The man in the video was one of those guys they sometimes talked about on the news.
Though Adam didn’t want to hurt anyone, he knew that, on some level, he was just like him.
There was now a constant stream of files whose names included acronyms such as PTHC, or pre-teen hardcore.
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A man’s torso entered the frame and the child began to scream.
As he watched the scene unfold, Adam was transfixed, and then quickly revolted; he reached over and stopped the video.
When I pressed him about what he finds most attractive in a child, he shifted in the car seat from side to side, and eventually managed to say: “Small body, hairless legs, you know, things like that…
like small genitalia.” But there is a strong emotional pull, a potent idea of innocence that, he explained, is far more intoxicating than anatomy.
I would be very happy to talk with you.”Adam is now 20 (his name, like those of other young men in this article, has been changed).
He has a slightly chubby build and messy, medium-brown hair.
He moved over to his bed, a twin with a sturdy, wooden frame, and lay down on the crumpled blue and white cloud-print sheet. Directly across from the foot of the bed was a bookshelf housing an impressive collection of horror novels.
Atop the shelf sat several chess and baseball trophies whose silver sheen had been dulled by dust, and he stared up at them as he tried to process what he had just seen.
How do these young men and women negotiate that with no viable role models or support network? But the men I met were in their 50s and 60s, and I’d hoped to speak with someone younger, someone still coming to terms with what he was learning about himself.
I asked them if they knew anyone like that, and a few weeks later I received an email.“My name is Adam,” it read.
“I wanted to reach through the computer screen and kill the person,” Adam said.