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4 legs good 2 legs bad
I watched an HBO documentary last night about the "Cannibal Cop," Gilberto Valle, an NYPD officer who was found guilty of conspiring to kidnap and eat women. There were a bunch of emails and chat logs where he discussed his "fantasies" with others. These fantasies even included wanting to eat his own wife. The verdict was later overturned by a judge who decided that there was insufficient evidence to show that the defendant planned to carry out his fantasies in the real world.

It's a very bizarre and disturbing story. I don't want to get too much into the details of that case here, so look it up if you're interested. It may have even been discussed here at some point. I don't remember. But that's not really the point of this thread.

The documentary raised some good questions about thoughtcrime. Where do you draw the line between fantasy and reality? At what point should people be punished for their thoughts? Yeah, some people fantasize about sick and disturbing things, like eating their wife or raping children, but when should those fantasies be treated as crimes?


When they cease to be just fantasies and people in the real world are at risk. I don't really care that much if someone fantasizes about sodomizing me with a fireplace poker, as long as he keeps it to himself and doesn't start persuing me with sharp objects, and preferably as long as I don't have to know about it either. :) ... Major? What are you doing with that fireplace poker? .... Gotta go!

- Cham


Registered Member
Interesting thread.

I would say two times:
1. When you have made real plans towards a threat that is clear and present danger. Like, if you say, "I'm going to take the C train tonight to go attack this person," then you purchase that ticket--if someone is monitoring your behavior and links those two things together and can catch you ahead of time, that shows you truly are on your way to do something bad.
2. When it involves repeating those thoughts to children in a way that can be understood as emotional abuse. "I really want to hack your mother into little pieces and eat her flesh." Something should really be done there.

We keep learning more, but we know enough about the brain to know that much of what we think we decide or want on a daily basis is out of our control. The best we can do is to encourage people to seek help (to take responsibility for their quirks) before it becomes a danger to themselves or others.


Free Spirit
Staff member
People think about all sorts of weird stuff all the time that might not be legal or ethical. If we started arresting people for what they think most of us would be in jail.

Its when it is talked about in a planning manner the alarm needs to go off. Even then we have freedom of speech. Still that should put you on a radar but not under arrest. At this point maybe someone step in and make you see a shrink if mental condition is a question though.

If someone starts telling kids, like Stegos example, they are going to hack up their mother then I think its time for something to be done. Its not normal to say something like that to kids.

Lets say for instance you were talking about building a bomb. Then you start making purchases for materials that are needed for it. Now its time for the cops to step in with a warrant to search your house and make an arrest if there is enough evidence.