The father of a Florida teen is in a tough position after turning over the phone of his son in what he thought was an investigation into disturbing images of guns on Instagram and Snapchat. Police however arrested Sean Mesa, 18, a student at Dr. Michael Krop Senior High, not only for the improper display of a firearm but for the more serious change of possession of child pornography based on an examination of the phone.
Mesa’s case was reported to the U.S Homeland Security Investigations’ Violent Gang Task Force for his Instagram and Snapchat photos “recklessly displaying firearms and pointing them at the camera.” Notably, a girl is also shown displaying a weapon but there is no report of charges against her. He also had an image with a pistol on his lap with the caption: “now they watching so I ain’t stopping.”
When confronted over the images, Mesa insisted that he did nothing wrong in the photos but the father agreed to hand over the phone. The U.S. Secret Service examined the phones and found a video of what appeared to be a child under the age of 10 being sexually abused. They also found that the video was sent to two other people in the group chat, who could also be charged.
The charges on the display of the weapons might have been challenged as based on an ambiguous criminal provision. There is no allegation that Mesa threatened anyone or had violent intentions.
The question however is how the prosecutors will handle the very serious child porn charges in light of the father’s cooperation. Mesa is an adult and the police could likely have received a warrant for the phone.
What do you think is the appropriate punishment in such a case? Should the other teens be charged for the photos or the receipt of the video?
46 thoughts on “Florida Father Turns Over Son’s Cellphone To Show Police Disturbing Photos Brandishing Guns . . . Police Then Arrest Teen For Child Pornography”
The primary foundation of what action should be taken by society here must be based on context. The extreme position of gun advocates is based on the nebulous context of the 2nd amendment where arms were cannons and muskets in and around 1776. That context was also predicated upon the conditions of a ‘well regulated militia’. So, regulated is determined by the moment, not some god-given mumbo jumbo that can be perversely interpreted based on those actions as have been experienced since the NRA switched their board of directors to favor the gun industry and not the ‘people’.
The belief in ‘unalienable’ as being god-given or above the laws of mere mortals is graphically contradicted and therefore negated, as it was mere mortals that created those words and that condition. Therefore the moment defines ‘well regulated’ and ‘well regulated’ defines the conditions under which a citizen’s right to bear arms exist, however deemed granted.
If society cannot define what an arm is, through its laws which are created by itself in conjunction with circumstances both permanent and evolving, then what an arm is must logically default to the time of the inception of this 2nd amendment, a bow and arrow, knife, hatchet,musket, and/or a cannon. There is no argument for the absolute freedom to interpret arms outside of the laws as created for the moment, of the moment, for the people.
Therefore, there is no governing value of unalienable regarding what an ‘arm’ shall be.
Just as this is so, the context defining the laws, defining arms and whose freedoms they are; the context of the moment and for some bloody time in this country has been that the proliferation and exploitation of arms has harmed society. What laws that do exist that could define this youth as someone not allowed the right to bear arms, or someone who would be scrutinized until achieving that right, must be put in play, regardless of the innocence of the photos.
The child pornography alone should be enough to label this individual as in need of some sort of incarceration be it for punishment or retooling. The child pornography issue should determine that this individual is a felon and therefore should lose his ‘right’ to bear arms, be they assault rifles or muskets.
The society in which we live determines our rights through our laws and the interpretation of sacred texts. All is determined by the society in one way or another. It took almost a million lives and many years to begin to erase slavery and have that abolishment placed into the sacred texts. The sacred texts have also been used to prohibit alcohol, which created a notorious criminal underground, and then repeal itself to allow alcohol. The criminals still exist.
That the laws must change to reverse the ownership of arms to conditions many many decades ago, where a ‘long rifle’ was a single shot or maximum of five shot clip weapon for hunting, a handgun held no more than 9 rounds, and a shotgun was used for hunting ducks. Assault rifles and other weapons designed for war have no place in the society that flies the flag of sacred words, such as the second amendment.
issac – the Arizona Constitution requires all males between 18 and 45 to automatically become members of the state militia. That is different from the National Guard. Other states in the West have the same provision in their Constitutions. I have always held that since the idea of a well-regulated militia was to fight the government, we needed the same level of armament that the government had. They have tanks, we have tanks. They have stealth bombers, we have stealth bombers, etc. Whatever the government has, the militia has.
Your comments illustrate better than I ever could how some people should not get near weapons. Those that believe that they and their mob can take on the government, NATO, aliens, etc are simply spending too much time in front of the TV or out in the hot sun, or a combination of both. Thanks for the example. You could still get away with wrapping your ankles in tinfoil, however.
“Assault rifles” are not military weapons. They are not designed for war.
The AR-15 does not stand for Assault Rifle, but rather Armalite.
Assault rifle is a term coined by the same media which confuses a magazine with a clip. No movie can get it right. No novel can get it right. An “assault rifle” is any long gun that looks militaryish. It is painted black, has a plastic body, and a pistol grip. It is just window dressing on any long gun. It first the same caliber round as the same bore rifle without the black paint, plastic, and pistol grip. It shoots the same bullets whether your hand is vertical on the grip, or horizontal. In fact, a handgun fires the same bullets whether you hold it standard, or gangster style sideways.
It is a distinction without a difference.
You are no safer if the guns in the country are not allowed to be painted black, or if they are required to have a metal rather than plastic parts, or what style grip it has. You can cover it with Hello Kitty stickers, and it will still be the same weapon underneath.
This is why many people oppose banning the AR-15, or similar style weapons. It makes no sense. It is ludicrous how the media does not yet understand how superficial these aspects of the weapons are. It is made to look cool, like military M16s, but not.
I can get behind banning bump stocks, as it has the effect of speeding up fire.
I would also like to point out that there are around 300 million firearms in this nation. There are millions upon millions of gun owners. You would never have gotten laws requiring background checks, NICS, mental health bans, or similar laws without the support of gun owners. Law abiding gun owners are not the problem.
The problem is that for one, every single government agency involved in the Florida shooting perpetrator failed to use the tools available to either prevent the shooting in the first place, or respond appropriately. For another, although a 72 hour hold can put the mentally ill in the NICS, many states don’t even report this data. Finally, although you can put a temporary hold on the mentally ill, beyond that, there is not much authorities can do until and unless they actually try to harm someone else or themselves. I was told about a woman who drove around with a Samuri sword in her trunk, because she literally thought she saw demons, and was afraid she would be attacked any day. And friends have told me about people they know who are quite likely to harm someone one day, but they are told that nothing can be done until it happens. That’s insanity, pardon the pun. I am all for keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, or those with restraining orders against them.
Law abiding gun owners are not the problem.
“Law abiding gun owners are not the problem.”
You could not be more correct. However, the NRA and the gun industry lobby has moved and, perhaps stealthily at this moment, is moving in the opposite direction. The opposition to using all the government’s facilities to reference, cross reference, and scrutiny to the necessary level those who might be ‘Law abiding’ and those who might not be or are mentally troubled has come from the pro gun lobby. Trump repealed a bill placed by Obama that would have coordinated government resources to recognize those mentally unstable individuals under going back ground checks for purchasing a weapon. Trump sucks at the teat of the NRA-$30mil last election.
It is a question of direction which is based on intent. The intent of the gun lobby is to sell as many weapons as possible. Like you said, millions of weapons. Their worry is not that any resistance to their desires would lead to an infringement on the right to bear arms but that any resistance in the name of sanity would limit gun ownership, ie number, types, and prices.
America exhibits a perversity in its health care where it bases the system as a commodity to be manipulated for profit and not for the best interests of the people. This is graphically obvious when compared to most other countries where health care is a right, twenty-four at least have significantly better systems and all cost from half to a third of what Americans pay, per capita. The same can be said for guns. The core argument found all the way up to ‘prying the gun out of a cold lifeless hand’ is based on the second amendment, a right, just as health, wealth, and happiness. The perversity lies in the health care industry that it is an industry for profit and not the health of the people and results in dysfunction, ruin, ill health, and not so much happiness. The perversity in the gun industry is that it is founded on the right to protect ones self but is now almost all about guns as toys, irresponsible accumulation of murderous assault weapons, and the ability to kill rather than protect.
Fifty years ago America was close to what health care is in our peer and more advanced nations. Both Republicans and Democrats were poised to sign into law universal health care. If Nixon had not messed himself, we would be enjoying universal health care right now having gone through constant fine tuning, just as the more advanced systems. Since that time the oligarchs who profit from those that need health care have taken over and are so entrenched in our society that if Americans were to win the battle, half a million health care workers in administration would be out of work. If the board of directors had not been usurped and replaced in one evening the NRA would be about gun safety and not gun proliferation. Fifty years ago, guns were no way as dangerous to society as now. There is a reason an AR-15 is designed to look like an assault weapon and it is not for the reasons that designed the second amendment.
The issue is attitude. The design of a rifle to look like an assault weapon and with a magazine that holds dozens of rounds, is an example of the attitude that is responsible in part for the slaughter. Until the attitude changes to where a gun is a privilege as well as a right and that all weapons designed for mass slaughter are removed from society, Americans will suffer these consequences. Until Americans understand that to protect their rights they have to make sure that those that would abuse them-intentionally or not-must have them curtailed in some cases. The system failed in Miami because to have made it work would have been called infringing on the 2nd amendment by the NRA. Compare and contrast guns and health with the more advanced societies and the truth will be all too obvious.
The child porn needs to be thoroughly investigated it. Whoever made the video, or forwarded it without the intent of reporting it, should be charged to the fullest extent of the law, then they should throw the book them, and then they should inform all of the other prisoners of their crime. I hope they find the child and help him or her. The only possible exculpatory explanations would be, as Squeeky said, if they were forwarding the video to try to get the perps or background identified, which still wouldn’t make sense. Why wouldn’t someone forward it to police instead? I suppose a teenager might not know the correct way to handle it. However, an investigation would discover whether he is a pedophile or blundering Good Samaritan. If he is the former, then sick, sick, sick.
As for the photos, aside from the appalling gun safety violations and sheer stupidity in their actions, I am unsure what the crime was for an 18 year old to hold a weapon and get a photograph. People do it all the time after hunts. The only issue I could see, legally, as a layperson, would be if one of the firearms was illegal.
As for their display, it freaks me out. Her finger is in the trigger guard, pointed at the camera. I was always taught never to put my finger inside the guard unless I was ready to shoot, and not to ever point a weapon, even an “unloaded one” at anything I didn’t intend to shoot. “Unloaded” guns can have one in the chamber, or you could otherwise make a mistake. Having the habit of never, ever pointing it at an innocent human being should be so ingrained that you don’t do it. Not when you’re cleaning your gun. Not when you’re sure it’s not loaded. Not ever. The guy, Mesa, has a pistol down the front of his pants. I don’t know why some people think that looks cool. To me, it says, he doesn’t particularly want to hold onto his family jewels.
I get that these teens were setting up a Casino Royale photo shoot, posing to look cool. As a parent, my first thought would be, where did they get them? I assume these were someone’s parents’ guns. So where were they? I assume, from the photos, that no one in the photos actually knows how to shoot a gun, which would be a safety issue.
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