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The thought police
Have you all been following the case about the head of the police services board, Heisey? Well, I have, and for some reason it has captured my imagination.

A memo, which was leaked to the press, outlinines a conversation held between Heisey and and a police officer a couple of years ago. Now it looks like Heisey may be asked to step down.

In the memo, an officer reported Heisey as saying, regarding a case of child porn: "I understand how one could be attracted to the beautiful young body of an 8-year-old, but not children in diapers."

Yes, out of context a creepy thing to say. But this story struck a chord because of everyone's stubborn refusal to find the context for these comments.

While I can't vouch for Heisey's character, given the information released to the press at this time, I can say these things for certain:

1) Heisey and the officer were at a conference on sexual assault. They were chatting int the hospitality suite. The conversation topic was neither impromptu nor out of context.

2) Subject matter that makes you feel uncomfortable invariably make you say off-the-wall, inappropriate things. Like "I have a cousin who is gay," or, "some of my best friends are black". It is, if anything, a sign of prudishness.

3) It is entirely possible he was thinking out loud, trying to comprehend the impulse to consume child porn. It goes without saying that to work efficiently in fighting crime, you would have to "go there" with your mind, to better understand the impulses of offenders and how to best capture/rehabilitate them. At a certain point, some crimes become inconceivable. Being able to conceive of them, however, does not make you a latent criminal.

4) If he were genuinely a child-porn advocate, wouldn't he keep it to himself?

Eight-year-old bodies are unselfconscious, flawless, cuddly, forms, still unaffected by bad posture and mental baggage. Of course they are beautiful. To imagine a predator exploiting that beauty is horrifying. But if you can't permit yourself to imagine it, how can you stop it?

Heisey, whoever he is as a private person, was demonstrating that he has an imagination, that he knows that there are impulses and personalities that differ from his own. Which is more than I can say for the press and the board and whoever leaked this memo.

My strongest, most oft-used indictment of late is: "Ugh. That person is so *literal*!"

In a world of soundbites, the thought police trounce on anyone who dares to think abstractly and does so outloud. I hate what sloganeering and powerpoint presentations have done to us. Showing you use your head means you run the risk of losing it.

(nota bene: The leaked memo *does*deserve our attention for two reasons: 1) It alleges that Heisey spoke inappropriately about a case that was still under investigation, and 2) The leak itself speaks volumes about the volatile climate of mistrust and opposing agendas of Toronto Police and their board (still stinging after former head of the board, Norm Gardiner stepped down after it was alleged he accepted a freebie gun and loads of free ammo).)

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