Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop

The HBO documentary Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop is very disturbing. It's about a police officer who engaged in extremely extensive online chats about kidnapping, drugging, raping, murdering, cooking, and eating women. The chats were so detailed, and potential victims were stalked -- both online and possibly in real life -- that when it came to the attention of law enforcement they charged him with conspiracy to kidnap.

The details of his fantasy chat life are so disgusting that it's hard to look at this case from an intellectual, social justice perspective. He didn't actually DO anything. No crime was committed. And I absolutely do not believe in punishing people for fantasies. At the same time I understood jurors and professionals concerns about the fantasies and online activity escalating. Thought Crimes raises important and not easy issues about technology, identity, surveillance, and behavior.

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