Canadians are currently in an uproar over Amazon’s decision to publish a fiction book written by Canada’s most notorious serial rapist and murderer, Paul Bernardo. While the 600-plus page eBook is reportedly not about Paul Bernardo’s crimes for which he is serving a life sentence, it is a sprawling tome which many have deemed to feature a thoroughly disjointed plot.
It is not the rambling plot that Canadians are upset about. In general, Canadians — particularly those from Ontario — are appalled at Amazon’s decision to publish a book by Paul Bernardo. A petition is currently making the rounds on Change.org lobbying for Amazon to pull the book from being sold. Established by Toronto radio station Newstalk 1010, the petition’s mandate is simple: to ask Amazon to stop selling Paul Bernardo’s book, A MAD World Order.
Paul Bernardo was convicted in 1995 for the brutal rapes and murders of St. Catharines, Ontario area teens Leslie Mahaffy and Kirsten French with no chance of parole for 25 years. He was also labelled a dangerous offender after admitting to raping some 14 women in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough. Now 50, Paul Bernardo has reportedly asked for day parole in the Toronto area. Toronto and St. Catharines are a little over an hour apart by just 69 miles (112 kilometers).
Toronto lawyer Ed Prutschi, a criminal defence lawyer and legal analyst for Toronto’s Newstalk 1010 Radio, questioned Amazon’s ethics when looking at their decision to publish Paul Bernardo’s eBook in a Toronto Sun op-ed, but noted that there was nothing in Canada that prevented publication of the book. He is right; Canada does not have the sweeping “Son of Sam” laws that the United States have in place that prevent criminals from profiting from their crimes. For instance, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2006 that when O.J. Simpson published If I Did It, the book he wrote outlining how he would have set up the Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman murders had he been responsible, several booksellers said that any profits from the sale of the book would be donated to either the Nicole Brown Foundation or to any one of a number of charities supporting victims of domestic abuse.
O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in a sensationalized trial that ended in 1995. He was held responsible in a separate civil suit and was told to pay damages of $33.5 million to the involved families. He is currently serving up to 33 years for leading a group of men in an armed robbery in 2008, according to ABC News.
Paul Bernardo’s book, however, is available for download for $7.77 CDN and does not appear to outline the timeline of his crimes or what was involved in them. While that may be deemed merciful for the Mahaffy and French families, many are still questioning Amazon’s decision to publish the book in the first place. Some who have hit Amazon’s customer reviews section have lauded the publication company for their decision to keep selling Paul Bernardo’s book, citing history’s past attempts to ban various books.
“Amazon publishes OJ Simpson’s If I Did It, Charles Manson’s autobiography, Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and many other deplorable works,” one reviewer said according to Vice News. “It’s a slippery slope once you start banning books.”
Another reviewer was blunt and to the point, slamming Amazon’s decision to publish Paul Bernardo’s book.
“Shame on you Amazon,” one comment reads.
Paul Bernardo’s book also details two scenes involving rape, which would definitely be considered inappropriate at best, given Bernardo’s history. In one scene, a Russian agent fakes a rape scene in order to frame a character while in another, a terrorist murdered a male sex worker prior to detonating a nuclear device.
The Change.org petition asking Amazon to cease selling the Paul Bernardo book is just over 8,000 signatures shy of its 75,000 signature goal.