Whilst the story is a sadly familiar one, one aspect does jump out at me. Doubtless the story will raise more concerns about the dangers of the internet, there'll be calls for more regulation, bans, etc. This is of course, rubbish. Some people purposefully drive their cars at pedestrians with the intent to kill them, this doesn't mean cars should be banned. But factor in the children and the spirit of freedom on the internet and it is a different story.
Anyhow, what is so remarkable about this story? (Emphasis mine)
Simon Beard, 57, a former development officer at the National Youth Agency, was caught in a sting operation by Sky journalists after he arrived at a pre-arranged location to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.
On his website, Beard claims to have worked with young people "for 20 years".
Sky News can also reveal that in 2007 he ran a two-day training course in Manchester advising youth workers how to counsel teenagers about sexual relationships.
Now, time for stating the bleeding obvious. You can't tell if someone is a paedophile. They don't wear a special t-shirt, a badge or a hat, and a CRB check is all very well, but it does pre-suppose that any paedophiles have been caught before, or are magically listed as being such.
But here's an idea, perhaps one of the ways to prevent this sort of thing is to minimise the contact people can have with kids on a fairly anonymous level? Statistically, most sexual abuse of children takes place within the immediate family unit, and to be frank, there's not a lot that can be done about preventing it beyond prosecuting and convicting the perpetrators.
Whilst abuse in the family is the more common context for abuse, I'd be amazed if the second most common context wasn't people who work with children on a regular basis. The dirty mac clad nonce hiding in the bushes waiting to pounce is way down the list.
Teachers we need, the benefits of an education system far outweigh the cons of a small minority abusing their positions. But, do we really need 'development officers'? Do we need a National Youth Agency? And I'm certain we don't need youth workers counselling teenagers about sexual relationships.
This is one of the dangers of a pervasive state. So obsessed are they with getting involved in every single aspect of every single person's life in this country that there will always be this sort of thing as a result. The State is impersonal, deaf, blind and unthinking. I'm sure the National Youth Agency was set up with most altruistic of intentions, but the fact is that the State is simply not equipped to look after and bring people up. It is a one to one, or two to one job, it needs a sensitive, considered and pragmatic hand, the State cannot do it, and in a reversal of the situation of the teachers, any benefits are far outweighed by the clumsy, unthinking harm caused by the State's meddling.
More to point, what business of the State is the sexual relationships of any of us?
To be fair, attention should be drawn to the word 'former' in Beard's job-title, however, he's been 'working' with young people for 20 years. Are we to believe this was a one off?
Twenty years in a non-job has resulted in what amounts to State sponsored paedophilia. Granted he would probably have followed prediliction whatever his position, but by stupidly getting involved were there simply is no need, the State has given him the keys to the door.
The State must stop getting involved in the details of peoples' lives, because all altruism flies out of the window to be replaced with political posturing, targets, box ticking and justification of existence. It will only ever do more harm than good.