I guess I was on the right track last week when I spoke of my love of reading and my fear of someday facing a nightmarish scenario where the freedom to express yourself through literature would be denied.

You’ve heard of “sanctuary cities” in the news?

I always considered libraries and bookstores a sort of “sanctuary,” a place for the free flow of ideas, where all sorts of people could gather and peruse books, magazines and other forms of literature.

It seems like that sanctuary has been violated, upon reading a gentleman in a bookstore in my old stomping grounds, Richmond, was verbally harassed by another customer while minding his own business, simply because he was associated with someone or a policy that she disagreed with.

If true, it’s just another sour reflection on our present society, where some feel it’s their right to accost anyone they disagree with.

Browsers in libraries or bookstores I’ve visited certainly don’t look alike, and I learned early in life not to judge others by the way they look or by their opinions.

I’ve always felt safe in such an environment among other library or bookstore patrons.

We all should have the freedom to visit a bookstore, library or any public venue without fear of being harassed, and I understand that’s a freedom hard won by more than a few of us.

It’s a freedom worth preserving.

Doug Ford reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at dford@gazettevirginian.com.

Doug Ford covers news and sports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at dford@gazettevirginian.com.