I address several different people here. Please read the whole post before replying as I tie the separate parts together.
I'd also add that it's not impossible to have child pornography on your computer without even knowing it. ... on tumblr, dudes who might not bother to or even have the means to verify the age of all of the young men and/or women pictured in the images or videos they upload. ...
I also think that the discussion of distribution could use a little reality check. In the US, something like 70 or 80 percent of teenagers have cell phones, most of which come equipped with digital cameras and the means to send any images or video captured to other mobile devices or to image or video hosting sites. ...
I ran across a site yesterday on tumblr where the young man said he was only 15. He had a disclaimer that all the pictures were of people 18+ and the avatar pic also looked possibly 18+. But if the avatar pic was of himself then he could/would be prosecuted for production and distribution of "child" porn. (Don't write anything yet, read on.)
During the time of Socrates and Aristotle, right around there, people were generally regarded as "sexual beings" starting around the age of twelve or so, I think it was, and age gaps between any two partners weren't given any consideration. It was usual for someone twelve or thirteen years old to be sexually active with people in their thirties, forties, and probably even older than that. I'm not aware of what kind of effect this had on their society per se, but obviously that period of time in ancient Greece produced a lot of advancements and breakthroughs in a variety of scientific fields and also produced a good deal of literature that is still highly regarded today.
An aspect of this no one has addressed, not even Joe, is how much is society guilty of making this into a bigger problem than it is? What I mean is, in a consensual teen/adult relationship how often is the teen traumatized – not by the sex or relationship – but by the way society treats them? (Don't write, read.)
Whereas you think that the age of consent should be drastically reduced:
I agree, there should be a line, but I think the age of consent should be lowered to the same age that a juvenile could be tried as an adult. Which in the US is between 6 and 12 (here).
The article was vague about whether those were the ages when someone could be charged with a crime (any crime) or the minimum age for a felony. I found this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Kayla_Rolland
In an 1893 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that "children under the age of 7 years could not be guilty of felony, or punished for any capital offense, for within that age the child is conclusively presumed incapable of committing a crime." This is followed in many U.S. states.
I know some states have talked of prosecuting children (pre-teens) as adults but that is unreasonable. Joe wasn't talking about the age when someone can be charged with any crime but with murder (a felony). (Don't write, read.)
Why is it reasonable to assess a 14 year old's ability to reason as an adult on a case by case basis when they have done something wrong, but it is not reasonable to assess a 14 year old's ability to reason as an adult on a case by case basis when it comes to a sexual relationship with an adult, and simply assume the child is the victim and throw the adult in prison?
Because they are having sexual relations with an adult. Regardless of the maturity of the 14-year old, the adult is expected to know and abide by the law, and is required to pay the penalty if they break it anyway. Furthermore, the 14-year old's ability to reason as an adult is not pertinent. The adult is not being punished for the 14-year old's ability to reason or lack thereof, they're being punished because of the decision they made to have sex with a minor. ...
To illustrate why this logic is wrong, consider a tobacco store employee who sells cigarettes to this 14-year old who looks 18, because they went based on appearances instead of checking their actual age.
Years ago I was aghast at a news report that a 14-year-old tried and convicted as an adult would not be permitted to get cigarettes in prison because of his age. How is that legal? It's definitely unconstitutional: we are guaranteed a fair trial. If someone is not an adult but is to be tried as an adult they need to have a psychological evaluation to verify they are capable of adult reasoning as of the time of the crime then they need to be legally made an adult with all corresponding rights, privileges and responsibilities. Which means they can smoke and drink and have sex with other adults. If you can't accept that concept you need to rethink trying teens as adults. (Don't write, read.)
(Yes, I know unconstitutional trials happen every year everywhere in the USA. But I'm not the most eloquent speaker, have trouble getting people here to even acknowledge that I wrote something
, and have psychological issues with public situations – so I have not tried to voice this until now.)
It's like the stop sign analogy I use from time to time. If I come to a four way stop and there are clearly no other cars there, not even a cop, do I still have to stop? Yes. Would I have broken the law if nobody saw me? The answer is yes, even though it's a waste of time to stop for no car, because you understand the law in your own mind. That's really where the law resides. Stop is Stop. Period. No exceptions.
Do you ever jaywalk? That's illegal in most places. We follow the laws that that make sense and promote safety/"decency".
The laws against sex with teens existed in the 1970s and 80s but there was little prosecution because of the way society was at that time. It was almost always viewed as sexual education and presented in the movies and TV shows as a male teen getting a sexual education from an older woman. (Don't write, read.)
We know it's illegal, you really don't need to point that out. What I've asked is why we make exceptions and call a child an adult when we can punish someone, but we won't go through the same effort when we can show mercy?
This is a crucial point. (Don't write, read.)
What IS the answer? I want for every girl to have massively more detailed sex education. I want every boy to have massively more detailed sex education. And ALL of these issues need to be addressed to help avoid a lot of misunderstandings.
We have several big problems colliding here.
* Unconstitutional prosecution of teens and possibly children (pre-teens).
* One Joe is even guilty of: sloppy terminology – like calling teen porn, "child porn", and referring to people who have had sex with teens as pedophiles, etc.
* Lack of comprehensive sex education for all.
* Blind adherence to the law.
Things we need to do. The law needs to change because of changes in technology and society.
* Comprehensive sex education for all regardless of religion and the (misguided) desires of the parents. When the parents will not take action to insure the health of their child (term used ignoring age here) then the government is justified in acting contrary to the parents' desires. As poor sex education endangers the teen, their sex partner(s)
and any possible offspring, one's beliefs can not
be validly used to refuse the sex education.
* Teen porn needs to be made legal in all aspects if produced voluntarily by teens. This can include sex with adults if the next point is adhered to.
* The age of consent needs to be made conditional: sex is okay down to 15 (maybe even 14 or 13 – see next point) if and only if the teen initiates the contact and pursues the adult. Yes, that means no seducing a teen.
* The minimum age of consent is also the youngest a teen can be charged with a felony and possibly tried as an adult – after the appropriate legal efforts.
* Sex with children (pre-teens) is illegal in all aspects for everyone.
* Porn featuring real children (pre-teens) is illegal in all aspects for everyone.
* Porn created via drawings, CGI and any other technology is legal even if it depicts what appear to be children (pre-teens) so long as the artificial children (pre-teens) do not closely resemble a real child (pre-teen) the creator has seen.
Does this cover everything? No. Is it a perfect solution? No. Does it require a lot of changes to the law and society? Yes but many of the society changes are already happening. Does this idea supersede the intermediate idea I proposed earlier in the thread? Yes.
Now, calm down and read it again, slowly. Then take a few deep breaths then write.