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Throwing the book at perverts

Boston, like most major cities, has a bit of a dilemma when it comes to its libraries. They are supposed to be bastions of freedom, where anyone can come in and get whatever sort of knowledge they wish. But they are also supposed to be bulwarks of sanctuary, where anyone can come in without fear. And as any civil libertarian will tell you, "liberty" is a never-ending balance between freedom and security.

The latest threat to Boston's libraries has been sex offenders. They come in, like all other patients. But they go surfing for porn on the internet, they lurk around the children's sections, and in general often make the library a creepy place.

But should they be banned? Civil rights advocates say no, not without some solid reason, some specific offense.

So what's a librarian to do? Boston's mayor, stumble-mouth Thomas "Mumbles" Menino, has a solution. And that solution (once translated by his English-speaking aides) was simple:

They printed up mug shot pictures of some of the more reprehensible sex offenders in the city, including the one caught lurking in the children's section, and gave them to the library staff. Now the staff can be on the lookout for the perverts, watch them like hawks, and kick them out or call the cops at the first hint of wrongdoing.

It's a good start, and I'm surprised it came out of Massachusetts.


Comments (8)

"They printed up mug shot p... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"They printed up mug shot pictures of some of the more reprehensible sex offenders in the city, including the one caught lurking in the children's section, and gave them to the library staff."


That's it?


Does that even qualify as a start of a solution? They couldn't have been doing this all along?

For Boston that's almost a ... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned:

For Boston that's almost a left-to-right conversion moment. It may be an insignificant step for many of us, but it was a huge leap for Mumbles.

Yes, unfortunately, that's ... (Below threshold)
Cardinals Nation:

Yes, unfortunately, that's it, however, it’s about as much as you can expect from the Libs. In a nutshell, the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Boston has put the safety and security of the most defenseless of victims in the hands of...librarians. What's Menino going to say after a 6-year old is found raped in the bathroom? The librarian failed to protect the public? Will he stand up proclaim the appointment of a commission to do a top-to-bottom study of library patrolling procedures? Will he assure the public that he’s going to find out what the librarian knew and when she knew it?
Forget it. If Boston is betting the safety of their children on a librarian not being distracted by checking out books, then it will regrettably get what it deserves. Too bad the price will have to be paid by our future.

Hafe you seen those signs i... (Below threshold)

Hafe you seen those signs in public places that say "Safe Place"?

Perhaps they need to make special ones for the library: Safe Place (for perverts and terrorists)

The best solution may be th... (Below threshold)

The best solution may be the constitutionally approved use of Internet filtering software. See http://www.plan2succeed.org/ for information regarding the American Library Association's crusade to stamp out Internet filters despite the legal case that they themselves lost over two years ago in the US Supreme Court. And everyone should read US v. ALA, a link to which appears on our web site. Thank you.

"If Boston is betting the s... (Below threshold)
BorgQueen:

"If Boston is betting the safety of their children on a librarian not being distracted by checking out books, then it will regrettably get what it deserves."

Not quite. Some kid will get what Boston deserves.

well, here in the UK we sho... (Below threshold)
jim:

well, here in the UK we show people who the online lurking perverts are here:
www.catchingperverts.co.uk
as a founder of the site (which yes, does help out the Police:)) i couldn't help but post, because i think that something like yahoo chat for instance, has the same open door policy as a library, and so a parallel sprung to mind.
just wanted to let you know at least some people are trying!
thanks,
jim

well, here in the UK we sho... (Below threshold)
jim:

well, here in the UK we show people who the online lurking perverts are here:
www.catchingperverts.co.uk
as a founder of the site (which yes, does help out the Police:)) i couldn't help but post, because i think that something like yahoo chat for instance, has the same open door policy as a library, and so a parallel sprung to mind.
just wanted to let you know at least some people are trying!
thanks,
jim




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