Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fahrenheit 451

Just a couple of days ago something like 10 pallets of books were “discovered” at the Deseret Industries store in Cedar City Utah. The pallets were each stacked “about waist high” and must have weighed in at around half a metric ton each. That’s around five tons of books. That is a bunch of books.

The Deseret Industries is a thrift store run by the Mormon (LDS) church. I’ve noticed that their locations in the Salt Lake area have been moving out of their old repurposed (abandoned supermarkets and the like) locations and into new buildings built especially for them. Thrift stores must be a growth industry in Utah. I love thrift stores. I love taking something that is slightly broken, fixing it, and then using it until it is worn beyond recognition.

How could second hand stores fail when tens of thousands of units of literature-manna magically appear before the morning shift even unlocks the front doors?

Someone might ask “where did all those books come from?” or “are these really our beautiful books?”.

If someone like me were there I could picture a snide comment like “Maybe they just didn’t get around to burning them at the rally”

Unfortunately that attractive-but-annoying snide comment riddled fellow would be right.

Over the weekend the soon to be opened library in Colorado City Utah was emptied of books. Someone had stoked a huge bookfire less than a hundred yards down-slope from the log-sided former schoolhouse. Morning found the 20-foot wide ash pile littered with the still-smoldering bindings of various books. Beside the pile was what looked like an upturned log section like the ones used as stools at boy scout weenie roasts.

I’ve always loved staring into the dying embers of an impressive fire.

The fire must have been an important source of warmth as well as entertainment for the team of workers who toiled through the cold desert spring night moving the books from schoolhouse to the waiting pallets. It would have been easiest if they just used a forklift, but they could have gotten by with a bucket-brigade-like team of motivated individuals.

Cedar city is almost a hundred miles from Colorado City. They must have used a large truck or a convoy of pickups to move the books. The big truck or convoy moved the books to some location, stored them a couple of days, and then moved them to the Deseret Industries in Cedar City. Maybe they used Deseret Industry’s forklift to make it easier to unload the heavy pallets at their destination? Perhaps the Deseret Industries folks leave the keys in the forklift in case there are any late night book-burners who want to drop off their extras?

Colorado City is home to the FLDS polygamous sect of Warren Jeffs. Jeffs is in jail and the FLDS property holding company is under control by the state. The FLDS in Colorado City is under extreme pressure, and their numbers may even fall bellow something like 75% of the population of the town (estimate).

The former schoolhouse had not been used in years, and the holding company had agreed to allow it to be used for a library. Former FLDS members scoured the state eliciting book donations. Barnes and Noble donated thousands of dollars worth of books to the cause. The town was finally going to have a library. Many people thought this was a good thing; apparently not everyone though.

I wonder what would happen if it turns out there was a Qur’an in the ashes?

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