Monday, April 4, 2016

Word of the Month for April 2016: Stop

Paper thin skinned
What is it about words (or the meanings people associate with words) that people freak out when someone says something, regardless of context?  I mean, a word that is so offensive to them that they will tear you a new one if that word is uttered. Of course, all this brings me to the word of the month: STOP.  Let me elucidate.

The other day, I had a student from a local paralegal school come up to me and started to tell me a legal research scenario for her class.  Because I had just finished a rather involved research project, I needed to adjust my thinking. So, I took a breath and said, "Stop, please - can you please just repeat that."  Student went ape crazy.  I mean, through the roof insane.  You'd have thought I'd have said "girl" instead of "woman" to Gloria Allred, or something.  Student went on a rampage saying how dare I tell her to STOP.  That she'll never STOP.  That she's worked so hard to go to paralegal school and that no one is ever going to get her to STOP!  

Uhhhhhhhh.  OK.  I don't know where that came from but according to Black's Law Dictionary, STOP is defined as, under the 4th Amendment, a temporary restraint that prevents a person from walking or driving away; see Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 88 S.Ct. 1868 (1968).  Using Words and Phrases (Thomson Reuters), we find that the court in State v. Hitchcock, 224 Or.App. 77, 197 P.3d 33 (2008), noted that a "stop" is a temporary restraint of a person's liberty.

Taken out of context, it could be argued that I was restraining her liberty to move forward in her pursuit to be a paralegal by asking her to stop and restate the question.  However, in the context I was coming from, I hadn't heard what she was saying.  As such, I was asking her to restate the question so I could provide the help she so desperately needed.  

Either way, there is no scenario where any library patron has a right to take shots at a Librarian. You've got issues?  Leave them outside.  In fact, if you are so tender of skin that you're going to freak out when someone says your trigger word, stay home and/or apply for disability because no one (including perspective employers) needs the grief you're looking to dish out.