February 16, 2013 by Nash Riggins
Kansas legislators have made attempts to limit the freedoms of many individuals in recent years – ranging from the LGBT community to those who practice Islam; however, now state lawmakers are taking on a very different kind of enemy: strippers.
Indeed, debate over House Bill 2054 – dubbed the “Community Defense Act” – began last week, with a long line of interest groups waiting to testify on the bill’s behalf. What exactly would the Community Defense Act do? It would ban all employees from being nude or topless at work, as well as forbid strip clubs from serving alcoholic beverages, being open after midnight or offering private dances to patrons. In addition, the Act would also have the power to dictate exactly where these establishments can and cannot be located.
Even for those unfamiliar with what goes on in a topless bar, it’s plain to see that HB 2054 would effectively close down all such businesses. Accordingly, one can’t help but wonder what sort of malarkey strippers must be causing as to merit such a strict legislative punishment. So, why are lawmakers looking to close down strip clubs?
According to Philip Crosby, the Kansas State Director of the American Family Association, it’s because all ‘sexually oriented work’ causes problems for the community.
“Sexually oriented businesses are not engines of prosperity, but a community liability,” Crosby said Thursday. “The effects are increased crime, increased STDs, property devaluation, prostitution and human and drug trafficking. Communities are intimidated by the sex industry, and Kansas communities have no restrictions in place.”
On a side note, it’s worth noting that the AFA has long been labelled by some to be a hate group – although in the past this label has only been applied to the religious group’s appalling stance against the LGBT community. Yet hate group or no, it appears as if state legislators agree that strip clubs do indeed hurt communities.
“I am concerned with the negative secondary effects that these establishments create within communities, especially in small communities,” rationalised Republican Steve Brunk, the Vice Chairman of the committee overseeing the Bill.
That being said, one can’t help but detect a dash of hypocrisy in Brunk’s war against exposed breasts.
First and foremost, there is no evidence supporting the claim that the presence of strip clubs causes more crime than that of an ordinary bar. According to Kansas Representative Brett Hildabrand – also a Republican – the Chief of Police in Junction City says that the adult businesses in town elicit far fewer problems than do local bars. Mr Hildabrand also pointed out that increased regulation would drive sexually oriented businesses underground – making oversight by local police nigh-impossible.
Meanwhile, those very same state legislators who are now fighting to put a stop to the trivial non-issue of topless bars are working tirelessly to ensure that a much more crime-oriented freedom remains untouched. In fact, it turns out that the only thing Steve Brunk loves more than concealed breasts are concealed firearms.
Only last year, Brunk was the key sponsor for House Bill 2353 – a law that prohibits public places such as hospitals, colleges and nursing homes from banning concealed guns on their premises unless they have “adequate” security. Unsurprisingly, this new freedom failed to prevent the deaths of over 60 Kansans who were gunned down last year, including police officers. In fact, in the past two months there have already been a dozen gun-related deaths in Kansas City alone. Yet the lives of these people are a small price to pay for our freedom to secretly carry guns around wherever we want to, right?
If Kansas lawmakers such as Steve Brunk and the American Family Association – a firm opponent of gun control – opt to defend a freedom that aides cold-blooded killers in committing murder on a daily basis, logic dictates that they would also defend an individual’s freedom to sip a beer whilst watching a woman dance topless – and do so until after midnight no less.
Strip clubs may not be very tasteful, but they aren’t causing any trouble, either. Not only is it worth noting that there were absolutely – and rather unsurprisingly – no homicides reported as being committed at a Kansas strip club last year, but how can a Christian, in good conscience, prioritise the use of a tool designed to kill over a woman’s choice to take her shirt off for money? In a time of recession, it hardly makes sense for the government to eliminate hundreds of jobs across the state just because Steve Brunk has it on a hate group’s authority that women who like dancing subsequently drive men to commit crimes.
This hypocritical Bill is a ridiculous waste of time – if only because someone who claims to stand in the name of freedom can hardly do so whilst openly condemning the freedoms others may cherish. A Bill similar to the Community Defense Act failed to pass in 2011, and with any luck this one will, too. After all, the Kansas government should be paying a little less attention to where truck drivers like to spend their free time, and a little more on their state’s embarrassingly small education budget. Kansas is already the butt of every joke across America – and so long as its government continues to place more emphasis upon clothing strippers than it does teaching children about evolution, this mockery will only grow worse. Perhaps it’s time to put a stop to that.