Senseless Violence: The NYPD Destroys Library. UPDATE #3

Occupy Wall Street Library (before) Occupy Wall Street Library (after)
Occupy Wall Street Library (before) Occupy Wall Street Library (after)

“I cannot live without books; but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object.”

Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 10 June 1815

“Knowledge is power.”

Thomas Jefferson to to Joseph Cabell, 22 January 1820

“Let me conclude by thanking the NYPD, FDNY, and the Department of Sanitation for their professionalism earlier this morning. Thank you.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 15 November 2011, after the NYPD and the NY Sanitation Department evicted Occupy Wall Street, destroying 5000 books.

“Apparently the NYPD have destroyed the donated library at #ows – I don’t think you need a metaphor, but crushing 5000 books might be one.”

– Simon HB (@norock on Twitter), 15 November 2011

 UPDATE as of 5:30 pm Central Time.  All of the Library has not been destroyed.  It’s being “held captive” by the City.  Here is a photo, courtesy of Mayor Bloomberg’s Twitter account (and The Observer).

Occupy Wall Street Library: "Property from #Zuccotti, incl #OWS library, safely stored @ 57th St Sanit Garage; can be picked up Weds"

UPDATE as of 11:30 pm Central Time: Occupy Wall Street Library asks, “And where is the rest of it?”: “We’re glad to see some books are OK. Now, where are the rest of the books and our shelter and our boxes? Nice try guys, but we won’t be convinced until we actually have all our undamaged property returned to us.”

UPDATE as of 12:30 pm Central Time, 16 Nov. 2011: Occupy Wall Street Library reports “that their claim that the library was ‘safely stored’ was a lie.”  About half of the books are missing; many others are damaged or destroyed.  Initial reports that books were thrown into dumpsters seem, in fact, to be accurate.  And this blog’s initial claim that the NYPD destroyed the library is also accurate.

Books from Occupy Wall Street Library.  They were damaged during the NYPD raid.

Image sources: “Michael Bloomberg Destroys a Library to Shut Down Dissent in New York City” (Irregular Times, 15 Nov. 2011); “URGENT: Raid in Progress” (Occupy Wall Street Library, 15 Nov. 2011); OWS Library Safe and Sound; Held Captive By City” (New York Observer, 15 Nov. 2011); “UPDATE: State of Seized Library” (Occupy Wall Street Library, 16 Nov. 2011).


  1. Abbie Smith


    If there was this violent act, it must be because some violence was done and the result of that is that violence came back. Violence begets violence. The people who are protesting what has happened on Wall Street and with the economy are using FORCE. Force does not work. You can’t force people do right. When you force the law, then look what has happened–more crime, more violence. The people who are protesting should talk to the David Lynch Foundation and help create a better world economy by becoming affluent in peace within themselves. When we experience the infinite reserve of intelligence and creativity that is at the source of thought in every human being, then we can create anything–we can create a more prosperous world than ever. It is just a matter of expanding our human creativity and potential to the infinite. This is what Consciousness-Based Education does. Check out the David Lynch Foundation and the Quiet Time Program for every one and get rid of stress rather than complaining and protesting the ignorance and violent words, etc. which have come back to the protesters in the form of the destruction of the library books. As we sow, so shall we reap.

  2. Reply

    Thanks for your comment, Abbie. Unfortunately, the opening claim contains a logical fallacy. Although it is true that violence is often a response to violence, it does not follow that the violence directed at the unarmed Occupy Wall Streeters (and their library) was provoked by violent actions taken by the Occupy Wall Streeters. Indeed, to the best of my knowledge, members of the Occupy movements have been no more or less (and possibly less) prone to violence than the population at large.

    Reading Mayor Bloomberg’s statement, I am struck by the amount of rhetorical manoeuvring he does to justify the raid. If the Occupy Wall Streeters were violent, then I’m surprised by his failure to mention that. He alleges that the raid was undertaken to ensure “public health and safety,” but not that the raid put the Occupiers at risk. (Those who were homeless and living there, for instance, now have nowhere to go.) Why do the raid in the middle of the night? According to the Mayor, “This action was taken at this time of day to reduce the risk of confrontation in the park, and to minimize disruption to the surrounding neighborhood.” Yet photos of the raid suggest that the disruption the mayor hoped to minimize was the visibility of what he’d asked the NYPD and others to do. Were the raid a response to violent protesters, Major Bloomberg has failed to cite a politically ideal reason for his raid.

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