FAIT ACCOMPLI - AOL SERIAL KILLER WEBSITES DOWN
6:30 PM 9/11/97
AOL has given me 24 hours notice that they will shut down all of my
websites, tossing out the Discordians along with the serial killers. The
24 hour period was extended to me as a courtesy, said ever-suave John D.
Ryan, Esquire, in a personal phone call received moments ago.
He complimented me on what he called my courtesy and professionalism
throughout our negotiations, and I returned the compliment. "You're very
good at what you do, Mr. Ryan. I realize I'm on the cutting edge of the
free speech movement, but there's no use getting personal about it."
John D. Ryan, Esquire, went on to very graciously grant me the privilege
of continuing my AOL membership, so that I might be able to send and
receive e-mail at the same address, and to continue frequenting my favorite
newsgroups, alt.true-crime and alt.discordia. I was touched by his
gentleness. It was almost like being in love.
I was reminded of how Danny Rolling once rhapsodized about his favorite
murder weapon, "it went in like butter and came out like butter." It almost
didn't even hurt.
It's hard to explain to someone who is not a netizen how a cyberentity can
become so integral to one's identity that its loss feels like going through
a surgical trauma, high-speed auto accident and armed robbery all at once.
But hey, I tell myself, after all, it's only a website, right? It's only a
website. No need for tears, it's not a fatal loss. Sure, the net effect is
to annoy, harass, threaten and intimidate, but that's not a crime - is it?
The html code needs to be rewritten, uploading of over 5.5 MB in 850 files
must be accomplished, links must be re-established, registration with
search engines must be done. I don't have a staff or a service. I do it all
the old-fashioned way, one keystroke at a time.
You can expect some cosmetic improvements. Certainly there will be new
features, such as the story of the death and rebirth of this series of
I have had several offers already for hosting; the details are yet to be
I would estimate it will take me at least three weeks to get the code
ready, as I have competing deadlines, what with editing a mystery for a
California novelist and writing the introduction to Mike Newton's new book,
Killer Cops. And of course, I'm still working with Danny Rolling on the
Legends of the Black Marsh. There's a movie deal in the works. So life goes
on more or less as usual. Just without the websites.
Attempts to suppress speech only serve to stimulate the will to speak and
be heard. There are those who approve of suppressing speech that some find
objectionable. Others, like myself, see the danger in giving up those
freedoms which we do have, or in allowing the government to arrogate these
hard-won civil liberties when they were deliberately reserved for the
People by our Founding Fathers.
The question is not whether you find the content of my speech, or Keith
Jesperson's speech, or Danny Rolling's speech, pleasant or agreeable; it's
whether you want anyone interfering with what YOU think or say.
And may God help you if you are ever convicted of a crime you did not
commit. Because nobody else will. And most of the time even God Almighty
doesn't seem to care. If this country turns out as current trends predict,
then nobody will be ABLE to hear your story of what really happened to you
or what you have learned from your experience.
It needs to be possible for those who have a reason to listen, and who can
learn from it, to have access to this - and every other - form of speech.
This civil liberty needs to be protected as vigorously as one that presents
a more palatable face.
Those who do not wish to subject themselves to information in any form are
always free to ignore it. What has happened here is not government
censorship in the sense that Florida v. Rolling, London is; but it is de
facto censorship within the free market of ideas.
I am less concerned at a "private" corporation such as AOL exercising its
contract-based right to self-regulate content that carries its imprimatur,
than I am with the State of Florida, which under cover of an untested,
unconstitutional law, presumes to single me out and place a financial
disincentive on the proceeds of my journalistic efforts not placed on any
other speaker or any other form of speech.
If you support the suppression of my work, you support the POSSIBLE
suppression of your own. You may find Jesperson's speech offensive; surely,
I can see that it may give offense on the face of it! But if what we are
examining is a TOXIC THOUGHT SYNDROME then surely it does the phenomenon an
injustice if its expression is anything but repulsive and abhorrent.
If you endorse policies that allow a killer's speech, or my speech, to be
suppressed, then someday those policies WILL be turned on someone much more
sympathetic than this admittedly worst case. Someone perhaps a bit closer
to home. Someone a little more like YOU.
I rely on my Constitutional rights in becoming even more determined to
publish my work.
- Sondra London
"The government's power to impose content-based financial disincentives on
speech surely does not vary with the identity of the speaker."
"As we have often had occasion to repeat, '[T]he fact that society may
find speech offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it.
Indeed, if it is the speaker's opinion that gives offense, that consequence
is a reason for according it constitutional protection.'"
- from the Opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, 12/11/91 [The Criminal Law
Reporter, Vol. 50, No. 11] Re: Simon & Schuster, Inc. v. Members of the New
York State Crime Victims Board et al. No. 90-1059, Argued October 15, 1991;
Decided December 10, 1991
"Again, Ms. London's affiliation with serial killers and other violent
criminals is primarily to find out what makes them tick and to apply her
findings to a scientific study in an attempt to solve the mystery of serial
killers and related violent crimes that stem from serial murders. If she is
to be condemned, berated, chided and otherwise criticized, then the serial
killer phenomena will become exponential, because she and others like her
will stop their research out of fear of being the focus of a 'WITCH HUNT.'"
- Joseph O'Dell, Dead Man Talking About Sondra London