Sheriff refuses to hedge on Pedobear

September 14, 2010

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department, faced with online criticism from as far away as England, is refusing to back down on their concern over the Pedobear.[KSBY]

Sheriff’s spokesperson Rob Bryn acknowledged Monday that Pedobear, an Internet icon used to warn of potential pedophiles,  started as a joke, but Bryn insisted they were just trying to raise awareness of the Pedobear character.

“The problem is a lot of the images that are being used on the internet are disturbing, and really are more glorifying of child molestation than I think was the intent,” said Bryn.

Bryn says that is why the department passed along the bulletin, which originated in San Diego County.

The press release from Bryn, complete with stern warnings about “For Adult Consumption Only” ignited a firestorm of criticism  online from people incredulous that law enforcement was being so naive about Pedobear origins.

The widely-read Huffington Post, however, had a different take on the story Sunday night, posting the KSBY video on its Comedy Page.  “He isn’t, in any way, a mascot or supporter for pedophilia, but you wouldn’t know that if you had just watched this news report about California’s San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department alerting the public about this potentially dangerous symbol. It’s pretty hilarious that they cite the bear’s appearance on car bumper stickers and “an event in southern California” (a.k.a Comic-Con?) as evidence of it being a public menace.”

“But the ridiculous scare tactic doesn’t stop there,” the Huffington Post continues. “Gawker confirmed with the police that they are aware that it is an Internet joke, but that they have still considered it a mascot for molestation.”

The online site Gawker claims that Pedobear even met the Pope once. They also struggle to contain their sarcasm in reporting the story under the headline “Stupid California Police Warn Parents of Pedobear.”

Writes Gawker, “Pedobear is a meme featuring a cute cartoon bear who pops up wherever people are being creepy about kids on the Internet. Cops in California don’t understand this, and have issued a hilarious warning about Pedobear.

“The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department, who can’t be bothered to look up Pedobear’s extensive Wikipedia entry, issued a very serious warning about Pedobear last week, as seen in the news report above.

“The news report on KSBY-TV includes one of these Southern California ‘sightings’: A guy in a Pedobear costume next to a man holding a baby. The baby’s father is just blithely standing next to a dangerous pedophile! Actually, no. That picture was taken at Comic Con. The person inside the costume—and anyone spotted with pedobear paraphernalia—is a nerd who spends too much time on the Internet.”


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