Archive for the 'Misc' Category

Ending State violence against women in prostitution in San Francisco

Friday, October 24th, 2008

Last year, a dangerous California street gang rolled up on 1,583 women and abducted them off the streets of San Francisco, tied them up, and held them against their will for days or weeks at a time. Some were robbed of money and then let go. Others were held in specially-constructed dungeons for as long as half a year before they were allowed to see the light of day again.

There has been little notice of this massive wave of violence against women in the malestream media, and little outcry, even though this same gang is still active, and is on track to abduct a similar number of women this year. Part of the reason for the neglect of this story is the fact that the 1,583 women were women in prostitution, or suspected of being in prostitution and all too many people (by which I mainly mean men, and by which I mainly mean pols, lawyers and cops) figure that assaults and disappearances are just business as usual for women in the sex trade, something that can be stamped N.H.I. and shrugged off with a blink.

The other part of the reason is that the street gang’s colors are blue, and they all carry badges, and they call these abductions arrests, the imprisonment pretrial detention or a sentence, and, even though the women they target and grab off the street through force or intimidation are just doing a job for willing customers, and threatening or attacking exactly no-one, these gangsters can count on the biggest racket of all — the protection racket known as the State — to get their back, to claim their violence is justified because it is carried out under color of The Law (as if that were somehow immune to question or challenge), and to put out well-paid mouthpieces who will insist, with a completely straight face, that when women in prostitution are being forcibly hauled off, arrested, cited, fined, jailed, and generally subjected to an attempt to forcibly destroy their livelihood, the people (mostly men) who are doing all this are actually doing it for the women’s own good.

In fact these rationalizations are no better than — really, no different from — the rationalizations that every abusive man in the world uses to pass off their controlling behavior and violence against their women as if they were expressions of love. The male-dominated State is nothing more than an abusive sociopath writ large — one that can attack women by the thousands or by the millions, and one with armies and dungeons and trillions of dollars at its disposal.

As I said last December 17th:

Any serious commitment to freedom for, and an end to violence against, women, means a serious commitment to ending violence against women who work in the sex industry. All of it. Immediately. Now and forever.

And that means any kind of violence, whether rape, or assault, or robbery, or abduction, or confinement against her will, or murder. No matter who does it. Even if it is done by a john who imagines that paying for sex means he owns a woman’s body. Even it is done by a cop or a prosecutor who calls the violence of an assault, restraint, and involuntary confinement an arrest or a sentence under the color of The Law. The Law has no more right to hurt or shove around a woman than anyone else does.

GT 2007-12-17: December 17th is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers

This November, eligible voters in San Francisco have an opportunity to call for peace on this front of the city government’s war against women:

San Francisco would become the first major U.S. city to decriminalize prostitution if voters next month approve Proposition K, a measure that forbids local authorities from investigating, arresting or prosecuting anyone for selling sex.

The ballot question technically would not legalize prostitution, since state law still prohibits it, but the measure would eliminate the power of local law enforcement officials to go after prostitutes.

Proponents say the measure will free up $11 million the police spend each year arresting prostitutes and allow them to form collectives.

It will allow workers to organize for our rights and for our safety, said Patricia West, 22, who said she has been selling sex for about a year by placing ads on the Internet. She moved to San Francisco in May from Texas to work on Proposition K.

Even in tolerant San Francisco, where the sadomasochism fair draws thousands of tourists and a pornographic video company is housed in a former armory, the measure faces an uphill battle, with much of the political establishment opposing it.

Some form of prostitution is legal in two states. Brothels are allowed in rural counties in Nevada. And Rhode Island permits the sale of sex behind closed doors between consenting adults, but it prohibits street prostitution and brothels.

[…]

Police made 1,583 prostitution arrests in 2007 and expect to make a similar number this year. But the district attorney’s office says most defendants are fined, placed in diversion programs or both. Fewer than 5 percent get prosecuted for solicitation, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail.

Proposition K has been endorsed by the local Democratic Party. But the mayor, the district attorney, the police department and much of the business community oppose the idea. They contend that it would increase street prostitution, allow pimps the run of neighborhoods and hamper the fight against sex trafficking, which would remain illegal because it involves forcing people into the sex trade.

[…]

If the proposal passes, we wouldn’t be able to investigate prostitution, and it’s going to be pretty difficult for us to locate these folks who are victims of trafficking otherwise, said Capt. Al Pardini, head of the police department’s vice unit. It’s pretty rare that we get a call that says, I’m a victim of human trafficking or I suspect human trafficking in my neighborhood.

Associated Press, CNN (2008-10-21): San Francisco may become safe for prostitutes

While I certainly agree that coerced sex trafficking is an evil that needs to be seriously addressed, government officials and government cops like Captain Al Pardini, who claim to be concerned about the welfare of women forced into prostitution, refuse to talk about ways to address the systemic issues that stop trafficked women from being able to come forward and speak out or seek help about what’s been done to them (like, the State’s violence against undocumented immigrants and the threat of deportation; like, the police’s refusal to take women in prostitution seriously or treat them like human beings), and instead they apparently feel perfectly comfortable insisting that their difficulties in investigating sexual slavery somehow justify laws that grant police the power to force any woman suspected of being in prostitution off the street and into police detention, under police scrutiny, to imprison her, to force her to pay punitive fines, to conduct arbitrary police raids to go on fishing expeditions for trafficked women (e.g., at Asian massage parlors) based on nothing other than racial profiling, and so forth, and so on, all in the name of facilitating the police’s attempts to investigate a different crime that affects some subset of the women being rousted up, shoved around, arrested, questioned, fined, imprisoned, and so on, and all in order to be able to force trafficked women into the protection of the criminal law, with or without their consent. This amounts to nothing more than an argument for ensuring that the State maintains and exercises plenary police state powers over all women suspected of being sex workers, for no reason other than the alleged necessity of protecting some women in the sex industry from violence, while ignoring the many crimes that women in prostitution are never able to report to the police for fear of being arrested, and while ignoring the immense violence against all women in the sex industry that is committed by cops themselves, as part and parcel of this policy of arrest and detention. Nobody would ever accept this argument if it were directed against a class of people whose basic human rights malestream society is more accustomed to granting. (E.g., We need to be able to investigate the enslavement of migrant farmworkers; let’s outlaw farming! We need to be able to investigate medical malpractice; let’s give the cops the power to arrest any doctor and charge them with a misdemeanor!) It is only when it comes to people who powerful men regard as official non-persons that these kind of arguments get made — whether they are made against the safety and freedom of women in prostitution, or against the safety and freedom of immigrants without government papers or unauthorized drug dealers, in parallel arguments for government border laws and drug prohibition. That’s despicable, and it’s baffling to reason. If you have the chance, I’d strongly encourage you to vote Yes on Prop. K, and No on police state tactics and government violence against women.

I should say that, while I’ve given up completely on electoral politics as a primary vehicle for political change, measures like Prop. K — or Question 1 and Question 2 in Massachusetts, or State Question 2 in Nevada — are a good demonstration of why, if you’re going to put in for electoral politics, voter initiatives and direct votes on referendum questions offer a much better vehicle for doing it than throwing in for the personal political prospects of some favored (or least-worst) candidate for the elective oligarchy that is so fatuously described as our democracy. Proposition K will have a hard time passing — a similar initiative was defeated in Berkeley recently by a 2-to-1 margin — but the mere fact that completely decriminalizing prostitution in a major U.S. city has entered into the political debate, that it is being considered for passage (or. mutatis mutandis, repealing the income tax in one of the highest-tax states in the U.S., or decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, or banning all eminent domain seizures for transfer to private developers in a state with one of the most intensely state-capitalist economies in the U.S.) is an achievement in itself, compared to the way in which representative politics completely smothers all serious politics, by choking off any and all political issues outside of the established bipartisan government consensus on the acceptable range of debate. Voting libertarians take note: if you’re going to spend your time on this stuff, there’s not much hope for making a difference this way, but there’s some, and that’s better than I can say for personality politics and representative elective oligarchy.

See also:

No, seriously, I could swear the water in this pot is getting a little hotter…. (#2)

Monday, May 12th, 2008

From the Arkansas Tactical Officers Association and the North Little Rock Police Department:

The ATOA would like to announce:

Warrior Mindset is a class being offered by the North Little Rock Police Department. Taught by Dr. Jason Winkle, It is an opportunity to train with one of the most sought after tactical trainers in the country. Class includes topics (but is not limited to topics) on fear management, decision making, emotional survival, physical fitness as they pertain to law enforcement officers.
Class is designed for all officers from patrol to investigations to SWAT. This class is limited to law enforcement and military only. Proper credentials are required. It will be a state certified course and officers will receive 8 hours of credit for the course. The class will be held at the North Little Rock Police/Fire Training Facility 2400 Willow St. NLR, AR 72114. Class will run from 0800-1600 and will be offered on three different dates: May 9th, August 8th, and October 24th, 2008. Contact Officer Steve Chamness at steven.chamness@nlrpolice.org or 771-7190 for details and registration. Slots for this class are limited.

Checks should be made payable to Dr. Jason Winkle ($150.00 per officer) and sent to the North Little Rock Police Department C/O Officer Steve Chamness
2400 Willow St.
NLR, AR 72114

JASON WINKLE, Ph.D. is President of the International Tactical Officers Training Association and the senior, contributing editor to SWAT Digest. ** Jason is currently a Professor at Indiana State University. **He was the former Director of Combatives for the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Dr. Winkle has over twelve years experience working with and training members of the joint special operations community, **SWAT teams, and corrections special operation groups. ** Jason has over two decades of martial arts experience and holds black belt instructor rank in seven martial arts systems. His combat-readiness regimens have revolutionized the training approach utilized by numerous SWAT teams and military special operators. Dr. Winkle is recognized as a top international consultant in school, military, and law enforcement communities.
He has been published in the areas of tactical operations, combat readiness, warrior mindset, combat martial arts, fitness, and leadership.

The class is being offered for a discounted rate with assistance from the Arkansas Tactical Officer’s Association.

SWAT News & Events

Here’s more of Winkle’s workshop schedule, courtesy of his Martial Concepts [sic] website:

Dr. Winkle will be a keynote speaker as well as the MC for the XTREME CERT Special Operations Conference and Expo in Virginia from May 8-10. Dr. Winkle will be speaking on the Warrior Mindset for Corrections Officers as well as introducing his classified corrections CQB system to the US C-SOG operators.

May 15: Dr. Winkle will be presenting his Warrior Mindset workshop to the Indiana State University Police Department.

June 5: Dr. Winkle will be presenting Active Shooter Doctrine at the ITOTA’s conference on Active Shooter Doctrine In Academic Environments. The conference will be held from 0900-1500 at Indiana State University. Cost for the conference is $50. For more information contact Jason at jwinkle@itota.net.

Here’s what he was doing last fall:

Ending the week in Florida are two 4 hour classes taught by the President of the International Tactical Officers Training Association, Doctor Jason Winkle. Doc served as the Director of Combatives at West Point Academy and is currently an assistant professor at Indiana State. He is a contributing editor for SWAT Digest and published many times over in for his work in tactical operations, martial arts, fitness, and leadership. Doc will hold his Active Shooter class in the AM and finish the day with Warrior Mindset in High Risk Law Enforcement. Active Shooter is designed to prepare participants for the reality of violent encounters and their resolutions in high stress environments. Warrior Mindset deals in practical preparation and operation for, as well as, recovering from traumatic tactical engagement.

Here’s some of what he covers:

THE WARRIOR MINDSET

Louis Rapoli, a police sergeant in the School Safety Division of the New York Police Department, debriefed workshop attendees on the shooting at Virginia Tech, and explained each step that was taken by law enforcement and administrators.

A picture of Jack Bauer from the TV show 24 appeared on the screen behind him, and Rapoli said to the attendees, When an incident like this happens, there will be no Jack Bauer to come and save your school. You’re the people who are either going to prevent this from happening or be first on the scene when it does happen. You need to be prepared. If not me, then who — that’s what you need to be thinking about to get your schools ready for a terrorist attack.

Winkle calls this the Warrior Mindset.

These are situations of extreme stress, extreme fear, and extreme violence, and that shuts down most people. We need to be prepared, Winkle said.

The defining characteristic of a warrior — whether you’re a police officer or a business owner — is your willingness to move toward danger, he said.

People are trying to run out of building, and you, as a school administrator, need to get on the PA system and call out codes for lockdown. You have to be a warrior at that moment, he said.

The role of law enforcement is to move toward something that everyone else is running away from, he said.

Charles Butler, Vincennes district officer and firearms instructor for the Indiana State Excise Police [! —R.G.], attended the workshop because excise officers might be called in by state police to assist in active shooter situations, he said.

**It was good to hear the warrior mindset emphasized, Butler said, and they gave good examples of training that law enforcement needs to have. An officer can never get enough training. It is the best tool a police officer can have.

Winkle recommended the following guidelines for law enforcement to be successful in active shooter situations:

  • Develop physical fitness and toughness through challenging, contact-driven training.
  • Become familiar (and comfortable) with the physiological changes that accompany high-stress and high-fear situations.
  • Become familiar with the nature of violence and be willing to use it when appropriate.
  • Engage in training that is as close as possible to the actual situation, involving fear and stress.
  • Internalize a code of conduct.
  • Know the nature of the enemy [sic] and active shooter doctrine.

Here’s Radley Balko on the Arkansas tactical officers’ class (read the whole thing):

I’m afraid this intermingling of domestic police and military is well beyond the point of no return.

Do you feel safer now?

See also: