Mix Racism, Classism, and Vigilantism and Get the “Ho Patrol.”

There is so much utter FAIL about this story I’m not sure where to begin.

These women reference the recession and the resultant budget cuts as the reason why their local police force has been cut, but they utterly fail to recognize that the woman they’re so intent on persecuting are suffering from the recession as well.

Desperate times call for desperate measures–and when millions are unable to find jobs–sex work is one thing many women turn to, to provide for themselves and their families.

Instead, these nosy vigilantes believe that the recession is the only reason they’re not in jail, rather than the recession being what put these women on the street in the first place.

Rather than handing out condoms, pamphlets from local centers that offer job assistance, low-cost health care, rather than founding a group for local women to pull together resources and do something, rather than anything else, they choose the Ho Patrol.

I wonder if they realize the influx of sex workers being arrested will take even more from their city’s coffers?

Or that legalizing prostitution would not only get the women off the street, but function as another source of revenue for the city?

Of course, because this is the blogosphere, the obvious must always be stated: by all means, call the police when violence occurs. I’m not defending violence, or railing against self-defense. But I’m not talking about the violence. They’re not really, either–they don’t fancy themselves “the assault patrol.” Rather, they center their focus on sex work, and the people who engage in it. Ergo, that is the centerpiece of this post.

Take this quote:

“But sometimes confrontations between the Watch Owls and the prostitutes get dicey. One prostitute, who asked not to be named, told ABC News that she had already made $200 the night we spoke to her and wanted to make more that night. She added that other women on the street are not pleased with the Watch Owls’ efforts.”

How, exactly, is it “dicey” that the women are not pleased that these busybodies are snapping photos and following them around? For one, this is piss poor writing. This paragraph makes no sense. But it is obvious what the writer is attempting to do: frame the sex workers as threatening figures, and the “ho patrol” as not only do-gooders, but do-gooders that are under attack.

Take this quote, thrown in as an aside:

“To date, there have been no violent confrontations. In fact, the Watch Owls said they have tried to connect hookers with social assistance programs.”

“In fact.” In fact, the nosy neighbors, after stalking women, they tried to play White Knight! I’m assuming that they failed, since the writer says they “tried” to help, rather than “they did and do help.” But their “help” was rejected. Gee, I wonder why?

The photo gallery on this article just makes me sick. It shows, among other things, their “proof” and their “techniques” for “repelling” prostitutes. Their “proof” which are photos, consist mostly of photographs of women of color dressed up and walking down the street. Because WOC in sexy clothing have to be sex workers, right?

These do-gooders pour cooking grease around their homes to “repel” sex workers. Like they’re fucking pests, rather than human beings.

And really, COOKING GREASE?! What the ever-loving FUCK?!

The racism and dehumanization of poor women of color and sex workers is just disgusting.

*note: The article I took the quotes from has disappeared. Here is that link, and here is the search results that pop up when I looked for it. It is the first result that shows up in the search. I apologize for any confusion.

Can You Serve Your Country Without Actual Service?

You most certainly can. I saw it quite often in Civil Air Patrol, in ROTC, and I see it in Congress today.

These types “serve” for the sole reason of getting something out of it. It may be a resume builder. It may be a job. It may simply be “cred” so that you may shut down conversation or debate by throwing down the “I serve my country” card. But it is not selfless service. One’s motivations always manifests itself in performance.

I saw it in my peers: they would show up for what was required. They took their exams to get promoted. And they left. They’d complain at physical training in the mornings–do the absolute minimum, resulting in cadre and staff pushing us harder, making us do more. Then they’d leave.

You never did get to know them very well–their demeanor made it quite clear they had no interest in getting to know their comrades. You’d never see them hang around after meetings or classes, chatting or engaging the instructor in further discussion. You’d never see them camped in the tent next to you on training exercises. But you can be sure, on awards night, at the dining-in, you can be sure they’d show up, glitzed-up date in tow, showing their awed table-full of guests around with their chests puffed up.

When you advanced enough to where it was time to give back, to teach the new ones, to put to use the skills you had been taught, they were nowhere to be seen. They never responded to e-mails calling for someone to teach a class next week, or fill a position at encampment or FTX. In person, they’d find a way to inch away and disappear until someone else volunteered.

Between teaching the new cadet basic drill moves, the radio communications class, and organizing a bi-weekly PT sessions, you wonder just why the hell they’re there in the first place. They’re just standing there, somewhat awkwardly, gazing into space in between checking the time.

You see them around campus, or around town, in uniform, cheekily accepting all the thank-yous from passerby.

You can’t help but to seethe. That’s not what the uniform is for.

That is not what service is for.

You’re there to serve.

Not to be seen serving.

It’s okay to call these types out–because they’re not serving. They’re self-serving. And by doing, they’re bringing down the quality of service, as well as the quantity of service that the organization is able to provide.

“But at least they’re doing it. That’s more than a lot of people do.”

Throw that excuse right out the window. Demand service from your volunteers–our volunteers, from Congress all the way down to the useless bodies filling the local CAP squadron.

Because you actually have to do something to serve your country.