6 month jail sentence for hentai collector

Wondering whether that collection of 'the character bio says she's 18' hentai is legal or not? Your quandary is at an end. It's illegal enough to get a custodial sentence.


  1. Cool. So in other words, I could reasonably expect to get jail time if law enforcement learned that I own a copy of Alan Moore’s Lost Girls. This is lovely.

    Sorry, there’s not much more creepy than jailing a person for possession of drawings. What if he drew the pictures? What if he thought about drawing the pictures?

    This is wrong.

  2. So who’s allowed to decide what age the characters depicted actually are? A prosecutor whose sole job is to make sure people go to jail? A judge who may have seen enough pedophiles in their career to have a strong bias? A jury who are quite likely to be squicked and potentially send someone to jail purely for being creepy?

    Comstock’s ghost seems to be still lurking in the shadows getting his jollies by making people suffer for being different in distasteful ways.

    1. A judge who may have seen enough pedophiles in their career to have a strong bias?

      Doesn’t even need that. You’re a judge. Someone brings you your first pedo case. You’re an elected official. Do you want it to appear to your constituency that you are soft on pedos?

      You have five minutes …

        1. Actually, in most places in the US, judges are in fact voted in by the public. Only federal judges are appointed. However, judges are generally not allowed to take any campaign contributions or to declare what if any political party they are a member of.

    2. Good question. Do you go according to the stated age of the character, or the date when the cartoon was first drawn? For example, Bart Simpson was first drawn in 1987, so he’s going to be turning 23 this spring. Bart’s legal. Bring on the Simpsons porn!

      1. You mean you haven’t seen Simpsons porn yet?….OMFG!!! Should I fear for my freedom because I have seen it?

        This “crime” is the MOST. RIDICULOUS. EVER.

  3. Just imagine how much time in jail the guy would have gotten if the cartoons depicted a murder! Good thing we don’t have novels, movies, or plays involving murder, stealing, overthrowing a government, or drug use!

  4. It’s unfortunate that he pled guilty. I understand why his lawyer would advise him to do so, but this would have been a pretty good challenge to the Protect Act. The previous three versions of “all depictions of underage in sexually explicit situations” were struck down by the courts. The Protect Act hasn’t made it to the Supreme Court yet.

    On the other hand, I hope the CBLDF finds a more sympathetic defendant to take the Supremes. While it’s not supposed to matter, in reality good facts make good law.

  5. Thank you for keeping us up to date on this story. This could have easily happened to any comic book store owner if the moral police came strolling into their shop.

    If someone had come into my shop and looked into a particular glass case in the mid-’90’s – the wide range of adult comics we had at the time could have easily been enough to have myself or the owner tossed into handcuffs if we had been in a similar situation. Let alone a collector of such material.

    Anyone could look at a drawing and say, “She’s not 18.” – whether that was the intent of the artist or not – saying it doesn’t make it so.

    @etho Alan Moore’s Lost Girls is a very good example.

  6. Wow. While looking at drawings of children is creepy as hell, imprisoning someone for doing it is insane. My favorite bit of the article is:

    “The high court ruled that the ban was too broad, and could cover legitimate speech, including Hollywood productions.”

    So the fact that Hollywood (Read: “Big Content”)puts something out automatically gives it the same gravitas as legitimate speech? I would like to say that this is another case of government sucking the cocks of big business, but some corporations are under 18 and are now considered people (thanks, Justice Kennedy) the mere mention of a sex act might be enough to land me in prison.

    1. “but some corporations are under 18 and are now considered people (thanks, Justice Kennedy) the mere mention of a sex act might be enough to land me in prison.”

      Pity we can’t sue the underage corporations for screwing us, then.

  7. “Then again, very little is as creepy as this guy’s comic collection.”

    Meh, judging from the books mentioned in the Wired article (Which are easily available in the interwebs.), you’ll probably find worse stuff in the average teenagers browsing history. Even without mentioning things like Moores “Lost Girls”, this is ridiculous.

  8. This will be an interesting legal arena as technology progresses. Is there a victim? I’m thinking now of the Project Natal “Milo” video I saw recently:


    Is there a crime if there is no human (or, ugh, animal) victim? Is the argument that viewing depictions of certain acts will ultimately lead to a real-world crime?

    Because at some point, someone is going to program a “Milo” with a sexual component. And my moral compass isn’t ready for that heap of creepiness right now.

  9. I remember one of the points that was brought up when his arrest made the news was that he collected manga obsessively and that the “creepy” stuff was only a small part of the overall collection. He didn’t have a particular interest in the “creepy.”

    Does anyone have corroboration on this?

    This would make this worrisome for people who might not know the contents of all of their manga collection (or other collection of fictional material). I know that a lot of manga fans download manga, and that puts you at risk of downloading something that could be illegal, since you don’t always know for sure what the contents are until you read it. Of course, downloading manga usually isn’t legal, but copyright infringement is a far cry from child porn.

  10. i’d like to know who brought up the charges in the first place. the customs officials, probably.

    personally, i’d much rather have people in possession of drawings of creepy shit rather than actual people put through it, with photographs made.

    fuck this shit. when are people going to start being reasonable? this sort of stuff drives me crazy.

  11. Well to be fair “Lost Girls” and “Lolita” fall under the realm of artistic merit, while its easy to say the stuff he had was explicitly porn. On the other hand, this means I’m not importing anything from Japan anytime soon. More piracy for me.

    1. Lolita has no sex, and thus seems irrelevant to this case. It is about a mans romantic love of a child, not his sexual activities, so there is really nothing about it to raise the question in the first place. Romeo and Juliet (who was 13) is equally pornographic.

      And Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie are adamant in declaring that Lost Girls is first and foremost pornography. Why can’t something be both pornographic AND artistically valuable? Well, obviously, it can. I’m not familiar with the specific comics this guy owned (I’ve never gotten into manga) and I certainly don’t feel comfortable dismissing any potential artistic value they may have.

      Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that no one was harmed by his ownership of these materials, and there has never been proof that viewing pornography (lolicon, photographic, literary, sculptural or otherwise) leads people to commit acts of sexual violence. There is however some evidence that the inverse is true, and that societies that have de-stigmatized pornography have fewer instances of sexual violence.

  12. Er, judges aren’t elected officials. Unless I have been very misled…

    Thank you. You got me to go back and have a look to check my assumptions. He was sentenced by a US District Judge, who is indeed an appointed official.

    On the other hand, this:

    Thirty-nine states elect at least some of their judges, and the vast majority of cases in the United States are heard by elective courts.


  13. On one hand, jail time for owning cartoon smut is a creepy example of victimless thoughtcrime. Then again, very little is as creepy as this guy’s comic collection.

    But there’s no law against being creepy, nor should there be.

  14. There is plenty of child pron in the Louvre as well as images of bestiality. This kind of prosecution is just wrong.

    Even worse, the author of the article just dissed an entire country. This kind of manga is available in EVERY CONVENIENCE STORE IN JAPAN. Their society seems to be working last I checked.

  15. And this is the sentence he got with a plea bargain. The required “treatment program” he will receive after his prison term is guaranteed to be psychological torture of the highest degree. I wonder if now he wishes he had fought this ridiculous charge with the help of CBLDF or ACLU, maybe taking it all the way to the supreme court to get the law overturned. Because even though we have plenty of idiot politicians eager to legislate thought crime, the fact that we still have the bill of rights as a safeguard when these laws actually do get passed gives me a little bit of hope for my country.
    Anyway, this whole incident is shameful, but it’s not like he’ll be the only person in prison who didn’t actually cause any harm to anyone.

  16. Well, I know I’ll sleep safer knowing he’s locked up behind bars instead of out on the street conducting a comic collecting spree.

  17. I don’t know anything about manga OR aberrant sexuality OR legal matters, but there seems to be an assumption that the debate centers around whether or not owning the materials is a crime.

    Someone will commit aberrant sexual acts because they have aberrant interests. Someone with this manga obviously has aberrant interests. He’s being prosecuted because some people want to lock up people who show indicators of the potential for aberrant acts.

    I don’t think anyone thinks, really, that having this stuff is bad. Maybe? So the basic question isn’t whether this is or isn’t porn, or is or isn’t legal, it’s whether it’s okay to lock up someone whose otherwise-permissable interests correlate with impermissible behaviour?

    And we all agree with some correlation-based prosecution (like, making bomb threats will get you in trouble whether or not you’ve actually blown anything up). So isn’t this really just a question of where we draw the line between strong and weak correlation?


    1. “Someone with this manga obviously has aberrant interests.”

      Maybe, but I have several antique books by and about the Marquis de Sade. One could easily make the same assumption about me. Aberrant interests indeed.

      I don’t think your bomb threat analogy is all that apt in that a threat is, by definition, an intention of force against another individual(s). Yes you would be prosecuted if you made a bomb threat but you wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, if you wrote a story or created a graphic novel about a person who made bomb threats.

      “So isn’t this really just a question of where we draw the line between strong and weak correlation?”

      I don’t think so. I mean, we could probably find a ton variables that have a strong correlation with murderers (say violent childhood abuse) but should we be locking up everyone who has been abused as a child because of the strong correlation that they may murder in the future?

      I see it more as a small “l” libertarian issue about how can you have a crime with no victim?

    2. “So the basic question isn’t whether this is or isn’t porn, or is or isn’t legal, it’s whether it’s okay to lock up someone whose otherwise-permissable interests correlate with impermissible behaviour?”

      I enjoy watching Dexter, as well as documentaries about violent crime and forensic science. The acts depicted/described in those shows are certainly illegal and impermissible. I also happen to be a vegetarian, and I seriously doubt I could even kill an animal for food no matter how hungry I was. I really hope it doesn’t become OK to lock people up because of their interests.

    3. And we all agree with some correlation-based prosecution (like, making bomb threats will get you in trouble whether or not you’ve actually blown anything up). So isn’t this really just a question of where we draw the line between strong and weak correlation?

      No, we don’t all agree. Making a bomb threat should be a crime because there is a victim. You are inflicting terror at someone. If a school gets shut down because you made a bomb threat, clearly you have a victim. This is not the case with the cartoon porn. There is, without question, no victim. Victimless crimes should not be crimes.

      Further, arresting people for “correlations” is absurd on its face. The number of people who own cartoon porn and then go out and rape a child is absurdly low. On the other hand, if just a correlation was enough to get you jailed, you should probably go out and arrest all poor black males under the age of 25 living in high crime urban areas. Will you sweep up piles of innocent people? Sure, there is a pretty strong “correlation” between this demographic group and crime.

      Hell, lets not discriminate, while we are at it we should arrest all white college kids with long hair that sport either metal head t-shirts or like Fish. They have a very high correlation to illegal drug use. Everyone who has taken a spin on 90 heading out of Boston needs to be arrested for speeding, as I have never seen someone putt down 90 at 65mph unless it was bumper to bumper

      Any justice system that will arrest you for a “correlation” to a crime is no justice system. There is nothing “just” about it.

  18. “Lolita has no sex…”

    Wha? Did you buy a Wal-Mart version of the book? You didn’t read Nabokov’s Lolita, that’s for sure. There’s plenty of actual sex between H.H. and Lolita.

  19. Someone with this manga obviously has aberrant interests.

    Apart from this specific case, you can’t even know that from the fact-of-ownership alone.

    Collectors, investors, suppliers..

    1. @arkizzle

      Mm, yeah, I hadn’t even thought about “interest” in terms of collection. Good point. Thanks.

  20. Keep in mind that legally pornography is NOT equivalant to obscenety. Just because it is pornographic does NOT mean that it is not protected speech. By definition, obscenety is the subset of pornography that is NOT protected as free speech. I wonder what sort of “local standards” evidence was presented to back the assertion that these works were, in fact, obscene.

  21. …in Iowa.

    I think that’s about all I really need to read. Something perverse sure is going on here, but it’s not by the collector of COMICS.

  22. Handley’s Personal History
    Included in the defense’s documents is a brief biography of Handley’s life. According to these documents, Handley was an introverted child with an interest in science fiction and fantasy. After graduating high school, he enrolled in the U.S. Navy, and was later discharged due to a preexisting medical condition. He received an Associate’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Programming in 1995, graduating with a grade point average of 4.0. He immediately started work as a computer programmer in 1995 for a company that he stayed with until 2007 — when his employer learned of his pending charges. The documents stated Handley returned to live in his mother’s house so he could assist her due to her medical problems. The defense document stated that Handley spent his free time attending a Bible study group, playing online games, and reading comics.

    The above could be said to describe me or about 200 people I know.

    This really scares me.

  23. “On one hand, jail time for owning cartoon smut is a creepy example of victimless thoughtcrime. Then again, very little is as creepy as this guy’s comic collection.”

    When creepy comics are outlawed, only outlaws will have creepy comics.

    1. On a random click-through many years ago, I came across a video clip that featured a young girl (maybe 11-14) performing oral sex on an older man (60s?). It should be noted that both of them were real humans.

      I INSTANTLY forwarded the link, along with the circumstances of my having found it – the other sites that were linking to it, etc – to the first four or five “report child porn” state and federal organizations I could find links and emails for. I even included my phone number in case there were any questions that I hadn’t addressed in my “tip.” I then worried for weeks, hoping that someone would be able to identify and track down the person behind the camera, because the girl was clearly terrified.

      If that were to happen today, in light of news stories like these, I have to admit that I would hesitate before reporting it the way I did back then. My worry and concern for the victim of the crime would have to be balanced against my worry and concern for my OWN well-being, and that of my teen-age son. After all, for all I know, maybe the guy was already arrested, convicted, and died in prison. No sense in putting my own life/reputation on the line for something that’s already been resolved…

      I hope, and believe, that I would still do the right thing and report it – though I’d probably use a computer at the library to do it, or something as close to anonymous as I could get.

      But how many people might hear about cases like these, recognize the rabies that’s driving the prosecutions, and decide that reporting an ACTUAL case of child porn just isn’t worth the risk? Because hey, the cops might not be able to track down the child abuser and prosecute HIM, but YOU have just walked up to them and said, “Hi! Child porn on my computer!”

      They say the laws are designed to protect children, but from where I’m sitting, they are more likely to inspire people to protect their own butts and let the children fend for themselves. And as a mother, I find that inexcusable.

  24. I’m not sure the guy should be going to jail for this, because he didn’t know (or have reasonable suspicion) that it was a crime when he was ordering the titles.

    However, those of you who are saying that “this could mean big trouble for any comics-shop owner”… are you serious? Have you ever actually seen lolicon hentai? It’s far smuttier than anything I’ve ever seen in a US comics shop, including “Lost Girls,” which I think would probably be judged (at least on appeal) as having serious artistic value. Even in animanga fandom, where it’s very easy to stumble across this stuff if you download scanlated doujinshi at all… it’s not just porn-without-plot, it’s usually violent-rape-without-plot depicted as a “sexy joke.” It’s not the kind of stuff usually sold in comics shops at all; it’s the kind of stuff that you usually don’t see outside of adult bookstores, if that. (Dolcett is one of the few reasonably well-known Western fetish artists I’ve heard of who can compare in extremity of content, and in some ways, while most people would probably find his work sick, many might find it less offensive than lolicon hentai. It would depend on their point of view.)

    Most teenagers who read manga are likely to be girls with a big yaoi art collection, one which will probably include rape and incest. There’s too much shota out there (porn with male child characters), and too many mainstream series (like Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler) that pander to it in a fanservice sense without ever quite “going there.” But that’ll probably be another case at another time.

    Honestly, I’m more disturbed that people get off to this stuff than that someone got clapped in jail over it, even if the guy who got clapped in jail might not have deserved it. I’m not sure how we can claim it’s a “victimless crime” when it feeds into fantasies that some people will escalate and eventually act on.

  25. I believe that it is crucial that we understand some of the standing myths and actual purposes and functions of the organized predators we have endowed with the capacity to persecute, prosecute, and ‘punish’ our citizens who are, in most cases, largely defenseless against such assaults whether or not they are ‘guilty’ of any offence. The function of these organizations is survival, and although they advertise themselves as heroes, we should understand that this is the perfect place for any kind of predatory person or momentum to hide, just as we have seen again and again throughout history. The problem is thorny in every country on Earth, but in the technological nations, the US, the UK and others, the problem has become something so severe and unconscionable that it defies not only logic, but even the wildest sorts of paranoid fantasies. Even when these agencies function properly, the outcome is atrocity, as I will demonstrate.

    When we establish an agency and empower it to act with deadly force, for the purposes of punishing purported ‘criminals’, we should understand something about our own biology. We have in our bodies a cell called a Macrophage, or ‘big eater’. Without getting too technical, its job is to locate possible toxins, consume them, and display technical data about their structure on its surface. This data is read by our immune system in order to create antigens to combat the invaders. Without them we’d be dead. They sacrifice themselves in order to accomplish this goal. The body uses the information about the absorbed invader to comprise a defense that changes the chemical nature of the body in such a way to, where possible, render the invader either dead, or harmless.

    Allow me to suggest that the beings we call ‘criminals’ are performing a similar and crucial function. To wit: they absorb toxins from our cultures and display them publically. Without this information, we would be blind to the toxins generated by our definitions of progress, value, and goodness. The goal should be to read their signals so that we can together trace the toxins back to their sources and change the basic structure of our cultures. This never happens. What happens instead is that we attack and punish the cell that is signaling us about the deadly problem, engaging in the ‘idiot’s move’ of pretending that the problem is the signaler’s ‘fault’ (an idea which is as impossible as it is absurd). If this happened in our own bodies we would explode, instantly.

    We further magnify this error by pretending some sort of ‘accounting system’ is at play, such that egregious acts for which there can be no answer are ‘punished’ and thus ‘the perpetrator is made to ‘pay’ for their crime’. Firstly, crimes do not engender accounting systems. Secondly, crimes cannot be ‘paid for’ in any fashion whatsoever — except, perhaps, by resolving their sources in our (largely toxic) modern cultures. Secondly, ‘punishment’ does not accomplish this farcical ‘payment’, but instead creates a logarithmically progressing tree of torture. This act conscripts every single person in the culture in question, forcing their complicity in the resultant State or Federal sponsored torture (human beings do not belong in cages, period). We then must also pay in many more ways than merely financial to effectively cause endless repetitions of unconscionable crimes against humanity, ourselves, and the perpetrator/victim. To call such a system wrong is the height of understatement. To pretend it is a solution to wrongdoing is openly and rabidly insane.

    The rampaging behemoths that our ‘law enforcement’ agencies comprise require ever-greater shares of revenue and other resources in order to survive and dominate our reason. This involves constantly scripting the public to believe things that no rational person, and certainly no compassionate person could otherwise believe. To survive, these predatory organizations and individuals must continuously identify new targets, threats, and victims. These will require ever-increasing resources and manpower to pursue. Part of this process necessitates ‘experimental prosecutions’ which are, essentially, exploratory operations engineered to expand the authority and powers of the organizations and investigators in question.

    It is well-known that those who desire to become Police officers in many cases fit the psychological profiles of precisely the sort of person who should never be endowed with such authority and who will be not only prone to abuse it, but will be prone to a continuously ascending series of habits of offence and self-justification in the face of their own criminal activities. This is not to say that there are no heroic officers: there certainly are. But the basic way we have set these systems up generates atrocity 265/24/7 and we must, as modern, progressive nations, invent and deploy entirely different methods of understanding, addressing, and responding to the issues that originally brought these now rampaging behemoths into existence.

    Prisons are a crime against humanity for which there can be no reasonable answer. Our court systems are fundamentally abusive to, and unavailable to the vast majority of our own citizens, as are huge portions of the ideology and function underlying ‘modern law enforcement’. As long as we countenance atrocity in the guise of justice, we, our parents, our national and international citizens, our children, our parents and every person we know will be forced to pay prices which are not only unconscionable but which themselves constitute crimes for which their can be no answer but permanent worldwide amendment.

    Ours must become the generation which accomplishes a miracle few in our time can imagine: we must, indeed ‘Free All Prisoners.’ And we must end the practice of empowering predatory people and organizations as our putative ‘protectors’.

    1. Organelle,
      While I agree with the ideas in much of your post, what do you suggest we do with *actual* rapists, murders and criminals? Are you suggesting that we don’t separate them from society (and apparently you’re writing off the option of just killing them)?

      Because even though humans weren’t meant to live in cages, I’m all for permanently locking up and/or executing baby rapers, murderers, and the like. A crime needs a punishment, otherwise what else is there? A very nasty person gets to walk around free, free to victimize someone else? No thanks.

      When I was 19 I was attacked and sexually assaulted by a repeat sex offender. There is no “paying me back” for having this crime happen to me, even when I think it’s not, it is always there, always in my mind somewhere. I am SO glad to know that now, 15-some years later, that piece of crap is still in jail. And thanks to California laws for repeat offenders, he’ll never be free and he will die in jail. And I will always know that there will never be another opportunity for him to be on the streets, targeting and hurting other young girls.

      Having said that, I would hang around with the manga collecting guy without worry. If he did have sicko tendencies, it sounds like he worked them out by looking at manga. The guy that attacked me worked out his sicko tendencies by going out into the world and finding a real person to take it out on. I have no doubt as to which guy I would want as a neighbor.

  26. Oh for fuck’s sake people. He didn’t fund the abuse of young girls. He probably wasn’t even interested it the fictional depiction of the abuse (or not…) of young girls. He was a geek with the CDO tendencies (that’s OCD in alphabetical order AS IT SHOULD BE!) who was amassing a bunch of stuff.

    So, booyah, Prosecuter without a clue guy! I’m sure you’ll have your moment in a Bud ad real soon now. You made the world safe from comic book geeks. Lift your chin up to the sky.

  27. Then again, very little is as creepy as this guy’s comic collection.

    May all the cowardly journalists who aim for [ahem] “”””balance”””” [/ahem] at all costs be fucked in the nose with a splintery telephone pole.

    1. Since I put up this very short summary of another’s post, I’ve been wondering why no-one made this comment. Now I know!

  28. I’m really sick of shit like this. I mean these “preemptive arrests”. According to their logic, that man was BOUND to rape some kids, right?

    It’s an unconstitutional law that violates rights to privacy, benefits no one, protects no one, and wastes tax payer money.

    And no, reading lolicon manga doesn’t make you a pedophile. Having sex with children makes you a pedophile, which this guy did not do.

    I don’t play shooters to prevent myself from shooting people in real life. I don’t shoot people in real life because I’m not a fucking idiot.

    The generation that is still in power has proven time and time again over the last 15 years that they have a SUPREMELY difficult time distinguishing fiction from reality. This is just the latest example.

    Besides, what right did that fucker at the post office have to see inside his package? I’ve worked at a post office before, and nobody was allowed to open anything unless the dogs wound something suspicious. It’s an invasion of his privacy.

    Legal systems don’t work “possibilities”. You can’t prosecute someone for something they MIGHT do.

    You never know what circumstances might come up in the future. For all I know you MIGHT get some kind of mental disease, for crazy rampage nuts, grab a rifle, and start picking people off in the street.

    In the United States, cartoon porn that does not contain parodies or depictions of minors generally falls under the category of speech protected by the First Amendment. For more information on general legality of pornography, see Pornography in the United States. Even in the case of depiction of minors, the US Supreme Court struck down prosecution against this because it violated freedom of expression.

  29. I think the world is awesome. Sending people to prison for what they do with their own bodys. Making it illegal to take your own life, its your life why shouldnt it be your right? Now we can send people to prison to protect the rights of drawings!

    Im looking forward to being able to send people to prison for looking at me wrong, i figure 20 years from now. Sucks for the squinty eye jerk who left his glasses at home.

    >Neil Gaiman told MTV News in November: “I wrote a story about a serial killer who kidnaps and rapes children, and then murders them [referring to a storyline in ‘The Doll’s House’]. We did that as a comic, not for the purposes of titillation or anything like that, but if you bought that comic, you could be arrested for it? That’s just deeply wrong. Nobody was hurt. The only thing that was hurt were ideas.”

    Neil motherfucking Gaiman, everybody.

    It’s the difference between reality and fantasy.

    CP has deep psychological and physical effects on children that are exploited by said acts. The man in question would never do something that like to a child.

    A drawing isn’t a person. You can’t scar a drawing for life.

    He might as well download CP anyway, if even manga gets you 15 years. Hell, might as well rape some kids. You will get just as much time for drawings of rape as you will rape may as well go for the total package. This is basically the message they will be sending to people when they start down the path of thought crimes.

    When it gets to the point that a person is more likely to get caught for thought crimes with no victims people will will go with the safer path. History has shown us that people will do whatever they can to get what they want.

    Japan has the most rape/fetish “obscene” porn in the world. It also has the lowest sex crime rate.

  30. “In response, the Protect Act narrows the prohibition to cover only depictions that the defendant’s community would consider “obscene.””

    You know, I’ve always thought this standard was absolutely insane. Who is his community? The people who live around him? The people he hangs around with? His family? His friends? Where do you draw that line?

    Never mind that – it makes it a crime to offend other people’s sensibilities, as that’s all obscenity is.

    Stupid, stupid basis for a crime.

  31. Sorry, but someone has to say it: “WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE (cartoon) CHILDREN!!!”

    Okay, now that that’s out of the way, on a slightly more serious note, and with apologies to Thomas Jefferson: “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to own a naughty manga collection. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

    If someone can show compelling evidence that viewing or owning cartoon porn — even violent cartoon kiddie porn — is, in and of itself, injurious to others, then I’ll gladly support laws banning it. But if it is not, in and of itself, injurious to anyone, then I would argue that government has no right to ban it. The argument that it ought to be banned because only “perverts” do it is simply illegitimate, IMO. Government has a responsibility to prosecute people for actually wronging others, not to persecute them for having a dirty mind.

    It is also illegitimate, IMO, for government to ban an activity solely on the grounds that it MIGHT POSSIBLY tempt someone to commit an injurious act. If government can ban any activity that might possibly tempt someone to commit a crime, then government can ban any activity it wants to ban; because someone can always come up with an argument to justify that ban. Want to ban chewing gum? Easy: Children who chew gum may develop an oral fixation which could cause them to start smoking cigarettes, which might lead them to try cannabis, which could possibly tempt them to experiment with harder drugs, which might potentially lead to them dealing drugs, which could usher them into the world of organized crime, which might eventually lead them to become major underworld kingpins who are responsible for countless thousands of drug-related deaths around the world. So, anyone who chews gum is the moral equivalent of a mass murderer; just in the same way that anyone who collects naughty manga is the moral equivalent of a child molester. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

    In a free society there have to be some commonsense limits to what government can outlaw. It is perfectly legitimate for government to ban or regulate activities that, by their very nature, are potentially injurious to others. But, IMO, it is not legitimate for government to ban or regulate activities that cannot, in and of themselves, cause injury to anyone. And such a ban cannot be justified on the grounds that only “bad” people engage in this sort of activity; or that the people who engage in this sort of activity may later go on to commit serious crimes. IMHO, if X does not, and cannot, in of itself, cause injury to anyone, then X cannot legitimately be considered a crime, and government ought not have any power to criminalize it, no matter how naughty or perverted or disgusting it may be.

  32. I’m the anon in #31, who brought up the actual content inherent in lolicon hentai. That’s a point which I think is being missed here: not a single comparison being made as far as content is relevant to this discussion, because ***there really isn’t much that’s like lolicon or shota hentai*** (which I have run across, and find disturbing) apart from other rapey hentai (ditto) and actual child porn (which I haven’t seen, apart from those photos doctored to remove the victim so that the locations could be identified).

    The point is that this is not content that’s comparable to anything relatively mainstream that you can come up with, and mainstream stuff has been the consistent comparison in this thread. For example… Gaiman is great and all, but the stuff he’s describing in his quote isn’t the actual content of the Cereal Killer’s Convention issue of Sandman. The pedophilic rape and murder in that story is something alluded to, not something played out across the panels (except to briefly put a character who looks younger than she is in jeopardy), there’s a lot of implicit authorial disapproval of the perp, it’s not played for titillation, and so on. The authorial intent is COMPLETELY different.

    This isn’t to say that I think Christopher Handley belongs in jail: I don’t know. I don’t think, for example, that Mike Diana’s case was dealt with well (because not being allowed to draw is totally going to keep you from hurting people if you’re so inclined! yeah, right). I think all the good “Handley didn’t actually do anything, this is thoughtcrime” arguments exist, and I’m still appalled by anyone who has a driving interest in child porn, even fake illustrated child porn, whether it “hurt real kids” or not. My disgust should not automatically mean a jail sentence, but where do we draw lines as a society?

    Also: Is supporting and catering to that market an ethical good? My guess is that we can’t know: it’s not an ethical good if it’s part of an overall interest in the subject (that is, if we learn that most consumers of it are also interested in real-life depictions or activities), but it might be a kind of ethical good if it specifically keeps people with a sexual interest in children from hurting any real ones by giving them a safe outlet. There’s no way to tell, and we can’t really make hypothetical assumptions about it.

    The problem in this discussion is that I think it’s full of logical fallacies in a number of the posts: the whole basis of a lot of our arguments (including, maybe, my first comment) is that we’re saying “this is like this, and that’s silly” or “this is like that, and I don’t mind this, so I don’t see why anyone should have a problem with that,” when in point of fact this and this and that are not the same thing or even very much alike. On another note, several people have said something like, “Very few of the people who own cartoon child porn have ever raped or molested a child.” How do we know that? Where’s the statistic, especially given that a lot of that kind of child abuse goes unreported?

    NONE of that says that Handley should be locked up; I’m just questioning the premises of a lot of arguments I see presented here.

  33. Well, I think it’s important to note that pedophiles didn’t exist before this smutty manga was around, and that no pedophile ever raped a child without first having owned smutty manga.

    Now let the sentencing commence for people who own Daddy’s Girl by Debbie Dreschler.

    Next up: owners of Why I Killed Peter, by Alfred and Olivier Ka.

  34. Has anyone, ever, shown any correlation between people looking at drawings of children having sex and people abusing children?

    I don’t think that we should assume that there is a correlation. For all I know, people with those interests might be LESS likely to abuse children because they get off without having to do it in real life. Or maybe they only like drawings and not real-life depictions.

    Until someone shows me data, I’m not going to assume that there is a correlation, let alone whether it’s ok to arrest people for that correlation.

  35. A few commenters have suggested that evidence of a positive or negative correlation between virtual child porn and real children being abused might be relevant when discussing this law.

    It’s interesting to note that this issue is almost wholly ignored by the Protect Act. The reason why is because the provisions against virtual child porn have absolutely nothing to do with virtual child porn itself, but are about securing convictions for the real stuff. According to the act, the standard line of defense in child porn cases prior to this piece of legislation was to claim that the accused believed the material in question was computer-generated or otherwise not real, and disproving such claims was proving exceptionally difficult or onerous for prosecutors.

  36. The jail sentence should be an outrage to anyone who believes in free speech.

    From the aforementioned Lost Girls:

    “Eleven? Twelve? It is quite monstrous…except that they are fictions, as old as the page they appear upon, no less, no more.

    “Fiction and fact: only madmen and magistrates cannot discriminate between them.

    “You see, if this were real it would be horrible. Children raped by their trusted parents. Horrible. But they are fictions. They are uncontaminated by effect and consequence. Why, they are almost innocent.

    “I, of course, am real, and since Helena, who I just fucked, is only thirteen, I am very guilty.

    “Ah well, it cannot be helped.”

    -Monsieur Rougeur, a fictional character in Lost Girls, a work of pornographic fiction by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie

  37. “Then again, very little is as creepy as this guy’s comic collection.”

    I would like to know how much of this guy’s comic collection you got to see to inform that opinion?

    And, oddly enough, he wasn’t convicted for anything in his collection, but for seven comics he was shipped from overseas.

  38. I think the reason this is so creepy is that drawings are a manifestation of what we are thinking in our heads. All artists get offended if someone criticizes their art, and that is because it is such a personal thing – it is the imagery they see in their heads, manifested in physical form. This also works the other way – what you read takes on a personal representation in your head, as you read it to yourself.

    When someone can be jailed for what they draw or choose to read, they are also being jailed for what they choose to think. Which may be a blessing when that person has acted on their thoughts. But when all they have done is committed the unforgivable crime of thinking…?

    The day people tryg to control what we – as Artists, as Laymen, as Anyone – are thinking, is the day we start fighting the same bad guys Tom Cruise fought in Minority Report. It is the day we should all turn around and start calling our governments Big Brother.

    It is the day that they might as well put a bullet in our heads, so that we may never perform such a disgusting act as Thinking ever again.

    You may find what someone thinks to be obscene, damaging, harmful even. But the day you deny one person from having freedom to think, and express what they think through art, is the day you allow someone else to dislike what YOU think, and condone their persectution of you, all based on the grounds of ‘I don’t like it, and therefore, it should be destroyed.”

    Please, people, THINK. Don’t think of others’ actions as right or wrong. Standards vary from person to person. Freedom should not be for the ‘morally righteous’, and no one should be able to decide who is allowed to think, and who is not.

    Disagree with me all you like. Call me naiive, or misguided, or downright dumb. But it’s what I think, and I’m as entitled to my opinion myself, as you are entitled to judge me. But like you, I can choose to listen, choose to act, or choose to be content with my own interpretation.

    I couldn’t ask for any greater right.

  39. “On one hand, jail time for owning cartoon smut is a creepy example of victimless thoughtcrime. Then again, very little is as creepy as this guy’s comic collection.”

    Wow. Classy.

    Gaiman was right to call you out, Beschizza.

    I also think Vnend makes an excellent point. While we’re at it, what are those creepier things?

  40. “”Then again, very little is as creepy as this guy’s comic collection.”

    Not read The Bible or the works of William Shakespeare recently?

  41. Have you ever actually seen lolicon hentai?

    Do we even know that it was lolicon?

    I’ve seen plenty of descriptions of the characters being “children” or “minors,” but that could mean anyone under the age of consent. Would that be similarly illegal?

    A lot of mainstream hentai depicts sexual acts involving teenagers. So it could be that even people who aren’t into lolicon (even people who hate it and think it should be illegal) could be at risk. I would guess that it probably was lolicon or shotacon, but I haven’t seen anything to indicate that it wouldn’t apply to older (but still minor) characters.

  42. Gaiman misinterpreted that line to be an expression of my opinion. But it’s there so you could see the animating idea behind this prosecutor’s case. I can accept that sarcasm is hard to convey in print, especially when it’s the implicit sort aimed athere, but most people here evidently understood how stupid I think it is.

    On these short posts, readers often add context and build upon the OP in the comments. The ‘dilemma’ posed in the OP was intended to invite this, and it’s depressing that Gaiman decided to attack me over it.

    1. Rob, you were misunderstood. It happens. This is the internets; if you rely on people to read your minds, you’ll always be disappointed.

  43. But Michael, I’m not a supporter of the prosecution. If you “don’t buy” that, given the fact I post here on similar matters so frequently, you’re surely pretending to be stupid. What purpose does that serve, exactly?

  44. Censorship is a double edged sword I believe there needs to be less censorship but you need to draw the line somewhere. I think the punishment is too harsh for this crime. First offence should have had the books destroyed by the customs office and a warning given. I understand if the story has child rape it can be hinted at I do not need to read about all the gory details just the hints of what has happened would reduce me to tears. I think some material is just to sick to be printed like I said above if the story has a child rape or murder for the sake of the story line is it not best just to say that it has happened.
    I think writers have to draw the line somewhere.
    Once we have stopped been sickened by something we hardened to it. Needing something more perverted to titillate us.

  45. I just finished the first volume of De Toqueville’s ‘On Democracy’. I now have a much better understanding of where this sort of conflict originates. the ‘majority’ which tyrranizes us is but an agglomeration of political force; numbers of people are not the measure. The people who languish in prisons have *never* truly been held guilty. This has been known since princes ruled and people were chattels to be played off one another for dominion.

    The conflicts of interest which drive the hunger for prisoners, innocent or guilty, is the true engine of this problem. Even a moralist knows the legitimacy of the arguments being presented nearly unanimously by all respondents. This is at the end a war between churches, and the hell they have reserved the right to send you to is a hell here on earth. If humanism should lose, it is for having no anvil to break the abusers of power against. We are too fair, and while this dug under their foundations for many years it is now the field of our retreat. If you care about this sort of thing you must employ your right of association; a world of chattering individuals can always be disregarded by a vocal union. The right of association has been used against this poor sod’s freedom. Who among our complainers will place their neck in association with his?

    I’m not saying I will. I’m just saying the rain will keep falling until the circle of victims grows to draw in a sufficient mass of persons who will. And then? if we still cannot learn to command political force(ykno, beaurocracy, deception, division ploys, all the tactics which divide us), prisons will fill with persons like ourselves.

    To impugn the Bible is a waste of time. I finally see that it commands a sphere of un-reason, and that it’s defenders are moved to this violence against freedom in part in retaliation against those who attack it. They are correct that the church underlies our entire nation(as a Deist i’ve been loathe to admit that). Better to impugn them in Christian terms than to allow them the illusion that their culture is under threat; that is BS. our culture *all* shares this protestant root. It’s character bends in time, and their claim to *own* morality is the stone that will bring their wall down when it is removed. then we will have something dangerous to worry about! for they are well practiced at association and their institutions have thrown off the yoke of princes!

    Freedom has no meeting houses anymore; it has no center, no chief, no creed. These forums are the closest thing I’ve found, and this herd of cats will withstand nothing.

    I throw this bomb in part to give you smarties something to destroy. Please don’t attack my character; just the arguments please. I freely admit that I am often wrong and I expect to learn things from your reasoned replies. I reserve the right to alter my opinion.

  46. Hm, I wonder if photos of adults with growth disorders is illegal, or even just adults who look young… I’m in my mid 20s and don’t actually have any growth disorders that I know of, but people often mistake me for around 16. Is it illegal for someone to take/posses erotic pictures of me? To sleep with me? And what about the opposite, when people who are obviously of legal age roleplay as someone underage, either in porn or in their daily life?

    I actually get creeped out by erotic photos and drawings of people who appear quite young… but as long as one isn’t exploiting a minor, where can we draw the line?

  47. http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2008/12/why-defend-freedom-of-icky-speech.html

    I have to say Neil makes a very effective point when he quotes the book of Judges. It is not hard to close one’s eye’s & depict vivid & powerful images from one’s imagination for the events described therein. If when doing so you feel a need to smile, you are sick & need help. If you feel a need to cry or want to lash out, then you are normal.

    Should we ban the Bible then because a small % of people may feel the need to smile? Putting the Bible aside, what about pre-existing works throughout history? Should they all be destroyed/banned now because a small % of people might feel the need to smile when they see them?

    The simplest litmus test for any law is that it must stand the test of time. Can the Protect Act do that? What happens if say over the next 20 yrs, Apple develops a device to both record/playback our minds? What if someone records a dream they had which the Protect Act would find both disturbing & offensive? Should that person then be prosecuted? Is the need to protect us from the small % of people that smile when seeing these acts worth that degree of an invasion of not just our personal privacy but the very inner sanctum of our minds? Do we really want laws that will eventually lead to “thoughtpolice” as depicted in Farenheit 451 when the technology arrives?

    If the purpose of prosecuting Handley is to “protect the children”, I can think of much better ways to do that. First, change the curfew laws. Make it that much harder for children to ever be anywhere without their guardian. Second, toughen the laws against the offenders. Any one convicted of a crime against a child should be subjected to a court approved counselor/therapist for the rest of their life. Third, do not create a sense of ambiguity on the subject for the child. You can not teach them about human sexuality as 3rd graders & why they need to use condoms & not expect them to develop curiosity about both their own bodies & others. What happens when a 3rd grade girl takes a liking to a grown man’s body? This is why abstinence must be taught. At that age sexuality of any kind must be forbidden. You can not use logic/reason with a child to teach them not to do something. Fear of consequence must be associated with the act. Abstinence only works if guardians provide the fear. Forth, require Handley & those who seek to collect such works to register & obtain a permit to do so. This is what we do for gun ownership & I think we all can agree that gun ownership is far more dangerous to society than possessing say a graphic novel depicting this scene in the book of the Judges.

  48. Umm… There is a definate line that separates COMICs from CHILD PORNOGRAPHY.

    I am fifteen and even i can see that. When i was thirteen (to prove my point) i was molested by a (much) older man.
    Despite that, i have no problem with people who read COMICS that show “child pornography”. (heck, i read lolicon/ shota every now and then- im at no risk of raping someone.)

    This is absolutely rediculous. People should be worying about the ones who are acually asulting underage children, rather than the ones who look at “pictures” of FICTIONAL child characters displayed in a sexual mannor.

    And another thing; If you read alot of manga like i do, you would know that ,in the manga style, the characters all have extreamely exagerated features; so even 40 year olds can look 10 in these typs of comics. what im saying is that this is fiction. no one is getting hurt, so theres no reason to be punished for it. I do think though, that if an older man owns this type of material, it would automaticaly rais red flags that this man is a potetial rapist. I think it would have been better if they just watched him for a while to make sure that his fantasies/ intrests do not effect his actions.

    Also, i would be much more worried about a person who watched/ read acual child porn (I mean the type that SHOULD BE ILLEAGAL.)

    This isnt rocket science people. Its not hard to see that this case is unfair.

    Of coars this is just my opinion, i am only fifteen after all (so people tend to not take me seriously).

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