William Powell, who wrote The Anarchist Cookbook, wants the controversial book out of print. The 1971 book contains instructions for manufacturing explosives and drugs. Although a number of the “recipes” contain inaccurate information, the book has been linked to numerous acts of terrorism.
The book was written when Powell was 19 years old. He said he wrote the book in opposition to the Vietnam War. In his opinion, violence was an acceptable form of protest for political change.
Although he strongly defended his position and the book in the past, he now says it “should go quietly and immediately out of print.” Powell explains his position on Amazon.com:
” I want to state categorically that I am not in agreement with the contents of The Anarchist Cookbook and I would be very pleased (and relieved) to see its publication discontinued. I consider it to be a misguided and potentially dangerous publication which should be taken out of print.”
Following publication of the book, Powell went on to become a husband, father, and a school teacher. Although the author no longer agrees with the book’s content, the publisher has refused to halt production.
In the last 42 years, the book has sold over two million copies. Authorities have linked the book to numerous outbreaks of violence, including the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.
Most recently, authorities linked the book to a school shooting at a Colorado high school. On December 13, 18-year-old Kyle Pierson walked into Arapahoe High School armed with a machete, several explosive devices, and a shotgun. He eventually shot 17-year-old Claire Davis in the head before turning the gun on himself. Davis remains hospitalized in a coma.
Authorities believe the teen planned a massive assault on the faculty and students. However, the presence of an armed school officer likely changed his mind.
As reported by NBC News, a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook was found among the teen’s possessions. Billy Blann, who purchased rights to the book, said the latest school shooting is unfortunate. He said, “there’s victims of almost anything and everything,” and the crimes do not justify banning books.
According to the United States Supreme Court, a book cannot be banned unless it “is likely to incite imminent lawless action.” The provisions are quite difficult, if not impossible, to prove.
We may never know how influential the book has been as violent behavior is usually driven and influenced by a number of factors. However, The Anarchist Cookbook’s author is convinced that the book is potentially dangerous.
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