Yesterday, Facebook and Twitter were set on fire with the revelation that Amazon.com had started selling an ebook called “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure” on its website. According to the author, the book was written to make “pedophile situations safer for juveniles that find themselves involved in them” by providing rules for pedophiles to follow as well as giving them tips on how to get lighter sentences should they get caught.
Amazon.com justified its position by stating that not selling the book is censorship, which they do not support regardless of how objectionable a person’s message may be. They also stated that they support individuals’ rights to make their own purchasing decisions.
This book presents more than just an objectionable message, it is a how to guide for pedophiles that teaches them how to work around the system. And by selling and promoting the book, Amazon.com has proven that the bottom line matters more than the security of children.
Furthermore, isn’t Amazon.com essentially aiding and abetting in the commission of a crime if someone takes this how to guide for pedophiles and uses it to commit an act against a child? Shouldn’t Amazon.com be just as liable as a bar who sells alcohol to a patron who then goes out and kills someone because they’re driving while intoxicated?
That being said, Amazon.com is a business and the reason businesses exist is to make money, not to make moral judgements. The real problem lies with the individual who felt “safe” enough to not only write this book, but publish it and offer it to a retailer to sell.I would argue that pop culture has any many ways created a “safe zone” for individuals like this ~ just turn on your TV, flip through a magazine, browse the local shopping mall…
The sexualization of children started long before the publication of this book. Have you looked at the clothes that are being marketed to kids? Just take a look at this video produced by ABC News, these clothes are being targeted for purchase by girls 12 to 16.
Look at teen celebs, what’s the fastest way for them to be taken “seriously” as actors? By publicly expressing their sexuality (e.g. Miley Cyrus who is 17, but, wait, take a look at her younger sister, Noah, who is 9!). I have yet to see male stars stripping down to their skivvies to prove they’re an adult, but that’s another post.
I’m not blaming the Cyrus family specifically, but I am blaming a media that celebrates the exploitation of children and the parents who buy these skanky outfits for their kids and then express shock when grown men start looking at these kids like they’re sexual objects. Ultimately, the responsibility for protecting our children lies not with businesses (or even the media) but with the parents.
Why do you think this person felt safe? Do you think it has to do with the sexualization of children in the media?
Disclosure: I’m a librarian and as a librarian, I’m against censorship, book banning or anything else that conflicts with free speech and expression, however, I draw the line when that speech involves the commission of crimes against children.