Respect individual decisions on books

Barb Skogstad, Minot

I am commenting on a letter from a couple weeks ago from Tim Knickerbocker concerning the legislation on banning books. I agree with Tim that this is clearly overreach on the government’s part here in North Dakota as well as MANY other states. It seems the Republican legislators want to CONTROL what their constituents read and think and see. If as they say – “Knowledge is Power” they certainly don’t want the public to be educated in ALL respects, have knowledge or heaven forbid power…THEY want the control.

What and who is to say what is explicit in reading material and for what age range that covers? I might think a romance novel is too racy and others are fine with it. Is it the language that is a problem? What about Biology text books? They have pictures….I wouldn’t expect to see Masters & Johnson’s book “The Joy of Sex” in the children’s library but kids DO need guidance at times that many may not receive at home.

An example: When I was in 6th grade I had a friend in 7th that was over and had asked my mom about how big babies were when they were born…She thought 7 pounds was very large to come through the navel. Clearly her mother wasn’t able to explain to her things that she should know by that age so my mother did.

The book banning also smacks of what Hitler did before he really got rolling. He controlled the press – what people could know in that respect and also started burning books. Controlling what they read and could learn.

Again – When I was in high school in Anamoose, ND, we heard about what Drake had done. An English/Literature teacher had assigned Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five” for a reading assignment to be discussed in class. A girl complained to her parents and the parents went to the school board. Their answer was to pull those books (and I think a few other authors) out of the class and out of their high school library, took them out back and BURNED them! The teacher went to the media and Drake, ND, was on national news for burning and banning books. We were all shocked. I had heard that some schools wanted to ban Shakespeare because of the murders and Romeo and Juliet’s suicide pact.

IF you don’t like the content of a book DON“T read it – DON”T buy it. But don’t take someone else’s right to read it away.

It seems there are more controls being put on “We the people” and less freedoms.

If we don’t teach history correctly we are doomed to repeat it. I surely don’t want Nazi Germany’s history repeated HERE!


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