This article has been updated. Please see last page for updates. Phillip Ray Greaves II is the author of The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure; a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct. Greaves is, probably, a disgusting human being, and his book, although I have not seen it, is probably as equally disgusting. I don’t know, because I don’t know Greaves, and I’m only coming to this issue through the news media’s lense.
Greaves was arrested Monday at his home in Pueblo, Colorado. Greaves was arrested for writing his how-to pedophilia book. I’m not being cynical. Sheriff Grady Judd in Polk County Fla. has charged Greaves for breaking one of Florida’s ‘obscenity’ laws.
Obscenity is a vague term, but Grady Judd has it nailed down.
An undercover deputy in Polk County had Greaves send him a copy of the pedophilia guide book. That was enough to file charges against Greaves for distributing obscene material around Florida. Apparently, Greaves even signed the book. Which was nice of him. He didn’t have to personally sign the copy.
Sheriff Grady Judd said, “I was outraged by the content. It was clearly a manifesto on how to sexually batter children…” (source).
And I agree with Judd. This is a disgusting book. But dear God, man, I will do everything in my power to defend the freedom of speech, even at its ugliest levels.
Many of you will disagree. The issue seems clear when it deals with such a disgusting subject matter: the sexual abuse of children. But until Phillip Ray Greaves II actually commits a crime, such as abusing a child, we in America cannot prosecute him for thinking it.
I don’t mean we should sit around and wait for ugly crimes to happen. What I mean is that American authorities cannot be arresting people for what they write, or, for what they might be thinking. That is far worse a crime than writing a book on pedophilia. And Greaves has no criminal history.
You still may not agree.
Judd keeps a Bible on his desk. There is plenty of murder, rape, pedophilia, incest, and disgrace documented in that book, but I’m not going to question what kinds of ideas Sheriff Judd takes from reading the Bible. The analogy isn’t right on, I know, but it’s getting closer to the point.
What we find ugliest in this society we must fight to protect with extra vigor. Fighting for the rights of those we find most disgraceful and distasteful is the only way to temper a truly free and upright society. It might seem backward, but think about it. If we throw Greaves in prison for writing a nasty how-to book, we take steps ‘backward’ in freedom of speech progress.
Sheriff Judd thinks otherwise: “What’s wrong with a society that has gotten to the point that we can’t arrest child pornographers and child molesters who write a book about how to rape a child?”
I take it Judd isn’t a fan of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, which is about the continuous seducing of a child. That book should not be read or sold in Florida, Sheriff Judd. That is your next assignment. Eradicate Nabokov. (readThe disgusting brilliance of Lolita here)
Judd is grossly in error with his statement, even though, on some level, I want to agree with him. There are many books about child rape, and other heinous crimes and activities. Are you going to start banning and arresting those distributing fiction that realistically depicts the rape of a child?
You cannot arrest Greaves unless he commits a crime. Distributing a particularly nasty book does not qualify as a crime, and if it is a crime in Florida, as distributing obscenity, it shouldn’t be. I’m particularly offended when Lot’s daughters seduce their father in a cave while Sodom and Gomorrah are still burning. I consider that obscene. I consider that morally destructive. I get images in my head of a drunken father rolling around naked, copulating with his daughters. That’s criminal. Thanks, God, and whoever really channeled those words.
I will support the First Amendment; I will support the freedom of speech. I am a writer, and I will not idly sit by and watch someone (Sheriff Judd) with a personal vendetta against a rather disturbing individual (Phillip Ray Greaves) who has written a rather nasty book.
I will fight for the freedom of speech in this country. And if that means being on Greaves side with this particular issue, so be it.
UPDATE: I realized there were a few places in this article that I wasn’t being very clear. Let me address them for further clarity.
As a society, if we hate Phillip Ray Greaves II’s how-to pedophile guide book, then we must, as a society, investigate the book. To do that, we must ask if the book has any artistic merit and/or a modicum of social insight. That must be done before we haul the author to jail. America cannot throw Greaves in jail simply for writing his book, even if it offends 99.9 percent of us. We cannot jail the author even if it seems he knows too much about pedophilia.
UPDATE II: Let’s be clear about another thing. Writing a book is not the same as crafting a ‘hit list’. This book on pedophilia has been compared to finding a ‘kill list’ in a high schooler’s locker. That kill list is evidence of a pre-meditated crime. Greaves published his book, making it a public affair. That is not evidence of a crime, that is literature (the spreading of information). There is a major difference, and to confuse the two is dangerous. I will not let that logical fallacy stand.
If someone published a hit list, it would be offensive, but it would be public information, and that wouldn’t be much of a hit list anymore, would it be. It would be more like offensive Dada poetry.
UPDATE III: Many want to argue this society is based on morals and values from the Bible, and that the Constitution has been crafted through the Bible’s laws, but the Constitution still is not the end-all of law in our society. The Bible is. If that is so:
The Bible says, Thou shalt not kill, yet 90 percent of Americans were jeering and cheering when the U.S. lit up Iraq and playfully called it “Shock & Awe”. Many Christian Americans approve of the death penalty. Many Christians approve of the killing of terrorists. And furthermore, many Americans eat meat, as did many of the characters in the Bible. Thou shalt not kill. Except what you want to kill.
I have been told our society sits on the moral foundation of Jesus Christ, yet I do not see those morals played out anywhere in this society, nor do I see that in Washington. If Jesus ran this society, Phillip Ray Greaves II would be forgiven by Christ. Are you sure you want that? As you all began throwing stones at Greaves, Jesus would have stood in front of the man.
UPDATE IV: If you want to blow down the laws to get at Phillip Ray Greaves, then what happens when you get to him, and he turns around, and there is nothing left between you? No more laws left standing to protect you from the Devil himself. You wish to blow down the law to catch a person who has not broken a law, but you don’t think about the consequences of cutting those laws. (this statement is derived from Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons).