At What Age Is It OK To Start Killing Pedophiles?
It is not uncommon to read in the comments section of internet articles dealing with the topics of child sexual abuse or pedophilia that ‘all pedophiles deserve to die’. It’s something you kind of get used to after some time, though it takes time to grow the skin and sometimes it’s still really hard to read. Some of us get physically sick when we read such comments. I tend to think that most people haven’t really thought it through and don’t really realize that pedophile and child molester are not the same thing. After all, they’ve been watching and reading news organizations that irresponsibly use the terms interchangeably for years, so they cannot conceive the idea of a pedophile who doesn’t molest children, or of a child molester who isn’t a pedophile — but both things do actually exist. However when I engage with some of those people in the aforementioned comments sections and I clarify for them that pedophilia and child sexual abuse are two different things, they often seem to willfully ignore that fact or — even worse — they keep defending that all pedophiles deserve to die, whether they have ever done anything wrong or not.
I am, by principle, against the death penalty, because I believe in rehabilitative justice, so I believe that not even those who have committed a heinous crime deserve to die. However, I can — at a basic instinctive level — understand the hatred towards those who do commit acts of sexual violence against children that can lead someone to wish death upon someone else. Trust me, I hate child molesters as much as the next guy, or perhaps even more, since they are in a very important part responsible for the stigma and the hatred that gets then directed towards me. However, when people don’t even require the condition of having committed an atrocious act to wish death upon people I often find myself at a loss for words.
Of course, it is very easy to hide behind a relatively anonymous online identity to harass and bully others, and us pedophiles seem to have become society’s favorite target of such internet trolls, the ultimate scapegoat. I would like to think that those same people, when confronted with the question face to face would provide different answers, but who knows. But I still sometimes like to challenge them, even when I know they’re hiding behind their glowing screens and clicky keyboards and feel empowered to say the meanest things they can come up with.
An interesting thought experiment was proposed by a member of the Virtuous Pedophiles community: at what age would it be OK to kill a pedophile? Many of us have known that we are pedophiles since a very early age. Technically speaking, you can’t be clinically diagnosed with pedophilia until you are 16 years old, but depending on the age of the children you’re attracted to, you can be quite certain well before that. I knew I was a pedophile by the time I was 14 years old, because when I was younger than that I was still pretty much attracted to children my own age — perhaps there were younger children I was attracted to, but you think of those as odd cases and the age difference wasn’t that big anyway. I have spoken with others who knew by the time they were as young as 11 years old, because they were attracted to much younger children. Every adult pedophile was once a child, and at some point they had their moment of realization — sometimes sudden, sometimes gradual.
Ever since I read about that thought experiment, I promised myself that I would use it when engaging with online haters, and the other day I had the opportunity to do so while commenting on a YouTube video of an interview with a pedophile (Todd Nickerson, the pedophile from the Salon.com article titled “I’m a pedophile, but not a monster”) on the Dr. Drew show. When I pointed out to one of the commenters that he was conflating pedophilia and molestation, he replied with the following retort:
«Pedophiles deserve death, whether they molested or not. No conflation.»
So that’s when I decided to engage, and I asked him, if he really believed that, and given that many pedophiles are aware of their attractions at very early ages, at what exact age was it OK for him to have them killed? Is it OK to kill an 11 year old? What about a 13 year old? A 15 year old? 17? Of course he got immediately defensive, accusing me of asking a ‘troll question’, and he would refuse to answer it. He claimed that we were talking about adults being attracted to children, and that I was changing topics. But it’s far from a troll question, it’s a very legitimate one.
If we believe someone deserves to die because of a certain unchosen characteristic of his or hers, regardless of whether they have ever done anything wrong or harmed anyone in any way, what kind of society are we turning into?
If you’re one of those people who believe all pedophiles deserve to be put down regardless of their actions, my question to you would be: at what age would you have chosen to kill me? And, would you have the guts to be the one to pull the trigger?
EDIT (27 October, 2016): Added screenshot from a poll on the Virtuous Pedophiles forum about first age of discovery/realization of pedophilic feelings. As can be seen, the vast majority discover it in their teens, and very many even before the age of twelve.
EDIT (26 September, 2017): Updated screenshot from poll on Virtuous Pedophiles and added a screenshot from a poll in another non-offending pedophile community. As can be seen, the results are very similar to those of the Virtuous Pedophiles poll.