Andrew Vachss is a juvenile lawyer, prominent crime author and child protection advocate, who has sought to benefit from misconceptions about Minor Attracted People - who he refers to as pedophiles or predators. Vachss was central in popularizing the term "sexual predator" in the 1990s, and spreading a victimology-oriented mythologization of the sex offender to middle America in the same period. Vachss coined the emotive phrase "Children of the Secret", which refers to abused children, of whatever age, who were victimized without ever experiencing justice, much less love and protection. In his Burke novels, some of these Children of the Secret have banded together as adults into what Vachss calls a "family of choice". A common theme in Vachss writings has been an emphasis on the threat from within the family circle, particularly those immediately adjacent to it - effectively countering the stranger danger myth of the 1990s and 00s. Whilst personally profiting from these conceptions, Vachss has been clear to distance himself from the vigilante mindset, making clear distinctions between "pedophiles" and "predatory pedophiles".
About his investigator character, Burke, who appears in many of his novels:
- "If you look at Burke closely, you'll see the prototypical abused child: hypervigilant, distrustful. He's so committed to his family of choice—not his DNA-biological family, which tortured him, or the state which raised him, but the family that he chose—that homicide is a natural consequence of injuring any of that family. He's not a hit man. But he shares the same religion I do, which is revenge [...] I want to show people the truth, have it frighten them enough (or make them angry enough, depending on individual personalities) for them to do something about it."
About "sexual predators" and "pedophiles":
- "Chronic sexual predators have crossed an osmotic membrane. They can’t step back to the other side - our side. And they don't want to. If we don't kill them or release them, we have but one choice. Call them monsters and isolate them.... I’ve spoken to many predators over the years. They always exhibit amazement that we do not hunt them. And that when we capture them, we eventually let them go. Our attitude is a deliberate interference with Darwinism - an endangerment of our species."
- "The ultimate fascism is child abuse. Its victims are Prisoners of War without a Geneva Convention to protect them, hostages to terrorism. As in all concentration camps, some prisoners imitate the oppressors. No surprise that the uninterrupted transgenerational abuse of children produces the most fervent followers of fascism."
- "In truth, when it comes to child pornography, any discussion of censorship is a sham, typical of the sleight–of–hand used by organized paedophiles as part of their ongoing attempt to raise their sexual predations to the level of civil rights."
- "Incest is not 'sexual dysfunction'—it is violent abuse of power, arising from a complex series of motivations."
- "Is there any concept more frightening than murder, rape, or robbery at the hands of our own children?" (in the early 80s, owing to the present climate - Vachss was seemingly less concerned about child advocacy)
With his gritty personality, and focus on predation, shared suffering and brotherhood - Vachss set a crucial example for middle-American society in the 90s. By setting this example, he showed that it was acceptable for the American male and middle class to hold victimology-adjacent beliefs and engage in child advocacy. These positions had previously been the reserve of feminists and white knights. At the time, his example would have oiled the cogs on the transition of the American male psyche from "fag-hating" to "pedo-bashing", whether via his public advocacy or the infectious spread of "concern" from (one assumes) his predominantly female readership. Vachss is an interesting figure in the present panic, and requires more research.