Sunday, May 02, 2010

Now Two Questions For The Free Speech Absolutists [Anthony McCarthy]

In these discussions of proposals to suppress violent pornography, the rote assertions of the free speech industry are almost always recited. “No rights are lost through speech (from last week),” “There is no causal link between porography and violence,” etc.

My question is, can any book or video or anything which has been shown, beyond a reasonable doubt, to have motivated the violence it intended, be banned? Or am I right, your position is that no number of deaths or violent attacks is ever enough to allow banning?

How about the example I cited yesterday, “Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors", explicitly, a how-to book for committing murder? Which has, based on its price, become a collector's item. I'd imagine you can keep it next to your Jeffrey Dahmer memorabilia.

Some of you will remember that the book was used in the murders of Mildred Horn, her disabled son Trevor Horn and Janice Roberts Saunders, his night nurse who was murdered beside the bed of the 8-year-old boy in her car, all killed for his trust fund. The killer was hired by Mildred Horn’s ex- husband, Lawrence Horn who stood to inherit the trust fund. The hired killer was James Edward Perry.

Perry, who purchased a how-to manual titled "Hit Man" and followed it almost to the letter in Mildred Horn's Silver Spring home on the night of March 3, 1993, was sentenced to death three times by a Montgomery County jury in October.

.... The method and caliber were recommended in "Hit Man," whose publisher is being sued in U.S. District Court by members of Mildred Horn's family who claim the book aided the murders. A hearing in U.S. District Court on whether the First Amendment's free speech guarantee applies to the book is scheduled for July 22.

Looking around the internet, I haven’t found any sympathy for James Perry, sentenced to death (He died of natural causes in prison) or his employer, who was sentenced to three life terms. I have found considerable lamentation about the fate of the book and its publisher, whodestroyed all of its copies and settled a lawsuit out of court.

If you go wading through the “free speech” nonsense on this incident, notice how bizarre the arguments get. Some of the hair splitting denies that Perry used the how-to book of murder, which he bought and consulted, because he didn’t follow exactly it to the letter. Apparently the sloppiness of his “hit job” exculpates the book, its author and its publisher. Who knows, if he’d followed it to the letter, he and the man who hired the “independent contractor” might have gotten away with it entirely. Perhaps other more satisfied customers and their clients have gotten away with it. Which is the intention of the book.

Here we have it, a book, explicitly a how-to murder book, used in at least one case in court and the free speech industry doesn’t think that book has proven it deserves to die. Oh, and there are the tears shed by the free speech industry for Paladin Press, the publisher that sold the book that ultimately killed at least three people, we know of.

As we can see, for the stalwart free speech absolutist, the book has more rights than the victims of the crime, their families and loved ones. The publisher of the book are presented, by some of them, as martyrs of free speech and free press. Though I haven’t found mention of any of them being killed for it.

Note: Here is what the description of the book, I assume from the publisher, says about it:

Rex Feral kills for hire. Daring. Unafraid. Profrssional. Now he dares to tell his professional secrets.

Feral is a hit man. Some consider him a criminal. Others think him a hero. In truth, he is a letal weapon aimed at the enemy of the one who pays him. He is the last recourse in these times when laws are so twisted that justice goes unserved. He is a man who controls his destiny through his private code of ethics, who feels no twinge of guilt at doing his job. He is a professional killer.

Learn how a pro makes a living at this craft without landing behind bars. Find out how he gets hit assignments, creates a false working identity, makes a disposable silencer, leaves the scene without a trace of evidence, watches his mark unobserved, and more. An expert assassin and bodyguard, Feral reveals the details of how to get in, do the job, and get out - without getting caught. For informationl purposes only!

"For informational purposes only!" [wink, wink] Makes their innocuous intentions completely obvious, no?

Change a few words, it could describe the champions of the book.

I will add an update later today.