General Question

phoebusg's avatar

What is your rationale (explanation) and opinions rising from the article on Phillip Greaves' story?

Asked by phoebusg (5241points) April 7th, 2011

Given there was a very large thread on fluther not long ago on Paedophiles – and the attention it got. Here’s an instance of a real world example from some paradigms/responses in that thread (use the search function b/c I am lazy :).

Here’s a article on BBC about Phillip Greaves – who self published a book for pedophiles to follow and not break the law.

What do you think of Amazon’s decision to pull the book and his sentence?

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28 Answers

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
math_nerd's avatar

Amazon can sell what they want.

Two years probation actually seems like overkill. It was just a book. From that incredibly thin article it is impossible to tell what the book said. He probably took probation to make his problems go away.

And if you just want to talk about something you find interesting you should post it in ‘Social’.

phoebusg's avatar

@math_nerd no, I posted in the right section. I want more serious responses on-topic. Social has different rules. Thank you for your response though!

Hidden_Mystery's avatar

I am not sure there is enough to comment on.
The word ‘pedophile’ sensationalizes and sends a condemning message before anyone reads.
The first reason is because there is no love nor can there be any form of love found in such acts committed by a paedophile.

I think it is unwise to make any comments on the book. But the write up appears to say it is a way around the law. Anyone with more information about the book?

phoebusg's avatar

@Hidden_Mystery If you read the description: looking for your opinions and comments on the response of Amazon and the legal system—but no I haven’t read the book. Just run into this on BBC and remembered an old Fluther thread and some of the comments.

Hidden_Mystery's avatar


Amazon… as a company would protect themselves from any legal opposition which would cause them to lose customers or end up being in a court case.
I think Amazon would have complied with their own legal eagles on this matter and withdrew the book in the interest of the public who buy from their sites.

Unless Amazon make a statement as to why they legally withdrew the book from their shelves then we may never know. Maybe someone failed to do their job correctly and did not proof-read the book before selling it.

I am afraid I do not believe we can form opinions beyond that reasoning.
Sorry if unhelpful to you.

phoebusg's avatar

@Hidden_Mystery no worries, thank you for trying. But looking for opinions about the response to a book supposedly there for Pedophiles to not break laws. Seems like it’s working against itself in a way. Maybe we’d like generally as a society to rip it out of their heads even if they do not “practice” what they fantasize about.

Hidden_Mystery's avatar


My concern would not be the ‘not breaking of the law’ but does the book poise a way of doing things to get around the law. That would be a worry. If the man is advocating a way in which no child would be harmed or approached by such a person. Then, I admit, it would be an interesting concept to protect children from such people.

But, I am not sure we will ever know now. Good luck in finding answers. If you get any be sure to let me know. :-)

iamthemob's avatar

There’s a lot of criticism on both sides of the Amazon issue. Personally, they have the right to make any decision they want to on this front, in my opinion. It has an interest in addressing it’s customer’s concerns – and so it didn’t fold so much as make a conservative choice.

I was able to read an excerpt – and in the end, any claims about it being a guide to help ensure that children don’t get harmed and pedophiliacs are able to deal with their impulses safely as well as legally was fairly undermined by the two short paragraphs I saw.

This article addresses why Amazon made the wrong choice, according to the author. Again, after seeing the couple of paragraphs, I disagree.

In terms of the legal decision, I’m concerned, but I think that it was properly conservative. The fact that he doesn’t have to register as a sex offender is vital for me. He states that he is not a pedophile himself…and of course, who knows…but to be drastic at all in sentencing him on this count WOULD reek of First Amendment violations.

The biggest problem with I have about an argument that the book is somehow meant to help pedophiles control their behavior is really that the author is wholly and utterly lacking in credentials. Whether this book would have generally helped or hurt in dealing with the issue, that lack of training alone leads me clearly to side with those stating that it should not be distributed.

phoebusg's avatar

@iamthemob thank you a ton nice relevant link as well. Reading through it. Where did you find those paragraphs you’re referring to?

cazzie's avatar

I’m not sure, without really reading the book or some sort of cliff notes on it. It says ‘abide’ by the law.. not ‘avoid’ the law.. so I’m wondering if it’s preaching something that people who deal with sex offenders to help them from re-offending?

When I first scanned the article, I expected it to be about a guy who wrote a book about ‘doing the bad deeds and how not to get caught,’ but I’m not sure the book is about that. I don’t like the idea that the book condones the feelings and motivations as something other than a mental illness, though. I worry that it would condone child pornography even if it doesn’t condone child molestation. You can’t have one without the other and if this author is so misguided as to suggest that, then he needs to be taken off the shelves and given a dose of reality medicine.

Cruiser's avatar

IMO Amazon did the right thing. I think they sent a message to their customers that profiting from obviously wrong and disgusting subject matter is not the mission statement of their company. It is a shame though that they put the book on the site in the first place and I applaud the thousands of customers who complained.

We don’t need to always rely on the legal system to police what we allow to have happen in our society and it should be self policing by it’s citizens and businesses in similar fashion to what Amazon did here.

America is the home of the brave not the home of the depraved and Amazons actions are what help keep the moral fabric of our country strong.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

As Amazon is a for-profit company, they have a right to pull the book. If people were boycotting their business unless the book was removed from their listing, they could lose profit. People do not have a right to be published even if they have freedom of speech. I do not consider this censorship as Amazon has the right not to publish a book if it effects their bottom line. No publisher is duty bound to publish anything, although many writers probably wish they were. Public opinion does sway businesses. The biggest one I can think of is Coke and New Coke.

Since the description of the actual content of the book is very vague, it is difficult to determine if Greave’s sentence was appropriate or not. The link you posted said he was charged with “distributing obscene material depicting minors engaged in harmful conduct”, has two years probation and does not have to register as a sex offender. This seems like a very mild charge and punishment so it does not seem they were trying to crucify him just because of the name of the book.

Personally, having 3 children, I feel better knowing that a book geared toward assisting pedophiles is not quite so readily available.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I am not sure that it would be possible for a paedophile to be able to adequately judge how to act in a way that’s not harmful to the child, given that the harm itself is psychological. I have a hard time accepting that in the perpetuation of an act of self-gratification with a child, the well-being of the child is a primary concern. I’m not seeing books out there condoning murdering your spouse or parent and advocating methods that allow you to do it legally.

koanhead's avatar

@cazzie I have read the article, but not the book. If the author purports to tell paedophiles how to “not break the law” then he must advise them to not possess child pornography either, as that is also illegal in the EU and in the USA, and many other jurisdictions besides.
By the way, everyone, BE AWARE of the child pornography laws in your jurisdiction. In some places merely possessing a prurient photograph of someone who looks like a minor is illegal, regardless of their actual age.

iamthemob's avatar

@BarnacleBill – I feel like you bring up a very good point. I feel like it’s far too risky to condone certain behavior that actually places children in situations where interactions might be legal, but could easily cross a line.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I am a very, very strong 1st Amendment proponent. As far as I’m concerned, the major reason I was in the military was to protect the right to freedom of speech. Yet this appears to go beyond the pale, and crosses the line where free speech intersects with the right of the community to protect its most defenseless members. This line is, at best, vague and ever-changing, yet the very human impulse to protect the defenseless is very strong and may override virtually any principle or standard.

How strong? Well, at a personal level, I would rather spend the rest of my life in prison for killing a pedophile, than allow a little person to come to harm because of my inaction. That strong,

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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I want to read that book. Then I’ll tell you. I think such a book (one that helps people who have sexual/romantic feelings for children control their urges) should absolutely exist and be sold on Amazon. Amazon, I feel, can sell whatever book they want or don’t want but they will bend under pressure, apparently.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Show me a business that won’t bow to pressure from its customers and I’ll show you a soon to be ex-business.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@CaptainHarley Well, that’s neither here nor there. There are businesses, although rare, that have principles and stand by them no matter the pressure.

CaptainHarley's avatar


It’s certainly “here or there” to the business owner(s) and their employees.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@CaptainHarley Again, not all businesses are about people’s whims.

CaptainHarley's avatar


“Whims?” “Whims?” WTH does THAT mean?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@CaptainHarley Whims, you know…momentary feelings about certain situations…if every business gave in to every group feeling one way or another about something they’re selling, they wouldn’t be a business..example, we protest GAP, Target and H&M as well as Wal-Mart for many reasons that feel strongly about…do they give a shit? no…they consider our beliefs a whim.

flutherother's avatar

I think the author has hoped to make a buck out of the public’s fascination with paedophilia. The title alone is guaranteed to sell copies. It is also guaranteed to outrage people and Amazon had no choice but to remove it from sale.

CaptainHarley's avatar


No, it’s not that they “don’t give a shit,” it’s just that they are in business for the purpose of providing products and/or services in return for money.Any business that says it is in business to work for some sort of “social reform” is either on the way to imploding, or is lying through its teeth.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Here’s a excerpt on Gawker of Philip Greaves’ other book that’s available on Amazon.

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