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Some of you know from my comments on homelessness that I'm not very patient with certain types of reactions. They form a trigger for me, and I'm very aware that other issues represent triggers for some of you.

This is why, despite my reluctance, I think it's important to share this article, Man outraged after being ejected from a Barnes & Noble kids' area, this morning.  It's complicated, but the best way I can phrase what I think it says is that sometimes reacting to a trigger may be crying wolf.  

It's complicated.  We're at a Barnes and Noble in Scottsdale, Arizona.  You remember, "papers, please" Arizona because so many Arizonans have "brown skin" as a trigger.  Omar Amin, 73, the director of the Parasitology Center Inc. in Scottsdale and an expert in infectious diseases, was in the children's section looking for books to send to his grandchildren in Wisconsin.  Then, because he was alone, a store employee asked him to leave the store and escorted him out of the building.  Mr Amin told a reporter

“He said that men alone are not supposed to be in the children's reading area by themselves,” Amin said. “I told him there were no signs, and then he said a woman complained.”

When Amin asked if he could question the complaining shopper, the store declined.

"The employee asked whether I’d heard about kids being molested in bookstores and I said I didn’t. Maybe I should have picked some strange kid to go to the store with me so they would leave me alone," Amin said. "I don’t know how that works.”

I get that this might be an overzealous employee at Barnes and Noble, but I wonder about the woman involved (no, they don't tell us the gender of the B&N employee). Grandfatherly man alone or scary Arab guy? Molestation or xenophobia? Had the woman perhaps had a triggering experience with a man his age? It's complicated.

I read it as an overreaction, and if prodded, I'd probably say that Dr. Amin's Arabic origins had something to do with creating this situation.

Barnes and Noble handled it as well as it could:

Vice President Mark Bottini said in a statement this week that it is not the company's policy to ask customers to leave any section without justification.

"We want to apologize to Dr. Amin for a situation in which Dr. Amin was asked to leave the children's section of our Scottsdale, Ariz., store. We should not have done so. It is not our policy to ask customers to leave any section of our stores without justification.,” the statement read.

 Dr. Amin has decided not to sue the bookstore chain.

Still, isn't this a cautionary tale that reminds us to think about how we react to a triggering reaction? I hope I didn't read this incorrectly, and I have no doubt that if I did I'll be reminded of that in the comments.

11:24 AM PT: thanks, Progressive Friends, for the republishing!

Originally posted to Dave in Northridge on Sat Jun 09, 2012 at 07:21 AM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.

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