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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!