Like so many mid-sized cities, the intensity of discussion surrounding issues that affect urban life can often glow white-hot. When the city's flagship downtown library announced it had installed needle disposal bins in its washrooms (the original news story is here), it ignited a highly polarizing debate that continues to burn.
Other columnists have taken a stab at the issue, and letters to the editor have hit the paper with regularity since the story first broke. So from a darkened, hotel room in Calhoun, GA, I filed this early in the morning before we loaded the kids into the wondervan and continued our journey home. Even though I was hardly the only one talking about the issue, I couldn't resist the urge to dive in.
Library needle bins a necessary evilYour turn: Is the library's move a positive or a negative one? Why/why not? Is your part of the world experiencing anything similar?
Published Saturday, January 7, 2006
The London Free Press
I’m disappointed in Londoners’ response to the Central Library’s installation of needle disposal bins in its washrooms.
Instead of calling the new additions “gross” and worrying that they would attract drug users, I expected them to praise library leadership for doing something about a problem that most of us would rather sweep under the rug.
I guess I was naive. It seems we’re still a little too conservative when it comes to accepting progressive means of dealing with difficult issues.
Reality is often a bitter pill to swallow, but swallow it we must. The downtown core is already home to illegal drug users. Whether we like it or not is pretty much irrelevant.
Instead of dumping on the library for trying to address an ugly reality of life in the new millennium, the malcontents might want to brainstorm a few other ideas to keep our city and its residents safer.
The library’s move this week should be seen as merely the first step in the right direction. Sure, it’s ugly. But necessity must trump esthetics.