Gunfire in library upsets mother
Submitted by mdoneil on January 8, 2008 - 1:15am
An unfortunate elderly man committed suicide in a public library branch men's room in Hillsborough County Sunday. The despondent man fired a single shot while alone in the men's room ending his life. Staff reacted - unless you read <a href="http://www.tampabays10.com/news/local/article.aspx?storyid=71346">this</a> story from WTSP TV 10- and no one was hurt other than the troubled elder. The mother was terribly upset because: "Nobody from the library staff came to comfort us, take us to safety, and tell us what was going on." The mother refused to take her daughter out an emergency exit offered by library staff. The library staff were dealing appropriately with the incident - a procedure that does not include explaining every action they take to every self-absorbed patron- and did indeed find the mother a place of safety. The reporter noted that the library does not have metal detectors, but does have detectors to prevent the theft of library materials. This of course makes complete sense since it is a library and not the departure area of the local airport. A troubled man takes his own life and yet this fine patron feels the library staff have some special duty to keep her safe yet she can decide to ignore the opportunity the library provided to leave in the direction away from the sound of the single gunshot. She wants the glass doors locked, because we all know that glass stops all bullets. Sometimes you are just on your own, and yes tragic things do happen from time to time, but if she is not prepared to react when a single gunshot is heard from a small handgun in a men's room - if she can't have the good sense to run away from gunfire without playing 20 questions with everyone around her then perhaps she should stay locked in her house. I don't anticipate a rash of shootings in Ruskin area libraries, and I would say most public libraries are remarkably safe places when it comes to the possibility of being shot - as contrasted with the corner convenience store. However the library staff are called upon to be her human shields, to extract her from a crisis they simply could not predict nor plan for every permutation. She was offered safe passage, she declined it and now is complaining. I bet she is one of the people in the grocery store asking on her mobile phone if they want 2% or skim milk. Some people in this country can't make a decision without consulting others, and when something happens that requires quick action they are incompetent. I don't miss patrons at all.