"Child pornography" is a deceptive term, a sleight–of–hand that disguises the reality of the crime.
A child is sexually assaulted. Humans record the assault with photography, audio and videotape, or even in a live–stream over the Internet, creating a product called "child pornography." Without the sexual assault, the product would not exist. "Child pornography" is the image of a crime: its import is not about the image; it's about the crime.
Therein lies the sleight of hand. The term "pornography" generally refers to recorded sex acts between adults. Whatever your opinion of it, "pornography" is legal. But the rape of children isn't legal, and it isn't a debatable issue. Calling these images of crime "child pornography" analogizes it to a legal product; it leads us away from the underlying crime, and thus desensitizes us to its victims.
"First Amendment absolutists" take advantage of this desensitization to trivialize possession of child pornography. They claim that “mere possessors” are not dangerous to children. They agitate for nothing more than short–term jail sentences and probation for "simple possession," convincing judges to ignore sentencing laws that require longer prison terms.
But they cannot erase the truth: these images have a market because "possessors" want to possess them. Crime chases dollars. Although child pornography networks grab headlines, without individual customers, the networks are out of business.
Criminals use the Internet for their own ends, but changes in technology are not to blame for this crime. Technology is neutral; people's choices in utilizing technology are not.
What has changed due to widespread access to the Internet is that the product, once created, can be "test–marketed” widely and distributed with great ease. This is a business so high–profit, so low–risk, that organized crime has entered the picture.
After any drug bust, the police inform the media of the "street value" of what they seized. When it comes to child pornography arrests, the lack of information about street value helps to hide the vicious reality of the market.
If we raise the stakes and impose penalties that match the crime, we could damage these vermin, instead of allowing them to damage our children. Our society pretends it has accomplished something when we tell our children to "Just Say No." But a victim can't "Just Say No;" it's up to us to do that!
Help us force our representatives into passing an asset forfeiture bill. If "both sides of the aisle" can't agree to taking the profit out of raping children, (without their private earmarks attached,) we don't have a government — we have a collection of morons, thieves, and those sympathetic to the enemies of our entire species.
If we sentenced distributors of "child pornography" proportionate to the damage they do, or even to the value of their "product," they would all be doing life sentences. Their victims are... some of them not only through intrusive memories and the ever-present threat of Internet re-circulation, but in real-time a horror we warned over many years ago. http://www.vachss.com/whisperstream.html