Todd Nickerson would like you to know that he’s a pedophile. A non-practicing pedophile of course. There, now don’t you feel better? At least you know that he’s not a monster; he tells you so right up there in the title of his self-serving pity-piece. Why, you might wonder, would he be so cavalier in his announcement? He tells you that too, albeit farther down in his narrative; “Please repeat this mantra to yourself: a repressed, unhappy pedophile is a pedophile at risk.”
So there. It’s all pretty simple to me. Todd is a victim here. Read the piece through, and then read it again. Understand that your failure to sympathize with him puts him at risk. Quite telling really that he doesn’t come to terms with the fact that his being unhappy as a repressed pedophile puts children at risk. Screaming about your narcissistic personality disorder doesn’t endear you to anyone Todd. And as is usually the case with those of his disorder, he continues to see the world through how his affliction only affects him, not those around him, not society at large. He plaintively askes the reader questions he struggles with, questions he’s sure will invoke the sympathetic image he wants to portray; “What if we have children? Will I be a threat to them? Can I ever share this fact with my spouse? Can I ever love and want her as much as I do a child?” Interesting questions to be sure, but questions that society can no longer ask of those with this affliction, questions that come back to label the rest of us as haters or bigots or whatever phrase du-jour the accommodating left uses to marginalize those who may just find this disturbing. You see Todd; we wonder the same things about you.
I tried to read this several times with an open mind, hoping that Mr. Nickerson would give some insight into how we can accommodate those so afflicted, how we can assure ourselves that maybe they aren’t the monsters we envision them to be. Alas, all I could find was the same old tired obvious process that the left has used to normalize other such wretched behaviors, moving them from the realm of the hideous to the mainstream through sympathy, understanding, through to acceptance onto enforced support. He touches all the tear jerking moments; he lost his job at Lowes; he “retreated like a kicked dog” after failing to remake himself into a regular person; he couldn’t control his bladder when he was younger; he’s even got a prosthetic right hand.
What he doesn’t tell us is anything about the early formative years. What kind of upbringing did he have? The only clue he gives is that he often felt like an outsider; he was a shy boy, uncoordinated at sports. He speaks about insecurities in elementary school and low and behold, he’s a pedophile. How many other young boys, gangly and skinny, nerdy and bullied are now at risk for becoming pedophiles? Any other young men wish to recount beatings from their strict fathers, or having to work at thirteen to help support the family as the cause of their specific dysfunction? No need to be embarrassed, it’s liberating to exclaim to the world that you’re a non-practicing pedophile. It’s just a sympathetic short trip from being fired from Lowes, living below the poverty line and collecting welfare to ending up on the front page of Salon.
Non-practicing is the key here. Of course, he’s wondered at times why he’s bothered to stay legal. Interesting thought, that. He assures us that “I’m not the monster you think me to be. I’ve never touched a child sexually in my life and never will, nor do I use child pornography;” a phrase likely uttered by every criminally convicted pedophile at least once in their lives.
Two things stand out the most in his memory; one episode involves Hans, a friend of his German relatives who came to visit when Nickerson was seven years old. Hans couldn’t speak English very well; he did manage however, to get his hands down the front of Nickerson’s knickers. But be careful here Todd; sexual proclivities aren’t supposed to be learned, they’re supposed to be innate, you’re born that way. He recounts the tale with Hans, seemingly out of place in the article, as just paragraphs before, he speaks of the “bubbling up” of his sexuality at thirteen, his “eureka moment.” The image still haunts him today of the seven year old child, angelic in stature with blue eyes and golden curls standing in front of him in his grandparent’s Living room. Nothing happened. He never approached her. But from Hans’s foray into Nickerson’s trousers at seven, searching for his pre-pubescent “peepee” to an event six years later where he momentarily came face to face with a child he crushed on, he was hooked. All horrifically sympathetic, the victim the whole time.
I still cannot grasp what purpose he has for trumpeting his predilections so loudly. Although he assures us that, “it’s impossible to know how many non-offending pedophiles are out there, but signs indicate there are a lot of us, and too often we suffer in silence. That’s why I decided to speak up;” this still tells me nothing about his motives. He certainly doesn’t see this as a warning to others; he still refuses to name the “unhealthy pedophile forum” that he says gave him a feeling of belonging somewhere; the very same forum on which he first publicly outed himself as a pedophile. Of course, it’s the public shame, his public outing that seems to bother him most of all. After he let the world know what he was, he was shocked and dismayed that he came to the attention of the public at large through the same outfit that started the “to catch a predator” series. It was this attention, after all, that caused him to lose his job at Lowes. He eventually found a support group called Virtuous Pedophiles that he credits with saving his life, a safe place that he can use his “pedo-powers” for good. He wants to be commended, not feared.
Still, he wants more than that. He may not come right out and say it as others with his particular desires have, but it’s there. He’s grooming his audience, much the same way other pedophiles groom their intended victims. He’s plying you with all sorts of reasons to sympathize with him; if you don’t forgive him for when he offends, at least you might go easy on him. He’s had such a hard life, the subject of scorn, a result of his desire to broadcast his affliction to anyone who would listen. If he didn’t tell you what he was, if he was suffering in silence, looking for cures and not acceptance, maybe I could feel the pity that he is pretending to ask of me. Unfortunately, he can’t stand in the checkout line next to you unnoticed and unremarkable; no, he has to show you his pedo-club membership card, needs to let you know that if he eventually offends, it’s because you’ve made his life a living hell by turning away; turning away from a concept which you find repulsive, one that you hadn’t brought up and wouldn’t have assigned to him without his insistence. No-one labeled him a pedophile other than himself. And he did so because he seeks the twisted notoriety that comes with it.
Of course, he only wants us to listen; it’s a great start he tells us. If he is going to make it in this world without offending, he needs our help. What kind of help that would be he never details. For good reason; if we offer no help, then it’s just as much our fault when he finally offends as it is his. The crux of his piece can be summed up in just one sentence; “unlike with most sexualities, there is no ethical way we can fully actualize our sexual longings.” The long term goal? Give it time Todd. The special rights of the victimized minorities take time to acquire. Before long, you’ll no longer be sympathetically asking us to listen; you’ll be demanding that we do.