms of service, but they charged her under statutes that clearly refer to computer hacking (unauthorized access to a system). Sure, what she did was inexcusable and the results were horrific, but in lieu of a law that applied directly, a US attorney stretched a law to the breaking point.

    So apparently ignoring and violating a TOS agreement is now a federal offense. Just wait until they find somebody else they want to nail for something, we’ll see this again.

    There’s no such thing as a one time stretch of a law.

  4. emdfl says:

    What the heck is an “underage teenager”?

  5. Tam says:

    I shudder to think what this nuthouse is going to be like by the time I’m drooling in my tapioca.

  6. Windy Wilson says:

    TAM, by the time that occurs we will have “attributional euthanasia” like they do in Holland; a doctor will decide that since you can’t communicate otherwise you don’t want to continue living like that.

  7. Marko says:

    An underage teenager is someone who is between the ages of thirteen and seventeen. The child porn charge wouldn’t have been brought if they were eighteen or nineteen.

  8. […] First, they came for the sex offenders . . . […]

  9. perlhaqr says:

    Laws aren’t very elastic. Once stretched, they don’t shrink back to their original size.

  10. […] Marko has a post up about local law enforcement prosecuting some teenagers “for being teenagers.” […]

  11. Matt says:

    Funny how if these teenagers had simply gone into a room and taken their clothes off for each other, no laws violated. But take a picture and send it to another of similar age and it becomes a crime.

    Apparently Memorex is more dangerous than the real thing.

    This is what happens when you pass real world laws and try to apply them to digital concepts. They haven’t caught up with nor thought through possible outcomes because they haven’t been properly defined.

    Should have been left as a teenage lapse in judgment to learn from. Far more valuable as a life lesson and less scaring.

  12. John says:

    Inane. You shouldn’t be able to be charged with “child porn” if you’ve taken the picture of yourself.

  13. rickn8or says:

    Those who are writing these laws fail to apply a quality test. So simple, too. Just write the law as tight as you can.

    Then, imagine it being enforced by your worst enemy.

  14. Kristi says:

    The child pornography laws, and lack of good sense that our lawmakers show in following / enforcing them, terrify me.

    Some years back, I remember reading a news article about parents and grandparents that had been investigated (and some even prosecuted) for child pornography due to innocent family pictures that were taken. (Here’s one example of a similar story to the one I read years ago:

    As a parent, and an avid amateur photographer who has taken such photos herself, those types of stories scare the bejesus out of me. The fact that I (and hundreds of parents before me) have taken pictures of my kid in the bathtub, or half dressed in a funny costume, or skinny dipping on a camping trip…that we could be investigated for child pornography, charged as sex offenders, possibly even lose our children…the fact that this HAS HAPPENED to people, on multiple occasions…tells me that these laws have already been stretched to the extreme.

  15. princewally says:

    Matt, there was a teenage couple in Utah last year that got hit with a pair of statutory rape charges for having sex with minors. That is, having sex with each other, when they were both minors.

    “Funny how if these teenagers had simply gone into a room and taken their clothes off for each other, no laws violated. “

  16. MarkHB says:

    Why is carnal knowledge of a statue a crime, anyway?

    (I’ll get me coat)

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