Pro-Trump Missouri Lawmaker Wants To Jail Library Staff Who Give Children Access To Books With LGBTQ Content
A bill which was recently proposed by Missouri state representative Ben Baker—a Republican and staunch Trump supporter—seeks to ban libraries from allowing children and teens access to books with "any description or representation" of sexuality.
The bill seeks to create a "parental library review board" which will have to approve any and all books that will be available to children.
The board would have complete power over what books and information children can access, a concept completely counter to one of the main missions of public libraries—free, equal, and confidential access to information.
This "parental library review board" would also have the ability to "order any material deemed to be age-inappropriate sexual material to be removed from public access."
This may seem like a fairly innocuous idea at first, children should probably not have access to pornography, but it quickly becomes clear that sexually explicit material isn't what Baker intended to target once his words about the bill are considered.
Baker stated that the bill was largely a response to libraries holding "Drag Queen Story Time" programs, and his discomfort with those programs.
"The main thing is I want to be able to take my kids to a library and make sure they're in a safe environment, and that they're not gonna be exposed to something that is objectionable material."
“Unfortunately, there are some libraries in the state of Missouri that have done this. And that's a problem."
There has been significant concern from the library community over the bill, which seeks to censor what content certain patrons can access.
Carrie Cline, Director of the Neosho Newton County Library, told KOAM of her colleagues' concerns.
"I was contacted by my fellow directors across the state. They're all very very upset about it. The Missouri Library Association's very aware of it, so also is the American Library Association at a federal level."
She further told KNWA:
"Libraries are very much against censorship in of any kind, we are one of the last institutions left alive where no matter who you are ethnically, religiously, politically you are welcomed at the public library."
“We believe in your right to view, to see anything you want to see, to read whatever you want to read and we're not going to get in the way of that."
“A good public library has something in it to offend everyone, or we're not doing our job."
Baker claims that the bill isn't meant to censor or ban books, as the books deemed inappropriate will still remain in the library, but be inaccessible to children.
"The main thing that I've heard is that I want to ban books or ban content or censor content, and that's not the case. I just think that there's a line between what is open and available access for our children."
"Even the bill specifies it wouldn't be taken out of the library, it would just be put in a section that's not for children."
The $500 fine and/or 1 year jail sentence that could await library staff for lending the "inappropriate" books to minors seems to say otherwise, however.
Libraries who receive state funding will also risk losing those funds if they fail to comply with the law if it is passed.
Some parents who use public libraries with their families, like Samantha Sowa, also disagree with the bill.
"I think that personally, education should be available and if you don't want to read something don't pick it up and read it, everybody should be able to choose what they want to read whether it be against someone else's beliefs because we don't all have the same beliefs."
The bill, which is extremely broadly written, could also be used to prevent children from accessing materials that have any LGBTQ+ content—what constitutes age inappropriate is not specifically defined, and would be up to the review board to determine.
This has garnered significant criticism of the bill on social media.
@Nettaaaaaaaa Gee, I wonder which books will be targeted as "too sexually explicit." 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️— a big round wet mcmuffin (@a big round wet mcmuffin) 1579215341.0
@Nettaaaaaaaa #Librarians are highly educated in their field and this politician wants uneducated people overriding… https://t.co/JS4s3d2i8O— Madeline Pine (They) (@Madeline Pine (They)) 1579223357.0
@AJDingus @Nettaaaaaaaa ... It's got some serious dismemberment-level violence in certain parts. Almost forgot.— Velda (@Velda) 1579225061.0
@Nettaaaaaaaa Why? If they don’t want their kids having the book they can parent them and say ‘this is too old for… https://t.co/LYHMRvdVMl— Mimiwilliams (@Mimiwilliams) 1579213304.0
@Nettaaaaaaaa Wow, I wonder if those same folks desiring this change monitor their children's internet traffic as closely.— Jesse Trumpore (@Jesse Trumpore) 1579266838.0
Kids who are questioning their gender or sexuality, or just seeking more information, often use public library resources because it is a safe and confidential way to do so. Lack of access to these books could mean a whole lot of isolated kids.
The bill also takes some of the power, and responsibility, over what children read away from their own parents.
Because some parents are uncomfortable with their kids having access to certain books, the bill would make it so no minors would have access to those books, instead of it remaining the responsibility of parents to monitor what their young children read.
When you're working with kids, you never know what you're going to be dealing with on a daily basis. Are you going to have the delicate sweethearts, opening their hearts to learn?
Or are you going to be dealing with a sinister group of bee wranglers, who have suddenly set up a black market bee ring througout the school?Yes. That's a real thing that happened.
"Teachers of Reddit, what was the worst thing you had to confiscate from a student?"
Something can leave a lasting impact you think about for years after the fact without actually being physically or mentally scarring. Sometimes it just makes you question why you're doing what you're doing.
That's Not How That Works
"I had to confiscate hand sanitizer from a student who decided to drink it to get drunk and threw up EVERYWHERE."
"This actually came up in a chemistry lab. One guy heard sanitizer had alcohol in it and you could see his eyes light up. The teacher had to calmly explain why he'd probably die/get violently sick."
Thank You For Being So Hurtful And So Honest
"My wife is a teacher and one of her first graders brought her 2 hard seltzers because her mom said they’re good after a long day and she deserved them"
"Aww that's pretty sweet actually, even if inappropriate."
Remember that bee story from earlier? This is that time.
These stories are peculiar, odd to say the least, but mostly harmless to those involved. Unless you're a bee.
Black Market Bee Sales?
"When I was in fifth grade there was an active market in live bees."
"Some kids figured out that the weight of the average fifth grader briefly stepping on a bee, in the grass, would stun it for about a minute without actually killing it. They started going out in teams to scout bees on the field, stun them, and carefully scoop them into plastic sandwich bags -- they'd then sell them to other students who'd release them in classrooms to waste class time and scare people."
"You could get honeybees for 25 cents apiece. Bumblebees and yellow jackets cost more. Teachers and school admin started cracking down on this -- teachers literally confiscated live bees in plastic bags from students when found, and they eventually had to start having someone watch the field to catch students in the act."
Take It Off The Stove
"My mom has had stories about what's she's confiscated from lower elementary aged students (K-3). The usual prank items like woopie cushions, sure. But one time a student was playing with this weird box. The box was locked. So she couldn't put it in the confiscated bin. She put it on top of a cabinet. About an hour later, it starts ringing. Furiously. It took some doing to get the box open."
"Turns out, this kid's parent was a professional chef. So the kid had grabbed every timer in the house, set them for the max amount of time, locked the box, brought it to school, and played with it so it would get confiscated and ring loudly. Whole class erupted with laughter and screaming. A true agent of chaos"
"Preschool teacher here. I had to convince a 4 year old that his mom's wedding ring should go into a special box on the front desk instead of on the finger of a six year old girl he had a crush on."
"Later he brought in his dad's car keys, and a bottle opener."
We Found Nemo, Everybody
"The weirdest one was definitely the fish in a vase they found during locker checks. It was in an unassigned locker someone had added a lock to. Inside was a live Betta fish in about as large a vase as you can fit in a locker. Fully decorated. Someone had clipped a little book light to the top of the vase presumably so fish wasn't in the dark all the time. No one claimed to know whose if was or how long it had been there so it lived in the coaches office for at least that year."
Everybody Is Going Nuts
"A dead squirrel."
"I taught preschool at the time."
Kids are dangerous psychos, aren't they? Deep down? We're just meant to think they're innocent so we won't notice they knife they're about to stick in our backs.
Planning A Heist?
"Most dangerous: a knife from an 8th grader."
"Most annoying: different school than above, but a wifi jammer and a USB killing device from an 8th grader."
This Is Why We Shouldn't Give Kids Technology
"Not a teacher, but a bus driver. I had to confiscate a 5th grader's cell phone a few days ago, specifically because he was showing hardcore porn to first graders with it... Lots of phone calls that day..."
"My school banned 1st grade - 5th grade from having phones because the 4th/5th graders would constantly show hardcore porn to the younger kids... I'm starting to see a pattern here"
Ah, That Explains A Lot Of These Stories
"Penis shaped glass pipe with weed still in the balls/bowl. Mom asked if she would be getting it back or if the school was keeping it."
It's not your child, we promise. It's everyone else's kid that's bringing dead squirrels and phone porn to school.
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Abduction remains to be a horrific crime that can typically happen to women and children.
Curious to hear from those who lived to tell their distressing stories, Redditor mind_guardian asked:
"For survivors of attempted kidnapping. How did you escape?"
The following Redditor had very close calls.
Spontaneous Escape Plan
"Guy at a club and his mix of friends was insistent about coming back to a party, I politely declined. Didn't think much of it. They got increasingly aggressive about it, to a physical extent, and I left. Walking back home, I realized they were following me in their car."
"Dashed down the road through the mid-path of a packed apartment complex and just started yelling like crazy."
"No one actually responded or poked their head out or maybe they just didn't hear me. But it sparked the escape reflex of the creeps and I hid in a bush until my heart slowed down. Jumped the fence of someone's property -risky in its own right- wandered through a field, avoiding the main roads, and circled back to a side-street to home. Lucky I knew the area better than they did."
Offering A Ride Home
"I don't know sure what this was, but i was riding my bike home alone, cutting through a deserted middle school and high school parking lots during the summer time. A man in a station wagon pulled up and offered me a ride home. I never stopped pedaling, just said no I'm fine."
"He pressed several times saying he could fit my bike in his car, it was no big deal. I kept saying no. He gave up and left. Don't know if it was just a genuinely helpful guy (this was the late 70s or early 80s so it wasn't yet completely extinct practice that strangers might offer each other rides) or a potential kidnapper."
Up In The Treehouse
"My mum was always paranoid someone would kidnap us kids from the yard. We used to play outside while she worked from home, we were 10, 8 and 6 at this time. She paid our neighbours teenage daughter to sit in the yard and watch us. Mostly she just ignored us and read a magazine with her headphones on and Walkman playing, but she was nice to us. I remember thinking this was stupid and mum was right there anyway so why did I 'basically a teenage' need to be babysat lol."
"One day we were all up in our tree house being jerks to our babysitter and unplugging her headset cord while she was trying to nap. A man and woman came into the yard via the side gate. They started talking to my youngest sibling trying to get her to climb down. The babysitter screamed for help but no one came. She ended up throwing the ladder from the treehouse over our back fence into her own yard and made us all climb into her yard with her dog who was going insane at the fence."
"We ended up locked in her house and she called the police. My mum didn't hear any of the commotion from inside the house and she won't speak about it even now that we are all adults. Never complained about my babysitter after that though."
The Creepy Customer
"I don’t remember how old I was, just that I was small enough to fit into the kids seat on a grocery cart. This was the early 90s and my mom had taken me grocery shopping with her. I was sitting in the grocery cart while my mom was focused on picking out produce only a few feet away when an older woman swooped in between us and started pushing the cart away quickly. I recall her smiling at me and trying to make me feel comfortable while also making the 'shh' gesture with her hand."
"I did not feel comfortable and started making enough noise to alert my mom. She ran over and loudly yelled at this stranger that this child was hers. The most chilling part that I still remember was that she didn’t flee the scene and instead made a comment about how cute I was and calmly walked away. Before she disappeared down an aisle she took one last look at me and winked."
People who were actually abducted talked about how they got out of their situation.
The Elderly Hero
"It was the 90s in SE Asia. I wasn’t old enough to go to school yet so my grandma took care of me while my parents were at work. My grandma had a little convenience store and one day 2 men approached her. One was in his 30s and the other was an old short man with white hair. They were carrying those hand weave basket pig cage."
"They asked my grandma if I was for sale. She told them to bugger off. While my grandma was distracted, they snatched me and I was carried away. I was kicking and screaming until they knocked me out. One of the neighbors saw me and alerted my grandma. My grandma rode her bicycle down the main street looking for me. She argued and threatened them to get me back."
"If it wasn’t for my grandma and her stubborn fierceness, I wouldn’t be here. She passed away in 2016. Love you and miss you grandma."
"My wife told me that when she was just a teenager, she got in a cab and the cab driver just abducted her. He didn't take her to her destination, instead he took her to a hotel room. She was really scared but she kind of started playing along a little and pretended that she was interested and into it. Then he lay down on the bed, and she said something like 'Oh, I'm hungry. Can we order a pizza first?' and the cab driver said okay."
"So she picked up the phone, while she was dialing he wasn't paying attention so she disconnected the cable. Then she said, you know, I think the phone is broken. Let me go to the front desk to tell them, and I'll order the pizza while I'm there. So he says, okay sure."
"She went to the front desk and told them what was happening, they called the cops, the cops came and hauled him away."
Fighting For Life
"Was drugged at a small town bar, went to the bartender and asked what drink she had given me. She recited what I had ordered. I told her I asked because I'm not feeling well suddenly and it was like the world was spinning on its head. I sat at my seat because she said she hadn't seen anyone near my table/drink. Cool, whatever."
"It's getting worse and I feeling the worst I've ever felt in my life. I don't really remember what happened but a guy had led me outside and we were getting in a car. I remember hearing 'bracele' and seeing handcuff clink on my tiny a** wrist. My first response was scream, kick, anything. I already felt like vomiting and pooping so in my panic of scream and writhing around (drawing a LOT of attention from a closed car apparently) I stopped for a second and hear 'finally you b*tch' before I vomited all of the back seat, myself, and I threw myself forward to cover him as well."
"At this point I had no control between vomiting and screaming as loud I as could to vomit more, my drugged self was like 'it can't get worse for me' and I literally pulled my pants down and shat as my body saw fit. Guy never left the parking lot because of the commotion I raised."
"I remember hearing people banging on the windows and the guy freaking out, so I started screaming 'help' the best I could. The guy was arrested and charged with attempted kidnapping and drugging me with meth and fet that they found on his person. Blessed be the big man 'mike' who carried my vomit poop cover self to the gym (next to the bar) where they let me shower and change."
The Ultimate Betrayal
"My best friend tricked me into hanging out with her after I moved to another coast to be closer to her. Once I got there she introduced me to her 'friend' then slipped out of the house. When i asked about it he laughed and said 'you really thought she was your friend? She owes me money and you’re her payment. I’ve known about you for months. None of this was coincidental' then proceeded to pull up pics of me and conversations between them two."
"After a lot of initial crying and begging I told him I needed to go to her house to get my stuff and my phone. He told me he would get me all new stuff and I didn’t need it. Why would I go back to her. I immediately told him that he was right. I didn’t wanna go back to her. That he really saved me from her cause what kind of friend would sell me to someone. I told him that he was gonna take care of me and I knew that. I just needed my phone to let my parents know I was okay and wouldn’t see them for a bit or they’d get worried and file a report."
"After much convincing he agreed to let me go to her house around the corner to grab my stuff and come back. I took off running once I got around the corner. Had to take 2 busses and 2 trains to get home. I haven’t had a close friend since."
These Redditors recalled making a run for it before anything bad could happen.
Declining An Invitation
"When I was 8 years old (f) I had just moved to a new house that was directly across the street from the school I would be starting in just a month or two. I would sometimes go to the school and play by myself for a bit. One time I was headed back home when I was approached and surrounded by a group of boys in their early teens. They told me to come hang out at their house. I shook my head and tried to run home but was blocked. The second oldest pulls out a $20 and tells me that I can have it once we get to their house. I think for a moment and decline again but am blocked again from leaving. My heart is racing and I keep looking longingly at my house."
"The boy with the money holds it out to me and says to take it and he'll give me another $20 at the house, it's in his wallet, he forgot it. The oldest chimes in telling me I would be able to buy a LOT of candy with that money. I hesitate, and start to reach my hand out to take the money and then see my chance to run between two of the boys and escape. They yelled and tried to grab me but I made it home."
"I saw some of them on occasion but I always stayed far away and they seemed to have forgotten about me. I later learned that the house they were trying to take me to belonged to a drug addicted mother who was rarely home and her son's just did whatever they wanted."
"I was 12 and some guy was walking towards me after school. He said, 'Hey there kiddo, You remember me, don't you!? Mom told me to take you home!' I thought, 'B*tch, that's the oldest trick in the book!' My parents told me if this ever happened, one thing I could do was run to the nearest adult and yell 'Mom, Mom' or 'Dad, Dad' So that's what I did."
"A teacher was walking into the school and I said, 'Oh Dad, there you are!' The guy got TF outta there. I explained to the teacher why I did what I did. We didn't get his plate number sadly enough."
"It Only Takes A Second"
"When I was very little my dad took my sister and I on a river camping trip for a few days. We got to the little rural town at the end of the river where a buddy left our truck and trailer at the boat launch for us. My sister was old enough to sort of help dad with loading the boat (hold rope so it doesn’t float away while we back up etc) but I was too little to really do much so I started wandering around looking for stuff. I found a dead bumblebee and I really loved bumblebees so I decided to bury it in a little grave to pay respects. I found a patch of flowers near the edge of the boat launch, by the woods. I’m crouched down, completely absorbed by my trying to make a little cross for a headstone out of two twigs and a bit of grass, when suddenly I hear my dad’s deep, booming voice scream."
"He was a good ten yards away from me but it was so loud I could feel it in my chest and I jump and spun around towards him. He is already halfway to me, running. His face looks scary. He looks so mad, so focused, and he’s looking over my shoulder instead of at me. I run over to him, no idea what’s happening but scared that I’d at least get in trouble if I didn’t go over to him right away. He picks me up and puts both me and my sister into the truck to finish loading by himself."
"Apparently a man tried to take me. I never even knew he was there. Dad caught sight of him just as he began lunging towards me and scared him off. I wouldn’t have known until I was already gone if he hadn’t been so aware."
"Watch your kids, it only takes a second."
A Convenient Tool
"I was about 7 at the time, and at that time i thought it was cool to carry a pocket knife, well, one day i was riding my bike, and a man knocked me over covering my mouth, i grabbed my knife and stabbed him in the side and ran inside crying."
Listen To Your Gut
"I was 19 walking to work in the early hours of the morning in winter. I knew someone was following me for a little while and I was just praying I was making it up. Suddenly all the sh*t I have even been taught about self defence came forward. He grabbed me and pulled me."
"There was a moment when I turned to look at him and he laughed and it was at this point I pissed my pants. I was walking as close to the road as I physically could without being on it and I pushed my head down and then threw it back as quickly as I could."
"He fell and I ran in the middle of the road with my armsout screaming. Flagged down to cars. It was a very scary moment in my life and taught me a harsh lesson. Listen to your gut, even if you've done something 100 times if you don't feel safe you're not safe."
These and hundreds of other examples on this Reddit thread reflect the sad reality of the horrors of the crime that still happen to this day.
Hopefully, what the survivors did to flee from their traumatizing situations can be a useful reminder to always stay vigilant, whether it is for yourself or your children.
And when all else fails, always scream and fight for your life before the situation can get any worse.
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Budding chefs know a thing or two about what makes certain dishes taste so good.
Interesting points were brought up when Redditor onegrayhair asked:
"What culinary hill are you willing to die on?"
People shared cooking tips and how some foods should be prepared a certain way.
"Nachos should be built wide not tall."
"I hate when the chips at the bottom don’t have all the cheese and toppings, but the chips on top have too much. Balance is key to a great plate of nachos!"
Jaws Have Limitations
"We need to make burgers wider not taller."
"If I have to disassemble a burger to eat it, it’s missing the point, isn’t it?"
Just Let It Stew
"Homemade chili is almost always better the next day."
"And most soups and stews."
Add Some Zap
"Worcestershire sauce can work magic."
"Being poor isn’t a culinary crime. It takes talent to make cheap food taste as good as my mom did."
People had plenty to say about rating recipes.
"When you're baking from an online recipe, don't change three or four ingredients "to make it healthy" and then leave a one star review about how bad it is."
"Don't leave a 5-star review on someone's recipe while saying 'This was a great recipe... after I made these 10 changes!' At that point, you're not rating that person's recipe, you are rating YOUR OWN recipe. That person's recipe must not have been so good if you had to make so many changes."
"Also, don't leave a 5-star review on someone's recipe while saying 'This recipe looks great, I can't wait to try it!' Why skew the ratings when you haven't even tried it yet?"
Snobbery Is Tasteless
"Being snobby about food to the point where you're hindering someone else's enjoyment is not a positive personality trait."
Taste Buds Don't Lie
"If it tastes good it tastes good."
Some questioned others' capabilities in the kitchen while others straight up forbade them from doing something that is unfavorable.
"People who hate cooking with stainless steel don’t know how to cook with stainless steel."
There's A Dress Code
"DON’T WEAR YOUR APRON INTO THE BATHROOM."
"I've called people out for doing this. It's disgusting. This isn't a hill to die on, this should be common sense. People be dumb."
"I had to call a girl out again for putting a container of raw meat on a cold station."
"She complained that I 'always call her out on that.'"
"Yeah no sh*t, you're the only one tryna catch state health code write ups.'
"e/ she saw the post and I made her cry, oops."
Don't Interrupt The Cook
"Get out of the kitchen if I'm cooking. Out out out I don't want your help."
Not All Salads Are Good For You
"I live in the Midwest, I love the Midwest but just because you call something a salad does not mean it is healthy and an acceptable side dish to your main course. Snicker-marshmallow-mayo-whatever is not salad."
I don't consider myself a cook, but I do pat myself on the back for some of the dishes I do know how to make well.
One of those is Japanese curry. And while I can't keep from serving and eating what takes at least an hour-and-a-half to make, I do find that my leftover tastes infinitely better the next day.
I make a HUGE batch of curry sauce so I can continue enjoying it for the next few days. There's something about leaving it in the fridge and heating up portions at a time that really activate the spices.
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Adulthood has been pretty nice, I have to admit. I quite like it. But it isn't always easy and some lessons are more difficult to learn than others.
It's so important to learn how to budget, for instance, because being an adult can get expensive. Between rent, food, utilities, and other odds and ends, you'd be shocked how quickly money flies out the window. Understanding this (and keeping an eye on your finances) pays dividends in the long run.
But that's also assuming things go well or smoothly – unexpected expenses arise and those come with their own consequences.
People shared their thoughts after Redditor FrequentPilot5243 asked the online community,
"What is an adult problem no one prepared you for?"
"All your young life..."
"Lack of purpose. All your young life you are given a purpose of passing exams and learning, then all of a sudden you are thrown into the world and told to find your own meaning."
There is something to be said about how much of childhood was demarcated by time. You lose those markers as an adult and that can be a big shock.
"You can stay up..."
"You can stay up as late as you want. But you shouldn't."
Yep, better not do that on a work day. You'll regret it, trust me.
"I didn't know..."
"I didn't know that other adults have the emotional intelligence of teenagers and it's almost impossible to deal with logically."
Try working customer service sometime. You'll deal with these people all the time. I don't miss those days.
"No one really talks about..."
"Almost all of your friends won't be life long. No one really talks about how common it is to lose touch with people or grow apart. Most of your life will be spent either making new friends while losing old ones or being alone."
This is true and we all go through it. I have already gone through it several times.
"Being able to do..."
"Being able to do so many things because I'm an adult but too tired to do any of them."
It's amazing how much having to work sucks all your time and energy from you.
"You are held to account..."
"You are held to account for bad behaviour for which you are negligent even if you had no intention to cause harm. As a lawyer, I see this all the time. People don't think they're responsible for mistakes. You are."
This is a big lesson to learn and it's probably important to teach young children that they don't get away with their mistakes so easily.
"The intricacies of workplace politics."
This is a big one and can be a big culture shock the first time you start working. Not understanding workplace politics can make your life more complicated than you'd like.
"Figuring out what makes you happy. Everyone keeps trying to get you to do things you're good at, or that makes you money, but never to pursue what you enjoy."
Unfortunately, so many of the things that bring people joy aren't necessarily the things that will make them money, and that really gets to the heart of unjust our system can be.
"I always thought..."
"One adult problem nobody prepared me for is how expensive everything is. I always thought that as an adult I would be able to afford the things I wanted, but it turns out that's not always the case! I've had to learn how to budget and save up for the things I want, and it's been a difficult process."
Learning how to budget properly is a valuable lesson. Those who don't learn it have a hell of a time as adults. It's harder than it looks.
"You may have heard..."
"You may have heard from your older relatives that when you get older, it'll be your turn to take care of them. You never really understand just how much it takes until you're in that position."
As someone who has done it, it was perhaps the most difficult thing i have ever done – and there was little, if any, support. It's a big wake up call.
No one ever said life is easy. Hopefully learning, accepting, and anticipating some of these struggles will make your life easier.
Have some thoughts of your own? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
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