SADOW: Child-Directed Porn On Library Shelves A Growing Louisiana Issue

It’s a classic example of a critic on an issue, in this instance of empowering parents to ensure their children have access to public library materials they consider age-appropriate, demonstrating the necessity of the idea he criticizes.

This spring, the Louisiana Legislature will take up legislation that would have public libraries create a system assigning age-appropriate categorizations according to First Amendment jurisprudence for materials held out as intended for minors and a process for review on patron request of these categorizations, would give parents the chance to restrict their children’s access to these, and would penalize library boards of control that fail to implement such systems. It doesn’t restrict in any way a library’s choice of which items to buy using taxpayer dollars for lending.

Especially with the advent of electronic circulation which makes parental monitoring impossible, establishing these procedures would help families who pay these taxes for this government service. Even more trenchantly, an increasing proportion of materials, as documented in Stolen Youth: How Radicals Are Erasing Innocence and Indoctrinating a Generation by Bethany Mandel and Karol Markowicz released last week, pitched to children have graphic portrayals of sexual activity – and Louisiana libraries are purchasing these.

Caddo Parish’s Shreve Memorial Library system is one. Last month, Republican Atty. Gen. Jeff Landry’s office put out a report on the issue that includes nine such books and example passages that would make a sailor blush. (Stolen Youth includes some of these and others as well). Of these, Shreve Memorial grants access to seven.

Yet to concern oneself about this draws umbrage from Shreve Memorial’s Executive Director John Tuggle. Last week, to the Caddo Parish Commission (which appoints members to the parish’s Library Board of Control) he obtusely pontificated that “Shreve Memorial Library has no interest in governing anyone’s children” and made further fantastical claims that legislation like the bill borders on censorship and would “have libraries discriminating against certain marginalized groups.”

Let’s weave our way through this intellectual morass starting with the claim that this causes the library to “play censor,” as he alleged. But it already does, because libraries make choices about titles to obtain with their limited resource of taxpayer dollars, deeming many titles unworthy of public dissemination compared to others. By way of contrast, while Shreve loans out the titles pitched to minors that do depict graphic sexual behavior, it has yet to make available Stolen Youth (#43 bestseller on Amazon as of this writing, although it has been out less than a week) or another work that raises similar issues that came out several years ago, Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters (it does offer a summary version).

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To make matters even more interesting, Tuggle also admitted Shreve already engages in the practice that would become law, testifying that the library already codes material in accordance with age-restricted lending privileges and has the means for parents to filter electronic content. So why does he object to a law “governing anyone’s children” when he’s already doing it?

But the most interesting and revealing portion of his screed comes from the notion that the law could end up “discriminating against certain marginalized groups.” How does parents wanting their children not to consume words or pictures describing graphic sexual activity discriminate against anybody, except perhaps those who structure their lives around sexual behavior, such as pedophiles?

So, we have somebody who’s complaining about a proposed law who says his agency already follows it anyway, who moans about having to make decisions about labelling available content when his agency already chooses which content to make available and labels it, and who decries a process to allow parents to keep sexually graphic material out of the hands of their children as discriminating against “marginalized groups.” Such confusion begs for exactly such a law he disparages, if only to provide guidance to dispel such vapidness obstructing parental discretion and obfuscating accountability to taxpayers.

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