Mayor Bloomberg should replace books lost in Zucotti Park police raid

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  • Dale Eisman

Open your wallet Mayor Bloomberg, it’s time to buy some books.

The destruction or defacement by city police and/or clean-up crews of at least part of the “Occupy Wall Street” library in Zuccotti Park is unacceptable. Those responsible, from the cops and sanitation workers directly involved to whoever in the bureaucracy or the Mayor’s office ordered the library trashed or refused to step in and stop it, should be disciplined.

Occupy’s volunteer librarians were in the process of assembling an impressive and well-organized collection. “To the extent that the books lost can be accounted for, the city should replace each title, buying two new copies for each one destroyed,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “And for whatever number is unaccounted for, the city should provide Occupy’s librarians with funds sufficient to buy twice as many.”

Americans pride themselves on tolerance. There is plenty of room for disagreement over whether the Zuccotti encampment has lasted beyond tolerable limits, whether it was time for the rights of the protestors to yield to the rights of nearby residents to a peaceful neighborhood.

But a book collection disrupts nothing, infringes on no one’s rights. Indeed, an attack on books is an attack on rights protected by the First Amendment. People who would ransack and trash a library or a book collection put themselves on the moral level of book-burners. Their actions are intolerable.