Sunday, January 8, 2012

Grand Theft Library Book

Most book readers are familiar with stories of our intrepid public libraries and librarians standing between their patrons and authorities (national security letters comes to mind).

It's thus jarring when one reads that the Boston Public Library, Charlestown branch Charlton Public Library sent the authorities on a quasi search and seizure mission for a patron's overdue book.

Jarring becomes outrageous when its patron is a five-year old toddler1.


1. Outrageous turns to contemplative concern when one ponders our nation's pathological inability to solve even its most simple problems without threat, force, intimidation or coercion.

So saturated has our nation become with the pathology of threat, force, intimidation or coercion that a library or librarian can think it nominative normal to send authorities on a mission to collect an overdue library book or fine.

How many library books could the Boston Public Library, Charlestown branch  Charlton Public Library purchase for the cost of sending a hapless police officer to implicitly, if not explicitly threaten, force, intimidate or coerce its toddler patron?

But, then a cost-benefit analysis of threat, force, intimidation and coercion pathology is significantly different from that of an overdue library book.

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