Another Day, Another Taser

Just in case you haven’t gotten the memo, we no longer live in the cheerful, black-and-white world of “Leave It To Beaver.” The streets aren’t even clean anymore, much less safe. Where the public library was once a quiet, quaint place for study and leisurely reading, it has now become a strange mix of internet cafe/detention hall/day care/reading room/homeless shelter. Don’t get us wrong–we aren’t complaining (too much)! The library is supposed to be for everyone, and we gladly open our doors to any person who may walk through them.

But let’s face it: the whole “libraries are for everyone” thing means we get a lot of unsavory people stumbling past our desks everyday. And with them, we get a whole slew of uncomfortable situations. (It is the Merry Librarian’s humble opinion that librarians everywhere should be considered for the Nobel Peace Prize.) But the true heroes of the library are easily the library security guards. They undoubtedly see the worst. Not only do they get the porno freaks and drunks, they get the screamers, irate parents, gangsters, predators, thieves, liars, abandoned children, squatters…you name it.

And so, when this story slid across our desk, we felt it was our duty to share it with you. This is one of those rare Security Nightmare stories where the “good guy” not only prevails–he kicks butt. (Or, in this case, gets to watch that butt get tased a time or two!) We even think that good ole boy Beaver Cleaver would find some satisfaction in this one!

So it’s not easy being security at the public library.  I don’t care what anyone says.  The library lets anyone enter the building, which is great and precisely the point of the public library, but it also invites the riff-raff.  And who gets the riff-raff?  Yep, I get the riff-raff.

Amidst all the drunks and pedophiles, however, sometimes justice does prevail.  One such occasion occurred just the other day, when one of our patrons who regularly requires a great deal of my time finally ran out of luck.

He was just hangin’ out as usual, reeking of pot with bloodshot eyes and pants drooping so low I knew the print on his boxer shorts.  He was talkin’ up the underage girls in our computer lab and probably waiting for a drug deal, and this is where I came in.  I approached him as he was disrupting other patrons with his loud profanity.  I asked him politely to keep his voice down, and reminded him that he knew he couldn’t use that sort of language in the library.
As is his usual behavior, he directed some of his profanity at me.

“F*&$ you”, he says, to which I replied, “I’m going to have to ask you to leave now.”

“Let’s go outside and take care of this”, he says.

I replied, “You know the drill.  Either you leave now, or I call the police.  You choose.”

Well, he chose to continue to heckle and taunt me, and I chose to call 911.  He stood right in front of me at the desk staring me down for the next few moments before the cops arrived.  They showed up earlier than usual, which he was not expecting.  He hurriedly exited the building, but the cops saw him leaving and asked him to stop.

He refused, and the tasers were deployed.  I watched with secret glee as he was tased into a state of reasonableness.  First when he refused to stop, next when he refused to be handcuffed, and lastly when he refused to get into the cop car he was tased.  The policemen knew him by name.  They had done all this before.

After all that I filed a report, but not much else happened.  All in a days work at the public library.
It is comforting to know that sometimes the good guy does finish first…

-“Jeff” the Security Guard

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2 Responses to “Another Day, Another Taser”

  • Robert Orchiston:

    I’m horrified that you were gleeful about the brutish cops tasering that poor guy. Over 280 people have been killed by Tasers since 2001. You should cringe every time you see a cop pull out a taser. Tasering is tanatmount to killing. Libraries shouldn’t be involved in that kind of thing.

  • Kristin:

    While I do agree that tasers can be dangerous, this guy brought it on himself. He could have stopped cursing or simply left the building when the security guard asked him to.

    I have worked libraries without security guards, and I have had to deal with the drunk, the irate and the mentally unbalanced. No one trained me for this in library school. Once I had a man who was stinking drunk at 10am who tried to pick me up for over 30 minutes. He would not take ‘no’ for an answer. At that time I worked in a temporary public library location that was located in a school classroom; there was nowhere for me to go and the children’s librarian hadn’t arrived yet so I couldn’t get away from him. We did have a security guard at this location but he was useless, the guard went outside when he saw the drunk harassing me and only came back to help after a circ clerk made the guard come back into the building. When I was a girl starting from the age of 11, older guys who would try to flirt, talk to or proposition me even when I was wearing ponytales and my middle school t-shirt. So there are some of the experiences that make me not have sympathy for the tasered guy.

    But Robert is right, libraries shouldn’t be involved in that kind of thing but unfortunately while many realize what great resources libraries have and use them correctly there will always be people like the guy in the original posting who refuse to behave.

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