Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

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Jave D
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Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby Jave D » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:41 pm UTC

Couple Found Guilty of Murder for Parenting by "To Train Up a Child".

The good news is one abusive, murderous couple of parents were given the maximum prison sentence for murdering and abusing their child.

The bad news is this couple followed "To Train Up a Child," a book published by "No Greater Joy" Ministries, which advocates, and describes in horrific detail, methods of child abuse and neglect. Michael and Debi Pearl consider themselves disciplinarians for God, raising on "Biblical" principles as some sort of measure against "Gestapo" and "Nazis" and the "New World Order" and blah blah blah. I'm not even going to list or describe some of these methods, but suffice to say that it's not even about spanking as a means of punishment - it's a 24/7, from-birth-onward torture session. And of course it's very popular in certain "fundamentalist" circles. 670,000 copies sold, I believe.

This is not the first (nor will it be the last, I imagine) death resulting from these techniques.

And now I feel sick.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:27 pm UTC

Ugh. Now, some of those phrases are, IIRC, taken out of context, but yeah, the attitude of complete and total obedience being that essential is worrisome. Children are human beings with their own rights and what not, not property.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby Spambot5546 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:02 pm UTC

So it turns out they sell this book on Amazon. I was curious, so I checked it out. What I found particularly surprising where the thousand or so 5-star reviews. Then I actually read them.

Wonderful book. So glad somebody is finally brave enough to stand up for the pro-beating-up-babies movement. For too long, those little bald bastards have been walking (or crawling) all over us decent grown folk, and I for one am sick of it. These authors give such good advice it's insane! I could sing the praises of these amazing, God-fearing baby-beaters all day, but I thought I'd take this opportunity to recommend a few other titles sure to be right up the alley of anyone who enjoys this book.

Cooking for Company - Jeffrey Dahmer
Best Christmas Ever: A Couple's Guide to the Holidays - Scott Peterson
Dog Bathing Made Easy - Michael Vick

And last but not least,

All Aboard: A Final Solution for Train Enthusiasts - Adolph Hitler

Happy reading, everybody!
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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby davidstarlingm » Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:04 pm UTC

This whole scandal hit particularly close to home for me, given that I was raised with this book in hand, and that my family adopted a bunch of teens from Liberia.

It's all quite triggering.

Although this is particularly pernicious with respect to the religious aspects of it all, it's part of a larger problem -- where parenting is treated as a means of making children as little of a nuisance/inconvenience as possible. This is the logical extreme of behavior modification being elevated above learning and respect and equality.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby oxoiron » Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:11 pm UTC

The nice thing is that when God is telling you to beat your child, you know it's going to be okay. Any feelings of guilt or societal disapproval you may experience can be ignored, because your faith would never steer you wrong.
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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby addams » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:22 am UTC

oxoiron wrote:The nice thing is that when God is telling you to beat your child, you know it's going to be okay. Any feelings of guilt or societal disapproval you may experience can be ignored, because your faith would never steer you wrong.

I think you are being sarcastic. I hope.
Christians are not a high risk population. Surprising, considering some of their stories.

I listened to a lecture about one of the Old Testament stories.
It was horrible. A man was commanded by his 'Voices' to kill his son on a mountain.

The group was divided. I was, just, listening. They had my undivided attention.
That group decided it was right to follow the 'Voices'.
They said it was a wonderful God that would give a last minute reprieve.

I thought the whole story was scary.
If it was God, then God was a jerk.
If it was schizophrenia, then we should be discussing 'Voices'.
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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby davidstarlingm » Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:18 pm UTC

oxoiron wrote:The nice thing is that when God is telling you to beat your child, you know it's going to be okay. Any feelings of guilt or societal disapproval you may experience can be ignored, because your faith would never steer you wrong.

Or because there's someone you trust who tells you it's going to produce a good result in the end.

My parents loved us, I have no doubt about that. They also struggled terribly with the cognitive dissonance of beating their children when they didn't want to, just because they thought it was the only way to protect us.

Sadly, there's no line. There's an even, unbroken continuum between parents who use this book to spank a little, parents who use this book to spank a lot, parents who use this book to unambiguously abuse, and parents who use this book to kill. And the numerous people who defend this book steadfastly refuse to draw a line anywhere.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby oxoiron » Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:22 pm UTC

I'd guess that every one of the people adhering to the text feel they are doing it for the right reasons. And it's even easier to justify your awful actions when an infallible, supernatural being (or His earthly representative) gives you a thumbs up.
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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby davidstarlingm » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:20 pm UTC

oxoiron wrote:I'd guess that every one of the people adhering to the text feel they are doing it for the right reasons. And it's even easier to justify your awful actions when an infallible, supernatural being (or His earthly representative) gives you a thumbs up.

My mother always told the delightful story of how she just broke down and cried after beating me for around an hour when I was about 18 months old because I kept kicking her afterward, but she called her pastor and he reassured her and so she stuck with it. "And look how good he turned out!"

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:00 pm UTC

The couple is the third set of parents to be found guilty of killing their children who were said to be followers of the Pearls, whose books are commonly given out in some churches and sent for free to military families. It is unknown how many other children's deaths could be tied to the books.


Just feel it is important to highlight this quote. Emphasis mine.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:02 am UTC

At what point can the author be prosecuted? If Alice instructs Bob to kill Clark, knowing that Bob would kill Clark*, and Bob kills Clark, Alice committed murder. The author instructed people to beat their kids senseless, the people beat their kids senseless, and some of the kids died.


*That is, Alice couldn't reasonably say "I was obviously making a joke, it's not my fault Bob's a dumbass".

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby Cleverbeans » Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:15 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:At what point can the author be prosecuted?


I doubt they could ever be prosecuted, free speech protection is pretty strong and they don't actually advocate murder. Vigilante justice seems the only way forward here.
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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:38 am UTC

But free speech does have limits. If I put in my instructional book 'clean your bathtubs with a mixture of bleach and ammonia' knowing that a reasonable person may mix bleach and ammonia in their bathtubs, I don't get to hide behind ignorance and free speech when people die from poison gas.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby addams » Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:47 am UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:At what point can the author be prosecuted?


I doubt they could ever be prosecuted, free speech protection is pretty strong and they don't actually advocate murder. Vigilante justice seems the only way forward here.

No. No. No. Vigilante Justice is not ever the way forward.
That is always the way backward.

Justice is a good idea.
Justice will not bring the children back to life.
Justice will act in a way that will prevent more suffering and loss of life.

We want our Judges to consider this sort of literature.
If this book is what you say it is. Both the justice system and other Christians need to talk to these people.

I know some Christians.
They are kind and gentle with their children.
Those people can have a role in this little drama.

It might be very nice for other Christians to stick their noses in.
They are all family in Christ, after all.
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Some of us see The Gutter.
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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:35 am UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:At what point can the author be prosecuted?


I doubt they could ever be prosecuted, free speech protection is pretty strong and they don't actually advocate murder. Vigilante justice seems the only way forward here.


This is always a terrible idea, but especially in this case. How exactly is violence against the author going to un-publish the book?
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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby curtis95112 » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:16 am UTC

It would martyr the author and publicize the book.
I don't see vigilante justice doing any good.
Maybe boycotting the publisher might have an effect.
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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby Zamfir » Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:35 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
The couple is the third set of parents to be found guilty of killing their children who were said to be followers of the Pearls, whose books are commonly given out in some churches and sent for free to military families. It is unknown how many other children's deaths could be tied to the books.


Just feel it is important to highlight this quote. Emphasis mine.

You have to wonder about causation here. Does the book make parents dangerously violent, or do dangerously violent parents follow this guy? Especially given that we're talking about a few cases on hundreds of thousands of copies sold.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby morriswalters » Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:32 pm UTC

It gives those who have the predilection validation. I read it therefore it must be so. Most people have better sense. The same mechanism is in play with the Bible.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby Spambot5546 » Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:00 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
Cleverbeans wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:At what point can the author be prosecuted?


I doubt they could ever be prosecuted, free speech protection is pretty strong and they don't actually advocate murder. Vigilante justice seems the only way forward here.


This is always a terrible idea, but especially in this case. How exactly is violence against the author going to un-publish the book?

I'm also reasonably certain the author of that post could be prosecuted, assuming the attack could be shown to have been inspired by those words.
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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:53 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:At what point can the author be prosecuted? If Alice instructs Bob to kill Clark, knowing that Bob would kill Clark*, and Bob kills Clark, Alice committed murder. The author instructed people to beat their kids senseless, the people beat their kids senseless, and some of the kids died.


*That is, Alice couldn't reasonably say "I was obviously making a joke, it's not my fault Bob's a dumbass".


If you're instructing someone to kill a specific person, or a identifiable group of people (eg. by race), then there's a chance for prosecution. Otherwise, it's very, very unlikely. Someone might be able to sue, though.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:11 pm UTC

A doctor giving out bad medical advice isn't protected by free speech. A person impersonating a doctor is just as liable, plus practicing without a license. I'm sure you could make the argument that the author was impersonating a child psychologist or something...

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby davidstarlingm » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:30 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:
The couple is the third set of parents to be found guilty of killing their children who were said to be followers of the Pearls, whose books are commonly given out in some churches and sent for free to military families. It is unknown how many other children's deaths could be tied to the books.


Just feel it is important to highlight this quote. Emphasis mine.

You have to wonder about causation here. Does the book make parents dangerously violent, or do dangerously violent parents follow this guy? Especially given that we're talking about a few cases on hundreds of thousands of copies sold.

And in the hundreds-of-thousands of cases that don't result in death, you still end up with kids who grow up thinking they deserve to be punished for the slightest infractions, thinking they have to obey all authorities without question, thinking that the only reason to act in a particular way is to avoid pain....

These books place parents on a path which leads to beating their kids to death. The only question is what will break first: the child's will, the parent's heart, or the child's body? Usually it's the child's will. Sometimes it's the parent's heart. But sometimes both of those will hold out.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:41 pm UTC

According to Wikipedia, only a bit OVER 9000! copies have actually been sold since 2001. Most of the rest are 'donated' through his non-profit and in return he receives 'donations' from various churches. So it's unclear exactly how many people use his book, but I don't think he should be allowed to continue giving advice.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby cphite » Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:38 am UTC

Jave D wrote:Couple Found Guilty of Murder for Parenting by "To Train Up a Child".

The good news is one abusive, murderous couple of parents were given the maximum prison sentence for murdering and abusing their child.

The bad news is this couple followed "To Train Up a Child," a book published by "No Greater Joy" Ministries, which advocates, and describes in horrific detail, methods of child abuse and neglect. Michael and Debi Pearl consider themselves disciplinarians for God, raising on "Biblical" principles as some sort of measure against "Gestapo" and "Nazis" and the "New World Order" and blah blah blah. I'm not even going to list or describe some of these methods, but suffice to say that it's not even about spanking as a means of punishment - it's a 24/7, from-birth-onward torture session. And of course it's very popular in certain "fundamentalist" circles. 670,000 copies sold, I believe.

This is not the first (nor will it be the last, I imagine) death resulting from these techniques.

And now I feel sick.


I wish someone would find the authors of that book and subject them to every single thing it describes.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby cphite » Sat Nov 23, 2013 3:42 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:According to Wikipedia, only a bit OVER 9000! copies have actually been sold since 2001. Most of the rest are 'donated' through his non-profit and in return he receives 'donations' from various churches. So it's unclear exactly how many people use his book, but I don't think he should be allowed to continue giving advice.


I don't think he should be allowed to continue breathing, but that's just me :)

Sorry, but this sort of thing just pisses me off...

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby elasto » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:28 am UTC

In the UK it's illegal for parents to do corporal punishment that leaves any kind of mark.

When the law was passed there was a worry that it represented the pendulum swinging too far the other way, but there have been no 'hard cases' that I know of where genuinely non-abusive parents have been prosecuted. The police seem to have exercised common-sense discretion.

Anyone following the advice of this book here would be thrown in jail, and I see that as no bad thing...

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby BlackSails » Sat Nov 23, 2013 4:06 pm UTC

One of the pediatricians I worked with, after finding out the parents had a copy of this book in the home, made them bring the book in, and he fed it through the big shredder in front of them.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby Diadem » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:22 am UTC

Why is the sale of such a book legal? Even in the US, a call for violence does not fall under free speech, right?
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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby elasto » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:23 am UTC

My guess is that violence towards your own children doesn't count as violence in the eyes of the law.

It's amazing, really. Even pushing an adult could result in a prosecution for assault; But whipping your child with a pipe is a-ok.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby morriswalters » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:52 am UTC

How would you feel about a book called "Steal This Book" or "The Anarchists Cookbook"? Or "Mein Kampf"? All three are available and legal. The first two are explosives cookbooks, among other things, and I guess you know what the last is. At least in the US the preference is given to the widest freedom. This allows Snowdens leaks to be published in the New York Times, but also allows crap like that book to be published.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby Aceo » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:01 pm UTC

Aren't those essentially DIY manuals about those subjects? That is, they only give a how-to on bomb making for example, but don't actively give you a target or any reason to use said material? Whereas, when you come to the 'parenting' book, it does say to hit your children.
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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby morriswalters » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:35 pm UTC

Mein Kampf was a DYI on how to start a war and kill 60 million people. The other two were revolutionary manuals, if you read the books you knew the target. The also told you how to steal and showed you the way to access the basic tools. "Steal This Book" was a best seller. Granted encouraging someone to steal a book is not the same as encouraging them to use tubing to abuse their child, but none the less. If you banned it today what do you think would happen? The book would simply be passed via the dark net or email. Welcome to the digital age. What is the phrase that is thrown around? Information wants to be free?

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby Zamfir » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:28 pm UTC

These was actually a court case here on a very similar case. An evangelical minister, Gertjan Goldschmeding, was advocating to beat children harder than usual in those circles.

In particular, he said not to stop when the children were crying or otherwise showing discomfort, because that encourages them to cry in order to escape punishment. Furthermore, parents should not hit with their hansd, as these were not heavy enough to do real pain, and he taught his followers which parts of the body did the most pain without leaving lasting damage.

He was tried for child abuse of his own children, and for encitement to child abuse. He lost the case about his own children, and they were taken away from his custody. The encitement case was apparently dropped when he promised not to advocate violence against children in the future. So it's not clear how a judge would have ruled on the encitement case.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby The Geoff » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:36 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:How would you feel about a book called "Steal This Book" or "The Anarchists Cookbook"? Or "Mein Kampf"? All three are available and legal. The first two are explosives cookbooks, among other things, and I guess you know what the last is. At least in the US the preference is given to the widest freedom. This allows Snowdens leaks to be published in the New York Times, but also allows crap like that book to be published.


Chemistry textbooks can also be used to make explosives, hell, a quantum theory textbook is (in theory) enough info to extrapolate the existence of explosives from. As for Mein Kampf, it's a stunningly dull, poorly written ramble. I worked in a university bookshop and we received a letter of complaint from the university Jewish Society demanding that we remove it from the shelves. It's on multiple history reading lists. We offered to hold a book burning and never heard anything further from them.

Back on track, it's not reasonable to ban texts, you simply publicise them. Freedom to publish does not, however, have to mean you bear no responsibility. If a single parent is convicted of a crime which is a direct result of following advice which contains no warnings then the author is just as responsible as a paracetomol manufacturer who doesn't include overdose warnings.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby TheAmazingRando » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:53 pm UTC

Everyone I know who was raised by parents who followed this book ended up with pretty severe emotional problems as an adult. Anything that advocates punishing your children for not looking happy enough, or punishing them for no reason other than to assert dominance...even if the punishments weren't physical and severe, it would be mental abuse.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Nov 25, 2013 4:58 pm UTC

The Geoff wrote:We offered to hold a book burning and never heard anything further from them.
Heh, well played.
The Geoff wrote:Back on track, it's not reasonable to ban texts, you simply publicise them. Freedom to publish does not, however, have to mean you bear no responsibility. If a single parent is convicted of a crime which is a direct result of following advice which contains no warnings then the author is just as responsible as a paracetomol manufacturer who doesn't include overdose warnings.
I don't really agree with this. I think a scrupulous bookseller would likely choose to not sell this book, but they don't have to put a giant disclaimer on the cover saying they, as the publishers, bear no responsibility to the outcome of following the books. Chemistry texts or Chuck Palaniuk novels don't have giant 'WARNING: Violence and inserting things into your orifices is bad!' labels.
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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:01 pm UTC

Maybe require the book to contain an insert that says 'WARNING! FOLLOWING THE ADVICE OF THIS BOOK IS CHILD ABUSE! THE PERSON WHO WROTE THIS BOOK IS NOT A CHILD PSYCHIATRIST! READ AT OWN AND CHILD'S RISK!". I'm pretty Libertarian, sort of, but I practically never have a problem with people being required to disclose information.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby sardia » Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:38 pm UTC

The US is pretty lax/liberal with free speech, especially regarding controversial books. Maybe this should fall under the consumer protection agency purview? Dunno, the case linking the author to the parents is pretty weak. Like if I published the book on how bullet wounds builds character for children, and you shot your kids I'd escape enciting violence, but I'd be on the hook for selling a false cure.

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Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby Elvish Pillager » Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:44 pm UTC

CorruptUser: I thought of something like that, and I don't have any "freedom of speech" issues with it - you're allowed to express your own ideas, and the government is allowed to promote theirs (which are hopefully in the public interest). I don't think your exact text is good, but something else would be - perhaps a page or so detailing the laws about child abuse and current research about its psychological effects.

I see some policy issues with it, however: What behavior, exactly, are you banning? Are you going to make illegal any distribution of the book without such an insert? Then you'd be creating lots of "legal land mines" - someone who has a copy of the book that is missing the insert for whatever reason, commits an offense whenever they hand it to someone else. Is that an acceptable price to pay? On the other hand, if you only ban the publisher from distributing it without the insert, then every organization that redistributes it will just take out the inserts, and lots of parents will get copies without it. (A possible workaround is to require it to be printed with the insert-text on actual pages, in a style similar to the rest of the book (i.e. no putting it in tiny text), which would mean any copies without those pages would at least make people ask questions.) Your law would have to be carefully designed.

Furthermore, how do you determine which books need such inserts? If it's done after-the-fact, by some sort of executive body, then you run into a treadmill effect - the first edition of the book gets distributed before anything can be done about it, and then as soon as the mandate is handed down, they publish a second edition that counts as a different book and so isn't required to include the disclaimer. If it's a requirement prior to every publication, and you're not requiring all published works to be submitted to the government for review (which would be terrible), then it would be up to the courts to determine whether any book violated the law - and given the behavior of the courts, publishers' lawyers would advise that the insert-text be put in almost any book that refers to child abuse at all. Which, mind you, wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing... at least as long as the required text can be kept up to date, which would also be full of politics.

tl;dr: I like the idea, but I think it would be very hard to implement properly.
Also known as Eli Dupree. Check out elidupree.com for my comics, games, and other work.

GENERATION A(g64, g64): Social experiment. Take the busy beaver function of the generation number and add it to your signature.

Azuth
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Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:18 am UTC

Re: Couple Found Guilty of Murder, followed parenting book

Postby Azuth » Mon Nov 25, 2013 6:57 pm UTC

elasto wrote:In the UK it's illegal for parents to do corporal punishment that leaves any kind of mark.

In Germany any form of violence (physical, psychological, emotional) against children is against the law, the only exception is if the parents have a good reason for it e.g. forcefully holding onto/pulling your child to prevent it from getting rolled over by an incoming car. I don't know, but it always surprises me to hear that there are still (western) countries that allow parents to harm their children.


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