Re “Battle over books in Virginia Beach now targets Barnes & Noble, Amazon. And it’s making its way through circuit court.(May 19): Attorney and Del. Tim Anderson has filed a lawsuit in Virginia Beach on behalf of his client, congressional candidate Tommy Altman, to remove books they find offensive from public schools, and are suing to have Barnes & Noble not sell the books to a minor without parental approval. Anderson is the same man who spoke at a Chesapeake School Board meeting against masks. His words, and I quote, “Kids die. It’s unfortunate.” Why is he now so concerned about children?
Even more frightening, Anderson has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out exactly who bought these books for the public schools. Hampton Roads is already struggling to find teachers. Do these teachers really need to feel threatened by a worthless lawsuit?
Anderson, on his Facebook page, bragged there are dozens of books he and his client can file suit against. For heaven’s sake, Hampton Roads’ residents: Wake up before book burning begins. It is nobody’s business but a parent’s to determine what his or her child reads.
Charles Davidson, Chesapeake
Re “Battle over books in Virginia Beach now targets Barnes & Noble, Amazon. And it’s making its way through circuit court.(May 19): I find a congressional candidate Tommy Altman’s court actions a dangerous political stunt. It shows he is more radically right than anyone else running for the 2nd Congressional District. His efforts to remove books from the Virginia Beach school libraries through the courts is a dangerous precedent and counter to the First Amendment. His efforts only highlight his lack of understanding of the issues at hand. His desire to force a private company to limit access to books he feels are objectionable will open the door to banning most books from Shakespeare to the Bible as someone will object to their content.
He does not understand or wishes to ignore that most children have access to computers and phones at very young ages. These children can access far more graphic material online than any current book in any library or bookstore. Altman’s going to court to get books removed from libraries, and private companies certainly is one way to get free publicity and your picture on the front page of the Daily Press. Still, it sets a dangerous precedent and ties up our court system, which is already overburdened.
Talbot N. Vivian, Yorktown
Re “Missed opportunity(Your Views, May 20): Adults should take a look at some of the illustrations in “Gender Queer: A Memoir” so that they can evaluate the material letter writer Tamara Sarg says, some kids will “be able to identify with” and “maybe find some answers in it, and feel less alone.”
How does a vivid illustration of the act of fellatio contribute to bolstering “what is often fragile self-esteem … help build their critical thinking skills … (or) help the child learn to navigate the world with all its variety of people and ideas”?
And, oh, by the way, a judge in Virginia just found probable cause to deem “Gender Queer” as too obscene for unrestricted access by minors.
Thomas Conant, Virginia Beach
Re “Battle over books in Virginia Beach now targets Barnes & Noble, Amazon. And it’s making its way through circuit court.(May 19): Congressional candidate Tommy Altman is seeking to prevent certain books from being distributed in the local area. Additionally, Del. Tim Anderson is seeking the names of local school librarians. As a librarian by training, I find both of these attempts at censorship, through the courts or by intimidation, in the case of seeking the names of school librarians, the tactics of schoolyard bullies.
As any librarian will proudly tell you, no collection of books or information is complete without something in it to offend everyone. If you do not like a book or a set of ideas that you find objectionable, you do not have to read it. Parents are smart. They can provide the necessary guidance for their children, certainly without the assistance of Anderson and Altman.
One of the books was already supposed to be out of the school libraries, so this effort is not really aimed at whatever merits existed in its removal. It is a political game. It is baffling to me that we are at this point in our politics that rank book banning is done in the name of cheaply generating votes. Why campaign on ideas, when you can scare up some nonissue? Why address achievement gaps in our students, when you can remove books? Why have ideas, when you can work to divide people rather than unite them?
Matthew Myers, Virginia Beach
Re “Battle over books in Virginia Beach now targets Barnes & Noble, Amazon. And it’s making its way through circuit court.(May 19): The article states that congressional candidate Tommy Altman said, “This is not about book banning; it’s about restoring parental rights.” Apparently, Altman liked Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s new buzzword and decided to keep it going.
Make no mistake: This is totally about book banning. If Altman did his parental job, his child wouldn’t want the book. If I did my parental job, my child will decide for herself if she wants the book.
What’s next Virginia Beach? Witch burning?
Patrick Mileur, Norfolk