Opinion » Shredder

Abolish this


You are what you eat. There. My editors insisted that I gab incessantly about food like one of those people who constantly talks about food. You know the type? With the mouth and eyes and hands, and a lot of them have hair, too?

They’re annoying, right?

So now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about my real motto: You are what you sell. Say you’re a candidate trying to win a seat in a local election. Say, more specifically, that the seat is that of the county’s 4th District supervisor. You decide to have an auction because even though you already have gobs more money than the other candidates and even though people are starting to criticize the amount of money being spent in the election, it never hurts to turn those gobs into heaps of gobs.

And who doesn’t enjoy a nice auction? You eat some canapés, buy a box of local wine, eat some more canapés, maybe purchase a trip to Hawaii or a nice meal at a steakhouse. Who could possibly object to such a wholesome, all-American activity?

Certainly not the NRA.

Apparently, among the items auctioned at a fundraiser for Lynn Compton on April 6 were a gift certificate for an ATV ride, which is not particularly contentious but still sends a petite, manicured middle finger to the people and agencies who are upset about the environmental impact of ATV riders; a guided pig hunt for two people in Paso Robles because, well gosh, it’s not a political campaign until something dies; a trap shoot and barbecue because the Second Amendment, even if it is too bad that nobody actually gets to kill anything this time; a rifle travel case; ammo; and a safari hunt.

I dunno about you, but I kind of picked up a theme here and that theme happens to be, “If it moves, shoot it!” Frankly, I’m a little surprised the Discovery Chanel hasn’t come calling with an offer for Compton to star in her own show in which she kills things while looking fabulous.

On the one hand, you have to respect Compton for being loud and proud about who she is and what she believes in. But I also have to wonder whether this is also a statement about who she intends to represent. If you’re not a shotgun-totin’, pig-killin’, ATV-ridin’ gun enthusiast, is Compton interested in representing you? I’m not going to say no, not because I don’t think that no is the correct answer, but because I’m a little afraid of upsetting a woman whose supporters think that buying the right to kill something is a relaxing evening out.

At first I was feeling bad for the wild animals that will fall victim to Compton’s campaign for supervisor, then a press release from the San Luis Obispo Police Department turned my attention to a different sort of disturbing commerce. Once again, the department is rounding up prostitutes in response to “violence against women, drug sales, and trafficking of stolen property.” And once again, I have to ask: Is putting women in jail the best means of protecting them from violence? Given that three people have died in the past four months while incarcerated at the county jail, I think I’d feel safer in a seedy motel room where checkout involves Hazmat suits and delousing.

But I’m less concerned by the eight adults who were arrested on May 29 on suspicion of charges raging from prostitution to solicitation of prostitution to possession of a controlled substance than I am by the fact that the department arrested a 16-year-old for prostitution. Either I’m denser than mercury, or I just don’t understand our age of consent laws. Because if someone isn’t technically old enough to consent to sex, how is he or she legally capable of consenting to prostitution?

To the District Attorney’s office’s credit, they’re not planning on pressing charges against the girl in question. But one good decision doesn’t counter the fact that police officers from San Luis Obispo are running around arresting minors for prostitution. And this is less than a year after a local anti-human-trafficking group played host to a conference about the dangers of human trafficking and the necessity of ensuring that underage victims are treated as victims rather than criminals (read: the opposite of the San Luis Obispo Police Department’s actions).

While we’re at it, why don’t we start arresting homeless people for the crime of being poor in public? OK, maybe that was a poor example, because we do arrest people for that.


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