For the betterment of my mental health, I’ve been mostly avoiding Facebook. Let’s face it, Facebook is a flaming trash heap that’s become nothing more than the trailer park of the internet. Adding gasoline to that dumpster fire are the numerous so-called predator hunter groups on Facebook.
The Springfield News-Leader out of Missouri has published an outstanding article about the amount of predator hunter groups in the Show Me State. Like previous vigilante groups I’ve discussed, these groups lure alleged predators out by posing as underage kids. When the predator shows up they get a cell phone stuck in their face by some Chris Hansen wannabe while the whole thing is streamed to Facebook. Some of these groups have followers in the six figures. While I’m no fan of child predators, these groups are largely doing more harm than good.
What are they accomplishing exactly? So they expose a couple of people as being creepers, what happens to them exactly? These groups are leading to little or no arrests or prosecutions. Meanwhile, the predator can simply move to another area and continue what they were doing in the first place. Without a proper conviction, the only thing these Facebook vigilantes are doing is inflating their own egos.
Police are even quoted in the Springfield News-Leader article that these amateur stings are doing more harm than good. In some cases, they could even be hampering police as they could spook a suspect that police are currently investigating.
The difference between the aforementioned Chris Hansen and these yokels is that Chris Hansen is an actual investigative reporter who works in conjunction with law enforcement. Meanwhile, these groups are the equivalent of the guys who wore hockey pads in the Dark Knight.