By: Mary Wilder
To many Americans, libraries are somewhat of a sacred place. An entire establishment dedicated to knowledge and new information, libraries are a staple of our society that should be held in high regard. For people who want questions answered by real-life people instead of search engines on the internet, libraries are the best place to visit. But now it’s possible to be arrested for asking potentially controversial and upsetting questions there.
When Jeremy Rothe-Kushel attended a discussion at a Kansas City library, the last thing he expected was to be placed under arrest, but after asking author and diplomat Dennis Ross two questions about issues in the Middle East, that is exactly what happened. It’s completely unjust and absolutely ridiculous, but this is the world we are living in now. In the police state that is 2016 America, you can be arrested for virtually anything, it seems. Well, anything short of actually breaking the law — just ask Hillary Clinton.
ABC News reports, “R. Crosby Kemper III, executive director of the city’s library system, said ‘we’re going to be living in a different kind of country’ if people can be arrested for asking questions at a library. ‘If this kind of behavior is unacceptable to the police, then I guess we’re going to have to shut the library down.’”
Kemper hits the nail on the head here. What kind of country are we living in if asking questions at an event held at a library is considered a crime? What mindset do the authorities have where they find it even remotely acceptable for them to arrest a man like Rothe-Kushel for such an innocuous act? This is like the beginning of a dystopian novel, when the characters discover just how horrific and unjust a society they are living in.
These are frightening and uncertain times we’re living in. The widespread collapse of society seems inevitable at this point, so it’s important for all of us to prepare ourselves for the worst. Though it can’t get much worse than police hauling people out of libraries in handcuffs simply for asking a pair of questions, if there’s anything we’ve learned in the past few years, it’s that things have a tendency to be on the downswing.
Freedom of speech is under attack in this country and the only way to protect it is to frequently fight in its honor.