Let me preface my opinion today, with a little background of how I see things.
Today is Veteran’s Day. A day, we as a nation and a people, take a moment to honor and appreciate the courage, sacrifices and on-going struggles of our military as they continue to be the sentinels that guard our domestic and international freedoms. To be an American, it takes Advanced Citizenship, and to be a soldier of this great nation, it takes an even stronger sense of citizenry. We have taken the oath to defend our nation from all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC. As soldiers we have a unique understanding of the battle. We are oath-bound to defend the rights of those whom we disagree with and in many cases, loathe, to exercise the privileges granted to them by our nation’s doctrines.
And so it is because of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights that a Colorado man was able to self-publish the e-book, “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct” and sell it on Amazon for the Kindle.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights.
However, the subject of this poorly written e-book is so offensive that a national outcry rose and gained in momentum until eventually Amazon reluctantly agreed to stop selling the e-book even though it’s sale had topped the charts. Amazon feels that by not offering the e-book they are guilty of censorship, but they are wrong. The e-book is still available, but not through Amazon. It’s not censored. It’s not banned. The man’s “message” is not silenced.
As an American, whom not only pledges allegiance to the flag, but also took the Military Oath to defend this nation, I have stood up to allow many offensive documents and words to be said. But as a soldier, I came to understand what Advanced Citizenship means. Every individual and organization has a responsibility to think and act in such a way that will benefit this nation now and in the future. We can not just hide our heads in the sand and say, “Well, it’s his right.” At some point, we have to take a stand for what IS right.
It was not “Advanced Citizenship” that motivated Amazon to share the e-book with the world. It was a lack of self-responsibility and policing. Amazon has a responsibility and a RIGHT to police itself. The First Amendment is not a license to be offensive and hurtful. It is not a free pass to force others to support your cause. In a nation of Advanced Citizens, we as a “collective” have a RIGHT to simply ignore, vilify, or shut down anything we choose to. In fact, we have laws in place that would prevent a book like this from being published and benefited from if it were written by a convicted pedophile.
However, in this situation, The People, have spoken, and spoken loudly. Amazon acted responsibly and did not break any laws by pulling the e-book from their website. As Advanced Citizens, we have said, “You can write your book. That is your right. But your view is not acceptable and we, as a nation that accepts and tolerates much, will not tolerate everything.”