Part of the main character's job is to set up surveillance in order to be sure that the allegations of abuse are true before he acts. Allen finds it difficult to watch some of his surveillance tapes, saying "Disassociation made it possible to carry on.....possible to watch the illicit videos with the least possible involvement of the mind. If he stopped to let it all in...he knew damn well that he'd put down his beer and just go murder the bastard." He goes on to say that "it was rarely the actual r@pe that got to him on these sorts of case. No, the part he found truly unbearable was...the very same part the pedophile loved the most -- the seduction. Most pedophiles weren't interested in merely overpowering a child, but rather found their greatest pleasure in the game of domination, keeping the child just this side of outright panic by first discovering and then manipulating each particular victim's individual needs, fears and nobilities. The subtle interplay of threat and cajoling, pressure and affection...the terrible intimacy involved, a predator's complete understanding of his prey, a knowledge such as, more often than not, no other human being in the child's life came anywhere near to possessing. It was this terrible familiarity with the victim's very soul that made Allen crave the simplicity of murder."
I can relate. I had no doubt that the worst part of it was bad and wrong. But the set-up part was the worst. It's the part I didn't realize was wrong for so long. For me the really bad stuff is about violence - it's the set-up stuff that is about sex and that makes it worse. It's more intimate and more of a mind game than anything else.
This part here - "a predator's complete understanding of his prey, a knowledge such as, more often than not, no other human being in the child's life came anywhere near to possessing" is SO very true. In the midst of all the post-divorce chaos, Toilet was the one person who took time to spend with me, get to know me, check in on how I was doing, and would really talk with me. He'd ask about my day, what I was reading, and suggest things to do. He'd always invite me to go with he and mom when they went somewhere. When we were out, he'd buy us treats or a small toy or something. When Mom was overly harsh in her discipline, Toilet stood up for us, or snuck us treats while we were grounded. He also stood up and protected my Sister and I against my dad's violence and drunkenness. I think that was the real turning point - I like to think he did it out of some innate goodness - that's what I used to think. Now I know he had ulterior motives. I think that is the hard part to deal with. The fact that the one person I ~thought~ liked me and cared enough to care and stick up for me, was not doing it for any reason other than an ulterior, sadistic motive.
BTW - That passage was in the very beginning of the book. I almost put the book down but then decided that Allen intrigued me - his willingness to put his own life and freedom on the line to help save children. So I kept going. The book was great and had a happy, although different than expected, ending (yeah).