By Troy Hickman
Yes, I love NBC's Dateline: To Catch a Predator. There, I've said it. I'll say it again: I love the damned thing. I watched it every chance I could. I watch the reruns of it on MSNBC. I watch the "Raw" version of it. I've compiled a bunch of clips of it and made a long-running playlist on YouTube. I listen to it while I do other stuff on the computer (like writing this piece). I sometimes fall asleep listening to it, and wake up during the night to the clarion call of "have a seat over there, please." My name is Troy Hickman, and I am a Pred-ophile.
For those of you not caught up in the drama that is TCAP, let me try to explain why I dig it:
(1) Justice, baby! There's such a feeling of satisfaction seeing these a-holes get what's coming to them. We're talking about men, ages generally from 25 to 70, making a "date" to have sex with a 12-14 year old girl or boy, and then showing up in a stranger's kitchen (often bringing with them booze, pot, condoms, dildos, penis pumps, and occasionally M&Ms...). And the chat logs! It's hard to believe the kind of stuff these scumbags say to underaged kids, and even harder to believe how many of them send pics or video of their...uh...equipment ( or at least someone's equipment; an awful lot of them seem to "borrow" pics to hide their limitations). But when I hear see the looks on their sociopathic faces as they realize they're about to go down hard (and not the way they were hoping for), it really buoys my hopes that sometimes right does triumph over wrong.
I am amazed, though, by how many folks I've heard say this is entrapment. For those people, get a dictionary or a lawbook, would ya? It's not entrapment in any sense of the term, any more than police stings on drug dealing, car theft, or hiring hitmen are. I'm even more aghast at the people who say "Oh, well, it's just natural for men to want to have sex with a 12 year-old girl." Who the hell are you people, and how do I keep from moving into your neighborhood, you sick, twisted Allen Ginsberg wannabes?
(2) Chris Hanson. Man, this guy rocks (if you can get through his annoying Southern California accent and loafers). You can keep your Eastwood/Schwarzenegger/Stallone one-liners; nobody drops the bomb on the bad guys like Chris Hanson. He floats like a butterfly, and stings like...well, like a guy who's about to ruin your entire future, you child-molesting sack of pucks.
(3) The "characters." Never have pervs been so fascinating. There are the guys who show up in the kitchen NAKED; the ones who get caught, and then get caught again the very next day (!!!); the old man who uses as his excuse the fact that he can't get an erection anyway; the guy who shows up with enough guns and ammo in his car to equip a third world nation; the rabbi there to get it on with a 13 year-old boy; the Stanley Tucci-lookalike physician who calls himself "Talldreamy_doc" on the internet (then has to call his wife to come and bring his bail); the perv who wants to do it with not only the young girl, but her CAT; the sad case of the guy who literally brings his toddler son with him to the "date" (this guy needs to be beaten to death with a knotted rope); the guy who brings a pizza with him, then actually offers to give Chris Hanson the pizza if they'll just let him go (!!!); the guy who asks Chris for a ride home from the scene of the attempted molestation; and so many more.
Yes, To Catch a Predator is just good TV, appealing to my sense of justice, my innate voyeurism, and my fascination with the sometimes-very-sick human psyche. Go, Chris Hanson, go!