Librarian Who Shushed Patron Is Stabbed

From Japan (Kakogawa, Hyogo--on Honshu Island), a story in Mainchi Shimbun about a librarian who tried to subdue a drunken patron and got stabbed for his troubles.

Katsuhiko Maekawa, 60, was arrested for the attempted murder of 57-year-old librarian Katsuhiro Ono. Ono sustained a severe stab wound in the alleged attack, but is expected to make a complete recovery (whew). Article here .


A 26-year-old Lazy, Wash., man was arrested and charged with aggravated assault Friday near 501 S. Mill Ave. Police said the man was involved in a fight with an unidentified subject when he pulled out a 3-inch knife. Security staff from the Library Bar and Grill, located at the same address, tried to separate the two men when police say the suspect allegedly cut one of the bar employees on the knuckle.
  SourceSure, the Library Bar and Grill isn't a library.

Man you must really be old if you were typing catalogue cards. :)

I don't wanna get too metaphysical here, but it's long been a known fact that children have very good control of their ki, or chi as it's known in China. Through proper control of the ki, one can have great strength, and become totally unmovable, among other things. Think, have you ever noticed that a child will feel heavier than normal if they don't want you to pick them up? Even my eight month old can do this. If he's playing and daddy wants to hold him and he doesn't want daddy holding him, he feels like a lead brick when I pick him up. If he's gurgling and wants up, he's as light as a feather.

As we grow older, we lose that control unless we practice. But this is one of the reasons that a five year old can seemingly have the strength of a full grown man.

"You could knock anyone out with a good swing with one of those. Janson's History of Art should be labeled a weapon of mass destruction.) But in reality, that opportunity doesn't always present itself."

Heh. Reminds of when I was taking my LT course('93-'95)--we had a set of LCSH, which, at that time, comprised 4 large, very thick volumes. Some of the shorter people in the class would use them to give them a bit of height when using the typewriters. (We had to type up catalogue cards.) Our instructor told us the LCSH volumes were good for the "quiet domestic murder".

We don't have quite the same violence/security issues at an elementary school (in Canada), but I will say that I don't leave scissors or other sharp objects where they are easily accessible to the children. Most of the kids are small (although some of the grade 5s can be tall or big)but if one of them decides to "freak out" they can have a lot of strength. I've only seen this happen a few times and it took a lot for the teachers to safely restrain/control the child. I have to say that I'm really glad I don't work at a high school...


That would not be unusual at all. We've got one guy who regularly shows up around here. Sometimes he's fine, polite, etc. But a couple times he's been combative. I'm not a psychologist, but it doesn't take a Freud to recognize paranoid schizophrenia when a man is sitting on a stool near an OPAC, looking around wildly, complaining that someone is "standing on his corner," and demanding that the voices shut up.

After said situation, he came back the next day. He was fine. He apologized for his behavior and said that, indeed, he forgot to take one of his meds.

"I have taken classes like this and the best was the patient/staff safety class I had to take to work as a nurse a psychiatric hospital."

See, this would be wonderful where I work. We have a couple of patrons that are problems throughout the community and it's widely speculated that when they're especially bad, some form of medicine is not being taken.

Our local public library has contracted guards to help with security. Not only is it cheaper than sending the librarians to self-defense class and then shouldering the liability of them using the training on patrons, but it also helps with the library work by allowing the library staff to do their actual library work rather than deal with gangs, monitor the bathroom use, and sweep the library at closing for homeless and/or obnoxious patrons.
Also, the security staff handle the difficult problems of kids left alone at the library after closing, waiting for their parents to arrive (maybe). If the rental staff call the cops to pick up the minor, it certainly relieves hte library staff of a nasty confrontation, or having two staff members stand out in the cold until some drunken parent arrives.
If your public library doesn't have this service, then you may want to contact your local board of trustees, and see if they will cough up the money for this security service. It is money well spent.

Thank you! I stress that these classes should be strictly empty hand techniques. Sure, there's a few people like me who know how to improvise a quick weapon from whatever's lying around. (Those massive art books you find in the 700s? Perfect. You could knock anyone out with a good swing with one of those. Janson's History of Art should be labeled a weapon of mass destruction.) But in reality, that opportunity doesn't always present itself.

There's a martial art in Japan utilized by the Metropolitan Tokyo Police Department and the elite Kidotai SWAT Units called Taihojutsu, or the art of arresting. It's a simple, easy to learn and use method of takedown and submission. It utilizes both armed, and unarmed techniques. The unarmed techniques are fantastic, well crafted, and extremely functional. It's not the prettiest martial art, but it's one of the better utilized.

I agree that these or any statistics don't show the whole picture. But might have the story ended differently IF it had happened in the U.S.? Just supposition on my part.

What might have differed in a country where 35% percent of the populace own guns as opposed to a country where one-half of one percent of the people own guns? A rhetorical question if you will that clearly opened a can of flaming worms.

You realize of course that correlation does not equal causation. For one, a correlation of one statistic with another says nothing about causal connection or direction. For another, a simple correlation between two figures is almost certainly leaving out other importtant factors. E.g. how many gun deaths in the U.S. are attributable to drug-related violence? Those deaths are irrelevant to situations like jealousy- and anger-driven killings. If you factor out drug-related killings, how bad is gun violence in the U.S.? I can't tell you at the moment, but if you can't answer this question either, then the comparison of gun ownership in the U.S. and Japan is pretty meaningless.

(FWIW, I am inclined to think that the criminalization of recreational drugs and the attendant war on drugs is not a wise policy, and that the violence and intrusions on liberty it has occasioned have been worse than the good it seems to have done. The prohibition of drugs has provided a strong incentive for much of the violence perpetrated today with guns.)

What a wonderful idea. I have taken classes like this and the best was the patient/staff safety class I had to take to work as a nurse a psychiatric hospital. Lots better than the police courses because police have things at their disposal that librarians don't.

Perhaps the ALA should have this at the next annual meeting. I'm sure it would be well attended.

I usually wear a nice guayabera or Hawaiian shirt when I carry a gun. That way it stays concealed.

Automatic weapons are legal, the license process is quite a number of hoops to jump through and quite expensive. I can't see why anyone would want on unless you owned a gun range or were a gunsmith.

This is one of the main reasons I think that all library employees, especially public librarians, should have to take a mandatory course in self defense. Specifically, I think they should receive the same self defense courses as given to police officers. Some people may balk at this, but how many of us public librarians had to deal with drunks, unruly patrons, threatening patrons, and downright hostile patrons? I've had to physically deal with one patron and the only reason I came out on the winning end is because I know what to do when faced with a patron who's larger, violent, and cocky. (It's called get a weapon of some kind and make sure he knows that you're more than willing to use it.)

I know that a lot of people are going to chime in and say that it's not our job to subdue a patron or that it's not within our bounds to have to take down a violent drunk. A lot of people are going to say "Just call the police." I have one response- police are reactive, period. In other words, cops don't show up until damage has already been done. When you ask a drunk patron to leave and he gets to the point of violence, are you really going to have time to wait the average 4 to 5 minutes for police response? No. Especially if the bastard swings on you. You should at least have the ability to defend yourself.

Does that mean you should throw yourself into a fight between two patrons? Hell no. Does that mean you should have the confidence to actually start something? Hell no. It just means that if a patron gets violent, you'll actually have some skills to draw on besides the everyman's skill of "getting the shit beat out of me because I don't know how to defend myself."

In some ways, it might stop a fight before it even starts. I think a few of our patrons would be less apt to get belligerent if they knew the librarian behind the desk possessed the same hand to hand skills as a police officer. Besides, librarians dealing with drunks and the mentally disturbed isn't exactly a new phenomenon. Granted a drunk who doesn't care about a librarian with some police training is probably not going to care about a cop either. Rest assured that if an idiot is going to swing on a cop, they'll have no problem attacking you. See, that's why cops are trained to deal with that, and that's why a lot of public workers, not just librarians, should have similar training.

To put it simply, an acquaintance in the police department once told me a story. When he first met the woman who became his wife and realized that this was the woman he wanted to marry, he taught her how to defend herself and how to use a gun. Why? Because he, being a cop, knew better than anyone that by the time a cop arrives on scene, someone's already been hurt.

I've had patrons' eyes shoot daggers at me, but no one has ever pulled a real one on me.

OK, so you gotta wear a trenchcoat when you carry your AK47. For your handgun, shorts & a tee-shirt will do fine.

yeah because you know you can just hide one of those AK-47s in your back pocket and no one would notice until its too late. Also, fully automatic guns are not legal. One trigger pull, one bullet, that's all you get.

We joke about this all the time at our library. Our YA librarian told a bunch of kids that they had to leave, and turned to me and said, "Watch me get mugged on the way home." Frickin' scary!

We have a library rule (well, we have boatloads of rules) which is to keep a desk between ourselves and patrons who appear to be "trouble". That includes smelling alcohol on them or any erratic behavior.

Of course, if someone wants to hurt you, they're probably going to do it. Thank god for witnesses.

Here (in the US) the librarian probably would have gotten blown to bits by a handgun (or for that matter, an nice legal AK47!) US Statistics and Japanese Statistics on handgun ownership. There are 85 legal handguns in Japan.

Well, all depends on who you're talking to! The kids at work think I'm ancient, but most of the teachers I work with think I'm still pretty young. I'll be 34 in february. So, when I was typing catalogue cards I was 23/24.

Our course coordinator/instructor felt it was important that we get a good grounding in the basics, which meant maintaining the card catalogue, even though the library was fully automated. That included typing catalogue cards for the books we catalogued in class (2nd year), and in first year we had to sort and file the cards, some printed out from Columbia, some from the second year students, into the catalogue.

When we did the cards for our cat course, the cataloguing teacher allowed 5 points per card and it was damn easy to lose points--he did in fact had out zeroes. (There was a rumour that in prior years he'd actually gone into negative numbers but that the admin made him stop that.) Actually, we didn't get a lot of hands on with the automated program they used, at least on the cataloguing end, although we did for searches and stuff. I certainly don't miss that old card catologue...

We did a lot the old fashioned way--but it provided a very good grounding for working in my own library. If you know how to catalogue you can master almost any cataloguing program, as far I'm concerned.


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