MySpace Kicks Off 90,000 Registered Sex Offenders

If you notice a sudden dearth of cute and sensitive teenagers on MySpace today, it’s because 90,000 sex offenders have been “identified and removed” from the site. The news has shocked the Connecticut Attorney General, who made the announcement.

This revelation is totally appalling and unacceptable, and this shocking revelation, resulting from our subpoena, also provides compelling proof that social networking sites remain ripe with sexual predators.”

MySpace issued its own statement:

As the first and only social networking site to use state of the art technology to identify and remove registered sex offenders from its site, MySpace is proud of its leadership position and hopes that Facebook follows our lead in providing their members with the same protections. Also, please stop using Facebook and come back to us. Please. Look, here are “25 Things About Me,” see we’re cool too, come back.

We may have embellished that last quote.

In the interests of fairness, we would like to point out this article about a teenager who was just arrested for using Facebook to blackmail other teen boys into sex.

“MySpace kicks out 90,000 sex offenders, Connecticut AG says” [CNN]

SEMI-RELATED
“Police: Teen Used Facebook To Blackmail Students Into Sex Acts” [WISN.com]

Comments

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  1. oneswellfoop says:

    “…compelling proof that social networking sites remain ripe with sexual predators.”

    Whereas the REAL world is totally safe and OK. If I thought for a minute there was a sexual preadator somewhere in the real world, well, then, I might just loose it.

    • Kajj says:

      @oneswellfoop: I refuse to believe that you don’t understand the difference increased access and anonymity makes with regards to sexual predators.

      Children get real-world “stranger danger” drilled into their heads, but they don’t know how to tell that the tween-age girl on Myspace who likes all the same bands they do is actually a creepy old man.

      I also love that you’re making this point like you’re against protecting children from sexual predators. Oh Consumerist comment threads, there really is no bottom to your barrel, is there?

      • floraposte says:

        @Kajj: I think you’ve made rather a leap there. The point foop made is that the world contains dangers on and off the net. Surely you’re not disputing that?

        • Sidecutter says:

          @floraposte: There’s also quite a range of of things that can fall under “sex offender” status. Not all of them are even things that should really have ended that way. Yes, there are plenty of legitimate offenders to be concerned about, but simply being an offender does not make that person a danger ot children (or anyone else) automatically.

          It can be as simple as an 18 year old who’s girlfriend’s parents don’t care for him sleeping with his 17 year old girlfriend, sometimes.

      • oneswellfoop says:

        @Kajj: I think most of what needs to be said in response to you comment had been said.

        The very valid point that many parents don’t care until it’s too late and then blame someone else for not protecting their children or educating them to protect themselves has been made.

        The big issue that hasn’t been fully addressed, at least in the early comments, is that some parents are so out of touch with the online social worlds and the new aspects of social interaction that they introduce as to never even know to teach their kids that things on the internet are not always what they seem.

        In the same way that not trusting a stranger on the street is drilled into kids, not accepting the sex of a person, their intentions, or the overall identity of someone you meet on the internet should be.

        To put this responsibility off on someone else because you can’t, or don’t want to, catch up to the times is nothing more than self imposed, and potentially harmful, willful ignorance.

        I think that sort of thing is much closer to the bottom of the barrel than any comment I’ve made.

        • Kajj says:

          @oneswellfoop: I just don’t like it when people on here pull the “Problem A exists, so why are people wasting time solving problem B?” thing. Are you opposed to Myspace fighting sexual predators? Why are you bothering to smugly point out the obvious fact that there are dangers in the real world as well? Do you think if you hadn’t said that, everyone else who read this would have just said “Well I guess that’s it for sex offenders!”?

          No matter what solution for a problem is mentioned in an article, people always come in here and say “well why are they even bothering about THAT when…”

          I would like it to stop.

      • alexawesome says:

        @Kajj: “but they don’t know how to tell that the tween-age girl on Myspace who likes all the same bands they do is actually a creepy old man.”

        Where are you getting that information? No one can tell if someone is lying online or not – adults and kids alike. But pedophiles generally reveal their actual age and gender before anything takes place. Most kids have a healthy “ew” response to unsolicited advances from people they don’t know. The kids who are likely to accept those advances are kids who have already been abused – usually by someone in the family, sadly, or have other home issues.

    • RogueSophist says:

      @oneswellfoop: No! Don’t loose the sexual predators!

    • idip says:

      @oneswellfoop: I agree.

      I totally understand that there are sexual predators on Myspace, but there are also two on my street.

      Yes, “stranger danger” is drilled into children’s heads about real life strangers….

      But where are the parents, schools, teachers, responsible adults in teaching kids about online dangers?

      In every single news report I’ve seen in my city about myspace and predators or online predators going after kids the parents are no where to be seen.

      Why? Because they don’t care. They don’t bother to find out what they’re children are up to. They think it’s MySpace’s responsibility. Um. Wrong. You’re the parent you’re supposed to know what your kid is up to. Even if that means putting restriction software on your computer.

      Too many parents would rather send their kids outside, on the computer, in front of the tv or at their friends house rather then take an interest or responsibility in what they are doing.

      It’s great that MySpace tries, but unless the government starts giving them grant money to pay for this technology or the work, I don’t consider it their responsibility.

  2. 269InchDiagonal_GitEmSteveDave says:

    Hi, I’m Chris Hanson. Why don’t you log off, have a seat, and read a book.

    • crashedpc says:

      @269InchDiagonal_GitEmSteveDave: “I thought I was meeting Amber? Where’s Amber?”

      • MostlyHarmless says:

        @crashedpc: My afterlunch cup of warm milk with a spot of water is now sprayed across the keyboard.

      • Courteous_Gentleman says:

        @crashedpc: She stubbed her toe going to answer the door. Why don’t you have a brownie?

      • 269InchDiagonal_GitEmSteveDave says:

        @crashedpc: @Courteous_Gentleman: I secretly wanted to get invited to the house, but not for the reason of hooking up w/ a girl. As soon as Chris appeared, I’d rip off my shirt, and there would be a screen printed t-shirt with his face on it w/ “I Heart Chris Hanson!” surrounding it. Then I’d act like the ultimate fan boy/stalker. If he brought out the transcripts, I’d just look at him w/doe eyes and say “I was picturing you on the keyboard when I wrote that.” I doubt that would make it to air.

        • x23 says:

          @ShirtlessTrebek_GitEmSteveDave: what would be really hilarious is if it *actually was a 13yo boy* … he was just pretending to be older.

          then he shows up. but wait… he wasn’t *really* talking to a 13yo girl. he was talking to an adult.

          waaaaaaait a minute.

          something tells me the cops wouldn’t rush out of the bushes to arrest one of their own or one of the perverted justice folk.

          but it’d seemingly be the exact same crime.

  3. skloon says:

    Gee I’m suprised that Mike Hunt, and Heyood Jablome aren’t registered offenders

  4. igoooorrrr says:

    90,000 / more than 100,000,00 total users = 0.09% of users.

    i don’t think .09% can be considered “rife”.

    • igoooorrrr says:

      @igoooorrrr: or “ripe”. =p

    • Real Cheese Flavor says:

      @igoooorrrr: Damn you, I was going to make the exact same post.

      If you got your numbers from the same place I got mine (laffo Wikipedia), then the actual percentage is a lot smaller than that since those numbers are 2006 numbers.

      • floraposte says:

        @Real Cheese Flavor: Though to be fair, this is a situation wherein simple percentage doesn’t necessarily correlate to chances of encounter, because encounters aren’t random events.

        • dragonfire81 says:

          @floraposte: Regardless of the percentage, I’m shocked that many sex offenders were out there on my space.

          Oh and what’s to stop these weirdos from just registering new accounts using fake IPs?

          • alexcassidy says:

            @dragonfire81: Absolutely nothing.

          • wastedlife says:

            @dragonfire81: I’m not. An inordinate amount of people are registered as “sex offenders” for crimes that really aren’t worthy of the title. Got drunk and streaked at a football game in college? Sex Offender for life. 19 and had sex with your 17 year old girlfriend? Sex Offender for life. These people are then treated as second-class citizens and “monsters” for the rest of their lives. By being forced to register, they lose all privacy and the ability to sustain themselves by getting a job. Just ask all of those people that were mistakenly put on the list a few years back(Texas I think?). I think the sex offender list is cruel and unusual punishment. If the public feels sex crimes should be more harshly punished, there should be longer jail times based on the severity of the case. Streaking at a football game should be a court date and a fine. And there should be some sort of leeway system for “adult” and “minor” consensual sexual relationships depending on the age difference. A 19 year old and a 17 year old is not a large enough age difference to warrant punishment. A 30 year old and a 14 year old should warrant a very harsh punishment for the 30 year old.

            • Casandra Bollings says:

              @wastedlife: I fully agree with you. Some of these instances are horrible where people are considered sex offenders. I’ve heard of 18 year olds getting it for mooning a van that had kids in it… I mean come on, everyone has a butt, and you can easily see that on cable tv during the day. The truth is peeing in public at night does not warrant the same lifelong punishment as being 50 and having sex with a 10 year old.

          • econobiker says:

            @dragonfire81: I am figuring that alot of them already had multiple fake accounts so that 90,000 was really like 50,000 actual people…

        • igoooorrrr says:

          @floraposte:

          That’s true. I was objecting to the quote’s implication that MySpace is crawling with sex offenders when the actual percentages were much smaller.

    • friday04 says:

      @igoooorrrr: That math doesn’t hold water with me. When you’re looking for friends, you have your circle, you search, you spend some time on MySpace. But what percentage of time do these .09% of people spend lurking through page after page after page trying to find that perfect blend of innocence and naivety?

      And @wastedlife has a point. The “sex-offender” label is often unwarranted and life-damaging. I would say that an even smaller percentage of the small percentage of sex offenders are real sexual predators. But those predators are very sick people. There is something seriously wrong with the wiring in their brains and they are untreatable.
      .

    • Tzepish says:

      @igoooorrrr: I’m gonna’ have to respectfully disagree. Regardless of the raw numbers, if someone told me 0.09% of profiles on Myspace were for registered sex offenders, I’d find that jaw-droppingly huge. “90,000” doesn’t sound as large to me :-p

      • god_forbids says:

        @Tzepish: Well, homosexuals make up less than 1% of the population (by some measures) and yet laws catering to homosexuals dominate our lives and public discourse. Don’t overestimate peoples’ ability to make things seem overblown.

        • deadspork says:

          @god_forbids: Laws that CATER to homosexuals? I’m sorry could you please list a few of these great laws that give homosexuals added benefits that heterosexuals do not get? I mean, is there some paperwork I need to fill out or something?

  5. SalimaLabeo says:

    Oh, Connecticut AG…It should be “rife,” not “ripe.”

    Sorry to nitpick, but what chance do the rest of us have if state agencies can’t even use words correctly?

  6. Eddie Falkenburg says:

    In other myspace related news..

    Tom’s profile was randomly deleted.. and details are unknown at the moment as to what caused this. :D

  7. nicemarmot617 says:

    I wonder if any innocent members got caught up in it? That’s my real question, how effective is this magical new sex-offender seeking technology?

    Besides, if the douche CT AG wants to stop sexual predators why doesn’t he start arresting them for their crimes? They don’t get access to MySpace in lockup, do they?

    • WeAre138 says:

      @nicemarmot617: I was one of the innocent members that was affected by this ban. So what I’m in my 30s and have a bunch of 15 year old girls on my top 10. The pictures of my van with “Free Candy” painted on the side probably didn’t help.

    • Davan says:

      @nicemarmot617: Please. We all know that in the interests of ‘child protection’ that any and all rights that other people have will be and are completely thrown out the window. And actually… the child’s rights as well now that I think about it…

      • nataku8_e30 says:

        @Davan: I’m not 100% sure of this, but I’m pretty sure that children aren’t guaranteed the same rights as adults until they’re 18 or something like that.

        • Davan says:

          @nataku83: Thats sort of my point. Which is why Brooke Shields’ mother can force her to act in a movie with full frontal nudity when she is 12 years old (or 11 I forget), and the child has no say in the matter. Its called “Pretty Baby” in case youre wondering.

          Oh and yeah she was nude in Playboy too. At the same age.

          Oh but yeah Im sorry, you were saying something about their rights? Sorry to interrupt.

      • nicemarmot617 says:

        @Davan: Children have almost no rights at all. Despite this, if they work, they have to pay regular income taxes. Taxation without representation!

      • XianZomby says:

        @Davan: MySpace isn’t a right.

        • Phydeaux says:

          @XianZomby: No, but it’s a private corporation that shouldn’t be bullied by the government.

          The whole sex offender fiasco that we’ve created in America is pathetic. Of those 90,000 sex offenders, how many have beyond served their time and had a violation that didn’t involve a child? I’ll pull it out of my ass, but I bet it’s more than three-fourths of that number.

          When a majority of sex offender enlistments are over 18 year olds having sex with 16 year olds, public urination, or rapes from a decade ago where someone already served their time, we really need to tier up the sex offender list in a meaningful way.

          Or completely discard it. Because it’s actually, you know, unconstitutional.

  8. AstroPig7 says:

    I have a fairly common name, so I paranoidly logged in to check on my account as soon as I read this. It’s nice to know that MySpace is better at checking names than the TSA.

  9. Bahnburner says:

    “ripe with sexual predators.”? Freud much?

  10. shorty63136 says:

    AHHHHHHHHH! Not the 25 Things!

    I just commented on somebody’s. Ha.

  11. Meltingemail says:

    25 Things About Me reference makes this the best post ever.

  12. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    Still no cure for pedo-creeps lurking on flickr, though.

  13. Meltingemail says:

    Also, what exactly defines a sexual predator? Are these only the really-bad-level ones? Or did they also count the frat boy who, at age 18, slept with his 17 year old girlfriend, and the parents pressed charges?

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @Meltingemail: IIRC, a statutory rape conviction does make the convicted a sexual predator.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @Meltingemail: Considering the Facebook guy is 18, was doing it for a while (thus probably started when he was a minor), and was a high school student at the time, I’m wondering how appropriate it is to calling him a “child molester”.
      “Sexual predator”, “scum of the earth”, etc., is dandy. I’m just leery of calling high school kids barely into the cusp of adulthood “child molesters”. It’s technically correct (barely) but doesn’t fit the stereotype.
      (and, again, not defending the act, or the kid, so don’t go there, please)

    • nataku8_e30 says:

      @Meltingemail: Yeah, I’m pretty sure the statutory rape guys are included too. It seems like there’s not much distinction once someone is classified as a sexual predator.

    • INTPLibrarian says:

      @Meltingemail: That’s kind of what I was going to post… just because someone is a registered sex offender does NOT automatically make them a sex “predator.”

      Examples: the 15 year old who sent someone naked pictures of herself and was charged with child pornography, being caught with a prostitute (in some states), someone who got caught having sex in their car. None of those seem predatory to me.

    • Brontide says:

      @Meltingemail: It probably means “sex offender” and it depends on the state. Streaking at graduation, emailing nudie pictures of yourself to peers as a minor, boozing it up and peeing on the sidewalk, taking a picture of your 1 year old niece running around naked at the family pool party, and much much more may get your name on some list that will allow people to blackball you for the rest of your life.

      Don’t you feel safer now that MySpace and Connecticut are “Protecting” you from these people.

      • Tmoney02 says:

        @snowmoon: Nailed it. Stuff like this not only ruins people’s lives but makes the list a joke and does a disservice to everyone.

        • floraposte says:

          @Tmoney02: If you can get to it, the New York Times article [www.nytimes.com]
          has a fairly thoughtful view of the issue, including a reference to the Internet Safety Task Force report that suggests the online predator issue is overblown and that online bullying is a much more widespread problem.

    • Tmoney02 says:

      @Meltingemail: Its anyone on the sex offenders list so it includes other asinine offenses such as drunken collage kids who got caught urinating in public/exposing themselves as well.

  14. DustoMan says:

    So how many false positives do you think there are?

  15. Trai_Dep says:

    Wait. So MySpace did the right thing, culled their members and then released information regarding this, and some AG is blaming MySpace for this?
    Not a fan of online bling (let alone Fox), but they seem to be doing the right thing here, only to be pounced upon by publicity-seeking pols…

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @Trai_Dep: MTE
      It’s hardly MySpace’s fault that these people are out of jail and on the Internet.

      • AD8BC says:

        @Rectilinear Propagation: Correction. It’s not MySpace’s fault that these people are ALIVE and on the internet…

        Did I just say that? Quick. Bladefist. Come back me up!!!! :-)

      • Saboth says:

        @Rectilinear Propagation:

        As far as I know, I wasn’t aware there were laws on the books forbidding people that had sex with a 17 year old when they were 18 themselves, from being on the net.

        “As a ‘sexual predator’, you are hereby banished from the land, never to return, and you may have no communication with anyone in our society. If someone in our society happens to meet you, they shall pretend you are invisible and they may attempt to walk through you. If said person fails in this, that person shall be put to death.”

    • chrisjames says:

      @Trai_Dep: I think it’s a combination of this

      Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who spearheaded the campaign to subpoena MySpace, told CNN Radio that he found the number “appalling.”

      and this

      MySpace had initially refused to comply with the subpoena, citing federal privacy laws.

      He’s cranky because they were, in a way, harboring sex offenders within the anonymity of the internet, and that it was quite a large number of sex offenders that MySpace knew about before expunging them.

      It’s also quite clearly a PR dodge. MySpace probably caught on that they’d buckle under the pressure eventually, and used this as a chance to be named the good guys while openly challenging Facebook. At first glance, you’d think good for MySpace. But, shouldn’t you ask why they hadn’t done this ages ago, especially knowing their image had been corrupted with bling and molestation?

  16. BlackMage is doing the Time Warp agaaaaaaain!!! says:

    I currently work in education. I cleaned out my profiles on MySpace and Facebook within a month of getting the job, closed them, and haven’t looked back.

    You think you’re safe because you didn’t upload that picture of you sipping a Bud Lite? Guess what: your friend took that picture, too. And secretly did upload it. You’re still SOL. I’ll be damned if these stupid time-wasting, venting websites get me fired.

    • Saboth says:

      @BlackMage is doing the Time Warp agaaaaaaain!!!:

      Personally I think it is ridiculous that people can even be discriminated against in such a manner. “Mrs. Jones! There are pictures of you in a BIKINI circulating the web. As a teacher, you know you are not permitted to: Drink, wear anything besides a pantsuit, visit questionable websites, make love, ….”

      Just because you happen to be a teacher, or policman, or whatever doesn’t mean you cease being able to lead a normal life or enjoy things.

    • Mirshaan says:

      @BlackMage is doing the Time Warp agaaaaaaain!!!:

      This, among other things, is one reason I left teaching. I was an elementary school teacher, loved my job, and was VERY good at it… but I was a young male, and wanted to have guilt-free fun. It’s a shame the people expect teachers to be saints as well as educators… I would have stayed, but I seriously feared that someday something would come up that would ruin my career and my life…

      • Saboth says:

        @Mirshaan:

        I think it’s a shame how people equate partying or sex with being “evil” in America. “That teacher had pictures of himself tied up on the net? He must be a sexual predator, and probably gay, and if I know my weirdos, he likes sex with kids and animals too. NO WAY he is teaching my kids!”

  17. flyromeo3 says:

    did they do their search by name? Find it odd that a reg. sex offender would actually use their correct info.

  18. captadam says:

    MySpace? What’s that?

  19. Eddie Falkenburg says:

    Yes, companies do look at employee’s myspaces… but that is why they let you make your profile private. :

  20. Aphex242 says:

    If you’re shocked that there were sexual predators on Myspace, imagine how many are at, say water parks.

    You have *zero* imagination if this is even remotely shocking to you.

    • orlo says:

      @aphex242: More likely parents with the urge to screw their own children repress that urge in part by imagining the possibility of them being screwed at water parks, transferring the guilt to another that they can persecute.

  21. Velifer says:

    Somebody pissed behind a dumpster in an alley one night.

    PUNISH THEM FOREVER!

    That’s right. Make them keep their MySpace page. Require that they access it with a Comcast account. Force them to get a Dell. Show no mercy.

    • Twinrevanoe says:

      @Velifer: Whoa, calm down! There’s only so much torture someone can take! Sure, they can deal with Dell, but COMCAST? D:

      On unrelated news, I have no MySpace. Chalk that one up to not jumping on the bandwagon. :D

  22. ElizabethD says:

    “…remain ripe with sexual predators.”

    Do they also remain RIFE with predators?

    Ripe. Hmmmm. Those stinky perverts.

  23. XTC46 says:

    This kind of thing is rediculous. As someone who deals in technology and information security in general, I can only think that these people are trying to shove their parental responsibilities off on MySpace. There is nothing MySpace can do that will prevent somone from lying about who they are short of requiring a credit card which would destroy their site. The internet is a place on anonomous users, and its too easy to lie about who you are, thats one of the great things about it.

    • snowburnt says:

      @xtc46: requiring a credit card won’t even prove you are who you are…it’ll make it a little more difficult to but Santos L. Halper would like a word with you

  24. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    I think there’s some confusion about judging what people can do in the privacy of their homes, and judging what people BROADCAST across the internet, resulting in potential damage to their reputation, their employer’s reputation, etc.

    My only beef is with the attention whoring the internet creates, not with what most people are actually doing in the pictures.

  25. WalrusTaco says:

    If you commit a crime in this country, and you do prison time for what you did, haven’t you served your sentence? WTF is it anyone’s business, especially MySpace’s, about the personal history of the people that use the site.

    • Saboth says:

      @WalrusTaco:

      That’s my thought too. If a “sexual predator” has paid their dues, they shouldn’t be condemned to live as outcasts, in addition to the jail time and fees.

      Why are we ok with murderers, embezzlers and thieves living next to us or using the net, but not sex offenders?

    • orlo says:

      @WalrusTaco: If you are convicted of a sexual crime you are essentially given a life-sentence that may include supervised release. Although some criminals are likely to re-offend, this is more cruel than simple execution. First-time offenders should be punished and forgiven, while re-offenders should be should be incarcerated permanently or executed. Things like statutory rape, exposure, underage nude self-portraits that involve no victim are not sexual crimes. “Cleaning up” Myspace also likely does nothing except force deviants to acquire targets in the real world. All of this attention given to child abuse is no doubt the result of vicarious perversity.

  26. Dennis says:

    In other news, facebook adds 90,000 new members.

  27. darkryd says:

    Okay – so what about convicted murderers?

    We don’t keep tabs on them, do we?

  28. MrsLopsided says:

    90,000 sex offenders registered at myspace using their real names?

    According to [www.familywatchdog.us] there are 520,000 registered offenders in the US. So… 1 in 5 used their real names at myspace.

  29. MrsLopsided says:

    I don’t see anything in MySpace’s Terms of Service that prohibits sex offenders, felons, shoplifters, or other nogoodniks.
    They do prohibit under 13 (bet that’s more than 90,000) and misrepresenting if you are over/under 18 years old.

    [www.myspace.com]

  30. FunkmasterC says:

    I don’t know if I agree with this. People who’ve registered as sex offenders have served their time and lead very public lives. It seems unfair to suddenly kick them off. That being said, Myspace is a private organization and totally within their rights to do so.

  31. dreamsneverend says:

    How else am I supposed to get laid!?

  32. geoffhazel says:

    As a parent of a teen, I think having both MySpace and Facebook accts are a useful way to keep track of what kind of environment my daughter is hanging out in, plus in general what the sites are like.

    I’m personally appalled by how cluttered MySpace is. I have no idea why anyone uses it.

  33. NeonNoodle says:

    Im still waiting for someone to show up to that house in a white van and or ice cream truck.

    • econobiker says:

      @NeonNoodle: One dude showed up with his younger buddies- age 15 and 17 and sent them in first to check it out. As I remember the 17 year old dawdled in the drive way and the tv crew was able to figure out it was actually the car driver who set everything up.

      I have wondered what would happen if a stupid 14 year old kid showed up. Or if a group of teens showed to party at the home…

  34. admiral_stabbin says:

    I guess I’ll have to try and pick up chics on Facebook now…thanks Mysuckspace!

  35. mai_li says:

    I still think My Space is the stupidest thing ever.

  36. kyle4 says:

    I’m 19 years old and I still set all my stuff to private, block certain people (even my friends) from things. I’m not paranoid, just safe.

  37. kev313 says:

    Please stop including fake quotes, in segregated quote boxes, in your articles. I know it is an attempt at humor, but it really hurts the reputation for integrity that Consumerist has in my mind.

  38. Bryan Price says:

    Yeah, a boy has sex with his girlfriend two days before she’s “legal” and he pays for the rest of his life for it.

    That’s not a sexual predator, not even close.

    Don’t get me started…