The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct
That’s what the book sold through Amazon’s Kindle store was called. It was a book designed to teach pedophiles how to establish “boundaries” with their child victims that will, hopefully, prevent them from getting caught, or if they do get caught, how to get lighter sentences.
At first, I thought it was a joke. What respectable company would sell such material? Then I saw the outrage from the public about the book and Amazon’s choice to sell it. I too became outraged. After all, I have been selling my published titles under the pseudonym of Jessica Jewett on Amazon and other online retailers for years. The thought of my books being sold on a website where pedophiles could also buy their very own how-to guide turned my stomach. People can spin things in any direction they want but the bottom line is there is no acceptable manner in which an adult can engage in a sexual relationship with a child. It goes against all moral codes of conduct and it goes against the laws of nature.
The First Amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
But I do not feel that Freedom of Speech is an absolute freedom in the way some choose to interpret the amendment. Saying you want the president was dead, for example, could easily be interpreted as Freedom of Speech, but it would also land you in prison for making threats against the president if the wrong people heard your statements. Freedom as an absolute concept cannot exist or there would be anarchy.
Amazon initially had this to say about selling the book.
Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.
Basically, Amazon was using the First Amendment to justify the selling of the book. I thought about all the agreements I had to make when I began selling my books through their website. Some of those pieces to the official policy read, in part:
What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect. Amazon Digital Services, Inc. reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of Titles sold on our site.
Titles sold through the Digital Text Platform Program must adhere to all applicable laws. Some Titles that may not be sold include any Titles which may lead to the production of an illegal item or illegal activity.
So let me get this straight. Amazon defended the right to sell The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover’s Code of Conduct but meanwhile have existing guidelines about selling books that are deemed offensive and lead to illegal activity. What exactly is deemed offensive when a guide to molesting children is allowed to be placed in their inventory? It sounds a little hypocritical to me. I saw this comment floating around online and I thought it made a lot of sense.
It is a felony to have sex with a child. Any book that promotes, fosters or conspires to promote an illegal felonious activity that may be harmful to children does NOT fall under the protection of Freedom of Speech clause of the First Amendment. The courts recognize that there is a compelling interest in protecting the physical and psychological well-being of minors. Sable Communications of California, Inc. v. FCC, 492 U.S. 115, 126 (1989), Ginsberg v. New York, 390 U.S. 629, 631 (1968).
People can and will debate the First Amendment from here to eternity and nobody will ever agree on it. To me, the First Amendment is not the point in this case. Amazon is a private company existing with the right to sell or not sell what they choose based on their predetermined guidelines and official policies. That company made the choice to sell a book that teaches pedophiles things that will help them avoid getting caught, as per the book description before it was removed from the Kindle store. Only because of intense public pressure did Amazon remove the book last night after Anderson Cooper discussed it on CNN. Had there not been public outrage, the book would have remained, despite Amazon’s official policy on offensive material and material that promotes illegal activity. It’s not about the First Amendment. It’s about a private company making a very poor decision.
The issue for me now becomes whether to continue selling my books through a retailer that willingly sold material that I find wholeheartedly objectionable. I’m an author with a need to earn money, but I was also a victim of molestation by my ex-stepfather. Selling my book on a retailer that sold a book teaching men like him how to engage in sexual relationships with children like me is, frankly, something I’m not sure that I can do. There is nothing to be defended when it comes to sexual activity with a minor. The psychological damage is insurmountable. I’m almost 30-years-old and I still have nightmares about my ex-stepfather coming into my bedroom in the middle of the night and exercising his demented and evil sexual fantasies while threatening my life if I told people. No, the right to publish and sell a how-to guide for establishing relationships of this nature should not be protected by the First Amendment or Amazon or anyone.