Thursday, December 11, 2008
Flying Baby Bites Australian Man on the Ass
Who could disagree with legislation promoting the safety and welfare of children? What monster would have a problem with this Australian law?
[It is] a crime "to participate in the exploitation and abuse of children by seeking to view, possess, make or distribute child-abuse or child exploitation material". [Law enforcement officials] provided a definition of "child-abuse material", which was any material that shows a person under the age of 18 who "is, or appears to be, a victim of torture, cruelty or physical abuse".
Thumbs up to this, yes?
Well, funny story.
60-year-old Chris Illingworth, of Queensland, Australia, has been charged under this very statute. Illingworth's crime? He reposted a stranger's already (in)famous YouTube video on another video-sharing site, LiveLeak. The video in question, of unknown provenance, shows a man swinging an approximately nine-month-old baby around, acrobat-style. He does so more carelessly and recklessly than I think might be good for the child, although the video shows the baby boy (pictured) laughing and smiling when the play session is over. (The clip has been yanked from YouTube and Liveleak, it seems. You can see a partial edit of it in this late-October news report, complete with a child development expert playing with an interactive electronic doll that, somewhat implausibly, indicates with red lights where its brain would bleed if it were alive and jostled about.)
By the way, many online commenters believe the footage is fake, pointing out various anomalies that seem to point to digital trickery.
Back to Chris Illingworth: Remember, it's not his video. He merely reposted it because the footage had piqued his interest. What was done with (or to) the flying baby might have seemed funny or scary or even completely beyond the pale to him. Regardless:
Queensland Police say it is a crime for anyone to even watch a viral video of a man swinging a baby around a room. ... [Illingworth] was charged with using the internet to access and publish child-abuse material.
It's safe to say that leglislators didn't have people like Illingworth in mind when they crafted their law against "child exploitation material." There might be a fine line between horseplay and abuse, but that's for the man in the video to explain to the authorities — and even he arguably doesn't engage in what ordinary people (and lawmakers) think about when they picture underage victims of "torture, cruelty, or physical abuse."
By the way, a nice touch is that the officers who raided Illingworth's home, and fingerprinted and photographed him, were cops from the Queensland anti-pedophile task force. Try living that down after the charges are dropped.
Posted by Rogier van Bakel on Thursday, December 11, 2008 |
Click to view image: '19967f590c75-baby.jpg'
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