Thursday, August 16, 2007
The Curious Case of Jack McClellan
Lock up your daughters, because apparently they can't lock up Jack McClellan.
The unzipped fly in the ointment of the LAPD, millions of fearful and frustrated parents, and a seemingly helpless legal system is back on the street after being arrested not once but twice in a period of a few hours. Monday evening, the homeless drifter and self-proclaimed pedophile -- at least in the figurative sense -- was stopped on the UCLA campus, directly outside of the school's child development building. Found among his things: A camera -- a detail which America's entire corps of idiot newscasters paused in unison before proclaiming, in an effort to give the revelation the requisite heft as well as display their own almost-human level of distaste. A couple of hours after that initial bust, he was taken into custody again while doing an interview with a local TV station -- once again on the UCLA campus.
All of this is just the latest in the bizarre ongoing saga over just what to do with, and about, Jack McClellan.
He first came to the attention of law enforcement officials several months ago through his blog, which he used to extol the dizzying splendor of little girls. The website was quickly shut down, but obviously McClellan stayed on the radar of the California legal system, which was determined to keep as close an eye on him as possible and take whatever action it deemed necessary to keep him out of arm's-length of children.
Here's the thing though: Jack McClellan has never been arrested for anything even remotely related to the molestation of a child.
So far, all he's done is talk a good game, and according to the law, you can't arrest someone for something he or she hasn't done yet -- no matter how badly that person might actually want to do it. The era of Philip K. Dick's "Pre-crime Unit" is still a long way off.
Needless to say, this presents one hell of an ethical dilemma, and has now put it front-and-center in the public consciousness.
It's also created an almost surreal cat-and-mouse game between McClellan and those who want to stop him -- some, by any means necessary. A couple of weeks ago, Anthony Zinnanti -- a lawyer from Santa Clarita and a guy who may have more in common with his quarry than he'd care to admit, given their equal affinity for TV cameras -- filed a lawsuit on behalf of his own daughters and the children of every other concerned Californian which prohibits McClellan from coming within 30-feet of a child. It was a similar order to this one, issued by a California judge on August 3rd, that McClellan supposedly violated on the UCLA campus Monday evening. Legal experts concede however that both orders are likely to be shot down in flames as they seem at face value to be the furthest thing from constitutional.
McClellan meanwhile continues to test the fence of society, like a lion stalking a village.
Or maybe the legend of a lion -- nothing more than a ghost story.
It's impossible to tell.
No decent human being would be an advocate for a pedophile, but the rights of a person who technically hasn't broken the law is an entirely different story. It's hard to believe that McClellan can control the fact that he's attracted to kids -- and for the record, there's always been a small part of me that's felt a very real pity for anyone afflicted with such a vile sickness -- but as far as the legal system is concerned, he has yet to act on that attraction.
You know what that makes him, despite the breathless assertions of contemptible worms like Nancy Grace?
A law-abiding citizen.
And attempting to do an end-run on the constitution to undo that fact and make illegality come to him instead of vice-versa is ridiculous.
Admittedly, some may see this negligence as leaving a gaping hole in the aforementioned fence when it comes to protecting the young girls to whom McClellan has already confessed a sexual attraction -- and it very well may. But such is the often difficult price of our freedoms: It's simply not illegal to think hideous thoughts, and restricting someone's freedoms because of such considerations is nothing less than underhanded.
There's no denying that McClellan, provided he isn't staging all of this as some sort of twisted bid for attention, should probably get help -- and get it quickly. As I hinted at, I can't imagine what it's like to go through life with the knowledge that the one thing that gets you off is the single most despicable and forbidden sexual proclivity known to man, and that seemingly nothing can curb your covetous nature in this regard.
On the other hand, I have a tough time believing the intentions of those alinging against McClellan to be entirely lacking in solipsism. The fact that his persecutors seem to have never met a microphone they didn't like serves only to confirm the likelihood that their agenda is as obvious and intransigent as the one they prescribe to McClellan. There's a certain amount of entertainment though to be gleaned from the peculiar back-and-forth over America's most famous pedophile. In an age in which every form of anti-social behavior -- every kind of act outside the norm -- has been assimilated, homogenized and silk-screened onto a black t-shirt at Hot Topic, the maniacal fury over one homeless boogeyman is a fascinating curiosity to say the least.
Which takes nothing away from the possibility that that boogeyman may, in fact, be very dangerous.
Which changes nothing when it comes to the fact that until he does something legitimately illegal, there might not be a whole lot anyone can do about it.
(Also on this subject: Idiot vs. Predator/3.1.07)