Catchy title, huh? Well…
We don’t really think it’s a good idea to explain how to do that to anyone – not because we think that withholding information is the way to go, we just don’t think that it’s a good idea. Actually, it’s pretty much the worst idea ever. Time, however, thought differently when they saw fit to explain, in their “Crime” section, how you can set up your own “To Catch a Predator” sting in 5 easy steps. Apparently, the article was based on one guy, who in one instance had the enormous good luck to actually make that kind of thing work.
Anyway – we thought we’d shed some light on some of the horribly horrible things that might go wrong if you should get it into your head to try something like this yourself…
1: “Be vigilant”.
Well… duh. But here’s a little of what Time thinks is a good idea on this point:
Online sexual predators are among every parent’s worst fears, and protecting children from them is difficult — by the time a parent learns of the issue it can often be too late. But one Detroit father decided to take matters into his own hands to keep his 13-year-old daughter safe from a man who was allegedly seeking to take advantage of her.
So. “Being vigilant” in Time’s opinion, is basically hacking your kid’s Facebook account, spy on their messages and then…
2: “Throw out some bait”
We’re not even kidding. That’s what Time thinks is a great idea at this point. You’ve identified (after hacking a Facebook account) that your kid has a stalker that wants to be his/her “secret boyfriend”… what do you do? Well…
So Martin — who now had an idea of who he was dealing with and what his intentions were — concocted a plan to catch him. He would pose as his daughter on Facebook over the course of a few weeks and find out if his suspicions were confirmed.
There you go… send some messages, encourage the would-be sexual predator. Never mind your kid’s safety when he or she is walking to school, to a friend’s house, the corner store… whatever. The predator probably doesn’t drive… oh wait.
3: “Set a Trap, but Be Careful”
Ah…okay. So here’s what this “Martin” character did:
Posing as his daughter, Martin ultimately invited the unwitting man to his home for a visit. When he arrived, Martin was ready for him. “Once he came and walked in the house, I grabbed him, grabbed him and held him for the police,” Martin explained.
So… an invited person comes into the house, and Martin “grabs” him and restrains him. That’s pretty risky in itself. As in assault charges risky. As you’ve probably seen, not even the guys over at the real Predator show does that. They never touch the guys or try to restrain them in any way. Which would be the right way of doing this. Anyway. Martin then turns on a video camera and “gets a confession”…
Oh! Well. We’re sure there’s no way that could be disputed in court…
4: “Know the Law”
Because knowing what the law says about citizens arrest will, apparently, protect you from any harm, and protect your kid from being raped and/or killed too, of course.
Just kidding. It won’t do diddly to aid in any of those things. Also, when you grab someone and restrains them in your home, and then turn on a video camera because you want them to confess to something, you’re on pretty thin ice, buddy. As we all know, thin ice can kill you.
Martin had earlier looked up the Michigan Penal Code for citizens’ arrests and followed them to the letter. He also had witnesses present, and was careful not to coerce a confession out of the suspect. However, Charlie Langdon, a legal expert, told WJBK-TV that the confession could possibly be challenged in court.
No shit, Sherlock.
5: “Inform the police as soon as possible”
Yes. Do that. Hows about you do that before the whole kidnapping/entrapment/assault thing? That would be good.
Why Time Should Come With a BS Warning
1: You should always be vigilant. But you should maybe talk to your kids instead of hacking Facebook accounts (which might be highly illegal in your jurisdiction – jussayin’.)
2: Leading a would-be predator on could spark premature action on his/her part, leading to kidnapping and/or rape, murder etc. Good job.
3: Setting a trap can be lethal both to you and your family. An armed predator might hurt or kill you, or your kid, or your whole family. Remember that they know this is risky, and might decide that getting rid of you all together is their best option.
4: Knowing the law won’t help you if you’re dead. Or if your kid’s dead. Or your wife and kids and you’re all dead.
5: Call the cops if/when you have proof that someone’s stalking your kid. Also, talk to your kids. Did we mention you should actually have a real conversation about this with your child? We seem to remember mentioning that you should talk to your kid. Anyway, here’s the big tip of the day; talk to your kids.
Stupid. And never listen to anything Time says you should do.