Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pedobear...Awareness or Hysteria?

The Attorney General's Office issued an alert last week about reported sightings of the Pedobear decal on NM is the news release.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 Follow us on Facebook

AG’s Internet Crimes Against Children Unit on Alert

“Pedobear” Sightings Concern Local Law Enforcement

(ALBUQUERQUE)---Attorney General Gary King says depictions of a cartoon-like bear that is linked to pedophiles could be an indication of increased child sex offender activity in the Albuquerque area.

“Our ICAC unit has received reports that the Pedobear window sticker has been sighted in Albuquerque on at least two vehicles recently,” says AG King. “We are very concerned about the potential link between the Pedobear symbol and pedophiles; we also want to increase public awareness of the potential danger to children, especially young girls.”

The concept of the Pedobear began on the Internet as a digital representation of a bear that has a sexual interest in underage girls. Pedobear symbology has spread from the online subculture to mainstream depictions all over the world in the last couple of years.

Recently, a man dressed as the Internet-based Pedobear was escorted by police from the San Diego Comic Con event, where he had been distributing candy to children.

A photograph (see below) of a vehicle in Albuquerque sporting a Pedobear window sticker was forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office by the New Mexico Department of Corrections. Also attached is an information flyer for parents and other concerned adults with more details about the Pedobear history.

The news release caused quite a commotion amongst Pedobear sympathizers and others who think it was irresponsible for the AG's Office and media to even talk about the potential link to real-life pedophiles..(as opposed to wannabes?). Even some of the journalists who covered the story were hesitant or scared off the story because a few vocal people were adamant in their claims that the whole Pedobear thing was a big joke that the media and AGO had been duped into reporting about. Thanks to the media folks who had the courage to report the story, I realize you put your hard-earned credibility on the line. You did the right thing. Some people thought it would cause a backlash of vigilantism against anyone who displayed a Pedobear sticker or flag or T-shirt. For the record, of course our investigators know that the Pedobear symbology began as an Internet meme joke, poking fun at pedophiles, and yes, we know that anyone who has the bad taste to display a Pedobear symbol is not necessarily a pedophile...emphasis on the word "necessarily." If you are a parent of a three year old, can you really take a chance? This is most assuredly NOT fear-mongering by "well meaning government officials," as one journalist seemed to wonder about. Law enforcement personnel across the country know about Pedobear, they are also concerned. This is the Attorney General's Office simply trying to make New Mexicans aware that the Pedobear symbol is out there and we think the general public, especially those who are not clued in to today's Internet culture, deserve to know what the Pedobear symbol is about and how it is interpreted by law enforcement. Individuals can make their own conclusions as to the relative importance of this information. You don't have to drink the Kool-Aid to know what's in it, right? Lastly, if the Attorney General's Office is lambasted for being too cautious by doing anything and everything we can to help protect children from pedophiles...we're OK with that.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today was budget hearing day for the NM Attorney General's Office. AG King and office staff appeared before the Legislative Finance Committee to present the AGO FY13 budget request and answer questions from committee members. Below is the cover letter and budget request that included a short accounting of the agency's recent accomplishments. This is information that the public rarely sees, although it is all public record. AG King believes it is vitally important that the public knows how their tax dollars are put to work by the Attorney General's Office.
November 2011_LFC Cover Letter

November 2011_LFC Handout