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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Power of the Tweeple!

Yesterday I saw a tweet in passing that changed my whole day.

It linked the phone number to Amazon.com so that we might call to get a pedophile's book taken off the shelves. Wait...WHAT?

I linked to the site and was horrified at what I read. "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Romance," was being sold as an e-book on Kindle through Amazon. I shuddered at the thought that my beloved Kindle could download something so obscene.

I made it my personal campaign to get this book off the shelves. I tweeted and FB'd and Blogged. <== Click here if want to read the blog from yesterday that explains more on the book and the outrage I (and many) felt.

I was not alone in this. 

Through various means, the story got out. Enough people sent enough tweets and blogs and whatevers to get Amazon to listen. I tried calling them and couldn't get through. I did, however, get through to an agent at FBI headquarters and filed a formal complaint against Amazon, and this man, for this book.

As of this morning, the book has been taken off, and our efforts to do so have received intentional attention. The BBC this morning reported on the controversy surrounding Amazon's choice to sell this book. (and subsequently profit from any sales...just consider that for a moment...profiting on sales of a book designed to teach pedophiles how to engage with children in a way that will lighten their sentence if convicted. WHAT?)

This has truly shown me what can be accomplished when people speak out. And the impact the social media has. The change it can create.

But not everyone is happy with this.

I blocked two people from my Twitter site because they would not stop harassing me about either:

A: My contribution to the destruction of the 1st Amendment and all civil liberties ever known. This person used sarcasm to make his point. It's just SOOO fun to have a friendly debate with someone dripping in disdain, don't you think?
or B: This book is just a distraction from real evil and by getting one book pulled from the shelves we are not really making a difference. How does this stop all violence everywhere? *HUH?* Why do we only care about white girls? *WTF?* and on it went.

I do not believe Free Speech is the trump-all card of cards. There are limits. As one person commented on yesterdays blog, you can't yell FIRE! in a crowded theater. It's illegal. When free speech endangers the lives of others, it's no longer protected. This book endangers the lives of children.


I have not, nor will I, read the book.

But here's a really interesting article from MSNBC.com They read the book for the purposes of research and thorough reporting. I won't rehash their comments, but it's worth reading. And worth noting that contrary to rumors floating around, this is not some innocent self-help guide for the nice pedophile who just wants to love children in a platonic sort of way. No. It is Not.

It also brings up another sad point. The attention generated from this outrage led to the sale of many more books. Until yesterday, only 1 person had allegedly purchased it.

I can only hope that many of those sales were people like MSNBC trying to do research. I don't know. I hate to think that my small part in this campaign led to more money and attention for this sick man and his horrid book.

But what is the alternative? Do we say nothing for fear of drawing more attention to this? Children go on Amazon everyday to buy books. I don't want MY children seeing a book like this online and thinking it's ok. Do you?

I'm glad it's off the site. But Amazon still has a lot to answer for. As my friend Liza Kane wrote in a blog letter to them yesterday, this is not the first questionable choice they've made. And it's not even clear yet who removed it, Amazon or the publisher.

Amazon won't publish porn, which is legal, but will profit off the sales of this? As of now, my boycott stands. And my Kindle is still in retirement.

BRING IT

What are your thoughts? Have we crossed the line into book burning? Are there certain lines that are just off-limits? Does freedom of speech trump all? Have we done more harm than good by bringing attention to this book? How do we fight that which threatens to destroy our children and society? I want to hear from all of you. Bring on the debate!

11 comments:

  1. You are absolutely right! My part in speaking up brought a comment that I haven't deciphered yet.

    My comment: pedophilia paraphernalia--IT IS AGAINST THE LAW. NOT COVERED UNDER FREE SPEECH--AND IT HURTS CHILDREN

    @L_Bushman That's true, & free speech doesn't cause anyone to get arrested from the last I've checked. Someone has their rights mixed up.

    That was a direct reply. I can't tell if they are with me or saying I'm mixed up :P

    Either way, there are things against the law, you can't say bad things about another person, like they are a thief, etc. Unless it is the truth. But, if you can't prove it, you can be sued for HUGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY. Why? because free speech doesn't cover harrassment and bullying. I like the fire example here.

    Why can't I yell fire in a crowded building. It's a free country right? UGH. The author of the book stated his intentions straight out that it was to help get lighter sentences if caught.

    As a child victim, I'm so not for lighter sentences. If anything, I think sentences are too easy now. In my opinion, sex offenders of children should get same penalty as a murderer. They have destroyed something that will never be returned.

    Thank you for standing up. In the long run, having this pulled, even with the short jump in sales, was the best thing. Now, it is less likely to get into the hands of one who can do more harm with it and get off easy.

    You did right. Never doubt it.

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  2. Evil things happen since the moment people started caring more about their rights than about their responsibilities...

    Indeed, we of the western world have been granted the freedom of speech. Still, if I go out and publicly claim that (for the argument's shake) the president should be killed during the next public speech, I WILL be arrested for stirring a terrorist hit and that's probably punishable in all western countries.

    Likewise, I can't or shouldn't say anything promoting or beautifying something as sick, molesting and dangerous as pedophilia. And thank God I dont find myself inclined to either. What I do find myself inclined towards is
    1. seeing this "man" behind bars and
    2. amazon being legally held responsible for the appearance and provision of this "book".

    In the end, since a company makes profit of things that are being sold from within her, she should also be held responsible when her products are violating the law.

    In any case, as I tweeted last night, not only did we have to tweet and blog against and boycott amazon but also alert the authorities. I did contact the SafeLine which is part of a larger Online Safe Watch organization and I'm sure that helped and will help again.

    As for Laura, that guy who told you that someone has mixed their rights, you should answer him that he was dead on. It's him! Nobody has no right to speak their mind when their thoughts violate the rights of others. That is the principal prerequisite for freedom of speech! But as I said, people are more interested in their right rather than their reponsibilities. That's why this is a sick and dying world.

    Pardon my misanthropy and pessimism.

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  3. I cant speak for @L_Bushman but I have exchanged tweets w her and she has RTd my blog on this several times. She's an awesome mom and loves kids. In her defense, I imagine she was trying to say that this is a freedom of speech issue, because the content of this book is marketing illegal acts and free speech under the true definition doesn't get you arrested.

    Again, I can't speak for her. But I do believe this is just an issue of convoluted tweeting, and honestly, who of us hasn't tweeted something and then thought, WTF? was I trying to say there? So...

    that being said,

    thank you both for supporting this issue. I stand behind every step I've taken on this, despite criticism and really, the worst accusation a writer can get, that I'm in favor of book burning! *GASP*

    But honestly

    People were comparing this to Huck Fin, and Lolita.

    Seriously? This is not a fiction book that pushes the edges of society. This is a HOW TO MANUAL for Criminal, Immoral and Dangerous behavior, for a sect of society with the highest rates of recidivism and least promising signs of recovery from this sickness.

    This is not a lifestyle choice, or "Sexual Preference." It's a mental illness that jeopardizes the lives or our children.

    I didn't play up the fact that I'm a mom with three little girls all under 8, because honestly it shouldn't' matter. I should have the same outrage even if I never wanted to have a child and didn't really care to spend time with them.

    We are all morally, ethically and in some ways legally obligated to protect the children of our world. I feel we have done so by protesting this, and by boycotting amazon until they show some signs that they understand the magnitude of their actions.

    *stepping off soapbox now*

    Love to you all!

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  4. Good job! Thanks for doing this...it takes time, energy and a real desire to make things change.
    I for one appreciate all your hard work.... and that hard work paid off!!

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  5. Kimberly, never doubt that you have done the right thing by campaigning to get this book removed. Yes, it won't stop the underlying evil that we all, sadly, know exists. Yes, it has drawn attention to this book, but to keep silent about it and do nothing?! I couldn't have done that. If nobody had protested, then that would have somehow said that our society thinks a book of this kind is 'ok'. It promotes the conduct of an illegal act and therefore I cannot see how free speech could be quoted as the reason that writing, publishing and sale of such a book should be permitted. Amazon does not allow the sale of pornography - yet surely this book could have been classed as that at least, and therefore not allowed to be sold?! It has almost sickened me more to see the people and articles that have quoted the author's 'rights' to produce such a book, over the rights of the children who would have suffered as a consequence, and those who already have.

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  6. Kimberly, Thanks for following me on twitter. I followed you here to your blog. Pretty awful that this the speaking out led to greater sales for this sickening book.

    KarenG

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  7. Paula, Pippa J: thank you for your support and encouraging words. I agree that this crosses a line into something other than free speech, embracing criminal activity. I'm glad I stood my ground here.

    KarenG, welcome to my blog. I will be moving to www.KimberlyKinrade.com soon with a whole new site and look, but I will be bringing all those who follow with me. I hope you will enjoy the new site as well. And I'm glad I found you on Twitter.
    Yes, it is sad the unintended outcomes that can occur when you take a stand against something. Still, better it off the shelves than sitting there waiting for one of my children to stumble on it while shopping for books.

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  8. Sorry I'm coming back to this, it's the fourth time I'm reading your answer actually and since it keeps bugging me I'll just answer it anyway.

    "I imagine she was trying to say that this is a freedom of speech issue, because the content of this book is marketing illegal acts and free speech under the true definition doesn't get you arrested."

    If I'm getting your point correctly (which I might not, remember I'm on a language handicap here) you're saying that although the book is promoting illegal acts, it still falls under the "true definition" of freedom of speech, and likewise does not get you arrested?

    Well if I am getting this right, I should ask you, in which countries does the talking and promoting illegal acts fall under the freedom of speech right? I'm not being sarcastic, it's a genuine question. For example, in Greece, you do get arrested for promoting an illegal act. I'm pretty sure it's the same in the UK where I spent 6 full years. I can't say I know this for sure but I can say that I'm fairly certain of it.

    Is it different in the US? Can someone claim the freedom of speech right and abuse it by promoting illegal activities? Can someone for example write a book about how to cook molotov bombs or how to pick locks?

    As for this: "I do believe this is just an issue of convoluted tweeting, and honestly, who of us hasn't tweeted something and then thought, WTF? was I trying to say there? So"

    no, I can definitely say that I haven't ever tweeted something that I regretted later or that I didn't use precisely the words I meant to use. I judge all others on the same basis and just as hard.

    In any case, what's funny with this "author" is that although this specific book was removed from Amazon, it was not the only book of his that was removed but also, it was not his entire collection that was removed. So I'm thinking, are the books that are still being sold alright? And what about the others that were removed? Were they inappropriate too?
    And if both these questions get positive answers, how can someone, under the same name, publish both moral and immoral books?

    Oh well, the book's removed, I'm satisfied with that.
    Can't be happy as he's still roaming the streets but then again, this world can never make me happy. My mates say I'm being too idealistic with everything. What's the point in caring about stuff unless you want them to be ideal though?

    Have a wonderful weekend everyone.
    I should work on my nano word count =)

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  9. Phlegyas
    Well, This gets tricky as I'm interpreting a tweet someone sent someone else. And what I think I meant was it ISN'T a free speech issue. And while you may be meticulous in all your tweets, mine have gone out with typos.

    I know the woman who originally posted that tweet, and I'm judging based on what I know of her, not on one random tweet that's hard to decipher in a vacuum.

    Re: promoting illegal activity. Strictly speaking, In the US, it is not illegal to write about how to engage in illegal acts. There are many other books out there that teach how to build bombs or hack computers and such.

    Whether they should be illegal is a different question, but as of now it's a gray area in the law.

    However, I still believe there are lines that must be drawn, and I will exercise my free speech rights to demand a book teaching how to rape children be taken off the market. I can't demand he doesn't write the book, however.

    His book mostly crosses into the gray area when it comes to depicting child porn erotica. But even then, it's not black and white. Child porn in images is strictly illegal. In writing, it's not as clear. Probably because they are so busy trying to catch the people looking at and producing the pictures.

    So, hope this clears it up a little for you. Thanks for your feedback! Good luck on NaNo!

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  10. Ah, okay, here I am on the correct blog, Kimberly, I think. I didn't realize that you had participated in that movement, I read about it on CNN.

    The main thing is, it's like when the Klan exercises their right to assembly. Sure, they have the right to do that, but like I said before, anyone wants to roll in there and beat the living crap out of them for it, well I'm not going to stand up and fight for the white supremacists. I'd have a weird blind spot suddenly.

    As for free speech, there's a big difference between speaking and being distributed on Amazon. The Constitution does not guarantee us all the right to distribute whatever we say on Amazon. It might be Amazon's policy to distribute all forms of books, but policies change. It's easy. Just add - "except pedophilia manuals." and call for a vote.

    This guy wants to stand on the street corner reading his book aloud, then I'll bet he's allowed to do it, and I'd be all for him, since it would most likely get him a savage beating.

    I'm trying to remove the rage I feel toward the guy by replacing it with a different crime. Say, How To Rob A Bank, see if I can think this through clinically. I'm not sure if he's allowed to write that or not. In the pre-Internet days, there was a bomb-making manual called the Anarchist's Cookbook, and it seems like I recall that you could get arrested for having it. I'd really love to hear from an actual lawyer about this topic.

    I do worry slightly about all the free publicity he got for the book - a lot of pedophiles got to hear about an instruction manual they didn't know existed before. But you're right, standing by and pretending that Amazon was not contributing to horrific crimes by carrying the book would have been the wrong thing to do.

    From a strictly intellectual perspective, I can almost get my mind around the idea that this guy has the right to produce and distribute his horrific book. It's just that I don't go around being intellectual about everything. If you attempt to harm one of my children, for example, you are not likely to get an intellectual response from me.

    So even if this disgusting creature's book is protected by free speech, I say so what? Look the other way, Constitution, we're going to slap down this loudmouthed pedophile real quick, and I mean it. Is it a slippery slope? I don't care. Where do I draw the line? Well, apparently at pedophilia - call me crazy.

    Well done for dropping an old-fashioned Louisiana ass kicking on Amazon. I understand that they don't want to start a precedent for removing books that offend people, but again, even a robot or a Vulcan could look at this coldly and without emotion and see the danger of it. It's not about being offended.

    I mean, imagine the book was called A Terrorist's Guide To Beating Airport Security - I have to think the feds show up and toss the guy in a cell.

    Unfortunately, I have no doubt that there are thousands of websites and forums where these people all get together and exchange tips just like the ones in the book. I actually wonder why the guy thought a physical book would be the way to do this, since it's got his name on it as opposed to an anonymous IP address.

    In summary, I agree with you five million percent, even if it turns out to be protected by free speech. Because grabbing a pedophile by the scruff of the neck and screaming "SHUT UP!" at him is also free speech.

    You did order the Jumbo Comment, yes?

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  11. Tom: From you I ALWAYS order the Jumbo Comment. You just made this page 1000 times more interesting. Just cut and paste and you got yourself another blog post!

    Thank you for your kind words. And yes, this is my blog until my site www.kimberlykinrade.com is complete.

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