So, in the spirit of fairness and equality I would like to ask those at Apple Inc to also remove this book from sale. Yes Mr Arthur D. Levinson, stop playing Candy Crush on your iPad and take notice.
London, November 7th 2013
Dear Mr Levinson,
I wrote to the head of Amazon about this yesterday and I’m assuming he’s a bit busy as he’s not got back to me. No matter though, I’ll drop him a line in a day or so and find out where we are with this.
Now I’m writing to you.
The letter I wrote to Jeff Bezos asked that the book ‘To Train Up A Child’ be removed from sale. Immediately. I asked politely. I asked because I believe, along with thousands of other people, that this book is morally wrong. This petition has over 16,000 supporters and this one, talking specifically about the above mentioned book has over 1,500 names.
That’s over 17,000 people asking for it to be withdrawn from sale.
In the letter to Mr Bezos and all at Amazon I cited examples of this book’s advice for parents. I’ll list some of that here but not quote it directly as I’ve done that before. And it’s quite sickening.
This book advises beating four-month old babies in order to train them to behave. It suggests ‘switching’ (a term for beating) a 7 month old baby having a tantrum. It suggests putting temptation in a child’s way and when they succumb to it, beating them until they know not to. It lists ‘Instruments of love’ including tree branches, rulers, and even a belt with which you can beat your children in order to get them to behave.
‘Select your instrument according to the child’s size. For the under one year old, a little, ten- to twelve-inch long, willowy branch (striped of any knots that might break the skin) about one-eighth inch diameter is sufficient. Sometimes alternatives have to be sought. A one-foot ruler, or its equivalent in a paddle, is a sufficient alternative. For the larger child, a belt or larger tree branch is effective.’
Dunno about you, but I don’t like this book very much. And, in order to know more about it and argue my case on this, I’ve read it. It sickened me and horrified me. I wept reading some of it. And I wept because this book was instrumental in the death of Lydia Schatz, a 7-year-old girl who sustained fatal injuries after her parents ‘trained’ her to death.
As I said to Jeff, this isn’t about free speech or censorship. This is an issue surrounding the safeguarding and protection of children. I’m asking that you remove this book, because to sell a book which encourages violence toward any child is morally wrong, in my opinion.
Today, in the UK, a question was asked in Parliament about how and if this book could be removed from sale by Amazon and this is being looked into. I guess there’s no legal reason to force its removal, but there’s a huge great hairy moral one.
And if you say ‘Oh I didn’t know we stocked that’ then here it is on iTunes.
You’re a father to two children, like me. We’ve got something in common. We’d probably get on. Swap stories about the children growing up. Show photos to each other maybe. Talk about them as babies. Share the fact that we are both loving parents.
One more thing I hope we have in common is that we both believe this book should be withdrawn from sale before another child dies, or before another child is harmed as a result of this book being available for sale.
If you do think this, then please action this.
And if you do so before Amazon, then I applaud you for showing that a global company does listen to a small voice like mine, one teeny tiny voice shouting because it believes children should be protected and safeguarded from physical abuse.
And when you do it, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll meet up. The beers are on me.
Thank you for your time, and I thank you in advance for your assistance with this matter.