Out, damn massage parlour!
My local press in Orillia, Ontario, is all full of stories about a police raid on a massage parlor, one of ten carried out in the past 16 months in the area north of Toronto by the Ontario Provincial Police.
Not a word in these papers about the local impact of the global economic meltdown. Not a single question about the probity of spending tax money (something likely to be in increasingly short supply) on the pursuit of girls who give body rubs.
I’m not a patron of massage parlours. Too old, too unmotiviated, too poor. But I resent my taxes being used in the pointless pursuit of the sexual proclivities of a few women and their customers, carried on anonymously, behind closed doors, with no inconvenience to the public.
In this latest raid, one obviously planned with considerable relish, police arrived in “tactical gear” (guns and body armour, no doubt) but this was “more for identification purposes than any real threat of violence,” according to Orillia Today.
Not to be outdone, the Orillia Packet & Times also has extensive coverage. It reports that “Laid out on the table in the Orillia OPP Crime Unit are the spoils of Wednesday’s raid on an alleged bawdy house: massage oils, piles of Canadian and American money, a log book and some less-than- official looking certificates.”
The papers explain that these raids are carried out by something called MIST (Major Investigation Support Team), made up of specially trained officers. Reminds me of SMERSH, the nemesis of James Bond.
The Orillia raid followed weeks of close observation by the local OPP detachment’s Street Crime unit. The upshot was that two women were arrested and a 71-year-old man, a patron, was nabbed leaving the joint.
I find it interesting that while police were barging in through the front door, others were waiting at the back door. One of the two women arrested was nailed as she tried to flee in pink high heeled shoes, but according to Detective Constable Dave Felstead, “she was no match for the officers waiting in back.”
The second woman was arrested when she returned to the establishment from a shopping trip.
It’s been forty years since Pierre Elliot Trudeau observed there is “no room for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”
Somehow, we’ve never gotten around to applying this principle to commercial bedrooms, where women are able to offer consensual sex for money, in a safe and non-threatening manner. Our public policy, as set out by Parliament, appears to hold that it is better such women be forced onto the streets where they have been known to become victims of serial killers.
The law against “bawdy houses” continues to be applied in a grossly unfair manner. Only the women are charged. The men, without whose presence there’d be no crime, “are given a free pass,” according to Orillia Today’s interview with Det. Felstead.
As justification for the raids, the police insist that these establishments are fronts for “organized crime.” Yet, according to Det. Felstead, after ten raids no evidence of such a link has been uncovered.
It would be interesting to do a cost/benefit study of these raids. Measure the expense in salaries, overtime, car costs, etc., against the presumed benefit of closing up one of these places, or the fines paid.
I’m sure that Det. Felstead and his colleagues are dedicated officers, sincere in the belief that they are rendering the public a valued service. They are not the ones who wrote the laws, but they are charged with the responsibility of enforcing them.
Why is it that public officials are unable to deal with sex in a realistic, rational manner? Is their fear of public opprobrium so great that all sense of sanity escapes their minds when confronted with this subject?
For my part, I’d love to be able to cast a ballot for any politician who could summon up the commons sense to call for an end to this pointless waste of money, this invasion of people’s personal lives and the violation of their rights, and the continuing hyprocisy of the way we deal with these cases.
“The market is there, and the clientele is there,” Det. Felstead states. Exactly.