Libraries are for free books, not free porn

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There's nothing like taking some family time at the local public library when the kids are out of school during the holidays.

It makes for a wonderful afternoon. Moms and dads and kids together, browsing, discovering new books, finding old classics to read again.

But that's not all a family will find at the library. There's something else the children will never forget:

Porn.

Specifically, sexually excited human animals, predominantly male, operating under the belief they are protected by the First Amendment, watching pornography at the Chicago Public Library and other libraries, in full view of patrons.

Children often wander past the tables, they look up to see naked bodies on the screens, the dead eyes of the actors, hips moving, all the rest of it.

It happened to Jason Carter, 41, of the North Side, who called to tell me of taking his two little boys, 7 and 9, to the library in the Bucktown neighborhood.

"As we were walking by the rows of computers — and my son was two feet behind me — he kind of stopped," Carter said.

"I didn't know anything about it until we got over to the stacks and he was visibly shaking," Carter said, describing his 9-year-old.

"I said, 'What's wrong?' And he said, 'I don't want to tell you.' And I said, 'What is it?'

"He said, 'Well, I just walked by a computer and there's a man over there looking at stuff he shouldn't be looking at.'"

Carter told his son he'd take care of it, though his son didn't want him to get involved.

"No, no!" Carter recalled his son saying. "Papi! Don't!"

If you're a parent, that rings true. Children don't like confrontation. It upsets them. But Carter had to find out. He told the boys to stay put and he walked back to where the man was looking at a video.

"I went over there and sure enough, he was looking at a graphic porn video right in the middle of the library," Carter recalled.

Carter took a piece of paper and wrote a note about what was happening and passed it to a security guard. Then he walked back over to his boys, figuring the problem would be solved.

The security guard, a woman, came up to Carter and offered an amazing explanation so his sons could hear.

"She said, 'He's allowed to look at that unless he's looking at kiddie porn,'" Carter recalled.

Carter was so stunned he couldn't believe what he'd just heard.

"I was speechless," he said. "I was ready to explode. I wanted to cry. I wanted to shout! I just couldn't believe it."

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