Woman claims she set library ablaze 'because books are evil'
Fire guts Carpinteria facility that recently underwent a $75,000
The Santa-Barbara News-Press
By PAMELA LOPEZ-JOHNSON
While being handcuffed before dawn Tuesday, Linda Haggard allegedly told
authorities she set a fire that gutted the Carpinteria Library because
"books are evil."
Haggard, 31, a geology major at UCSB since 1983, was found outside the
newly renovated library by Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies
called to the scene of the 4:15 a.m. blaze.
Haggard admitted setting the fire, according to sheriff's Detective
"Yeah, I lit the fire," Haggard said, according to Pixley. When asked
why, she replied "Because books are evil."
Haggard was being held Tuesday night at County Jail in lieu of $30,000
bail, on suspicion of arson and attempted burglary, Pixley said.
The fire, apparently fueled by gasoline started inside the children's
wing of the 1,000-square-foot building at 5141 Carpinteria Ave., said
Battalion Chief Norman C. Kneeland of the Carpinteria/Summerland Fire
The blaze quickly "flashed over all of the books," he said.
Structural damage to the red-tile and stucco building was estimated at
$25,000, Kneeland said.
Librarian Carol Lingham told detectives she recalled seeing Haggard at
the book drop outside the library shortly after 6 p.m. Monday, minutes
alter someone tried to break in.
The library had just closed and Lingham was checking in books when
someone bashed in the window, stuck a hand inside and opened the front
door. When the person saw someone was inside, she bolted.
Lingham walked outside and confronted a woman she later identified as
Haggard. At that time, Haggard denied breaking in, saying she was just
At around 5 a.m. Tuesday, Lingham recognized Haggard, who was standing
on the corner of Carpinteria and Walnut avenues, near the Fire scene.
Authorities asked her what she was doing at the library the night
"Oh, when I tried to break in to start the fire?" she replied, according
A clerk at the AM/PM mini-market on Casitas Pass Road told detectives a
woman matching Haggard's description came in at 2 a.m. She bought a gas
can, gasoline and a six-pack of-Miller beer, Pixley said.
A gas can like the ones sold at the mini-market was found at the fire
scene, Pixley said. A pack of Miller beer was discovered on the
passenger's side inside Haggard's car, he added.
After being arrested, Pixley said, Haggard told authorities she poured
gasoline over the south side of the building and set it ablaze. Then she
went over to the other side and did the same thing, he said.
Tuesday afternoon, charred pages from blackened children's books flew in
the stiff breeze outside the library. Most of the 16,500 books were
destroyed, Lingham said. The county owns the library and the City runs
In May, the Friends of the Carpinteria Library completed a $75,000
renovation project there. The club recently had bought $20,000 worth of
new books, most of which were burned. Club members spent five years
raising the money.
"I have this horrible pain in the pit of my stomach," said Joanne
Schoenfeld, who last month retired as club president. "Just alter we
finished everything. It looked so beautiful, so wonderful and clean. And
the community so wholeheartedly supported the project."
On Tuesday, 32 fifth-graders from nearby Main School sat on the lawn in
front of the charred building. Their teacher, Liz Lopez Henderson,
brought them there to express their feelings about the Fire.
"Why would they do that?" asked Juan Perez, 11. "Whoever did this was
not thinking about other people."
Haggard had recently become emotionally unstable, said her father,
Richard T. Haggard of Goleta. Last month, she told her parents she was
going Christmas shopping and instead left town. She was declared a
missing person and was found this month using her credit card at a
Denny's restaurant in King City, 50 miles north of San Luis Obispo.
Haggard said his daughter, who is a full-time student and lives at home,
began acting strangly alter receiving her first B in early December. She
usually gets As, he said.
"She got a B and it just flipped her out," Haggard said. "We know she
Relatives said they first noticed Haggard was becoming emotionally
unstable alter she joined the Church of Scientology two months ago.
"This is when she started going haywire," said one relative, who wished
to remain anonymous. Family members attributed her alleged comment about
the evils of books to the church.
A Scientology official dismissed that conclusion.
"That's totally false," Said the Rev. Lee Holzinger.
The church, which has a center on Santa Barbara's State Street, strongly
encourages literacy, Holzinger said.
Holzinger said Haggard was involved in a "purification program" in which
she tried to rid her body of toxins. The program involved rigorous
exercise and a healthly diet. She showed no signs of being a troubled
person, he said.
"She always seemed happy, bright and energetic," he said. "She was
Upon hearing of his daughter's arrest, Haggard said:
"Something is wrong. She's got something terribly wrong with her. We are
going to get someone to look at her."
Sounds like the 'Psychs!' to me, and since she probably signed the
'release', that's a no-no.
The 'Church' needs to pick her up and switch her from the Purif to the
Introspection Rundown, although it seems unlikely they'll try.
It has been Scientology's plan and operation to destroy library books
and other archive knowledge from at least 1969 when I get into the
Ms. Haggard clearly was only executing Scientology command intention
as she understood it.
Lee Holzinger is executing Scientology command intention by denying
the truth about Scientology's book burning intent, and presenting this
insane idea that Scientology encourages literacy. If anyone in
Scientology showed any sign of real literacy he or she would be
declared SP so fast it would make a superlit spin.
David Miscavige, the nanotyrant who runs Scientology, hates literate
people so much that he has embraced the insanely evil L. Ron Hubbard's
plan to destroy them quietly and without sorrow.
It is an absolute truth that a common denominator among all the people
that Scientology wants to dispose of quietly and without sorrow are
literate. They all read.
© Gerry Armstrong
> Someone sent me this article, and I did the OCR myself:
> Woman claims she set library ablaze 'because books are evil'
> Fire guts Carpinteria facility that recently underwent a $75,000
> The Santa-Barbara News-Press
"Another one lost to the psychs." I wonder which book she was told
to steal when she first tried (and according to the article
succeeded) in breaking in to the library. The real question is,
was she ordered to burn the place down or did she think up that
act on her own on the belief GO/OSA wanted her to?
"Going to bed with Gertrude Stein, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Susan Sontag, or
Margaret Thatcher: There are some things one prefers neither to do nor
to have done." -- Edward Abbey
> > Someone sent me this article, and I did the OCR myself:
> > ===========
> > Woman claims she set library ablaze 'because books are evil'
> > Fire guts Carpinteria facility that recently underwent a $75,000
> > renovation.
> > The Santa-Barbara News-Press
> > 26.1.1994
P.S. I feel very sorry for this woman's induced mental illness,
but it also angers me that Scientology Inc. wound her up and set
her loose upon the library. In a sane world Scientology Inc. would
have at the very least been forced to pay for the repairs to the
"Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul. One brave deed is
worth a thousand books." -- Edward Abbey