I talk a big game about giving pedophiles mental health treatment instead of jail time, and then I come across cases like Ian Watkins.  Even I think that there’s room in a prison for this guy; the lack of remorse is arresting. A long time ago, I came across the show TO CATCH A PREDATOR …
" /> Jason Holborn | Cybercarnet/Weblog - Ian Watkins

Ian Watkins

I talk a big game about giving pedophiles mental health treatment instead of jail time, and then I come across cases like Ian Watkins.  Even I think that there’s room in a prison for this guy; the lack of remorse is arresting.

A long time ago, I came across the show TO CATCH A PREDATOR on YouTube, and I frittered all the rest of the day, utterly fascinated, until I’d watched every clip I could find.  I was struck by the high numbers whom I personally judged to be relatively innocent and simply overwhelmingly lonely and desperate, and who I thought needed serious, compassionate help. 

There were, however, absolutely others who exuded menace, and gave off a serious vibe of creepy, evil danger.  I still today remember one who barely spoke or communicated; just his movements alone suggested that he posed a clear threat to kids.  My heart leapt with relief and satisfaction when the cops moved in on him, and tho he is clearest in my memory, he wasn’t the only one.

I read over Ian Watkins’ statements, and it’s chilling.  He doesn’t seem confused or alarmed or disturbed by his lust for little kids; he seems to embrace what he knows is regarded as evil and wrong, and then, he almost seems to delight or revel in that.

I’m reminded of an HIV+ guy who knowingly attempted to spread the virus around, and who called himself, in cyber chats, a “Poz Vampire“.  Obviously he knew that his actions were wrong, and dark, twisted and sick.  That didn’t bother him. 

These two both remind me of Darth Vader, who can apparently see a difference between right & wrong, good & evil, yet chooses and knowingly embraces evil.

Mostly, this issue confounds me with questions to myself about what Jesus, or Buddha, or Confucius would say.  Confucius might say something akin to, “Before you seek revenge, dig two graves,” a proverb which has always made a big impact on me, and is part of the reason I try to embrace restorative justive, rather than retributive.  Buddha might say that life is suffering, and we ought to lessen suffering, and I try to agree – and I think that prisons haven’t slimmed the numbers of children and lives altered by abuse.  That’s why I think that mental health needs to be explored more.  What would Jesus do?  He embraced the outcasts; I don’t picture him embracing Ian Watkins, tho.  I figure Jesus might weep over a lost soul’s worth.  Jesus asked us to above all, love others as ourselves, yet Mr. Watkins has sort of chosen to exempt himself from that rule.  If I choose to revel in abusing my wealth and fame to cause suffering, I don’t love myself.

Child abuse is an ongoing and unrelenting crisis; we ought to act collaboratively to address and lessen and even stop it.  Continuously evolving, progressing, adapting mental health is the answer, I think, to a majority of society’s woes, yet a person has to want help.  When I watched TO CATCH A PREDATOR, I was struck by how many on the show might have wanted help to cope with personal demons – the majority didn’t seem evil.

This story has been a sad, confronting lesson to me that some people out there choose being a monster over being a fallible human, and don’t want to access help. 

I’m reading a book on mindfulness and mostly the author relates to Buddhism; two things I’ve read today stick out to me in relation to Ian Watkins:

there is no evil, only ignorance (p. 248, “the Buddhist perspective holds that there is no such thing as a sinful or evil person… it is not (that) we are bad but (that) we are ignorant) (and I already believe this; to classify Hitler or Stalin or Genghis Khan as monsters ignores that they were bouncing delightful cherubic babies; othering them as monsters ignores the fact that we, all of us, have the same evil capacities and depths in our own hearts. I think that in Hell, Hitler’s best torment is to be shown the suffering he caused, thru the eyes of his victims)

– (some people) should be imprisoned to protect others (p. 232). And this helped me a lot; I don’t any longer accept or believe that punishment is a deterrent. If it were, child sexual abuse and murder would have already been stopped. I don’t want a punishing prison; a protective, shielding prison is one I can completely get behind, tho.

In spite of everything, I still believe that people are good, and that safe mental health treatment is the best way to reduce or even to stop victims from crimes. We owe it ourselves, each of us, to ensure safe, effective mental health services for all. I bet it would ultimately, despite the massive cost, be cheaper and more dollar effective than what we’re paying now – and that a great system offering mental health, spiritual healing, and emotional understanding could work itself right out of existence. Can we even imagine that about the system we have now?

I find it difficult to forgive and accept and embrace Ian Watkins, yet I still believe a world in which souls like his are not twisted into embracing evil is possible for us to create.