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When did you stop beating your wife?  A kind of question that the
respondent has no winning answer to.  These are the sorts of situations
that people like Dr. Laura set up for people to listen to as entertainment.

Unfortunately, we have seen too many who begin to believe they have (are?)
the world's answers and are quite willing to convince others of that truth.
And, just as unfortunate, we have many who believe them.

Is Dr Laura a threat?  Of course.

If we e-mail her, the people behind her say look at her growing audience
and provide her with even more time.  If we ignore her, then, of course,
the ALA has put a gag on us poor librarians, only proving her point.

If she continues with air time, then her venom spreads.  Yet, if she's
refused air time, we have the larger threat to the freedom of speech that
is so essential to democracy.

If we respond to allegations by investigating whether or nor pornography
sites exist, whether or not a library association has put a gag on someone,
we give credit to what these kinds of people are saying and writing.  And
yet, if we ignore it, we are accepting by default the charges as truth.

Do not underestimate the powers that these people can generate.  As a
Canadian, I'm not proud of the roles that people like Dr Laura have played
in our history.  I'm not proud that a provincial government so controlled
our media that it virtually destroyed education to pay for a self-promoting
transportation exposition.  I'm not proud that I still feel a refugee from
the province I had grown up in.  And, I'm not proud that so many others
took the same solution I did.

Yet I read the frustrations in the LM_Net letters and know that,
ultimately, only facts can lead to truth.

Today, all we can do and, perhaps, all we should do, is damage control.
The public has seen some glimmer of truth in what Dr Laura says.  Watch for
criticism, examine it for truth, correct what we can.

And always remember that our best defense is how we act within our
libraries, to teach  to our patrons through example.

Earl Sande
Secondary School Librarian
International School of Tanganyika
Post Office Box 2651
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
(e-mail :  sandes@wilken-dsm.com)

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