Author Topic: Do you have any sympathy at all for this guy? (pedophile who kills himself)  (Read 976 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Dave_Manchester

  • Posts: 541
Bit of an odd one this, wanted to get other reactions and opinions on it.

It's the 3rd part of an interesting (and important in my opinion) documentary on Scotland Yard's anti-pedophile unit. For the entirety of this 3rd part they are searching the home of Mark Hansen, an habitual offender who committed some pretty horrific crimes against children. Amazingly, Hansen agrees to a long interview with the BBC while the police are searching his house (skip to about 6 minutes in for the start of it).

Here's the odd part - as disgusting and nauseating and filthy (literally - the guy lives in a flat full of stinking ferret shit) and morally bankrupt this guy's life is, I also found myself pitying him in some way. Notwithstanding the severity of his crimes, I found it difficult to look at this guy's life and not feel something like sympathy for him. And not to 'ruin the ending' or anything, but at the very end when it turns out he killed himself a few hours after the interview, I surprised myself by feeling sad for him.

It's quite a long video, and I totally understand if almost nobody here has an interest in wading through it just to listen to a pedo justify himself, but if anyone has the time I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on it, and reaction to it. It's a touchy subject I know, possibly the one remaining subject society still hasn't got around to openly discussing yet, and I want to repeat that I'm not in any way diminishing the awfulness of this guy's crimes.

Here's the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUT1sv-N8Nw

Offline El Barto

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 19084
  • Bad Craziness
I often find myself being sympathetic to bad people. Largely a result of the fact that I think we have little choice in who and what we actually are. I seriously doubt this guy ever decided that this is what he wanted to be 5-15-40 years down the road. Moreover, I have real doubts as to the extent we're capable of altering our trajectory to any significant degree. Lastly, I have an inherent tendency to pity those that nobody else will.

Also, after watching this guy talk calmly and reflect on what he's done humanizes him (in a very strange sense). You get to know him. You don't like him, but he becomes a familiar person. Finding out that somebody you just invested time getting to know is dead should affect you.

On a side note, while I think the BBC probably maintains a better detachment, I have a problem with people turning law enforcement into sport. Not sure how it works in England, but here ratings drive everything, and when making a show about catching bad people it's easy to get your priorities askew.
Argument, the presentation of reasonable views, never makes headway against conviction, and conviction takes no part in argument because it knows.
E.F. Benson

Offline Dave_Manchester

  • Posts: 541
Thanks for the input, Barto (so used to calling you 'Jesus' it's hard to break the habit!)

That's it for me too, I look at this guy's hellish existence and think "who would ever choose to be like that?" The line in his suicide note when he writes about how he's made a total mess of his life. Even the ridiculous pathos of him saying goodbye to his ferrets. No matter how fucked up his actions, it's impossible not to feel for a person who went so far down the wrongest of paths and knew he'd done precisely that.

One other thing about that documentary, I was impressed with the behaviour of the police officers, I thought they treated him with respect throughout. 

Offline El Barto

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 19084
  • Bad Craziness
A lot of people think it's just as simple as "well, don't be that way," which I find horribly simplistic. None of us are capable of understanding the capabilities of another.

As for the cops, yes, I think they're being remarkably civilized by treating him with dignity, despite their disgust. I also have heard them say some things I find fairly questionable about him and others like him, which casts doubts on their fairness in general. Fair has little to do with his case, what with him telling his life story and all, but I can easily see how in other cases they're not necessarily predisposed to objectivity.

Also, I'm most of the way through the video (he is an interesting and insightful chap, despite his problems), and I'm not sure if his eventual suicide bothers me or not. Not out of any sense of spite; that's not my style. I just don't have a problem with people going out on their own terms, and in his case it seems like a pretty damned reasonable decision to make. While I do find a great deal of pathos in his existence, I don't really mind him ending it.
Argument, the presentation of reasonable views, never makes headway against conviction, and conviction takes no part in argument because it knows.
E.F. Benson

Offline Prog Snob

  • Posts: 16618
  • Gender: Male
  • Truth is not for all men, only those who seek it.
I'm torn on this issue. It's not easy to be objective as the father of a six year old girl. I know if he had done something to her, there would be no forgiveness. My mind isn't wired that way. I think a crime needs to have repercussions, so if he killed himself then so be it. I've never had sympathy for those who commit suicide, regardless of the situation. It's a selfish act, especially if you have loved ones.

Then there is that strong empathic nature of mine that tries to sense good in everyone. This is why I am torn. If I can look into someone's eyes and know that they are truly sorry, then I will feel it. I still won't forgive the act, but I will understand the person better. I'm not perfect but I also don't go around victimizing children, so to me it's hard to justify a pedophile the same way you would someone who steals.

El Barto is right. It's not just a matter of them changing. Some people are just mentally unstable, have chemical imbalances, and are more often than not a victim of their own actions. At the end of the day, I think it's better that this person removed himself from the world. If he did it to prevent further occurrences, then I suppose that says something about his understanding of his actions, and it was his own way of apologizing to the world for who he was.

Offline Chino

  • Be excellent to each other.
  • DT.net Veteran
  • ****
  • Posts: 19303
  • Gender: Male
I'm unable to watch the video at this time.

I always have sympathy for people like pedophiles. Everyone (most people) have some sort of severe mental obstacle or abnormality that they can't get around. For me, it's not being able to try new foods in public. For my mom, it's getting on an airplane. For an anorexic person, it's body dysmorphia. For a pedophile, unfortunately, it means being sexually attracted to children. Some people are attracted to the opposite sex, some are attracted the same sex, some are attracted to both, and some people are attracted to animals. There are people who have fetishes for the elderly and others that get horny looking at people with prosthetic limbs. It's not that hard to acknowledge that there are chemical triggers in the brain responsible for this, and with that being the case, one should be able to understand the difficulties and darkness of being a pedophile. At least that's my take on it.

Offline kaos2900

  • Posts: 1975
  • Gender: Male
I have no sympathy for child molesters. They are the lowest of the low and at the very least should be castrated (assuming they're male). Good riddance in my opinion.

Offline Genowyn

  • That name's pretty cool, and honestly, I'd like to change mine to it.
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 5288
  • Gender: Male
  • But Hachikuji, I've told you over and over...
For me the sympathy sorta ends when they actually hurt a kid... that being said, one has to wonder if this guy would have sought, like, therapy if he didn't think that admitting he had those feelings to someone would be the end of him.

...my name is Araragi.

Offline gmillerdrake

  • Proud Father.....Blessed Husband
  • DTF.org Member
  • *
  • Posts: 10502
  • Gender: Male
  • 1 Timothy 2:5
I have no sympathy for child molesters. They are the lowest of the low and at the very least should be castrated (assuming they're male). Good riddance in my opinion.

This. I don't buy in to the notion that he (we) have no choice in controlling our actions, and when those actions involve satisfying whatever sick perversion you may have that includes 'hurting' someone or a child not only physically but mentally.....my sympathy will not be found.

perhaps he killed himself soon after that interview because it finally became clear to him the damage he had done by acting out his selfish, sick perversions?
Without Faith.....Without Hope.....There can be No Peace of Mind

Offline Stadler

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 9899
  • Gender: Male
I'm unable to watch the video at this time.

I always have sympathy for people like pedophiles. Everyone (most people) have some sort of severe mental obstacle or abnormality that they can't get around. For me, it's not being able to try new foods in public. For my mom, it's getting on an airplane. For an anorexic person, it's body dysmorphia. For a pedophile, unfortunately, it means being sexually attracted to children. Some people are attracted to the opposite sex, some are attracted the same sex, some are attracted to both, and some people are attracted to animals. There are people who have fetishes for the elderly and others that get horny looking at people with prosthetic limbs. It's not that hard to acknowledge that there are chemical triggers in the brain responsible for this, and with that being the case, one should be able to understand the difficulties and darkness of being a pedophile. At least that's my take on it.

I lean toward el Barto and Chino on this point, and while I wouldn't use the word "sympathy", I'm quoting Chino because I like the examples he uses. The LGBT crowd absolutely HATES this comparison, but it's apt.  We like what we like.   I can't fake or change what I'm attracted to any more than Elton John can or Caitlyn Jenner can.   I think we start to get on a slippery slope when we get to the ACTIONS.  I can (and, admittedly, sometimes do) lust over the girl who's cube is outside my office, but I know better than to force my way on her.   I think psychology of a pedophile is complex, and multidimensional.  It's not JUST being attracted to young children, it's also having the wherewithall to act on it. 

Put another way, I'm not sure that Prog Snob and Kaos2900 are mutually exclusive to this feeling of "sympathy" (except where they say "I have no sympathy" of course).   We don't have to tolerate this behavior, and we don't have to decriminalize it.  But knowing and acknowledging the "why" is often the first step to identifying the "who" and potentially preventing future harm.  Because unequivocally, this behavior harms the children.   It's not EXACTLY the same thing, but I read a harrowing article in the New York Times Magazine about a year or so ago about victims of child pornography; these kids are indelibly scarred by this.  And it is shocking at how this behavior permeates.   It's not as simple as a kid has one horrible event and it's over; these pictures take on a life of their own, they are perpetual, and a couple of the victims even relate stories of being "recognized" in public for those pictures.  Think about that for a second; that ought to curdle your blood. 

Offline Stadler

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 9899
  • Gender: Male
I have no sympathy for child molesters. They are the lowest of the low and at the very least should be castrated (assuming they're male). Good riddance in my opinion.

This. I don't buy in to the notion that he (we) have no choice in controlling our actions, and when those actions involve satisfying whatever sick perversion you may have that includes 'hurting' someone or a child not only physically but mentally.....my sympathy will not be found.

perhaps he killed himself soon after that interview because it finally became clear to him the damage he had done by acting out his selfish, sick perversions?

I'm not contradicting what I wrote above, but just adding to it:  be very careful here. It's really easy and convenient to just assume we all think the same way, and we all have the same values, but we don't.

Do you have ANYTHING that society perhaps doesn't look at the same way you do?   Perhaps you know someone that is pro-pot, and recognizes the law is what the law is, but decides that they know better, that pot is normal, and if only the "Man" had more data or more information, they'd see it the same way too?    There's a lot of this type of belief here too.   Some clearly know it's wrong, but some clearly don't and only go through the process of subversion because they feel like they will be persecuted by the law (wrongly) if they don't.    I'm not defending them, I'm just pointing out that it's a mistake to project in cases like this, because their brains aren't wired like yours is.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 10:26:30 AM by Stadler »

Offline cramx3

  • Chillest of the chill
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 16185
  • Gender: Male
    • The Home of cramx3
I can sympathize for someone that has a chemical imbalance (or bad genes, whatever it may be) that makes them feel a certain way that is against the norm, but I can't sympathize for someone who acts on those feelings when they know it is wrong.

My mom's "gay best friend" is almost certainly gay, but is very religious and does not act on it and therefore keeps to himself and lives with his parents at almost 50 years old.  I sympathize for that guy because his life is a struggle in this sense.

If this pedophile never acted on his feelings, I would certainly feel bad for him, but he crossed the line and multiple times, I have no sympathy here.

Offline El Barto

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 19084
  • Bad Craziness
The problem is that we have a natural tendency to evaluate the capabilities of others based on our own. Just because you or your friend can keep from doing A doesn't mean that somebody else can. I quit smoking 10 years ago. I could buy a pack right now, spend 4 days smoking it and never pick up another one. I have no predilection towards nicotine addiction. There are other things that tempt the shit out of me, perhaps beyond my ability to abstain. Understanding both of those facts makes it much easier for me to recognize that not everybody has the same behavioral control we'd all like to see.

Also, not sure how many actually watched the video, he was walking a narrow line of justifications. He was adamantly opposed to anything that hurt children. He struggled with whether or not his actions did. This is also not as black and white as "he should have kept his dick in his pants." Harm is not a binary thing. It's a continuum. Several people have said that he lost all sympathy as soon as he hurt children. I find that perfectly understandable, but I suspect each one of y'all would find that the line begins at a different place depending on your own values.

And just because somebody pointed it out, he did obtain therapy for a while. The cops discussed it on one of their many fresh air breaks. I think his problem with therapy wasn't an inability to discuss his problems, but the problem of finding better outlets for it. I'm don't speak British all that well, but I think [I also have no idea what the they call Johnny over there] they made mention of him being advised to beat off rather than act out, which given his predilections was also a challenge.
Argument, the presentation of reasonable views, never makes headway against conviction, and conviction takes no part in argument because it knows.
E.F. Benson

Offline cramx3

  • Chillest of the chill
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 16185
  • Gender: Male
    • The Home of cramx3
I'm not disagreeing with your points El Barto, I agree in principle that people with legit issues should be sympathized with, even if it is uncontrollable, but sort of similar to one of the other "food for thought" type of threads here with how many crimes before we lock someone up for good type of debate... at some point my sympathy is gone when the crime is constantly committed.  Even if you internally justify your actions, externally, you are being punished for them so you have to at some point be able to "get it" per se, and if your chemicals are off balance enough that you can't possibly under any circumstances get it then, and as much as a dick as this sounds, its best for society that you off yourself or get locked up for good or maybe the best solution... go live off in the woods away from society.  It's one thing for cigarettes or eating in public or whatever it is that is harmless (besides maybe to yourself which is also fine by me) but once you start hurting people, is when my sympathy fades and I personally can't accept "I can't control myself" as an excuse anymore.

Offline El Barto

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 19084
  • Bad Craziness
That's a fine point, but how often do you hear people say "I can quit anytime I want?" Not only do people have a hard time understanding the capabilities of others, but people often overestimate their own. From what I gather, he was many years (over a decade) between offenses (at least as far as we know). In your world, does he get the opportunity to straighten himself out? I get that the severity of the crime changes the amount of leeway he gets in sorting himself out, but all in all I find this far more complex than "he hurt a child, fuck him, I'm glad he's dead," which is what many (including that very nice policeman in the video) reduce it down to.
Argument, the presentation of reasonable views, never makes headway against conviction, and conviction takes no part in argument because it knows.
E.F. Benson

Offline cramx3

  • Chillest of the chill
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 16185
  • Gender: Male
    • The Home of cramx3
That's a fine point, but how often do you hear people say "I can quit anytime I want?" Not only do people have a hard time understanding the capabilities of others, but people often overestimate their own. From what I gather, he was many years (over a decade) between offenses (at least as far as we know). In your world, does he get the opportunity to straighten himself out? I get that the severity of the crime changes the amount of leeway he gets in sorting himself out, but all in all I find this far more complex than "he hurt a child, fuck him, I'm glad he's dead," which is what many (including that very nice policeman in the video) reduce it down to.

Well, for me, I am all for second chances so yes, if he hurt a child once and after he pays his debt to society (whatever that may be) then yes, he should have a second chance to redeem himself.  But how many chances does he get?  Even with large time between the crimes, you can't just erase the past.  And if he acted on the first crime due to legit mental issues, I can even sympathize a bit for him, it's the continuation of going down this path... so many spin offs from this such as the how many times is enough and also the mental health issue (or ignoring that issue).

Offline El Barto

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 19084
  • Bad Craziness
That's a fine point, but how often do you hear people say "I can quit anytime I want?" Not only do people have a hard time understanding the capabilities of others, but people often overestimate their own. From what I gather, he was many years (over a decade) between offenses (at least as far as we know). In your world, does he get the opportunity to straighten himself out? I get that the severity of the crime changes the amount of leeway he gets in sorting himself out, but all in all I find this far more complex than "he hurt a child, fuck him, I'm glad he's dead," which is what many (including that very nice policeman in the video) reduce it down to.

Well, for me, I am all for second chances so yes, if he hurt a child once and after he pays his debt to society (whatever that may be) then yes, he should have a second chance to redeem himself.  But how many chances does he get?  Even with large time between the crimes, you can't just erase the past.  And if he acted on the first crime due to legit mental issues, I can even sympathize a bit for him, it's the continuation of going down this path... so many spin offs from this such as the how many times is enough and also the mental health issue (or ignoring that issue).
I can't argue with any of that because there really is no right answer to the how many chances does he get question. That's really the whole tangle here. If you're not going to treat it as a strictly black and white matter, then personal ethics are likely to butt heads.

Also, from my point of view I'm not calling this a mental health problem. I find the guy's interests are sick, so I've got no problem with calling him sick in a colloquial sort of way. But insofar as his proclivities go, that's a component of who he is, I think. I'm not sure calling sexual attractions a mental illness is appropriate, anymore than one's preference for wine or movies is. My point at the beginning is that we are the sum of the factors that define us, which are, in my opinion, mostly beyond our control. This is just me, and I understand people calling him sick. I'm just making sure my stance on why he was that way is better defined.
Argument, the presentation of reasonable views, never makes headway against conviction, and conviction takes no part in argument because it knows.
E.F. Benson

Offline cramx3

  • Chillest of the chill
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 16185
  • Gender: Male
    • The Home of cramx3
Also, from my point of view I'm not calling this a mental health problem. I find the guy's interests are sick, so I've got no problem with calling him sick in a colloquial sort of way. But insofar as his proclivities go, that's a component of who he is, I think. I'm not sure calling sexual attractions a mental illness is appropriate, anymore than one's preference for wine or movies is. My point at the beginning is that we are the sum of the factors that define us, which are, in my opinion, mostly beyond our control. This is just me, and I understand people calling him sick. I'm just making sure my stance on why he was that way is better defined.

So I kind of took your initial first post of where you talk about the factors that define us beyond our control to at least partly mean, your genes and potentially "chemical imbalance" or mental health.  I have no idea what internally drives someone to be a pedophile so I was guessing it had to do with mental health... maybe not.  I'm no expert in this.  But if you did not mean to imply mental health, what exactly are the factors that define us that are beyond our control?

Offline El Barto

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 19084
  • Bad Craziness
Genetics. Geography. Upbringing. Status. Education. Damn near every single thing that happens to you before you're old enough to make rational decisions for about yourself. What comes beyond that is a consequence of who and what we are, which has already been very well established by that point. For topical examples of why this matters, look to the upbringing of Pedro Lopez or Henry Lee Lucas. I consider them monsters, but definitely not monsters of their own volition. I don't bring any of this up as a reason why they should be coddled, the traditional reply of the "string them up" crowd, but only to say there are many things to understand when it comes to dealing with the more monstrous segment of society. 
« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 03:35:07 PM by El Barto »
Argument, the presentation of reasonable views, never makes headway against conviction, and conviction takes no part in argument because it knows.
E.F. Benson

Offline Genowyn

  • That name's pretty cool, and honestly, I'd like to change mine to it.
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 5288
  • Gender: Male
  • But Hachikuji, I've told you over and over...
On the subject of finding other avenues to deal with his desires... Not sure how the laws are in the UK but here in North America we consider drawings of underage fictional characters to be child pornography, which I think is ridiculous. I'd rather these people had a means to act on their desires without harming anyone.

...my name is Araragi.

Offline kingshmegland

  • defender of the brew!
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 36529
  • Gender: Male
  • Take that Beethoven, you deaf bastard!!
As some of you know,  I caught a grown up molesting my nephew.   It was a brutal fight.  I lost it and it wasn't pretty for the guy. 

It's hard for me to feel sympathy after going through this incident.
“I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down'.” - Bob Newhart

So wait, we're spelling it wrong and king is spelling it right? What is going on here? :lol -- BlobVanDam

Offline gmillerdrake

  • Proud Father.....Blessed Husband
  • DTF.org Member
  • *
  • Posts: 10502
  • Gender: Male
  • 1 Timothy 2:5
As some of you know,  I caught a grown up molesting my nephew.   It was a brutal fight.  I lost it and it wasn't pretty for the guy. 

It's hard for me to feel sympathy after going through this incident.

That's a rough one Joe.....I'm in the opposite boat. I was a victim of it and know full well that the mental trauma far outweighs the physical one....so it's difficult for me to feel sympathy for him as well as my 'opinion' on the matter is severely biased.
Without Faith.....Without Hope.....There can be No Peace of Mind

Offline cramx3

  • Chillest of the chill
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 16185
  • Gender: Male
    • The Home of cramx3
Genetics. Geography. Upbringing. Status. Education. Damn near every single thing that happens to you before you're old enough to make rational decisions for about yourself. What comes beyond that is a consequence of who and what we are, which has already been very well established by that point. For topical examples of why this matters, look to the upbringing of Pedro Lopez or Henry Lee Lucas. I consider them monsters, but definitely not monsters of their own volition. I don't bring any of this up as a reason why they should be coddled, the traditional reply of the "string them up" crowd, but only to say there are many things to understand when it comes to dealing with the more monstrous segment of society.

True, but some of that can be controlled by yourself, not so much as a child or with genetics (as you stated).  Regardless, I am not sure a lot of that still leads me to sympathize with someone who repeatedly hurts people.

Offline DragonAttack

  • Posts: 1148
Queen music is a passion.  Golf is an obsession.

Offline Stadler

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 9899
  • Gender: Male
And then you have Denny Hastert, hypocrite

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/04/27/dennis-hasterts-stunningly-hypocritical-1998-speech-about-impeaching-bill-clinton/

It's hard - and uncomfortable - to defend a child molester, but "hypocrite" is an easy, hindsight accusation.  One, I think we've long since come to grips with the idea that we don't have to be saints in order to condemn the behavior of others.   Two, I think we're talking different scenarios here, because of Clinton's perjury.  I don't personally care who blew who and when (though, "pictures or it didn't happen" ;)) and I am a convert to Bill Clinton (I would vote for him in a HEARTBEAT today), but it really bothered me that he lied under oath, knowingly.  Perhaps because I am officer of the court myself, and hold it to be sacred, but I thought THAT was the abuse of trust, not canoodling with an intern.   Three, I'm no longer surprised by the ability of humans to self-preserve in the face of calamity like this.   It was perhaps OJ that hammered this home to me, but it's less hypocrisy than the human ability to self-rationalize, self-delude, and self-justify.  I no more expect Dennis Hastert to see Bill Clinton and immediately turn himself in to authorities than I do for any cheating spouse to read about Beyoncé and Jay-Z and confess all to their spouse.  It's just not how we're, generally speaking, wired. 

Offline El Barto

  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 19084
  • Bad Craziness
Not to speak for DA, but I gather that the hypocrisy is not in the sexual behaviors of the two guys, but that Hastert specifically blasted him over a "breach of trust," and I think the label fits. That said, both Hastert and Clinton were demonstrating political (and marital) self-preservation, just like every politician in Washington would. I just find it satisfying when somebody like Hastert gets exposed like this.
Argument, the presentation of reasonable views, never makes headway against conviction, and conviction takes no part in argument because it knows.
E.F. Benson

Offline cramx3

  • Chillest of the chill
  • DTF.org Alumni
  • ****
  • Posts: 16185
  • Gender: Male
    • The Home of cramx3
A politician that is a hypocrite or had a "breach of trust"! Say it aint so!  Couldn't care less about the hypocrisy here as it's par for the course.