Wasting police on prostitution -- not crimeI'd like to...

the Forum

April 13, 1994

Wasting police on prostitution -- not crime

I'd like to comment on the editorial, "Taking it to the street walkers" (April 1). I don't think I need mention that Baltimore and its surrounding counties are besieged by crime.

The area is gradually becoming the murder capital of America, to say nothing of the constantly escalating rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking, burglary, assault and other violent crimes.

Despite this, the police forces are spending an inordinate amount of their time busting prostitutes.

You pointed out that although the county police precinct responsible for Pulaski Highway is understaffed by 30 officers, from November, 1993 through March of this year, police identified 75 prostitutes in the Pulaski Highway area and arrested 30 of them. The police also nabbed 92 customers, 77 in a five-day operation last month.

Gee! What a bust! My question, though, is while an understaffed police precinct had its men out arresting prostitutes and scaring off their would-be customers, who was minding the store? Who was out chasing real criminals?

Taking it to the street walkers, as you put it, is not only an exercise in futility, but is absurd, as ridiculous as half of Maryland's state troopers in a ludicrous raid against those who make their living on The Block.

Prostitution is illegal in this country. Thus, it is a "crime." However, does it even come close to violent crimes? No.

And the only reason prostitution is illegal is because those who engage in it evade paying taxes on the money they earn. Let's keep in mind that prostitution is a victimless crime.

A person's body is his/her own to do with as he/she sees fit. And if someone chooses to prostitute herself, it's nobody's business but her own.

All of this is about the size of fishes in the sea! And it's also about logic and rationality.

A police commander is responsible for the deployment of his personnel. There is no rationality in deploying manpower to identify and arrest prostitutes and customers rather than real criminals, when the precinct is understaffed.

Louis P. Boeri

Baltimore

Punishment

Michael Fay, an American student living in Singapore, was convicted of vandalism, criminal mischief and possessing stolen property. After he pleaded guilty, he was sentenced to four months in prison, a $2,230 fine and six lashes of a soaked rattan cane.

Singapore teaches us that serious punishment deters crime. Fay's case is an ugly reminder that the U.S. has to rethink the value of a system run by bleeding hearts, bureaucrats, liberals and socialists.

We are sorely in need of harsher, swifter and more appropriate penalties for unlawful acts. The criminal justice system is too severe in Singapore and too lenient in America.

As long as our legal system invites crime, the criminals will accept the invitations.

Joseph Lerner

Baltimore

A gamble

Analysts, brokers, economists, traders, etc. tried to explain the plunging stock market.

The nearest anyone's come to describe it is to say the stock market is speculative.

No one has the guts to say it is legalized gambling.

Manipulation explains the workings of the stock market. It's the factor which determines the price of a stock, is responsible for bearish and bullish markets and makes or breaks the gamblers.

It's legalized gambling, as are greyhound and horse racing, but a notch above those because innocent animals aren't being brutally killed in the process.

It's part and parcel of our violent society -- an accepted way of life -- getting worse by the minute.

J. Small

Baltimore

Emergency room medicine

It's 11:30 p.m. Friday, and the fussing of your 12-month old has steadily worsened throughout the evening into wailing from pain and fever.

You think it's an ear infection, but your pediatrician's office is closed until Monday morning. Is this an emergency?

It's Saturday morning and you're working on a home repair project. You misjudge your aim and accidentally hammer your index finger, breaking it.

You call your HMO and are told to come to the office on Monday. By evening, the throbbing is too painful for you to sleep. Is this an emergency?

As a specialist in emergency medicine with 16 years of experience treating the full range of illnesses and injuries for which people seek treatment in emergency departments, I was surprised to find that some U.S. government officials would object to the individuals in the cases above seeking relief in an emergency department.

Indeed, the lack of concern or compassion displayed for the very real pain and suffering that brings patients and families to emergency departments like mine which accompanied the recent release of a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) survey was only surpassed by the unrealistic attitude about how Americans view health care.

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