See if you can wrap your head around this. Half tragic, half funny, and half absurd. (You see what I did there.)
In North Carolina (and I have to admit, this makes me shake my head about North Carolina—sorry, all you perfectly blameless North Carolinians), a teenage boy was found with nude pictures of a 16-year-old male on his phone. So he was prosecuted for sexually exploiting a minor.
Who was the minor? Himself. They were nude pictures of himself. Selfies, as we aging-out hipsters say now.
Mind you, this teenager did not post said pictures on the Internet. They were not available for public viewing. They were just on his own phone, apparently kept private as a personal matter between himself and his girlfriend, who is the same age and also shows up in several shots...and who was also prosecuted for exploiting her minor self.
The boy had to take a plea deal to avoid jail time and registration as a sex offender.
Oh, and about the "minor" bit? Sixteen is the age of consent in North Carolina. So neither of the two could have been charged with a crime for having actual sexual intercourse.
If that ain't cray-cray enough for ya, get this: the boy was charged as an adult. For sexually exploiting a minor. Even though when he took the picture (as the offender) of himself (as the victim), he was the same age as, well, himself. The trouble was, by the time the authorities discovered these (private) pictures on his (private) phone, he had turned 17.
So they had no choice.
Well, no, that has to be wrong. They did have a choice. The authorities could have thought about it for a minute or two and come to the conclusion that they themselves have mush for brains, and that they themselves should not be allowed to wield sharp implements or drive motor vehicles under the influence of their own richly evident inability to reason. They must have all been football players who took one too many shots to the head under the Friday night lights.
Sorry, I should stick to reporting.
But, you'll have to guess the race of the boy, I won't get in to that. (You can guess, though, can't you? Take a stab. And this isn't a rip against North Carolina in particular, but against the whole United States these days. We've been going backwards.)
The authorities in this case ought to be charged with malicious prosecution in my opinion. They themselves have done far more damage to these young people than the young people ever did to themselves. Is "causing completely pointless psychological distress to normal young people" a crime in North Carolina?
It clearly should be.
(Thanks to John Camp)
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michael Ryan: "I am often particularly filled with ire when I frequently see the meme 'if you haven't done anything wrong you have no need to worry' on social media in relation to recent loses of civil rights in western countries and rights to privacy. No one should ever have seen his private photos on his phone nor had the right to see them never mind prosecute him in this Kafkaesque manner for a non-crime. I'll be quoting this story in future as an example of why your rights matter next time somebody quotes that meaningless nonsense to me. I've alway told them that the it's one of those things—you'll never know why they're so important until it's too late."