First, there's this claim:
Rep. Mack Shirley, R-Rexburg, said a group called “Citizens for Decency” brought the idea to him. “As a result, I've done a lot of personal research into this topic,” he told the House.So, the guy who sponsored the bill has done "a lot" of research. His research revealed this:
At one small library, he [Shirley] said, “Big lumberjacks would come in from out in the timber and get into material they shouldn't, and there'd be youths sitting right next to them.” That small library now has a free Internet filter program, he said, which solved the problem.I heard Shirley on the radio giving this example of the need for the new law, and he prefaced the remark by saying that a librarian in a small town told him this story.
Let's unpack that a bit. "Get into material they shouldn't." Do we have any idea what the material was? No. Perhaps it was XXX, perhaps it was the Victoria's Secret web site. "They shouldn't." Well, who says so? The small town librarian, I guess. If that librarian was from Rexburg, like Shirley, odds are that he or she is pretty conservative, and most likely LDS. I could see such a person objecting to something that is simply risque or racy, but that does not meet the definition of pornography.
"They shouldn't." Well, why shouldn't they? Because a "youth was sitting next to them?" Or because that librarian simply disapproved of what the lumberjack was looking at? We just don't know.
So we have some anecdote passed off as "research" and on that basis Shirley tries to get a law passed imposing state control over a local librarian. Which takes us to the last sentence of the blurb from Russell. "That small library now has a free Internet filter program, he said, which solved the problem." If so, and it was free, why do we need the law?
At least one thing we'll never hear from that legislator is, "And don't call me Shirley."