Stop the morality police 

Your Turn

Wow, Metro VNI (Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence), you really know how to party. You blew hundreds of dollars at a strip club, got an officer of the law publicly, belligerently inebriated, and repeatedly tried and failed to solicit prostitution, according to the Gazette's coverage.

Based on troublesome reports of a guy wandering outside nursing a beer in 2007 and another customer copping a feel in 2009, Metro VNI planned a "sting" for several months, sending in a team(!) to infiltrate this hotbed of iniquity. There, after sustained operations, this multi-agency task force managed to suss out two hardened criminals in the form of waitresses willing to over-serve one drunken, likely prodigally generous, detective.

Then our county commissioners evaluated the results of this deep-cover operation, responding decisively by revoking the club's liquor license, thereby forfeiting both the revenue from the license and the jurisdictional influence it provided over the very activities they were attempting to regulate. Now 18-year-old customers can just drink in the car on the way there.

Nice work — we can all sleep a little more soundly tonight.

In all the years I've kept up with the local news, I've seen nothing but minor shenanigans from the strip joints here. If these places are truly dens of drug trade, human trafficking and prostitution, why have they not been the source of more such arrests? Seems to me it ought to be like shooting fish in a barrel.

One wonders, when over-serving is ubiquitous in the liquor industry, why these officers felt they had to work so diligently, buying shots and tipping girls, to catch this particular establishment at it.

Think for a moment: The local unemployment rate is around 10 percent; what happens when the cleansing is complete and this business is finally strangled? Right now those workers fill unique positions (they're very limber) outside the "regular" work force, in an industry that stimulates local recirculation of disposable income. When those jobs are gone, then what?

According to stereotype, many dancers are single mothers; we certainly don't want them on the public dole, do we? These people are part of the great statistical equation. They won't just disappear because some folks don't like what they do.

I'm not sure what was accomplished here, aside from the drunkenness of at least one law-enforcement officer and the flagrant waste of enough money to investigate, say, a residential break-and-enter call.

Here's a handy litmus test for future reference: Consensual keester-caressing or home-invasion robbery — which of these is a victimless crime? It's disturbing that in these times of economic triage, law enforcement would expend manpower and money targeting a legal, productive business.

If I could impress one thing on our elected officials in regard to this situation, it's this: We no longer have the luxury of pandering to petty prudery. There are bigger fish to fry.

I can't imagine a significant number of constituents consider the eradication of legal, taxable vice a priority in an economic and political climate such as this. It's time to dispense with moralistic posturing and get down to the real business of revitalizing this city. Don't tell us that the coffers are bare and then obscenely squander what we do have.

According to Focus on the Family's Citizen Link questionnaire, mayoral candidate Steve Bach doesn't think zoning regulations regarding local X-rated businesses are stringent enough. He advocates spending more resources re-evaluating and amending them to ensure the "continued protection of minors" — though no minor has yet required "protection" from such establishments here. In contrast, Richard Skorman thinks existing regulations suffice. I'll remember that on election day.

I thought we didn't need a nanny state, but here we are playing chaperone to grown adults, trying to control behavior that affects the general populace not at all. I don't know about anyone else, but I prefer my local government a little smarter than that.

To employees and management of PT's Showclub, I say: ungird your loins and fight the good fight. Smite them hip and thigh, and all that lies above.

Beth Clements Mosley is a writer, obituarist, actor, director and cleaning woman.

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