Friday, June 29, 2007

Dateline: Bigfoot

I'm sure you're all familiar with the NBC Dateline "To Catch A Predator" series. One such Dateline sting took place in Murphy, Texas, and netted twenty-five men who showed up at a house to have sex with what they thought was a young teenager. One of them was Louis Conradt, Jr., an assistant prosecutor from neighboring Kauffman County, who allegedly engaged in a sexually explicit online chat with an adult posing as a 13-year-old boy. In a new twist to the case, Conradt shot and killed himself when officers showed up to arrest him (with TV cameras waiting outside) and the Murphy District Attorney is refusing to prosecute any of the rest of those charged.

Long story short, the cases have been deemed shaky because the evidence was collected by TV/entertainment people and not law enforcement. Problematic legal issues include lack of authentication, lack of chain of custody of such evidence as chat room logs, and the suggestion of entrapment for entertainment purposes.

Personally, I don't think TV people should insinuate themselves into police investigations. I admit that I'm just as intrigued by an interesting murder case as anyone else but, in the end, crime falls within the purview of law enforcement, not the entertainment industry. Pedophiles and other criminals should be arrested by law enforcement, not confronted by talking heads. I think Dateline went too far and some dangerous people are getting a free pass as a result. What do you think?

In lighter news, I love this story. Researchers will visit the Upper Peninsula of Michigan next month to search for evidence of the legendary creature known as "Bigfoot" or "Sasquatch." The expedition will focus on eastern Marquette County, according to Matthew Moneymaker of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization.

Moneymaker said members of his organization have either glimpsed Bigfoot or gotten close enough to hear the creature in all but three of thirty expeditions in the United States and Canada. The late Grover Krantz, a Washington State University professor who specialized in cryptozoology, the study of creatures that have not been proven to exist, believed Bigfoot was a "gigantopithecus," a branch of primitive man believed to have existed 3 million years ago.

Some people say bah-humbug. I say, "Why not?!" I think pretty much anything is possible, and I think it's disingenuous to declare that something cannot exist until it is definitively proved that it does not. I've seen some wilderness areas, particularly in the mountains, where the primary thought running through my mind was, "Wow, it's so inaccessible in there that anything could exist hidden away from civilization and nobody would know." Why not Sasquatch?

In TWISTED LINGUISTICS today, we find:


Who's brave enough to give them a go?

You Are 44% Pure

You're usually the typical girl or guy next door...
But you also have a secret naughty side!


Kanrei said...

I have seen almost every "To Catch" they have aired. I am addicted to MSNBC's documentaries at night so I stumbled upon them all. I have thought they do a semi-good job, but I have seen many many people who said the person said they were 18 in the chat room. Chris says "no, they said 13." Well, 3 and 8 do look a lot alike in chatrooms and how hard is it to alter a chatlog really? Perverted Justice gets paid to do these shows and would not get paid if they turned up nothing so it is in their interest to get as many as possible. Between this and the lawsuit from a producer for the show claiming they faked things this could be huge considering they have done 9 shows and caught about 30 people per show. If PJ faked the evidence just once then that is enough reasonable doubt for every other case.

Charles said...

A crime is a crime. Although it would be prudent to be performing these deeds along with law enforcement, there is still evidence to be collected from ISPs and the chat services. Although I firmly believe that some prosecutions are pure BS, I still think that child predators should be taken seriously, and that the duties of the prosecutors office isn't one that should be determined by whether the case can be won, but whether a crime was committed. Showing up for an illegal tryst is pretty much a clincher. What ever happened to equal protection under the law? I hope the prosecutor has children, better yet, I hope he was sterilized. I'd rather think that there will be no more branches on that family tree.

As for Sasquatch, it is part of the scientific method to doubt. I think the particular footprint you have pictured here was just the result of a visit from Shaq.:)

I've seen a documentary on PBS, I believe on the legend and the film of him. There is a confession by a man, who has now passed, that he had faked it.

Serena Joy said...

Kanrei and Charles both raise valid points. Clearly, I think the men involved were no saints and they certainly went to the trysts with the intention of committing felonious acts. The cases would have been stronger, however, if they'd been busted by cops rather than a reporter.

The footprint is indeed questionable, Charles. And people have faked Bigfoot pix, prints, etc., for years. Which doesn't mean that they might not really be out there!:)

Kanrei said...

It is impossible to question the methods used without seeming like I am defending pedophiles. I am not, but those shown on the show are not convicted of anything when their faces and names are shown on national tv. Most say they were not there to meet a minor and the only proof they have that they did is a chatlog that is easy to fake. Goto smoking gun and you can find an executive producer of seven of those shows suing NBC and claiming they created the stories and fakes chatlogs.

Serena Joy said...

Oh, I know you're not defending them, Kan. When you add the entertainment factor to a criminal investigation, it becomes a tough, tough call to make.

Top cat said...

I don't like that show, it gives me the creeps.
That being said, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck it most likely IS a duck.
Law Enforcement is understaffed as it is especially for hunting these Internet creeps down.
If a guy shows up at a internet friends house with a six pack, couple of condoms and some adult movies most likely he's not there to help the child with homework.
Even if these cases don't go to trial it MAY in some cases WAKE up these borderline pedophiles who think it might be fun to try something new.
I never understood this whole entrapment argument, if an undercover cop poses as a prostitute and you offer her money for sex, it's not entrapment it's called getting busted.
It's no different than having a cop get you for speeding with a radar gun.
Btw, I think prostitution should be legalized, it would free up law enforcement to go after more vicious crimes.
I agree with you though this is walking on dangerous ground.

Top cat said...

OOps I forgot.
You Are 60% Pure

Well, you're not exactly an angel - but you're pretty darn close.
But chances are, you have a couple juicy secrets deep in your closet.

Serena Joy said...

They creep me out, too, TC. I only watched the first 2 or 3. I agree with you -- it most certainly IS a duck. I think the gray area lies in the fact that it didn't have the official stamp of a law enforcement agency on it. And since it was done specifically for TV, it does raise the "staging" question.

Wow, 60% pure?! Thank goodness you at least have some skeletons in the closet. I wouldn't know what to say to an actual angel.:-)

Charles said...
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Charles said...

When they are outside waiting for the suspects to come out, they are being busted by the police. Its not as if the tv crews are detaining these guys. And the confessions they give to the crews are pretty much that, confessions. If a well known celebrity can get them to confess, then don't you think the prosecutor's office or the police can get one, too? And what's wrong with additional witnesses, along with tapes of the confessions?

Kanrei said...

Some do confess and they should be shot but others say the person claimed to be 18, not 13. Of course they bring condoms because they do not deny it was for sex, they just deny the age. It comes down to NBC/PJ's word against the accused. The police are only there picking the people up. PJ is paid to do it for NBC so they profit from it. It is a dirty show and it becomes obvious to anyone who watches it more than once. First time you are in a state of shock, but then you start hearing what they say. Once labeled with that "p" word it is hard to shake it. Look at the poor Duke kids to see how false accusations in the national spotlight can hurt you. I feel NBC should not broadcast an episode until the trials has occured for those accused. Being accused does not ever mean automatic guilt and showing these men on national tv and calling them the p word destroys their chances for a fair trial. To most people- if the tv says it then it is true.

Charles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charles said...

Indeed, you are correct about the timing of the broadcasts, K. And the Duke mess was what I had in mind when I said some prosecutions were pure BS. I fully support constitutional rights, even if they are not ones I would exercise. The founding fathers had specific things in mind when they produced that document, and I don't believe anyone should try to out-think them, they foresaw a lot of the crap way before these yahoos got into the positions they now occupy.
Innocent until proven guilty. Guilt proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Not opinions. The fact remains though, that we must protect our children, because that is where the future lies. Would you rather have a prosecutor who has been traumatized or who has a healthy respect for the constitution? Attorney? Parent? Child?

Kanrei said...

Sorry to hijack this thread with a debate.

I hope I have not offended you at all. I am enjoying this debate and we agree more than we don't. The fourth amendment states that the accused has the right to face their accuser. PJ uses anonymous sources (those pretending to be the minors do not testify) and the only evidence is the chatlog that the offender knew the age of the person. Chatlogs are too easy to fake. I do not want pedophiles on the street anymore than I do not want innocent people entrapped. It is an impossible call, but I believe NBC placed ratings over justice.

Charles, we should continue this on my or your blog. It is not fair to SJ.

Sorry again SJ

Serena Joy said...

You know my views on healthy debate, Kan; i.e., it's good when folks can discuss opposing viewpoints in a spirited but respectful manner. I assure you no apologies are necessary. Personally, I'm enjoying the commentary -- and learning something from it.

Charles said...

I don't know if you are aware of this, but when you put a pic on your blog, even though the display size small, the picture is stored full size. To see that full size pic, you need only click the pic.

Serena Joy said...

I did know that, Charles, but I still couldn't read it. Either I'm half blind or other people have better magnification. LOL. In any event, I simply deleted it and will look for any similar items that need to go. Thanks for clueing me in.

Charles said...

No problem, glad to have (hopefully) helped.

Serena Joy said...

You did, because I did not know. Thanks again.:)

tfg said...

I don't think those Dateline specials are fair at all. What is a guy supposed to do if he wants to meet a balding, overweight, detective who likes to pretend that he's a little girl?

Charles said...

LMAO, thg. lol.

Serena Joy said...

You have a point, T. LOL! I have to tell you, though, that some of those guys look utterly adorable in pink ruffles and Mary Janes. I can't tell you how I know.:-)

Charles said...


Not at all. I'm of the opinion that its good to discuss these things. Don't even get me started about the way I'm appalled when watching "COPS," nevermind the music that's in dire need of replacement.

If PJ folks aren't testifying, then wouldn't it be a prudent move by the defense to subpoena them? Again, the logs of the chat services and the ISPs should come into play, as well as the defendants' own computers. Its much harder to falsify the logs of independent systems. If they are found to be performing data massaging, then they too, should be prosecuted. I believe that in itself would also be a felony. Plus it would open them up to civil suites.

Charles said...

Can you give us hints?

Serena Joy said...

Sorry, no can do. The last person who talked was picked up and forced to play hopscotch and tiddlywinks.

Charles said...

That's rough, the bars I go to serve regular scotch, and I don't even get giggly winks.

Serena Joy said...

Sounds like you're patronizing the wrong bars, dude.:-)

Hale McKay said...

There's not much I can add to the debate that hasn't already been said in previous comments.

As for Big Foot and its many counterparts, including the Yeti in the Himalayas, as well as Nessie and its couterparts, I find it hard to believe that in this day and age of sophisticated electronic surveilance (this includes top secret devices we don't even know about) that these creatures have never been detected.

They can read license plates from a satellite in outer space, get detailed pics of rocks on Mars the size of a quarter, and detect planets around another star, and they can't pick up at least the heat signature of large ape-like creature, especially in the frigid heights of mountains?

Call me Mr. Pessimist!

Now a stab at those words:

acceptions - agreement to take or accept even those excluded.
(i.e., the last kid chosen to play in a game)

incompentence - inability to compensate

vendictiveness - adjective used by Al Capone in reference to the leader of the Untouchables.

sily - an obscure Cockney contraction. As in "it's highly" unlikely.

sodea - epiphany to add ice to warm soft drinks so that one can feel the fizz in one's face when drinking.

mulsims - dyslexic Arabs

SJ - HELP! I need you expertise and music knowledge to help out with my 6/28 post "How Slogan You Go?" The idea is use popular hit song titles as jingles for condom manufacturers. I'm looking for reader suggestions and several are already up.

Any of your readers here are also welcome to drop by and ofer some ideas.

Whip It and Come Softly To Me have already been used - sorry.

Thanking you in advance.

Serena Joy said...

I know, I know, Mike -- damned satellites spoil all the mystery. I still say they COULD be out there, though. Maybe they're very good at hiding.:-)

Your definitions are totally spot on! I love every one of them.

Let me give some thought to the great slogan search, but right off the top of my head, may I offer ... "Rubbernecking"?

G-Man said...

The Bigfoot problem has been well documented in Michigan for years. This info comes as no surprise, for us Michiganians..
In a cruel twist of fate, I had reservations in Marquette for the 4th of July week-end. As luck would have it I can't get off of work. But a Girlfriend of my wifes can go in my place, so all is not lost!
She may encounter Bigfoot on her hiking trail.......

....Oh sorry, I'm not going anywhere with this comment, I just thought you'd like to know!!!
Have a great week-end Serena..xoxoxox

Serena Joy said...

Well, of course I wanted to know, G.:) If the ladies spot Bigfoot, tell them to be sure and get pictures.

Happy weekend to you, too.

Seeley deBorn said...

56% Girl next door with naughty secrets.

Funny, I started reading this post just as an ad for that show came on.

ThatGreenyFlower said...

You Are 72% Pure

Well, you're not exactly an angel - but you're pretty darn close.
But chances are, you have a couple juicy secrets deep in your closet.

Well. And here I thought I was kind of bad.

I have nothing to add to this debate, I fear. I am brain-dead after a very long week at work and all I remember about this whole long thread is something about pedophiles, tiddly winks, and mary-janes.

Serena Joy said...

LOL, Seeley. We're both naughty girls next door.:-)

Greeny! 72% pure? The only thing saving you from sainthood is the juicy secrets in the closet. I'm end-of-week brain dead, too. I can't even remember how to play tiddly winks.:-)

Charles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Serena Joy said...

She say huh? What he say?

Charles said...

J Z-----

Corn Dog said...

Too funny, T. I haven't seen the show. TV and I got divorced about 30 years ago. We have not reconciled.

Big Foot exists. I think I am living with him. I know. We just went and got him sneakers today at Sports Authority.

Serena Joy said...

LOL, CD. You might live with Big Foot, but I live with a Yeti.:-)