echoes sentinel

residents should attend meetings

1 jul 2004

editor:

did anyone watch tv friday night? wcbs has a series called "48 hours," and friday's show was entitled, "web of seduction." (see cbsnews.com/48hours).

this show was about how easily a 14 year-old girl was seduced by an online predator and led away to greece for months of abuse and sexual predation.  all the people involved in the show, except the perpetrator who said he was "saving" the girl, explained how this type of sexual predation occurs on a daily basis worldwide and that it could happen to anyone.

turning now to the long hill township public library's "report on filtering internet access" on the cover page of last week's echoes-sentinel, we get an entirely different picture.  the report says concerns about sexual predation are "exaggerated" and are "examples of fear mongering in the extreme."

the report, therefore, recommends that at least some computers remain unfiltered.  i am happy that the library has produced the detailed and reasoned report that it has.  i am further happy that the library is seeking input from the public at its july and september board of trustee meetings.

i urge everyone to attend.  to be fully informed, one must read arguments from all sides.  so, in addition to reading the library's report, please also see www.plan2succeed.org where a citizen's group has been working to get the issue of computer filters in the public library placed on the public ballot for all to decide, not just three people on a subcommittee in a library guided principally by the dictates of the american library association.  [see also enough.org.]

for example, "web of seduction" gave specific examples of numerous cases of computer-related sexual predation.  it showed just how easily people are fooled by criminals.  on the other hand, our own library's report says these type of claims are exaggerated fear mongering.  information from different sources is what the public needs to become informed of the problems and potential solutions.

but right off the bat, let us not frame the entire matter as exaggerated fear mongering.  obviously, crime will not happen often in our library.  does that mean we leave computers unfiltered and continue to attract the criminals?  don't airlines train people in the use of special equipment in the rare event of a crash landing?

who wants to be the one victimized by a criminal even once every five years just because we as a community did not take the simple precaution of using legal filtering software?

shouldn't the people decide instead of just a three member subcommittee?

everyone please take an interest and become involved.  please attend a library board of trustees meeting or write to the echoes-sentinel to let your feelings be known.

plan2succeed

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