HEADLINE: Chattanooga hypnosis clinics were fronts for prostitution, police say
THE RECAP: On Wednesday, Chattanooga police raided Hypnosis for Power, a hypnosis treatment center business they say was used as a front for prostitution. Two women were arrested, one for prostitution and the other with promoting prostitution, along with a male client.
DREW'S VIEW: I'm going to go ahead and say what a lot of people already think about prostitution, but won't say in polite company for fear of offending others: We should stop wasting time and money criminalizing prostitutes and their customers and legalize prostitution.
What was going on at Hypnosis for Power did nothing to harm anyone at all -- except, perhaps, for the folks who actually thought they were going to receive hypnotherapy. All of the people involved were consenting adults of legal age. There were no sex slaves or victims of human trafficking, there was apparently no violent pimp, and no one there was bound and gagged (at least no one who didn't pay extra for that service).
Rather than wasting tax dollars every year on arresting, trying and imprisoning prostitutes and their clients, wouldn't it be better for society in general, and sex workers in particular, to legalize prostitution? Prostitution could be regulated to ensure that prostitutes were in a safe environment and free of diseases. It could also be taxed, turning prostitution from a drain on taxpayers into a benefit.
In the article about the raid on Hypnosis for Power, reporter Beth Burger quotes East Ridge Detective Joshua Creel as saying the prostitution isn't as bad of a problem as the "secondary and tertiary crimes surrounding the acts that can lead to greater offenses, including drugs, assaults, rapes and robberies." Those crimes are not a result of prostitution, they are a result of prostitution being illegal. By simply decriminalizing and regulating the activity, drugs, rapes, assaults and robberies would all drop significantly as they relate to prostitution, just as those crimes decreased dramatically when prohibition was repealed.
Of course, many people will object to the idea of legalizing and regulating prostitution on moral grounds. But it is not the state's role to dictate what is moral.
Many people object to the lottery, adult bookstores, alcohol and guns, too, and they are all legal. How do those who are offended by those things manage? They don't buy lottery tickets, porn, booze or rifles. In the same way, if prostitution were legalized, opponents of prostitution could show their displeasure by refraining from engaging in sex acts with prostitutes. Problem solved.
HEADLINE: Chattanooga City Council OKs Mayor Andy Berke's restructuring plans
THE RECAP: The Chattanooga City Council unanimously approved a major City Hall reorganization, including eliminating four departments and creating three others. The Education, Arts and Culture; Neighborhood Services; Parks and Recreation; and Human Services departments were dissolved.
The council approved creating the new departments of Youth and Family Development, Economic and Community Development and Transportation.
DREW'S VIEW: On the surface, it's hard to criticize Mayor Berke's city government reorganization plan. Berke's restructuring eliminated several useless agencies and combined some duplicative services, while saving taxpayers about $370,000 a year and keeping all necessary services intact. The only real head-scratcher was Berke's decision to keep the useless Office of Multicultural Affairs in place.
For months running up to the election, some Chattanoogans (including yours truly) believed that Berke viewed the mayor's office as little more than a résumé builder and a stepping stone on his way to running for governor. The restructuring plan only helps to confirm that suspicion.
After all, his new departments are Youth and Family Development, Economic and Community Development, and Transportation. State government houses the departments of Economic and Community Development and Transportation. There is also a state-level Department of Children's Services and a Department of Human Services (the existence of both seems to intimate that children are not humans). Those agencies combine to do much of what Berke wants to achieve with his Department of Youth and Family Development.
It's as though Berke is creating his own little pretend state government in order to practice being governor before he actually runs.
HEADLINE: Stacey Campfield in hot water over joke about assault pressure cookers
THE RECAP: State Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, joked on his personal blog Monday about "assault pressure cookers" in the wake of last week's bombing in Boston, leading to a rash of complaints. Campfield argued that gun control advocates should also be calling for "crock pot control" if they meant to be consistent with their calls for gun control after December's Sandy Hook shooting.
DREW'S VIEW: State Sen. Campfield's argument, while perhaps not articulated as precisely or prudently as possible, is completely valid. Those who are quick to blame mass shootings on guns are using a logic that should lead them to blame pressure cookers and nails for the Boston Marathon bombing and fertilizer and moving vans for the Oklahoma City bombing.
Evildoers intent on causing mass casualties and creating terror and confusion will do so by any means possible. If a gun isn't available, they will make an explosive device. If that isn't possible, they will mail ricin or anthrax.
It is not the guns that caused Sandy Hook, it was a deranged criminal. Just as it wasn't a couple of pressure cookers that caused the Boston Marathon attack, it was apparently a pair of wicked terrorists.
Campfield, because of his strident, defiant nature in defense of bold conservative ideas that are offensive to some, gets unfair treatment by many in the media and the blogospere. Unfortunately, that means that when he presents a sound argument, his ideas are distorted and he is ridiculed by those who disagree with his ideology. I, for one, am glad that Campfield was willing to stand up and defend a point that many people would like to make.