Dateline NBC used to be worth watching when they ran this gotcha series on perverts trying to meet and molest children online.
Working with the online watchdog group, Perverted Justice and local law enforcement, young adults posed online as 15, 14, 13 and younger waiting for trolling creeps to make contact with them for the purpose of meeting them online and later in the real world to do God knows what.
The series was riveting and very successful at catching these creeps and getting them off the streets. One of these freaks of nature was actually caught twice on this show, recidivism at its finest.
The series went on for months, until a deputy prosecutor was caught up in the sting.
He was on his way to meet up with a supposed 13 year old boy and got spooked and drove by the supposed meeting place.
Since the crime of solicitation of a minor online had already been committed, a few days later local law enforcement showed up at his house with Dateline NBC in tow to execute a warrant.
The perv took the cowards way out and shot himself when he saw the jig was up.
Comes now the pervs family, they wanted to get paid because their freak son and brother killed himself because he got caught.
NBC paid them off for having a freak for a son and brother and NBC discontinued the To Catch A Predator series.
I will relate a To Catch A Predator episode that did not make the NBC show because NBC was not doing that series when this happened.
The crime took place in a quiet neighborhood in Anytown America.
A boy about 7 years old was at a neighbors house just goofing around, most of the kids there were older than the boy. He hadn't been in the area that long, maybe a year or so.
One of the kids who was at that house, a kid that lived maybe 3/4 of a mile away and was maybe about 12 approached the 7 year old.
He offered to show the little boy a robins nest if he would do something for him.
The boy went with him and after he saw the nest the older boy took him down to the creek,(or crick as we called it) behind the house. The little boy was confused but naive so followed.
When they were isolated the 12 year old turned aggressive and grabbed the boy by his shorts and said he wanted to see if he was a boy or a girl meaning he was going to pull the boys shorts off.
The boy tried to pull away and began crying.
The older boy, when he saw this was not going his way rethought his disgusting plan.
He decided to stop but now he needed to cover his tracks, he did not want the boy to tell.
The little boy pulled away and started back up the trail that led to the house, his bike was there and he needed a fast getaway. The older boy followed and kept repeating the same two threats if the boy told anyone. "Don't tell anybody or I'll kill you! Don't tell anybody or I'll hit you!"
He got on his bike and while the little boy petaled across the bridge towards his house just across the creek the older boy followed on his bike and kept repeating the same two threats.
Across the bridge and into the boys yard he spotted his mother, the distress in her sons face brought her full attention. Through sobs the little boy could only tell the mother the the older kids on the bike following him was going to kill him.
This was no soccer mom, this was a souped up wildcat, she lit after the older boy who did an abrupt u-turn and bid a hasty retreat.
When the boy had collected himself he related the whole story. The mother got out the phone book and looked up the kids last name and reamed out the kids grandmother before she was told they were not the parents. The mom related later that the grandmother did not seem too surprised. The parents were notified but that's where it ended.
The house where this event began was where the older kids creepy girlfriend lived.
The creepy girlfriend started a smear campaign saying he little boy had made it all up, even though the little boy was too young to even know what a homosexual or molester was.
Nothing came of it and the dust settled after a time.
That was over 50 years ago.
And that little boy was me.
I have a hard time remembering the events of yesterday, but the details of that day over a half a century ago never dimmed.
I still think about how many little boys or girls in that situation are not just threatened with death, it is carried out.
I grew up in "the valley" never seeing that boy again and was glad of it. I heard he eventually married the creepy girlfriend who was more like a boy herself than a girl.
Come with me to now to present day.
I don't often dwell on ancient memories from the past, but when I do it's for a good reason.
If you have read this forgettable blog of mine, you know that I am spending the winter living in my camper while volunteering in exchange for a free campsite in southwest Florida.
I've been here 2 months now and having the best winter of my life.
There are many volunteers working and living here as well as paid rangers at this State park.
There are many group activities and one night a week is Game Night in the rec hall.
I came in late but decided to stop in and say hi.
There were the usual suspects but one unfamiliar face at the table.
I said my hi's and one of the guys I work with called me over to make introduction with the unfamiliar face.
"Mark this is a retired Ranger John Highland", (some names have been changed to protect the perverted).
"John this is Mark........ Sorry your last name escapes me right now Mark", (a common malady around here).
We were already shaking hands when I realized who this was.
I looked at John or Johnny as I remember him being called in the old neighborhood and announced my full name while looking him in the eyes.
I looked for any sign of recognition in his eyes, none were noted.
Not surprising given the 5 decades and 1100 miles since our last encounter. His name may even have slipped by me if my cousin working here hadn't mentioned a former ranger who grew up in my neighborhood and told me his name.
I didn't see any reaction in his face when I told him my name, but if he would have looked in my eyes he would have seen something.
He would have seen shock in my eyes at first, then he would have seen controlled rage. He would have seen a grown ass man whose was spinning thoughts in his head about how the tide has turned, how I could lure him to my "crick" and though I'm pushing 60 I still have enough strength in my body to snap him in half, cut him into little pieces and feed him to the local population of alligators.
I stood behind him and studied about it for just a bit. The 20 year old me would have waited outside the building for him to come out and do something less than murder, but a hell of a lot more than what the 60 year old me did.
In the end I walked into my camper and washed my hands, washed them real good.
I heard many years ago that the perv and the creepy girlfriend who was more like a boy than a girl had gotten divorced after having some kids. I often wondered if maybe he had grown up to be a child molester and maybe did something to his own kids and wondered if that had caused the divorce.
I just found out today that John Highland had come out of the closet and was now living in the Keys as a gay man.
Can't say I'm too surprised.