America’s political parties sustain infamy for an inability to agree on anything. So when both sides of the political spectrum sue you, you are probably screwed.
The right-wing Second Amendment Foundation teamed up with the left-wing First Amendment Foundation to sue the Eastern Washington library system, which covers the Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties, because of the censorship of women gun-owner Web sites and magazines, according to The Seattle Times.
What started as the mere censoring of pornographic material on Internet sites has blown into a fight about how far a library system can go in controlling material children may be exposed to.
After blocking pornographic Web sites, the Eastern Washington library system began to regulate the use of magazines and Web sites featuring gun usage and drug and alcohol references, according to The Seattle Times.
On the other hand, the Seattle Public Libraries system has been known for patrons watching hardcore pornographic material in libraries, despite the nearby presence of children.
Both of these extremes go too far, but the restriction of information would be a darker reality than the danger of corrupting the youth of America.
Dictators have shown the value of books — many hold book burnings when a new regime rises to power. In order to suppress the populace, they must control the flow of free thought. Ability to think independently leads to the realization that a few remain privileged over the despondency of the many and the perception of fallacies in the justifications made by the endowed. Thus, educated minds are the bane tyrants.
Despite the fact we live in a democracy, this remains applicable because the loss of access to different opinions shows changes in political climate. However, the restriction of pornographic material does not endanger society, unless the human race forgets how to reproduce.
The federal courts have particular tests to resolve issues like this so it is possible to get an idea of how they will rule before the parties ever see a court date.
Not so long ago, many books were banned in U.S., including “The Canterbury Tales.” According to Cornell Law School, they justified this by using the Hicklin’s law — an English law that stated any speech intended to corrupt the minds of those who were open to it could be banned. This allowed for the banning of practically everything.
In more recent times the Supreme Court uses the test created by the Burger Court in Miller v. California and derived from the Warren Court in Roth v. United States. The Supreme Court’s ruling asked whether the material could be seen as obscene and affects sensitive members of society — mostly meaning children.
Clearly pornographic material can be classified as obscene and children will have the possibility of being exposed to such material — unless public libraries designate a particular area for those 18 and older.
The library systems should not run on the same principles as the local movie store with access to an R-rated section, but gun magazines do not count as an obscenity. One of the Web sites the library blocked features pictures of women shooting guns — they are fully clothed, of every age and not posed or altered in any form to appear sensual.
I believe in access to gun Web sites and the freedom of information for the same reason that I do not think that the Second Amendment should ever be overturned by Congress or the Supreme Court. People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.