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“Protecting” the children

This is a page from the original version of Pagan Vigil. There are some formatting differences.

Originally published at

"Protecting" the children

How pictures of a family camping trip turned into a family's personal hell

Jody Jenkins tells us what happens when the nanny state goes horribly wrong.

As usual during the trip, we took several photos. Because I forgot my digital camera, I bought a disposable camera at a gas station on the way to the campground. I took pictures of the kids using sticks to beat on old bottles and cans and logs as musical instruments. I took a few of my youngest daughter, Eliza, then age 3, skinny dipping in the lake, and my son, Noah, then age 8, swimming in the lake in his underwear, and another of Noah naked, hamming it up while using a long stick to hold his underwear over the fire to dry. Finally, I took a photo of everyone, as was our camping tradition, peeing on the ashes of the fire to put it out for the last time. We also let the kids take photos of their own.

When we returned on Sunday, I forgot the throwaway camera and Rusty found it in his car. He gave it to his wife, who I'll call Janet, to get developed, and she dropped it off the next day with two other rolls of film at a local Eckerd drug store. On Tuesday, when she returned to pick up the film, she was approached by two officers from the Savannah Police Department. They told her they had been called by Eckerd due to "questionable photos."

One officer told Janet "there were pictures of little kids running around with no clothes on, pictures of minors drinking alcohol," she recounted for me in an email. "I asked to see the pictures and was told I couldn't. I explained there must be a mistake. I was kind of laughing, you know, 'Come on guys. There must be an explanation. This is crazy. Let me see the pictures.' The officer told me that he personally did not find [the photos] offensive and that he had camped himself as a kid and knows what goes on." But the officer also told Janet that "because Eckerd's had called them and that because there were pictures of children naked, genitalia and alcohol, they would have to investigate."

Even if you assume that nudity has to equal sex (something that I would dispute), let's look at what happened here.

The law required the photo lab clerk to make a moral judgment and report to the police.

The moment that the police were informed, the adults involved were judged to be guilty.

Because of the way the investigation was conducted, there is always going to be a question if they did it.

All of this was because a photo clerk was offended and the police were not willing to put it in context.

Now I am not defending pedophiles or adults who exploit children.

My question is how many people have to be harassed to catch one pedophile? Right behind that one, I want to know if this law has increased the number of guilty people prosecuted?

Notice that I said guilty.

I don't believe these people were guilty of anything except not being paranoid enough.

Posted: Wed - July 19, 2006 at 07:31 AM

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