March 18, 2018

Feedback: Letters to LJ, February 15, 2013 Issue

Certainly pro-gun

After reading Michael Kelley’s “No Guns in the Library” (Editorial, LJ 1/13, p. 8), I was struck by only one thought: hypocrisy! Libraries and librarians have always been all about supporting the First Amendment, but apparently anyone who shows the same support of the Second Amendment is a “radical” or a “morally purblind pro-gun lobbyist.” I am neither a radical nor a lobbyist, but I am certainly pro-gun and a staunch supporter of our Second Amendment.

I do agree with Kelley on one point: our gun laws are “increasingly mis­begotten,” especially when they are interpreted to restrict the exercise of my Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. He seems surprised that “even mild attempts at regulation raise the ire of the pro-gun crowd.” Imagine that! I wonder how supportive he would be of those same “mild attempts at regulation” when applied to free speech or freedom of the press—those First Amendment rights librarians are so adamant about?

In quoting the ruling of the judges, Kelley blasts the writers of the majority opinion because “they were interested more in being judges than in being just.” Isn’t that what they are expected to do? Interpret and uphold the law even if they do not “personally like the outcome”?

In this time of increasing violence and horrific tragedies, I welcome the presence of weapons by those who are trained in their use. Perhaps if more people were trained and carrying weapons (concealed or otherwise), those who are bent on violence would be stopped before they could senselessly take the lives of the innocent!

—Donna Clark, Pub. Svcs. Dir.,
Lib. Resource Ctr., Odessa Coll., TX

Guns, concealed or not

While I’m not a fan of openly carrying a weapon, neither am I a fan of prohibiting law-abiding citizens from carrying weapons in public places without a good reason (Michael Kelley’s “No Guns in the Library,” Editorial, LJ 1/13, p. 8). Of course, there is good reason to prohibit carry in penal institutions or the detention areas of law enforcement facilities, as well as courtrooms and, possibly, city council chambers and the like where emotions can run high. However, I fail to see any reason whatsoever for prohibiting carry in a library. Does Kelley really believe that passions will run so high while reading a book that a law-abiding citizen will lose control and begin massacring other patrons?

As a retired federal law enforcement officer, I carry a concealed firearm virtually everywhere. Yesterday, I was in our local library doing genealogical research. No one was harmed or disturbed by my presence. Had someone believing that the library patrons were helpless begun shooting the place up, I would like to think I could have stopped the slaughter very quickly.

Aside from the tactical advantages of concealed carry, I don’t carry openly because I am well aware that the sight of an openly carried firearm on someone not displaying a badge can cause apprehension. I don’t deliberately do things to upset my fellow citizens unless absolutely necessary, because it just isn’t polite. I am cognizant, however, of the view expressed by open-carry advocates that a right not exercised is a right lost. The sight of an armed uniformed policeman checking out a book or reading to his child should not upset library patrons. Neither should the sight of a person in plain clothes with a holstered weapon. I simply don’t understand the attitude that children should be spared the sight of a holstered weapon lest they come to believe that carrying a weapon is safe, legal, and (gasp!) normal. That smacks too much of the attitude of some parents that they’d rather see their children come home in body bags than have them exposed to the idea that a gun on the hip of a school resource officer is there to protect them.

“Gun-free” zones seem to attract mass murderers like trailer houses seem to attract tornadoes. If you’re distraught by the sight of a safely holstered pistol, or the possibility that one or more of your fellow citizens may be carrying a “hidden” weapon, get over it! Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably safer because of it.

As for the absurd suggestion that judges rule based on what they consider “ethically astute,” how quickly would the law plummet into anarchy if every judge were free to judge an action based on what (s)he believed to be “right” rather than what the law stated?

—Gary L. Griffiths, Dir.,
Advanced Force Tactics, Inc., Lewisville, TX

Librarians know

Regarding John Berry’s “For All the People of NYPL” (Blatant Berry, LJ 1/13, p. 8) about the reorganization of a part of the New York Public Library, well said! As a librarian, I often change the organization of my collection. I get comments about that, both positive and negative. However, I believe that many who comment do not realize that sometimes librarians actually know what they are doing…. We usually research and think about how our actions will serve the largest number of people. Berry’s column addressed that larger picture. Thank him for giving credit to ­librarians….

—Jennifer Brax, Adult Svcs. Libn.,
Perry Memorial Lib., Henderson, NC

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  1. Joel Neuberg says:

    A GOOD GUY WITH A GUN, MY LETTER TO THE NRA Joel Neuberg February 8, 2013

    “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” … Wayne LaPierre NRA VP & CEO
    Though it has been almost sixty years since I passed my first NRA sponsored Hunter Safety Course, and over thirty years since I qualified expert with handgun and shotgun as a peace officer in the state of California, I am prepared to accept the first NRA funded position of Armed Public High School Librarian. I am thrilled to learn the NRA has decided to take a more active role in American public education. The success of this organization in achieving its primary goal of ensuring continuing profits for American gun manufacturers bodes well for its ability to solve the heretofore intractable difficulties of American secondary education. With the surge of tens of thousands of NRA memberships in the wake of the Obama administration’s efforts to at least limit some of the number and kinds of weapons in circulation in our murder-ready nation, and the immense increase in gun sales bringing greater profits to American gun manufacturers who pour millions of dollars into NRA efforts to influence and intimidate our elected representatives, I believe they can afford my services. While research has demonstrated that high schools with full-time certified librarians regularly produce higher test scores and better graduation rates, librarians are often the first to go in budget cuts, and unlike music and sports programs, school libraries have not often been successful in garnering parent financial underwriting.
    All this will change for the better when the NRA pays for an armed librarian in every public high school in the U.S.A. If the school librarian is armed and backed by the NRA, school boards will not be so quick to cut their position. I am honored to be the first to step up to the firing line. In twenty years of near perfect attendance in public and private high schools, though never armed with anything more lethal than a folding knife, I was able to break up a number of violent fights. In five years as a park ranger in heavily used coastal parks, I had occasion to disarm a number of individuals, usually drunken adults, without injury to myself or others. As a public school librarian (ten years), I had a perfect record of no student fatalities under my watchful eye.
    I know that some liberals are advocating more spending on mental health programs, counselors, or even repairs to school facilities to provide such things as doors that lock, and some midwestern schools have rushed to provide armed guards with little training, but I believe the NRA should be our guide. Safety first; and there is no substitute for adequate training.
    In addition to my Masters in library and information sciences, I have successfully completed more than a thousand hours of law enforcement and school bus driver training. In the more than forty years I have worked professionally with young people, I have occasionally had the necessity of disciplining a few, but I have never accidentally shot one.
    Once the NRA certifies me as their pilot public school armed librarian I would expect my personal protective equipment (handcuffs, baton, firearm, speed loaders or supplementary magazines, kevlar vest) to be provided by the NRA and up to the standard of our local law enforcement agencies. I will provide my own library card.