Making One's Illegal Self at Home 

Making One's Illegal Self at Home

Believe it or not, Big Brother is alive and well at the lake Jackson library and the Brazoria County criminal attorney’s office is in charge of defending the software used to censor access to various websites on Brazoria County computers. One wonder’s why it is that the criminal attorney’s office would be in charge of such matters, it certainly might intimidate anyone considering challenging the county’s embrasure of policies and procedures that in effect violate the Second Amendment. I went to the Lake Jackson library the other day and immediately became aware of the fact that Brazoria County residents aren’t allowed to access certain websites. No, I’m not talking about pornography and/or gambling websites, I’m talking about websites that allow access to historical archives, and websites that offer alternative news, and commentary.

When I first noticed this I assumed that it could be remedied fairly quickly – I figured a request, a letter, a phone call, and the censorship of these websites would end. Initially I attempted to do this through the library staff, no luck. I then wrote assistant librarian Larry White and asked him if he’s been assigned the role of “morality cop,” and requested that several websites be unblocked. A few days later I received a letter from the Criminal District Attorney’s office. Can you imagine???

In the letter Assistant District Attorney Trey Picard informed me that “certain internet material,” could not be accessed on Brazoria County computers because of “certain mandates of federal law,” which presumably authorize various morality cops in our fine county to prevent you and I from accessing incredibly important information, vital for the formation of an educated opinion. The ambiguous letter didn’t bother to actually define what “certain material,” meant, or exactly what “certain mandates of federal law,” were involved or who imposed these mandates upon the citizenry of Brazoria County as opposed to residents of Kleberg County, Texas who are not affected by similar legislation and whose library allows access to the internet sites Brazoria County doesn’t. Attorney Picard was kind enough to enclose with the letter an Internet Use and Policy Guidelines form which only reinforced the fact that none of the websites I was concerned with should be censored and/or filtered out as they could in no way be considered pornographic, illegal, and/or websites that encourage people to commit illegal acts. Nonetheless, weeks after having initially requested these websites be “unblocked,” most still remain blocked by the filtering software identified as WebSense.

On May 12, 2006 I received a letter from Brazoria County’s assistant librarian Larry White who assured me that all of the requested websites I had submitted for “unblocking,” had in fact been “unblocked,” and then inexplicably added the caveat, “to the best of our capabilities we have verified this was accomplished.” I followed this letter up by calling Mr. White, to tell him the sites remained blocked, in my opinion, White was not very happy to hear from me, I was pretty much given short shrift and treated as a nuisance, rather than one of the many taxpayers that provide Mr. White with a job and paycheck.

Please call the library and/or the Brazoria County Criminal Attorney’s office and request that they end censorship of non-pornographic/non-illegal websites on County computers. In this day and age, when we no longer have any reason to trust the national media establishment or federal government we need access to websites that will provide us with information that will truly enable us to develop an objective and informed opinion, rather than one reliant on the subjective views of an elite few.

C.B. Maynard

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