The New Stuff

Should Porn Be Alright At The Public Library?


We all know that talking loudly isn't kosher at the library... but how about groaning? That's right. Porn is on the mind's of parents in one Denver town. They are upset about pornographic material being readily available to their children. Apparently, these are the same parents who haven't Googled certain key words that I'm sure when checking the history on their kid's Internet browser is marked as favorites.

Nevertheless, Jefferson County officials say “they are required by law to allow people to view pornography on library computers.” Looks like the freedom of speech has shifted in the new wave technology generation to the freedom of sexual expression as well. Not bad! The explicitly salacious material evoked a response to disgruntled parents from library spokeswoman Rebecca Winning. She said “the library board has decided a public library cannot control what adults watch.”

Makes sense when you think about it. It's public, therefore cannot and should not be governed no matter what the material of choice may be because of that pesky little document we've all agreed upon: The United States Constitution. Which brings up another question (at least for me.) If sex is now deemed legally viewable in public display, what's the difference from skipping the video recording process and engaging in it in public? Before you scoff... let's just make a few comparisons. Some people don't believe in homosexuals displaying their lifestyle in public. But, it isn't illegal for a same-sex couple to walk down the street holding hands and share a kiss on the corner. Some narrow minded bigots don't want black people in their town... yet once again it's perfectly legal for them to exist anywhere they please. If only a certain percentage of the population has a problem with sex in public, why is that an offense that can be ticketed and jailed? Legally speaking, two consenting adults have the constitutional right to engage in sex just as much as they have the right to engage in conversation.

Okay, now here's where one of the parent's arguments gets – for lack of a better term – juicy. Colorado local TV news station 9NEWS spoke to Carolyn Berry who's less than 'turned on' by the whole porn in the library 'scene.' Berry witnessed “a teenager viewing an X-rated movie on a Columbine Library computer [who] appeared to be touching himself underneath his clothing.” Am I the only one that feels that after the real disaster Columbine experienced in the past, something like porn would not register too high on the “give a sh*t” chart? Berry said the teen “was lying back in his chair, had his hand down his pants, and was clearly masturbating .” Seriously, that kind of 'shooting' never required a school to be evacuated on national TV.

Winning, who's also the associate director of communications and public engagement for the Jefferson County Public Library says “the library tries to protect kids by keeping the children's section separate from the adult section.” That stated, let it be known that each library system views this matter their own way objectively and renders a decision. 9NEWS reported “in April, library officials in New York City said pornography is protected by the First Amendment. Other local libraries, including Denver and Aurora, don't allow porn. In Denver, anyone caught watching it is told to leave and could be banned for repeat offenses.”

I say children unequivocally should be protected as long as possible. But we need to be real here people. Face facts and understand that the Internet, mass media, and lax FCC guidelines have taken the adolescent “innocent” period and sliced it nearly in half. Kids are growing up faster because of the smut that is easily found virtually anywhere with a couple of keystrokes (no pun intended.) I say, have an exclusive viewing section in the library, and if you happen to see someone touching themselves... think of it as the zenith of safe sex. Thanks health class!

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