Long before Operation Frankish became a thing I had always held a near pathological aversion to certain kinds of bad people.
When I say bad I mean those whose deeds and actions were so demonstrably wicked and sick that no one could possible argue any grey area.
This usually meant paedophiles since that’s a good example of an action with no possible redemption (at least not in my eyes). Long before even the Internet became a thing I would always do my best to be an issue to one if they became known to me. This happened once or twice.
Before the now infamous ‘Baby’ abuse video broke I actually didn’t have my mind in the zone of animal cruelty. I was only really vaguely that it went on, I had little idea to what degree and severity.
For about 6-12months prior I had been studying the methods and techniques of anti grooming movements such as Dark Justice. There are others but from all of them – they impressed me.
I understood what they do and how they do it and was getting primed to do something inspired by it here in Scotland.
They only operate in the Newcastle area AFAIK – probably due to ease for them if they are from that region. Makes sense. Having looked closely at their decoy/bait/trap methods, I felt this was something I would be capable of establishing here.
I took it seriously and far enough to ask them direct questions and their first bit of advice was to get a lawyer here and tell him what I wanted to do so that I would be covered.
When you are confronting people in the street for grooming then you need to ensure you do everything by the book. I was then getting to the stage of sourcing the right legal firm and laying out for them what I intended to do.
It was really just an accident that happened to take me off in a different direction. Had I not watched that video on that day? Then I think my own version of an anti grooming movement up here would have been well established and running.
Do I regret a fluke evoking me to go off in a different direction as I did? In some ways, yes.
The appeal that would have held is that I’d be directly involved in the real world at all times. I prefer that. The other attraction is that you are getting significant numbers caught in your web. Every time I did that I would get a real lift from it.
Its a totally different story when you’re not trying to trap and bait but relentlessly attempting to push politicians into restructuring a long neglected part of the justice system.
Don’t get me wrong. To do that is not only a worthy goal but its the only possible way to make sure people like Frankish are properly punished in future. But in order to achieve a historical change to the legal system its more a war of attrition than a series of short and sharp boosts that you’d get from ensnaring a groomer.
To achieve what we need to achieve is much more of a slog without the weekly visible pay off that you’d get with an anti grooming bait and trap movement.
It is for that reason we always endeavour to do our lobbying in interesting and different ways.
I quite like the technique Dark Justice use and I respect their restraint and the way they protect their brand. They do share a common issue in one sense – despite the fact that their methods often lead to convictions, all too many of those convicted are given suspended sentences.
As far as I am aware DJ do not take part in any sort of lobbying that’s aimed at correcting that part of it. But what they are able to at least do is enjoy the buzz of ensnaring lots of creeps on a regular basis, even if they later get piss poor punishments.
The only down side with the method is that it really only traps those who are trying to groom teens. I say ‘only’. I mean that in the sense that I would ideally prefer some way to ensnare those who targeted the very youngest of children – but that would be far more problematic.
I don’t really make much distinction between scum that would do what the ilk of Frankish did and scum who target kids or who collect child abuse material. In my eyes they are all scum to be dealt with and much harder than our wimpy Governments presently do.
I chose to take this direction as what I saw and discovered was so eye poppingly bad. To then find out how prevalent it is, how leniently they are treated and how lacking in advocacy these matters were was not acceptable to me.
I also always saw this as far more than a pet issue. This kinds of offenders are insane. Their insanity would by no means be restricted to pets alone. It just struck me as amoral and nuts to allow such people to walk around free without ever having paid any price by way of loss of liberty.
It also struck me as dangerous to others that such people are issued new identities and given new homes at the tax payers expense.
I definitely believed and still do believe that the very first big foundation you must lay down is that you have to start sending the worse of them down for several years. Once you make an example from a few it suddenly doesn’t seem such an easy thing to do anymore.
The bar gets raised. The stakes get higher. The risk of pain if caught increases.
Elevate the sentence such acts carry and marvel as you witness the domino effect it would have in other areas. Suddenly media would be discussing it more, the police would probably have to do investigations and not RSPCA officers. Pet ownership bans would probably be redundant since the person would be locked up. The education system would probably leap on the bandwagon and get in on it in some nationwide way. When you skim a stone across water it creates many ripples.
Anyway, I do occasionally have regrets that I went off in this direction since I probably passed up a chance to have weeded out quiet a few groomers here by now. There’s no doubt. If I had put the same energy into it as I have this – there is no question that I’d probably have ensnared a bunch of groomers by now.
There are times I definitely reflect upon that.
Everyone despises paedophiles. Rightly so obviously. There’s not much that most people agree on or unite around these days but paedophile is still a word that sends the public into meltdown.
Probably because people immediately think of their sons and daughters or maybe a good % have themselves been victims. Include the word paedophile in your fight and so long as you are active and stay legal you wont need to work as hard to make the issue one that sticks.
Animal cruelty and pet abuse? Nope. Not so much. Even though there is unquestionable overlap at times, I still think the general public are far too inactive on the matter.
They do not see it as being as much of a threat to them as a paedophile might be. They may or may not be correct – but that’s the comparative perception.
We’re not saying there aren’t a ton of good dog owners out there. There are. I am one myself. We’re not even saying that there aren’t those who like to do stuff like foster dogs or perhaps work with them at their local shelter. There are, and bless them all.
Nope. Its none of that. What we are saying is that there is an apparent lack of demand to actually punish such people properly (at long last). We can and have done everything in our power to stimulate more demand, but unlike the paedophile targets its extremely difficult to do so.
With a bait and snare method its not highly participatory. They go out. They meet the target, they film, they ring the police. There is of course no actual true victim. But the method does not demand participation (save for when they take on decoys).
A movement with goals like this one demands that it be far more participatory. We cannot go out and trick dog abusers into meeting us in that way, what we could and really need to do is get to a position where those convicted of it are locked up and let the domino effect kick in thereafter.
Our style relies on relentless lobbying and doing high visibility events which incur a greater running cost than if I took to my own streets with two buddies and a video camera.
I definitely think for certain that people who are as extreme as those Frankish pricks do need to be sent to prison, and I do think they deserve to lose their liberty for quite some years. I am absolutely certain that it would lead to a significant reduction in abuse. Not an absolute vanishing, but perhaps a drop by as much as 25 % over five years.
But here’s the thing. None of that really matters. It doesn’t even matter if I am totally right and on point. What matters is whether the public are happy and content to settle for the 26 weeks that you have (52 here and both rarely given)?
If the public are generally content with the penalties as they are then it doesn’t matter what I think they should be and why. Demand normally creates supply. Get enough people demanding it in meaningful ways and you’ll be supplied it. But without that demand? Then you wont be supplied it. Its that simple.
I’m really not sure if people think the 26 weeks max is enough or not. I wouldn’t have guessed so a year ago. You wouldn’t think so based on Internet seethe.
But in terms of demand being measured in more accurate ways, such as action, advocacy, supporting those who work around the clock to generate advocacy? Piss poor. Like trying to get blood from a stone that someone else has already squeezed.
In fact without a tiny number of extremely hard working and generous people we’d get nothing done at all. But with the exception of them its piss poor.
I just really want to see very dangerous predators taken off the streets. Whether they come in the form of a Frankish or in the form of a groomer – I want to do them as much damage as I can by making life as uncomfortable for them as I can.
But I am conscious of the fact that the public may indeed generally think that the present sentences for these actions are broadly fine. If the opposite were true then we’d definitely have more of a genuine measure of it by now.
Are we just assuming that the public really want game changing and historical reforms?
There are polls that suggest otherwise, but polls are just polls. There is no substance to a poll. Someone ticking a poll does not mean they personally intend to do or give a thing in order to bring it into being.
If we are assuming that people must surely want to finally grow a pair and start pressuring our Government to lock them all up for years then maybe we are wrong to do so. If the consensus is that people are generally happy with the status quo then maybe my time and efforts would better spent doing what I have laid out earlier?
I wouldn’t like to use up another year advocating for something unless I was sure that far more people wanted that something more than what I have seen this past year.
If that were the case then I’d sooner spend that year ensuring groomers were trapped and handed over to cops. I cant do both though (obviously). I can only really give one thing my all out effort.
It has to be one or the other for me. I want to do what is best and I want to do what is in most demand. If its in demand then it makes things easier as you already have the wave to ride. If its not in demand you first have to create it.
All I do know is this. I’m going to dedicate as much of my time as possible to plotting the downfall of these really bad people.
But I am one man. I cannot take on all of them. There are too many. I can only target either the animal sadists or these groomers. I can only give all out effort against one of those enemies, notwithstanding any overlap.
I am more than happy to stick with this one as it needs doing (in my view anyway). But if there is not the hunger and energy for locking up these losers for five years then of course I’d be more productive doing my lure and trap.
If the demand really is there to start treating animal torture more seriously and if the demand really is there to see the convicted get real prison time – that’s great. But we need to see it. Your MP’s need to see it. Your local reporter needs to see it. Its just not enough to sit and want it mentally in your mind.
I want us all to win this. I’m not interested in gallant failure, or a good try, I want us to win it.
Do you want to win it though? And if you do want to win it, if you do desire to see historical change that would lead to such beasts being sent down – then what are you going to do this weekend to help achieve that?