An unpopular opinion

I will sacrifice anything for my children.  There isn’t even a question in that statement.  When it comes to my kids, nothing is more important.  Nothing.  So if I’m given a choice between a freedom such as speech and their safety?  I’d gladly never speak again.

See, my automatic reaction to “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct” by Philip R. Greaves II, the book at the center of the heated Amazon/Twitter debate, is strong.  I’ve never been a “burn that book” type of person.  I thrive off of books of a controversial nature.  I crave books that feed me emotionally, especially with varying degrees of anger and sadness.  But a how-to for child molesters?  I can’t support that kind of free speech.  I just can’t.  In my mind, that’s gone too far.

Admittedly, no one appointed me The Decider Of What’s Right And Wrong, but seriously.  This is all shades of wrong.

I sat at my desk yesterday staring at photos of my two daughters, age two and four.  So beautiful , absolutely innocent and completely vulnerable.  Then I thought about this book.  About who would buy this book.  I thought about how it’s possible, while not probable, that the person buying this book might molest for the first time after reading this book, thinking they’re following some sort of “Code of Conduct”, as described by Mr. Greaves.  I thought about how one of my girls could be this victim.  Sure, all of this is unlikely, but it is possible.  If I knew that this could happen, even if the possibility was minute, and I was given a vote, I’d gladly, without hesitation, give up my freedom of speech for good.

I have read excerpts from this book.  I wanted to be sure, before roasting it on a spit, that this was in fact what the title promises and not some sort of sick joke.  The title doesn’t lie.  It tells you what products to use in place of adult-sized condoms.  That the predators often believe their prey will grow to love them and eventually they will marry and live happily ever after.  How to not injure their victims.

This book is not a joke.  This book is a disgusting and horrific instruction manual on how to completely destroy a young person.  A young person like my child.

I don’t know how else to describe this.  We’re allowed to write and read and speak about whatever we see fit.  That’s our right.  It’s one of the, if not the, most valued freedom we have.  But how can we hang onto this freedom with such blind stubbornness when it allows “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure” to find its way into predator’s hands?  Sure, banning or boycotting one book can and will lead to banning and boycotting more books.  I get it and I’m not ok with that, in general.  But if banning a book like this one will protect my children, or any child, I’d risk it.

I’m not going to argue about this.  I’m not asking you to make the same sacrifice.  In a perfect world, in my mind, this book never would have been imagined, let alone written and available for purchase.  But it’s not a perfect world.  No one asked me whether or not the book should be banned, I’m just saying, in my opinion, from the standpoint of being the mother of small children, I’d do anything to make this book go away.  It wouldn’t cure pedophilia, obviously.  I’m not at all naive.  But should child molesters have access to instruction manuals?  Why is this even a question?

My first and most important job is to protect my children at all costs.  All I know is how this one instance, this one book, has made me feel and what it has made me think about.  I can’t think objectively when it comes to victimizing children.  As a parent, as a mother, I no longer have that luxury.  And if that means forfeiting my rights and freedoms for their safety, I am MORE than ready to make that sacrifice for them.


30 thoughts on “An unpopular opinion

  1. OMG – I had not even heard about this book…I know I live on another planet!! I am with you on this 100% – you could not have said it better.

  2. Well said!

    I wonder if the author uses their real name and who the heck is the publisher? I think Amazon made the wrong choice in selling this piece of garbage on their site but I’m wondering who agreed to publish it in the first place?

  3. Well put.

    I think we all believe in free speech. I respect and encourage differing opinions, values, and beliefs. We are, collectively, better off for it. And I can still have these values while strongly opposing this particular book. Because I feel more passionately about protecting the weakest amongst us than I do about free speech.

    Children do not have the same power behind their voice or the same resources that I do. It is my duty and my obligation to speak on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. On behalf of my young daughters, and all those voiceless children who are currently (today!!!) being abused, I say to Amazon “Remove this book!”.

    Perhaps my little lone voice in the wind doesn’t matter, but I am nonetheless obliged to put my foot down. To draw my line in the sand. Here it is: I do not make purchases from companies that directly or indirectly support or propagate paedophilia.

  4. I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. I had no idea such a thing existed. Now I have a million questions about it, like who funded, published, printed, distributed… I can not in good conscience search this book on this computer, or any computer I own for that matter to find these facts out! I will boycott such vile filth, on every level of involvement, and I’m so far from the boycotting type of person. I am just dumbfounded over this information.

  5. Wow – I too was living blissfully unaware this book existed. Great post Jen, well said and thank you for writing it. But it makes me sick to my stomach to even know this book is out there now. Who the hell would actually publish this and how the hell does Amazon think it’s appropriate to sell? Freedom of speech is one thing, making $$ off this is vile, disgusting and anyone involved in bringing it to market has the same stain of vileness all over them.

    Now I’m going over to Amazon to tell them exactly this.

    • Sara, they pulled the title last night after an uproar of monumental proportions from Twitter users who threatened a boycott of Amazon. I wasn’t involved with that.

  6. This is INSANE!! Absolutely mind-boggled right now. Un-freaking-believable.
    I love your line – Why is this even a question? I ask that many times a day – Why are we arguing this? But I think it’s never been more appropriate than for this issue. Who is on the opposite side of this argument?? Pedophiles?? People who want to profit off of pedophiles??? I don’t believe it is a matter of free speech, and maybe?? that’s the argument that some people may have. That if we ban this book, that it would open the door to ban other books. But what if there was a book instructing rapists how to rape women?, or animal abusers how to hurt animals?. I’m super ok with this filth getting banned. Why would that be a question?

  7. There are times when we have to fess up to the fact that even some of our most core beliefs are limited, and will have to step aside for beliefs we hold even deeper. This is one of those times. Great post.

  8. I couldn’t imagine the feeling of having small children and then seeing a book like this get published. I am completely against banning books or censorship of any kind, but this is so nauseating and terrifying. I don’t understand how this could get published.

  9. Excellent post. And Amazon isn’t the public library for god sakes. It’s a private retailer. If Amazon takes this book off the virtual shelves isn’t banning, it’s listening the market.

  10. yeah, this is pretty gross. I don’t want to hear about how pedophiles are misunderstood and that it is all for the love of a kid. My ass. It is all about a sickness that is so depraved that it shouldn’t be understood.

    Kids are not to be trifled with. I’m not a mom, but I will protect anyone’s kid, almost blindly.

  11. as both a parent and a victim of molestation i have to agree with you that the book you describe (disclaimer: i haven’t looked at it personally, nor would i EVER) should be taken off the shelves and the author ridiculed for the rest of his hopefully miserable life for concocting such putridness. may he be tortured forever in the Pit of Despair. (sorry, couldn’t resist a PB reference.)

    having said that, i also cannot ever in good conscience advocate censorship on any level…because history has shown that all that accomplishes is that vile & horrible shit goes down that no one knows about until decades later.

    the buck stops at the publisher, distributors and frankly, the consumers to say “NO” to this type of purely exploitive garbage.

    the part that saddens me the most is that this “author,” “book” & story have received so much mileage. damn amazon and twitter for that.

  12. OK, even though I’m still wrestling with this one myself, and it’s going to make my skin crawl to do it, I feel compelled to play devil’s advocate here.

    Up front I need to say that I’m a writer, so I’ve got strong opinions on restrictions of speech. I don’t have kids, but I do have several nieces and nephews, and I’d cheerfully murder any adult who forced them to engage in non-consensual sex. I might even purchase a book on how to get away with committing the murder, if such a book were available. After the fact, obviously–murdering a pedo scumbag would clearly be the priority there.

    For those who’ve been wondering: according to CNN, the book is self-published.

    Jen–I hardly think yours is an unpopular opinion. On the contrary, I can’t imagine there not being a strong majority sharing your view on this one.

    Tracey says: “I’m super ok with this filth getting banned. Why would that be a question?”

    Because you either believe in free speech or you don’t, and if you really do, you’ve got to ask that question.

    You say what if there was a book telling rapists how to rape or animal abusers how to abuse–I guess what I key into there is that the rapists and animal abusers, and pedophiles, will exist regardless of whether there’s a book telling them the “correct” way to indulge their perversions.

    A similar argument could be used to justify banning books about FBI profiling on the grounds that they teach serial killers how to avoid getting caught. Similar arguments ARE being made to prevent teens from receiving adequate sex education.

    Up until now I’ve held to the belief that thinking and/or writing about something that doesn’t directly affect the freedom of another individual is as close to a god-given right as an atheist can have. This book is so despicable I’m having trouble sticking to my guns on that one. No one in a sane world should be faced with the existence of such a thing. But here I am. And as much as my gut says this book should be burned and its writer locked up for his and society’s own good, my mind tells me that if it happens, it won’t be long before I or someone I like or respect also find ourselves in court defending our right to have written something someone else didn’t like. Not for having done something objectionable, but for having written about something objectionable.

    Because I do write about objectionable things. Things even I would take issue with if they were real. That’s sort of my job, and I love my job. So I’m going to have a hard time accepting anyone being prevented from writing what they want and self-publishing it because I or anyone else fears the actions a collection of words might inspire.

    Jen’s willingness to sacrifice her freedoms for her children is admirable and understandable. The question is, does she have the right to sacrifice my freedoms–and her children’s, should they wish to express controversial opinions publicly at some point in their lives–along with her own?

    Over the last week, George W. Bush repeatedly admitted to authorizing and conspiring to commit real torture of actual people. Those are acts he committed and admits to doing. His book’s going to be a bestseller.

    The moron who wrote the pedo’s handbook is going to be raked over the coals for something that *might* happen. I can’t say I feel sorry for him. There are consequences for bringing this sort of thing into the world. Personal consequences. Financial consequences. Possibly even legal consequences, if a case can be made for the book being an incitement to criminal activity.

    But if one of those consequences will result in the *preemptive* restriction of anyone’s ability to write whatever insane, sick bullshit they want…well, that’s a tough pill for me to swallow.

    Finally: this ass doesn’t have a right to have his book carried by Amazon or anywhere else, and none of the above should be interpreted as a defence for any store or distributor that does so. (The same would go for any publisher ridiculously irresponsible enough to get it on peoples’ shelves.) The double standard Amazon displayed by making this book available while rejecting pornography is staggering. That said, if law enforcement could get their hands on the names and addresses of people who bought or tried to buy the book, there might be some lemonade to be made there.

    • i agree with you 100% andrew.

      the fact is nothing in real life is free. ever.

      the price we pay for relative freedom of speech is dealing with asshole douche-bags like this guy. but we don’t have to buy, condone, print or distribute it. (in truth we don’t even have to talk about it.)

      he’s getting his 15 mins of fame, sure. but he’s also getting a whole lotta bad karma with it. i take solace in that. his life will never be the same, and not for the better.

    • I think I need to clarify, in my rant I kept saying that im okay with this book or that book being “banned”. Im not against freedom of speech, so no, I guess I don’t agree with banning anyones writing, but I suppose my issue is with the publishing, printing, distribution. I agree that once you start telling people what they can and can’t write about, where does it stop? But Amazon should’ve thought twice, and I guess now they have.

  13. well said!

    I told this to l8enough today. I don’t think censorship is the issue necessarily. if it were, this book would be censored along with books that have the word vagina on the cover.

    I don’t know that pedophiles need a how to. my instinct say that these predators know just how to attack on their lonesome.

    what concerns me is that the publishing of a book like this condones its content. does that mean I support censorship? maybe. jeez, that changes everything. but how can we condone pedophilia? how?

    I don’t think we can afford to.

  14. What Andy said.

    No, I don’t think government should tell us what we can and cannot write. Still, publishers and distributors should have enough sense not to publish and distribute material that advocates hurting children.

  15. My whole thought on this was that people needed to vote with their pocketbooks. Costing a business money is a whole lot easier that burning books. And in the end, that’s what happened.

  16. After working with so many kids who did not and do not have a choice in what happens to them on a daily basis, I stand behind you 100%. Pedophiles will still exist. But let’s not make it easier for them to accomplish their tasks.

  17. a) I completely agree with you – I can’t imagine anyone buying this book, especially as a mother of two wee things *shudder*
    b) the only upside I can see to someone actually buying this book is that the Police would have a list ready of all the pedophiles in the area and can keep an eye on the perverts. It should be mandatory that whomever orders the book should be put on a public list for everyone to see.

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