Please, more stories about utterly futile crime suppression efforts ("Stung," Sept. 3). It's useful to recall how our communal hypocrisy — women who have sex for money are "bad," boys will be boys, sin must be paid for, etc, — forces the police to commit casually destructive and pointless folly: arresting a poor woman who will have to "make [her] fine money" through prostitution.
One sympathizes with all the named and unnamed people involved, but to varying degrees. The anonymous women at the heart of the matter are simply victims of the economic and social systems, and being arrested is, as the article indicates, just another cost of business for them — another indignity on top of the drugs, crime and predatory "boyfriends" that constantly bring them into "contact" with the police.
For the johns, one's sympathy is distinctly more mixed, since they are from the oppressor gender, after all. (That I am the same gender, and, like two of the men, 58 years old, probably contributes to a personal queasiness about the story.) But, while soliciting prostitutes is certainly not a particularly admirable activity, the negative impact of it here (aside from disturbing the lunch hour activities at the Library) seems limited to those directly involved and their families. (But Mr. Littlefield might want to engage in some serious self-examination.)
The decoys, of course, are just doing their job, but what a job! The female officers can't approach it with much enthusiasm; it has to be hard enough to work in such a traditionally male-dominated culture without also having to playact as prostitutes. And while the male officers probably have fewer qualms about the operation — they don't have to playact as anything but crime fighters — it can't be that good for their morale either.
Lt. Murl Harpham (his name invites crude mockery, but his analysis is spot on) said it well: "That's the way the whole system is." Sad but true, eh?
Bill Hassler, McKinleyville