I'd like to say it was the power of the press that got an icky book removed from a popular online seller. But I think it was more the power of the people.
Amazon told The Associated Press Thursday that it has removed "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover's Code of Conduct," which I blogged about yesterday, from its site.
The book "offers advice to pedophiles on how to make a sexual encounter with a child as safe as possible" and is reportedly written from a child's point of view.
It wasn't "immediately clear whether Amazon.com Inc. had pulled the item, or whether the author withdrew it. Amazon did not immediately return messages Thursday," the AP reported.
After the book's presence on Amazon.com was reported Wednesday, there was outrage from commenters on social networking sites such as Twitter.
"Some people threatened to boycott the online store until Amazon removed the book. Two petitions on Facebook alone won more than 13,500 supporters," per the AP story.
Freedom of speech, indeed.
While I do support anyone's right to express him or herself, such as this dirtbag author, I also support the right of businesses to make decisions based on integrity, ethical behavior, and the demands of their clientele as well as the bottom line.
****update Friday, 11/12:
The Associated Press reports this afternoon that police in Pueblo, Colo., are investigating AND trying to protect the pedophile author Phillip Ray Greaves II.
"Police are investigating whether the author of a guide for pedophiles did anything illegal even as they try to protect him from a threat posted on a local website," per the story.
Greaves, a resident of Pueblo, was interviewed by police Thursday morning after they heard news reports about the book and went to Greaves' home.
Pueblo Detective Dustin Taylor described Greaves as cooperative and said he gave detectives a copy of the book when they asked for one.
"He was just a normal man. He didn't seem unnerved by us being there," Taylor said.
Police told Greaves that he'd been threatened on a local website and that they would monitor his home for his safety. Taylor said the author didn't seem fearful. Police would not elaborate on the threat, and the message was removed from the website, Taylor said.
Greaves, 47, has no criminal record and is not a registered sex offender, Taylor said. Taylor said authorities kept the book but don't expect criminal charges at this point.
"At this point we're still reviewing it, though there's still no indication of any crime being committed," Taylor said.
In his book, "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover's Code of Conduct," Greaves argues that pedophiles are misunderstood, as the word literally means to love a child. He adds that it is only a crime to act on sexual impulses toward children, and offers advice that purportedly allows pedophiles to abide by the law.
Greaves also self-published other books on Amazon and was a frequent writer to the Pueblo Chieftain editorial page. His letters to the editor were mostly about local matters and the role of government. Last month, Greaves wrote a letter calling for criminal fines to go to "randomly selected charities" instead of the government.
Amazon has declined comment to The Associated Press.
Greaves also declined an interview but told The Smoking Gun website on Wednesday that he suffers from depression and that he had sexual contact with children while still a child himself.
The website said that when asked if he had engaged in sexual acts with children as an adult, Greaves first said "could have" before saying that he hadn't. He also said he suffered a mental collapse about three years ago while working as a nursing home aide.
Greaves said he had only sold one book and insisted it doesn't advocate for adults to harm children.
"The best advice I can give a pedophile is, accept that masturbation is your best friend," Greaves told The Smoking Gun.