Thursday, November 11, 2010

Of Pedophiles, the First Amendment, and Amazon.com

Oh good heavens, I'm riled up.

I don't use this blog as a way to rant and rave about different things that catch my attention, I do believe in standing up for what you believe in. I think if you save your rant for those most important to you, you will have much greater power to inflict change. I feel the need to get up on my soapbox on this one. What started this whole thing for me was my attention pointed to THIS article by BlogHer.

Many of you are aware of the outcry yesterday over the self-published book available for purchase on Amazon.com titled "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure." The author's book description is as follows: "This is my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certain rules for these adults to follow. I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught."

The content of this book contains helpful hints like where to buy condoms to fit anyone under the age of thirteen. You know, to make these situations safer. Apparently he shares details of intimate encounters with children from the child's point of view, where the children are not feeling victimized, but instead feeling loved and nurtured.

Feel free to go throw up. I'll still be here when you come back.

While I understand that Amazon cannot monitor everything that is self-published on their site, this clearly violates their content guidelines and should have been removed upon first protest, and not only after thousands agreed to boycott Amazon.com via Facebook and Twitter; and after the news got a hold of the story. (Did you know that on the news websites they have a place where you can tip them off to a breaking story? And from my experience yesterday, they get back to you quickly when it's a story like this. Good job, Q13Fox News.) And yes, as of this morning, the book is no longer for sale at Amazon.com.

There seem to be two sides to this debate. To clarify, I never heard a single person in support of this book or it's contents, that's not the issue at all. But I have heard a few people in support of letting it remain on Amazon.com as a result of the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and the press.

The argument being that this guy who published this book has the right to do so under the First Amendment, and that by making an exception in this case can lead to a precedent of not allowing offensive material to be published just because the majority doesn't like it. I get that. But offensive is a matter of opinion. Illegal is not.

Yes, it's true that Amazon.com sells "Mein Kampf", Hitler's anti-Semitic text. And we "do not claim they are complicit in hate crimes against the Jews." (Quoted from one of my Facebook comments yesterday.) While I agree that this may come across as a bit of a hypocritical situation, it is not at all. What Hitler did was horrible, but it was history. We cannot ban all books with information about the holocaust under the guise of not complying with hate crimes. History books are filled with horrendous crimes against all types of people, but this is not the issue at hand.

The issue being, are people allowed to publish whatever they want under the First Amendment, even if those things are instructing others how to best commit a felony?

I think we all know that the First Amendment does not protect us in all situations. I cannot go into an airport and yell, "I have a bomb!" I cannot go through a White House tour and say, "Where's the president? Cuz I'm gonna kill him!" Free speech does not apply to every American all the time.

One commented stated (and no, I'm not going to name names, as my friends have the right to state their opinions to me in a private manner through Facebook without the threat of being publicly blogged later,) this is the type of thing that can lead, through many steps of course, to a total censorship of anything remotely pornographic or offensive, including the ban of breastfeeding and breastfeeding materials.

Is this the truth? Well, its a stretch, but I could see how that might be justifiable in the minds of some.

By letting this book remain, we keep the author's rights intact and don't rock the boat, so to say, starting a floodgate of censorship. OK, good point.

But it doesn't end there. We can't assume that by doing nothing, nothing will be the result.

So let's go there. Let's pretend that the book hadn't been pulled from the shelves. What then? Do we honestly believe that by protecting the First Amendment rights of those who are purporting to commit a felony, that we are not setting a precedent by doing so?

What about the right to peaceably assemble? In the same world where we look at the what if's, where we use our imagination to see what is down the road, do we not see a group of pedophiles having informational meetings, protected under the First Amendment? Do we not see their meetings advertised with little fliers at the grocery store, "Pedophiles: learn how to love children and not get caught," with tear-off tabs with an e-mail address or phone number? And God forbid anyone protest these little gatherings where pedophiles share secrets and tips for committing their crimes, I mean, we surely can't violate the rights of those who do things that we feel are offensive.

Or can we?

Where do we draw the line? Doing nothing is doing something. When you refuse to act, you are making a choice. Standing in support of Free Speech is noble, and I have to say I have great admiration for those who stood in support of the First Amendment in this situation, considering how horrendous the topic is. But how far should our freedoms go?

I love the quote by Zig Ziglar, "One of the greatest disasters of our time is our universal acceptance of the word "tolerance" as a great virtue." I have no tolerance for pedophiles. I have no tolerance for the belief that they have a right to inform other pedophiles how to violate and ruin the lives of innocent children.

I would sincerely like to know why this book isn't considered probable cause for searching this guy's house and arresting him.

What are your thoughts?

7 comments:

Jenn @Cuddlesandcameras said...

My thoughts mirror yours, and I'm a big advocate for Feedom of speech,but this goes beyond that, waaaaay beyond. It's sickening that he had the audacity to print such content in the first place. Obviously assuming he was protected under the first amendment. Like you said freedom is one thing, Illegal is a whole different matter. I'm So riled up that I'm probably not making sense...
-Jenn

Snow Mommy said...

Amen Sister!

Seriously, why aren't the cops all over this guy?

Sarah Hickman said...

Kind of a catch-22, isn't it? Nothing is illegal until a person acts on it. For example; we can talk about how we're going to kill so-and-so or start a blog about how ridiculous someone or something is... but until we actually go physically maim anyone, it's not illegal. Gross, sure. Wrong, probably. I'm also NOT trying to get in an argument with a mom. However, I am trying to point out that there are other books out there that are just as potentially damaging (Anarchist's Cookbook, How to Make Cocaine, How to Beat Up Anybody, At 12: Portraits of Young Women, etc) and all available on Amazon. If you're going to be upset about something, be upset about everything... some of those other books have been on there for YEARS!

Tiff said...

Sarah, let me start off by saying I totally understand your point. If I'm going to get up on my soapbox about a book in particular, I need to realize that there are a lot more out there. I am not trying to argue with you, you know that I completely respect you, and I love a good debate. :)

Anarchist's cookbook, which is kind of a 60's cult classic and might fall into the same historical category as Hitler's Mein Kamph, while instructional in it's crude bomb making tutorials, is not the same threat TO ME that the Pedophile how-to guide. I remember in Physics class in college learning how to make an Atom bomb. Bomb making can be done legally. Molesting kids cannot.

"How to Beat up Anybody" doesn't really fall into the same category. An "instructional and educational Karate book" written by Judah Friedlander, a comedian who acted in 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Zoolander, How High, Old School, and many other Hollywood movies seems to be a bit of satire, not unlike the Jackass movies.

I couldn't find "How to Make Cocaine" on Amazon.

According to Amazon, '"Portrait of a Young Woman" is a delightful and refreshing tale of sacrifice, unspoken passion and enduring love during the bygone era of American military presence in the Philippines.' It's fiction. I am assuming that this is probably NOT the book you were referring to, but I could not find the one you mentioned.

I AM up in arms over the book, "Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers", basically a book portraying pedosexual relationships in a positive light, which Amazon refused to pull citing the reasoning that it was "not a how-to manual for molesting children." However, the Pedophile's guide to love and pleasure was exactly that.

I do completely understand your point, that I cannot get up on my soapbox over one book and relax while many, many others are still published, but I truly feel that having this book removed from the virtual shelves was a victory, and going in the right direction. Sometimes all we need is a push to make change, and I hope that this was a push in the right direction. :)

YankintheUK said...

Tiff, I'm so proud to call you my friend! Awesome words.

Stephana said...

Amen & Amen........Thankyou for "speaking out"!! I think you have only touched the tip of the iceberg but kuddos to you for doing it!!
There are lots out there as Sarah said but you gotta start somewhere.

Mama D.'s Dozen said...

Just found your blog and look forward to reading more about your cute family. (I'm a mama of twins, as well, and had my first 5 kids in 4 years.)

Keep ranting! This is HORRIBLE!

Laurel :)