Until Thursday morning, the frankly-titled, self-published e-book The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct was available for purchase on Amazon.com, and late Friday the retailer also pulled a book titled Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers. The books' removal by Amazon—despite the company's initially defending their availability on its site, calling removal "censorship"—was a direct response to consumer outrage and media controversy.
Although Amazon has declined to comment on the pedophilic books or their (temporary? permanent? conditional?) removal from the site this week, Amazon did publicly respond to an outcry against the sale of Understanding Loved Boys in 2002. Then, Amazon spokesperson Patricia Smith cited the First Amendment and said, "We believe that providing open access to written speech, no matter how controversial or ugly, is one of the most important things we do. And we will continue to make controversial works available in the U.S. and every where else, except where they are specifically prohibited by law."
But back to the matter at hand: Should these books be banned from Amazon's stock, and should the two books be lumped into the same, perhaps ban-able category?
More information on the books, their authors and their content after the cut.
David L. Riegel wrote Understanding Loved Boys and three other pro-pedophilia books sold by Amazon (all of which have now been pulled) and has not spoken with the media. But according to the author's description of Understanding Loved Boys on Amazon, Riegel views pedophiles as "sincere, concerned, loving human beings who simply have—and were probably born with—a sexual orientation that is neither understood nor accepted by most others."
In the opening chapter, Riegel asserts that "there is no evidence" that children are invariably harmed by sexual experiences, calling the trauma associated with those experiences "very infrequent, almost to the point of being nonexistent".
While he does offer a perspective on pedophilia that normalizes the behavior (seemingly likening it to homosexuality), dismisses victimization and comforts offenders, Riegel does not offer how-to advice for pedophilic activity. The author of Pedophile's Guide, Phillip R. Greaves, does.
Pedophile's Guide includes tips like using the finger of a latex glove as a child's condom, and according to the e-book's description Greaves' authorial intent was to, among other things, "make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them" by establishing adult-conduct rules which would, hopefully, "result in less hatred [for pedophiles] and perhaps liter sentences should they ever be caught" [sic].
Greaves told The Smoking Gun that while he did have sex with other children while still a child himself, he has never engaged in sex with a child as an adult. According to Detective Dustin Taylor of Greaves' town of residence, Pueblo, Colo., Greaves is a "normal man" with no criminal record.
In this video, Greaves does not strike the viewer as normal.
Greaves did, however, tell TSG, "The best advice I can give a pedophile is, accept that masturbation is your best friend."
While the content of these books is objectionable, it is not illegal. None of the above-mentioned books contains pornography, or graphic images of any kind—the one thing explicitly not permitted on Amazon's virtual shelves. And Amazon continues to stock other books of questionable content, such as the Brogersma titles, Dearest Pet: On Bestiality and Mein Kampf.
In the ethical division between the freedom of speech and ideas and the unequivocal demonization of pedophilia, where do you stand?