Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
User Journal

Journal spun's Journal: Oh, shit. 28

About a year and a half ago, my wife met a really cool lady while doing community theater. Her boyfriend turned out to be a computer nerd, like me. In that year and a half, my wife and this woman grew very close, having similar interests and character. Although I tried to befriend the boyfriend, he always seemed distant. We knew, from his girlfriend, that he had had a "bad" childhood. We just never knew how bad, I guess. Yesterday at six AM, their house was raided by a fifteen man task force including state police, the FBI, and the district attorney's office. Because they had been investigating him for a year, and had the house under observation for a month, they knew they did not need the SWAT team for a flash-bang entrance, as was common in these cases. They were looking for child pornography, and they found it. Not "barely legal" stuff, two to six year olds, in violent and incestuous situations. He admitted guilt, at least according to the police, who questioned him away from his girlfriend. Yes, I realize that could be an interrogation tactic, but he also never protested his innocence to her, and seemed to know exactly why the raid was happening.

The raid was professional and the police were amazingly courteous. They found about an eighth of pot and quite a bit of paraphernalia, and asked whose it was. She admitted that her mom is an old hippie and had left a bunch of bongs there, but the rest was hers, that she used to calm herself down because she had hyperthyroidism, which is true. They let her keep everything and joked that, after this, she'd probably need it. The police doing this kind of work probably look on pot like they look on jaywalking, technically illegal, but not worth their time. They had a list of specific files that had been downloaded and came prepared with the utilities to scan any electronic device or media on the premises. The fact that he used Linux didn't phase them for a second. She gave up all the passwords she knew. As soon as they found the first match, about an hour and a half into things, he was cuffed and taken away. The raid lasted another three and a half hours after that, as the police methodically searched for additional evidence.

She had class, and needed her laptop, so they scanned that and gave it back to her right away, but she couldn't go to class because, if you leave the scene of an investigation, you can't come back until they are done. Which meant she couldn't go buy cigarettes, either, she was out, and none of the police smoked, the poor thing. So she pulled some hair out, strand by strand. The police had a rookie with them they assigned to her, probably like "Watch what we do and make sure she doesn't freak out." They set up two tables in her driveway. Anything potentially dangerous was brought there, as well as electronics and media. Other things were opened, searched, and placed on the floor. They took all hard drives and electronic components. They searched stacks of blank CDs, looking for any hidden amongst the blanks. They took all hand labeled CDs. They felt all cushions carefully, but not finding anything, did not rip them open. They opened all boxes, jars, bags, etcetera, and searched them.

I know all this because we spent about five hours last night going over it with her. If you ever have a friend go through a traumatic experience, this is the best thing you can do for them. Just listen, as they say the same things over and over again. Heck, when they slow down, ask questions to get them going again. Encourage them to show their feelings about it, too, if they cry or rage or shake or whatever, so much the better. The earlier you can get them to do it, the better, because (according to some psychological theories as I understand them) during traumatic, emotional events, the rational mind shuts down and disassociates at least a little. The experience is stored in memory as an undifferentiated lump with heavy emotional triggers attached. If it isn't processed, anything associated with the event can trigger strong emotions, once again causing the rational mid to shut down a little. Having one's rational mind shut down all the time is sub-optimal. She is going to clean up, move all his stuff to storage, and smudge the place with sage, which normally would earn an eye-roll from me, but this is exactly the place for that ritual. It's not magic, it's psychology.

The thing is, she had broken up with him the week before, and it was under consideration for a long time, because he just couldn't get his shit together after his dad died two years ago. He hadn't worked in years, he didn't do anything around the house, he just didn't do anything. He never wanted to hang out with me, even though we have similar interests and had fun conversations at parties. She would come home and find him crying on the couch. He doesn't remember much of his childhood, what he does remember is terrifying. His dad was a hoarder, and they were divorced when he was very young. His mom treated him like a boyfriend. His girlfriend reported seeing his mother sit on his lap and stroke his hair. He's thirty five. He had not had sex with his girlfriend in six or eight months.

I knew some of this before the incident so if it seems I rushed to judgment yesterday it is only because so many things suddenly made much more sense in this new light. It is still possible he is innocent of everything. It depends on exactly what they found, I suppose, and they have a year long record of someone, using several different IP addresses which they can now connect securely to him, I believe, viewing a great deal of very disturbing things online. They read the titles and descriptions of all of them to my wife's friend. We had a large bust of a child pornography ring here last month, actual production of the stuff, and the police admitted that there were fifteen additional people being raided here yesterday. I believe he had also recently befriended a young autistic man of twenty four or so who has young children. The police asked if he he had had any contact with people with young children, and his girlfriend told them that he had, and who they were, so they could question them. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't get closer to this guy. My cousin has young kids and they are over at our house a lot. Again, I'm not saying this man actually did anything to children himself or intended to. But I see a lot of data points that fit a certain class of patterns of human psychological illness here.

So that's about it. That's all I know at this point. My wife and I are glad that we can be there for her friend while she goes through this, it isn't over for her yet, not by a long shot. Her family owns the trailer park (no snickers, it's very nice) where she lives (in a three bedroom double wide that is as nice as my place, and why am I worried about class issues right now?) She may have to testify, that depends a lot on him, I imagine. We don't even know where he is being held. No local police were involved, it was all state and federal. He called and left a message for her, said not to believe anything they said, asked her to pray for him, and asked her to help bail him out. His bail is eighty thousand, so someone would have to some up with eight. There is no way in hell she is going to put up any money. Note that in his message, again he did not directly protest innocence, he said, "Don't believe them." I believe there is a high risk that if he did get out, he would kill himself, which is why I made the comment yesterday. I was empathizing with what I can only imagine a person in his apparent situation must be going through. That's one of my flaws, I can't really shut off my empathy. It makes it hard to be around people sometimes, or even watch certain kinds of movies or television, like the original British version of The Office took me a really long time to warm up to, I always felt too much empathy towards the character Michael Scott to laugh at him. But I'm babbling now, I guess I don't really have anything else to say at present.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Oh, shit.

Comments Filter:
  • One with no serial numbers. His dead father's weapons, I believe, which she had pleaded with him to get rid of or get registered, and he'd said he had gotten rid of them, but the police found them there.

    • by spun ( 1352 )

      Oh, and they let her keep all but the one with no serial number. Told her to get them registered here. Guns weren't on the warrant. Everything about this points to utter professionalism and respect for civil liberties on the part of the police involved, and I am usually among the first to find fault with law enforcement.

      • by spun ( 1352 )

        Which reminds me of another anecdote, the way the raid announced itself. They had a lady cop with them and she started knocking on the door loudly, knock-knock-knock Let me in!, knock-knock-knock Let me in! and so forth. The girlfriend woke up and opened the door thinking someone was in trouble. They knew exactly the situation they were going into. Normally, they said they do a flash-bang entrance to prevent someone from attempting to destroy evidence. That requires a whole SWAT team to do right, and the p

  • Man, I'm sorry you have to go through this.

    It's great that you're listening to the ex-girlfriend and all, but don't underestimate your own pain and difficulty with this. When you have had a friendship, even a casual acquaintance that turns out to be much different and much worse than you thought, it makes you question your own judgment, doubt your observations, your experiences, yourself. It's almost like grief in that it's so big you have to deal with it in stages. It's like someone pulled the rug out f

    • by spun ( 1352 )

      Thanks, I appreciate the thoughts. The wife and I have talked about it today. I'm still occasionally seeing a therapist to talk about my mom's death to pancreatic cancer last Christmas, so you know, this will probably come up next time I see the therapist.

      I don't really blame myself, I saw clues the guy was troubled, perhaps even clinically depressed, and I knew a bit about the bad childhood, but just about everyone I know had a bad childhood in some way. But I never heard him talk about anything that would

  • It's always sad to be reminded of this part of reality, but I guess it's just something we need to learn how to deal with. If I'd never heard of this kind of stuff then I think I'd feel a lot more comfortable in society, but as it is I'm one of those anti-social/shy, nerdy, kind of apparently strange people myself, so even though I can kind of get along with kids okay, I feel awkward getting too friendly with them, especially if they're not family. I thought maybe I was just weird but I've heard other peopl

    • My last gf actually said she'd been abused a few times as a kid, that was the first person I've met who talked about such things, and it was a bit of a shock for me actually. It's pretty sickening to hear about.

      I have to say that the more women I get to know the more stories of abuse I hear. It's not all of them, but even the official figures on child abuse suggest that a very large percentage of women will be sexually abused by a relative, and the majority will be sexually assaulted by someone eventually. Rape has been called a "virtual certainty" for women inducted into the Air Force. It's all very, very sad.

      Though I also have your problem of empathy and if this guy was treated so strangely by his own mother then it must be really hard to live any semblance of a normal life. No excuse for actually abusing any children himself, but maybe makes it more understandable why certain types of image turned him on, and we have very little control over what we find sexually interesting :/

      It's important to recognize that consumers of child porn feed producers of child porn, so the consumption

      • Yeah, you're right. I remember reading about a bird that imprinted [] on a ping pong ball, and once you're imprinted there's not really anything you can do about it.

        Creating real child porn is definitely abusive, and even some adult porn is dubious in that regard. I wouldn't have so much issue with say cartoon porn though, since it's all imaginary, and I suppose it may even be beneficial if it stops guys like that from enacting any of their fantasies for real. A few hundred years ago, and probably still in som

        • by spun ( 1352 )

          Read The Continuum Concept by Jean Leidloff. The rainforest tribe she spent time with had absolutely no taboos whatsoever. Not even against incest. Kids sat on daddy's butt while he was doing mommy. Kids fooled around sexually with each other and with older people from a young age, which makes sense evolutionarily, because kids practice every skill they will need as adults. But you know what? The bad stuff, the stuff that those taboos are actually trying to prevent? There was less of it than in cultures wit

          • Hmm, by "bad stuff" are you referring more to violence and rape? And what about relations with animals for example? Heh, slightly strange topic of conversation..

            • by spun ( 1352 )

              Yeah, and a weird book, but interesting. By bad stuff I mean non consensual, yes. Everyone in that culture just lets everyone else do what they want to.

              • Yea, I've read a bunch about that sort of thing as well...Our societal taboos create an environment of shame and our natural impulses get all tangled up in that and people end up craving deviant stuff because it is the ultimate expression of a taboo.

                For them, all sex is dirty, yet it feels good, ergo the dirtier an act, the more gratifying it must be, right? Explains why so many seriously repressed people have kinks and fetishes at the farthest remove from "normal" behaviour.

      • by spun ( 1352 )

        The stigma is ridiculous, because these people have a disease. In most cases, abusers have been abused themselves. They weren't born sociopaths, they do have empathy and remorse. They know what they are doing is wrong, but they can't stop. And "There but for the grace of $DEITY/Karma/random chance go I" applies to every human being that has ever lived, from Hitler on down. Anyone who doesn't understand that truth has probably lead a very lucky, pain free life, and has probably never been pushed up against t

        • I had an amazing childhood and it shocked me that these things actually happen in real life.

          I remember talking to people online and being told of the horrible things that happened to them when they were young, I never understood it. I do not get it.

          Spun, I feel for your position. Your position is the last I would want to be in.

          Thanks for making Slashdot worth it.

          • by spun ( 1352 )

            His position is the last I would want to be in.

            I'm happy that you had an amazing childhood. To me, the whole goal of society is to arrange things so that happens to as many people as possible. I think that is a project that good people have been working on for a very long time. I think we are making progress.

            Personally, I had an amazingly weird childhood. Some was amazingly good, some was amazingly bad. It has left me a rather complicated person.

    • by spun ( 1352 )

      I think it makes it sadly understandable why he did what he did. If he did anything. He has not been convicted yet and I am trying to keep an open mind. It's just that my initial gut reaction was not, "What? Him? No way!" It was sadly more like, "Oh, shit. So much makes sense now."

      I think being the child of a hoarder screws people up pretty bad too. And when his dad was alive, it probably helped keep him from feeling completely responsible for his mom, even though the two were divorced. His dad dying two ye

  • Everything that you did for her was spot on to do to help avoid PTSD. I've had a wonderful two situations that have lead my life to PTSD, and wonderfully, now I have to open up those wounds and rub salt all over them, so that they can heal properly now.

    You did the right thing.

    • by spun ( 1352 )

      Thank you. We were also concerned about her hyperthyroidism. She has it in remission now, but stress like this can cause a relapse. Damn it all. She had finally decided to dump this guy a week ago, but he was still living in her house, until he found a place. A few days ago, an old flame called her out of the blue. Now, she doesn't want to have sex ever again. Hopefully that's a temporary feeling.

  • Any chance you could clone that police department? Say once for every community in existence? I've never personally witnessed a raid of that sort or level, but based on everything I've ever read in the news or seen on TV (of a non-fiction nature), I'm amazed at the level of professionalism, preparedness, and overall lack of "macho" you describe.

    It seems pretty obvious that the gentleman in question has been in need of the services of a really good shrink for some time now. Perhaps some good may come out

    • by spun ( 1352 )

      It was state police, the DAs office, the FBI and a mix of others, INS was there, this guy that the ex girlfriend described as a chiseled slab of meat who I guess was some sort of soldier of fortune cop on loan from someplace, he got loaned out for dangerous stuff quite frequently, he said. I mean, this was a big thing. Lots of different departments. Probably initiated by an FBI investigation, but the FBI doesn't have the manpower to do all the grunt work so they have to work with state and local departments

      • by unitron ( 5733 )

        INS? As in the no longer existent Immigration and Naturalization Service?

        (Apparently they got cuisinarted into several other new agencies under the Homeland Security umbrella. I wonder how much money we've thrown away having to print up new forms, letterheads, envelopes, business cards, et cetera, from all of the agency shuffling and re-naming. Not to mention all of the para-military apparel that has to be replaced or relabeled. )

        Seriously, do you happen to know how there's an immigration angle to this s

        • by spun ( 1352 )

          I really don't know. We all found it a bit odd. Actually, if what you are saying is true, maybe the "INS" guys were really homeland security, just using their old jackets.

          • by unitron ( 5733 )

            I did a little more Googlizing, and apparently a lot of INS is now ICE, as in Immigration and Customs, and the Customs part has jurisdiction over kiddie porn that crosses the border, or is suspected of conspiring to cross the border or something. They may have been there just to see if any of the evidence connected to anything they're working on.

  • Life can indeed get a bit awkward when a situation like that occurs. You know the people are out there, I mean someone has to do it for the "content" to exist. Take for example up at my school 2 years ago, an apartment 3 doors down:
    The individuals were normal, cool, didn't party too loud, start fights, general "Average Joes". One day we see a car parked in our parking lot near the end, the car had enough black antennas to give it away...point being later that day a police task-force smashed in their do
    • My mother (who was terminally clueless) once hired some shady characters to do some construction stuff around the house...New floors, wallpaper...Other general contractor-y stuff...They were busy for a month or so, so they decided that the rational course of action was to have a big-ass bag of heroin sent to her house.

      Through the mail. Bunch of rocket scientists.

      First I found out about it was when I came in the front door and got body slammed by some ridiculously huge DEA guy. My mother (who was wildly drun

  • I had a drama-tastic childhood, and whenever you post a high-drama post, I am reminded why my adult life is largely a drama-free zone.

IN MY OPINION anyone interested in improving himself should not rule out becoming pure energy. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.