“To Catch a Predator” shows humanity at its lowest point possible

Duane Gundrum
7 min readJan 13, 2022
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I’m not even sure why I fell down this particular rabbit hole, but I think it started when I followed a suggested link while on Youtube, but the next thing I knew, I was inundated with non-stop selections from Chris Hansen’s “To Catch a Predator”, as show that seems to have the specific goal of showing you how miserably bad civilization can get when you let it fester in the dark shadows of the dark web.

The premise of the show is pretty simple. A group of justice warriors pretend to be underage children (both boys and girls) who interact with sleazy adults on message boards and in chat rooms before eventually inviting these sleazoids to their “house” where a young decoy awaits them while Chris Hansen, a reporter from NBC news, hides in the shadows, ready to step out and say “please take a seat”. Then he’ll have a conversation with the culprit (if they’re willing) and when it’s over, the culprit will leave, often thinking he just got away with the crime of the century, and then a mob of cops will be waiting for him just outside, ready to pounce. It’s all very interesting entertainment.

But that’s probably what bothers me the most. That it’s entertainment. It’s like the created the ultimate show of Punk’d, except instead of a practical joke, the outcomes ends up being 5 to 20 years of jail and lifetime registration on the sex offenders list.

And each time one of these culprits gets what’s eventually coming to him, it’s a rush of a great feeling, because this horrible person is no longer on the streets. Or at least that’s the impression you get.

But then the darker underbelly starts to show through, and you start to realize that these people are probably still out there. A number of these cases don’t move forward, mainly because the defendants end up with better lawyers who successfully argue that the whole “sting” operation is actually a case of entrapment. But a large number of them do move forward, and some of the defendants end up with a lot of time being bars and on sex registries for the rest of their lives. However, something that started to bug me while watching these shows was the sensationalism paid to whenever a repeat offender was highlighted, basically meaning some culprit that was the main subject in one episode ended up…

Duane Gundrum

Author of Innocent Until Proven Guilty and 15 other novels. Writer, college professor and computer game designer.