Something right in the world: burglars report possible child molester

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This makes for a rather odd feel-good story, but it did bring a smile to my face nonetheless. Last month, a juvenile and a nineteen-year-old broke into a man’s home in central California and stole some CDs they believed to be blank from one Kraig Stockard.

To their surprise, most of the CDs contained child pornography. So the burglars reported him to the police, despite having to expose their own obviously illegal act in order to do so. That, folks, is what you call a mitigating circumstance. Yes, they broke in, and yes, I think the law needs to address this somehow. But when it came down to a choice between effectively shielding a criminal who may be a child molester and submitting their own wrongdoing to the law, they chose not to shield him.

That’s more than I can say for the average, upstanding, never-been-in-trouble-with-the-law American, who works hard to shield child predators by:

  • Not believing stories of predation unless the accused is of color, foreign, a Catholic priest, “weird” or in some other way not  their idea of Mr. All-American Nice Guy, as so many predators work hard to appear to be.
  • Believing conservative bullshit about how most accusations of men abusing children and female partners are false, and anyone can just point and mutter “rape” these days and send a nice, hard-working non-rapist guy to jail without a trial. (Studies show that false accusations are actually quite rare.)
  • Silencing people who try to speak out about this shit on the basis that it’s not polite, or they’re “upsetting” innocent people. (Murder should upset folks, too, and yet y’all chat about every media-covered trial over breakfast, doncha? So shut up.)

Now, let’s keep in mind Stockard hasn’t been convicted of child molestation, and may not be guilty of it. At least 55% of people who have child porn stashes are known to have molested kids or attempted to lure kids – who were actually undercover investigators – into sexual relationships, and that’s not touching on the issue of how many unreported cases the other 45% may have committed. So it’s pretty likely this guy is a molester, but by no means is it assured.

What we can go right ahead and assume about people who have kiddie porn stashes is that when they look at these photographic images, they’re not bothered by disturbing questions of how they were produced. You can’t film child pornography without sexually abusing a child, so these images are actually footage of a horrible crime. People who enjoy looking at them obviously don’t have enough empathy to care about child victims of crime.

And perhaps that lack of empathy indirectly explains the next bizarre element of this case: the owner of the child porn stash reported the theft to police. Go ahead: crack up. But then it hits you: this guy cannot be that stupid. If he was stupid enough not to realize the cops would have to know what was on the CDs to be sure they’d recovered the right property for him, he’d have been caught long before now. But if not stupidity, then what? Roman Polanski has demonstrated a similar level of out-to-lunch reasoning on why what he did wasn’t rape, and even if it was, he’s suffered enough, and he’s the real victim and so on, and let’s face it: if Polanski wasn’t a big important special somebody, he’d have been shot by overzealous cops years ago during his flee from justice.

There is a level of entitlement so overblown it constitutes what psychiatrists call “grandiosity“: “an unrealistic sense of superiority, a sustained view of oneself as better than others that causes the narcissist to view others with disdain or as inferior.” Grandiosity could fuel Polanski’s belief that everyone secretly admires him for drugging and raping a young girl, and it could explain Stockard’s utter failure to consider that, you know, the cops wouldn’t just take his word that, “Oh, yeah, those blank CDs which look like every other stack of blank CDs on earth are definitely mine.”

The thing about people with grandiosity (which is most typically part of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but can manifest in manic episodes in bi-polar disorder) is not that they’re stupid, but that they honestly believe everyone else deep down knows they are The Extra Special Chosen One. They think somehow all rules will be suspended for them, and everyone will admire them too much to make them face the consequences of their actions. Even when reality intrudes powerfully enough to get it through their heads that some people and organizations are really powerfully aligned against them, they just classify those people as wanton rebels without a cause. How dare the L.A.P.D. presume to chase Polanski? And in Stockard’s case, it probably never occurred to him that the cops would do anything but find the CDs and hand them over politely.

But, back to the feel-good part. Today, Stockard is in jail, and whether or not he’s molested kids or merely salivated at them being molested by someone else, it’s good to have him off the street and hopefully soon stuffed into a cell with thugs. And it’s good to know that two teenage males put that goal ahead of their own considerations.

Comments

  1. Red says

    Wow…

    I have no words.

    Still, it does give me hope for those two teens. They chose to reveal themselves rather than let a potential predator roam free. That just shows how vile things like child molestation are and how anyone, with a measure of empathy and compassion, can be moved to act.

  2. Raeka says

    I hope those two teenagers got off light. I would totally forgive them their crime for reporting this. I’m going to be sad if they got more than a ‘Thanks, and don’t steal again.’ : (

  3. Casey says

    This just topped “Girl punches bear” in terms of great news for me. I sure do hope they burglars get off with just a slap on the wrists.

  4. says

    I have no idea if this conforms to any known practice in law enforcement, but I’d like to see them get a stern talking to about how:

    –What they were doing was wrong
    –If they do it again, they are putting themselves into the criminal class right along with people like Stockard, so never, ever do it again
    –That said, by turning themselves in to turn in someone worse, they showed some moral fiber and potential, and we’d like to nurture that by not giving them a conviction or anything that will hamper their chances of getting jobs and being productive.

  5. Naamah says

    Yes, grandiosity can be exhibited by some bipolar people. _People._ Please. I am not my race, my sexual orientation, or my mental illness. I’m not “a bipolar.”

    Other than that, well said, and I am pleased that these kids turned the guy in.

  6. says

    they honestly believe everyone else deep down knows they are The Extra Special Chosen One. They think somehow all rules will be suspended for them, and everyone will admire them too much to make them face the consequences of their actions.

    I think you’re right. In high school I had a buddy who worked as a computer repair technician. They came across child porn on their clients’ computers so often they had a procedure for it. The technician alerts the manager, who notifies the police, who come by with a warrant and collect the computer as evidence. These assholes actually handed evidence of them committing a crime over to complete strangers. Now a couple of dumbasses, sure, but so many that the repair shop needs a procedure? There’s some vital disconnect there.

  7. Emmy says

    Nit-picky math: “At least 55% of people who have child porn stashes are known to have molested kids or attempted to lure kids … and that’s not touching on the issue of how many unreported cases the other 35% may have committed.” You seem to be missing 10% here. (100-55=45)

    That said, it’s a really great post about a great story (well, as great a story about child porn can be). I hope those two teens get a good lecture and grow up to be outstanding members of society.

  8. says

    Emmy,

    Emmy, thanks for the catch – I’ve corrected the article. Just FYI, as noted just above the comment form, we do ask people to send editing notes via email rather than comments, because no single person here reads every single comment, but I do read every email.

  9. says

    Naamah,

    Somehow I only just now saw this comment (which is why we actually request that people email us with suggestions for edits – we don’t all see every comment). You’re exactly right, and I’ve edited the phrase, and I apologize. I simply wasn’t aware of how that phrasing was pathologizing a person when I wrote this article.

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