The War on Transvestitution

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Steve Gower, who is not a police officer, just an "exceptionally active neighbor" working with his neighborhood association in Atlanta, describes the many joys of harrassing local prostitutes:

When he sees someone he suspects is a prostitute talking to a possible john, he pulls up behind them, hoping his truck – with its official-looking MPSA logo and flashing yellow roof light – will scare the john away. If that doesn't work, he'll turn on his portable klieg light.

"What's really fun is catching [the prostitute] getting in the car with a john," he says. "You flip on the light and most of the time the john dumps the prostitute. I'm hitting prostitutes in the pocketbook."

The majority of prostitutes in the MPSA's patrol zone now, he says, are transgendered– "transvestitutes," as Gower and Denby call them.

Courtney-Evans, a 55-year-old preoperative transsexual, says she had pepper spray in her hands because she was frightened of Gower, who had followed her in his truck repeatedly during the preceding weeks. Gower even followed her home one night. "Wouldn't you call that stalking?" Courtney-Evans asks.

It seems that policing the sexual behavior of your neighbors might come across as invasive.

Via Bound Not Gagged, which has Gower YouTube action.

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  1. Man, Steve Gower is one sexually messed up individual. He bears watching. I have serious doubts about the jerks sanity and the safety of others in his vicinity.

  2. What a complete fucking scumbag. Even if you don’t approve of someone’s actions for moral reasons (such as disapproving of your neighbor’s pot smoking), actively harassing someone because of it is very, very fucked up. Not trying to convince them to stop, or arguing with them, but actively harassing them. I hope one of the hookers unloads some pepper spray in his open eyes.

  3. Haven’t RTFA’d yet but the logo reads “Midtown Ponce Security Alliance”?!? It writes itself, sometimes.

  4. Of course it was lawless, they had stoners hanging out in the park…

    “Gower moved to Midtown in the mid-1980s. It was very different then, he says – much more lawless. He recalls sitting in a parklike area on Sixth Street late one night with a friend. While the two of them talked and smoked pot, he recalls with a chuckle, they saw six young men jump out of a car. Within a couple of minutes, each of the six men had stolen a car.”

  5. a 55-year-old preoperative transsexual, says she had pepper spray in her hands

    That’s not a “she” and if he is passing himself off as one for purposes of prostitution, he is committing fraud.

  6. I can’t agree. I am 100% in favor of legalizing all activity between consenting adults. However, when the anti-freedom people make some activity into a crime, that makes the people who engage in it criminals. I wouldn’t care if the people renting downstairs from me are crack whores, but I do care if they bring their criminal business into my neighborhood. When a neighborhood gets street walkers, decent people have already left. Keeping criminal activity off the streets, even criminal activity that you condone or even engage in, is a perfectly rational thing for any resident to do.

  7. This post does provide an interesting juxtapostion to Radley’s civil vs political society article.

  8. Keeping criminal activity off the streets, even criminal activity that you condone or even engage in, is a perfectly rational thing for any resident to do.

    Warren –
    Perfectly rational is not a term I’d use to describe this mans actions. Freaky, scary and borderline psychotic maybe. Perfectly rational? No.

  9. And while I’m all in favor of legalizing prostitution, I drive through a red-light district on the way home from work and let’s face it, it doesn’t exactly raise property values.

  10. I have two words for Gower: A legal bordello wouldn’t be in your freakin’ neighborhood.

  11. Ponce as in Ponce De Leon, a major thoroughfare in Atlanta (no, all the streets are not named Peachtree).

    Ponce is a dividing line. North of Ponce, you have Midtown, hip, well-off, very gay friendly. South of Ponce, you have ghetto.

  12. J sub D,
    Don’t see that at all. He’s organized with his fellow citizens to form a neighborhood watch. The activities he’s engaging in discourage crime and are perfectly legal. If he was engaging in vigilantism, that would be a different story.

  13. I used to live in Virginia Highlands in Atlanta. I was about a mile or so from where this guy is and about four blocks from the Atlanta East City Hall where a lot of the hookers hung out. First, Atlanta is known as a Mecca of child prostitution. Drive down Ponce De Leon in Atlanta and a lot of the hookers don’t look anything close to legal. It is some really nasty sick shit. Second, it is a real quality of life issue. Midtown and Virginia highlands and the less gentrified areas of the Poncy highlands have decent people who live there and pay rent and deserve to have a neighborhood devoid of street walkers and their reprobate customers.

    Yeah, prostitution should be legal. But street walking is different. When the vice squad starts cruising the massage ads and busting women who are running businesses out of their own homes and not bothering anyone, that is a problem. But street walkers create a real externality to the neighborhood around them. I don’t blame this guy one bit.

  14. Although this is a bit of a “step too far”, isn’t this behavior in line with entities like Neighborhood Watch and the like?

    Look guys, pick one: neighborhoods self-policing voluntarily or the cops doing it for you!

    I mean, the guy may a be a loony-toon, but give him credit: He doesn’t use force to solve the problem, now does he?

  15. I will say this, the same people who argue that we should privatize the police department or leave it up to civil rather than political society to police things, then have a heart attack when the civil society does just that. Rather than rely on the government to clean up his neighborhood, this guy is doing it himself. Isn’t that what you people claim to want?

  16. Also, I declare “transvestitute” as a perfectly cromulent word, starting now.

    And because I said so.

  17. I have to agree with John: if you noticed street-walking outside of your neighborhood and yelled at the hooker, “hey, take it down the road!”, would that be ‘harassment’?

    Isn’t that what this guy is doing writ large?

  18. Who wants to bet that his Gower individual — who is apparently so interested in the sexual proclivities of his neighbors that he spends all of his free time stalking them — jerks off to transsexual granny porn every night?

  19. “What’s really fun is catching [the prostitute] getting in the car with a john,” he says.

    OK I can see how that puts him in the wacko camp. The problem isn’t so much what he’s doing, it’s that he gets his giggles doing it. Yes I agree. That attitude seems to infect just about everybody in law enforcement, and it festers over time, leading to more reprehensible (read: of interest to Radley Balko) behavior.

  20. When he sees someone he suspects is a prostitute talking to a possible john, he pulls up behind them, hoping his truck – with its official-looking MPSA logo and flashing yellow roof light – will scare the john away. If that doesn’t work, he’ll turn on his portable klieg light.

    I do the same thing, only to likely-Kucinich voters instead of prostitutes.

    Is that so wrong?

  21. Who wants to bet that his Gower individual — who is apparently so interested in the sexual proclivities of his neighbors

    His “neighbors” made it of interest to him, first, but putting it out in public.

    that he spends all of his free time stalking them

    Stalking? hardly. Try not to let hyperbole warp concepts, mmmkay?

    As for the last bit of your post, why am I not surprised to see this bit of a smear job?:

    – Of course, you know, there’s no such things as real libertarians. They all secretly want power.

    – you know, Catholics aren’t real. They all really worship Satan!

    – Obviously, the guy must be a transsexual lover, because he “hates” them so much.

    You’re a ‘tard, man.

  22. Steve Gower is a rotten, officious, abusive, unkind, small-minded jackass. He needs to get his own life, something that will give him fulfillment that doesn’t involve hurting others.

    Seriously, what a sad soul! This guy belongs in his mom’s basement playing Playstation 360 for 20 hours a day. Just like the other losers.

  23. Warren,

    Not to defend the guy, but do you think that hospital workers, Soldiers, cops and the like never crack jokes, even though they do SRS BIZNESS like dealing in life and death?

    I mean, some people get joy out of hunting, right? This guy just hunts the people who are messing up his neighborhood, and, I guess I need to shout this:

    HE DOES IT WITHOUT CALLING THE COPS!

    Frankly, the hookers should be grateful to him. He shows them that they’re too visible and that they need to make it more private before the real cops do show up one day, and the hookers don’t get Granny Blue-Hair calling Johnny Law down to throw the tramps in the clink.

    It’s win-win, guy.

  24. 55-year-old preoperative transsexual

    Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww.

  25. Who wants to bet that his Gower individual — who is apparently so interested in the sexual proclivities of his neighbors that he spends all of his free time stalking them — jerks off to transsexual granny porn every night?

    That’s beside the point. I like an occasional beer once in a while, but I don’t want some person walking down my street selling beer to whoever has money.

  26. Whaddya got against Neighborhood Watch?

    I’m with John (smirks)

  27. I used to live the old downtown, which, before Wm Suff murdered them all, was filled with the skankiest hooks you ever saw in your life. I mean you would not do these chicks with Edwierdo’s dong. They were as bad or worse than the visual Warty conjured up.

    So the cops would put out a sting every so often but it was largely ineffective because the decoy was always way too hot to be a Lake Elsinore hooker.

  28. Hey, I’m as cosmotarian as the next guy, and I live in a pretty artsy little neighborhood where the Freak Flags and the like fly on the regular.

    I’m just saying that residents of neighborhoods shouldn’t have to put up with it, and if they’ve found an inventive (though annoying and somewhat disturbing) way of dealing with it, so be it.

  29. After seeing some of the nasty vitriol tossed about by Ayn_Randian it pains me to do it, but I have to agree that as long as he is not breaking a law himself (kleig light might be a bit much), he is actually functioning in a very libertarian method. He uses no physical force and is trying to maintain a small community to his standards.

    Now, I also think that the guy is a small minded creep with too much time on his hands, but I don’t live in his neighborhood. Now, I think the transvestitutes (cromulent indeed, I feel embiggened just using it) should be able to follow him around flashing their genitalia (keigel lights?).

    That is, I feel, the problem with too much reliance on community policing. It could easily escalate out of hand into actual violence.

  30. Y’all are right about the neighborhood watch thing. It’s a good concept that yields substantial dividends when done properly. This guy is just too creepy for me.

  31. you would not do these chicks with Edwierdo’s dong

    …LOL, TWC.

  32. After seeing some of the nasty vitriol tossed about by Ayn_Randian it pains me to do it…

    Oh dear…I’m THAT GUY?

    Ah, well. I’m pretty great once you get to know me, but I do have a tendency to get nasty on Teh Internets. It’s what keeps me sane in the meatspace.

  33. When he sees someone he suspects is a prostitute talking to a possible john, he pulls up behind them, hoping his truck – with its official-looking MPSA logo and flashing yellow roof light – will scare the john away. If that doesn’t work, he’ll turn on his portable klieg light.

    And when it turns out that it’s just two people talking, I am sure this guy is apologetic and contrite.

    while what this guy is doing is legal and within his rights (although, following hookers back to their home is borderline stalkerish) I wonder how many innocents have been harassed. I also reserve the right to mock and ridicule this no-life having loser regardless of the propriety of his actions.

    I dunno this area, so maybe it’s quite obvious who is a hooker and who isn’t. But if it isn’t obvious this guy might get a pretty big ass whoopin if he harasses the wrong “perps”

  34. Sorry Ayn, I have been guilty of tossing the ol’ vitriol Frisbee myself.

    If I was Christian I would try to remove the loge from my own eye before mentioning the mote in someone else’s, but as a good little atheist boy I have no such compunctions.

    I still reserve the right to mock, denigrate, point and laugh, etc, etc, and this asshat Gower.

  35. ChicagoTom,

    Not just if he’s harassing innocent people. Don’t they have pimps in this neighborhood?

  36. while what this guy is doing is legal and within his rights…I wonder how many innocents have been harassed?

    well, none, if he continues to be within his rights, he could not by definition be guilty of harassment.

    But if it isn’t obvious this guy might get a pretty big ass whoopin if he harasses the wrong “perps”

    And, given that he’s within his rights to be annoying, I would support the people bringing the ass-whooping go to jail, which is usually what we do with people who beat other people up for no good reason.

    Sorry Ayn, I have been guilty of tossing the ol’ vitriol Frisbee myself.

    Meh, don’t apologize. I always tell myself that I should be a little less emotional. You’re just keeping me in check with my goals.

    I should thank you!

  37. When a neighborhood gets street walkers, decent people have already left.

    So decent = people who can afford a better place to live? This might be why people think libertarians really do only care about money (overlooking our sense of “social” liberalism or conflating it with a love of pot). You don’t have to be morally bankrupt (or even all that badly off financially) to be living in a neighborhood with hookers.

    As for the non-violent and civil nature of Gower’s pastime, I’d suggest considering what his behavior really constitutes, specifically that it could quite reasonably be interpreted as a threat of physical violence. After all, that’s what people really fear from “stalkers” — not being followed, but that the follower will eventually do something more.

    If someone followed you in their car at night frequently, sometimes illuminating you in blinding lights, I doubt you’d comment to yourself how wonderful it is that there are no cops around!

  38. Let’s try this again, sans HTML-retardation:

    while what this guy is doing is legal and within his rights…I wonder how many innocents have been harassed?

    well, none, if he continues to be within his rights, he could not by definition be guilty of harassment.

    But if it isn’t obvious this guy might get a pretty big ass whoopin if he harasses the wrong “perps”

    And, given that he’s within his rights to be annoying, I would support the people bringing the ass-whooping go to jail, which is usually what we do with people who beat other people up for no good reason.

    Sorry Ayn, I have been guilty of tossing the ol’ vitriol Frisbee myself.

    Meh, don’t apologize. I always tell myself that I should be a little less emotional. You’re just keeping me in check with my goals.

    I should thank you!

    You don’t have to be morally bankrupt (or even all that badly off financially) to be living in a neighborhood with hookers.

    No, but slumming it isn’t some path to sainthood either. People’s preferences are going to come into play.

    I’d suggest considering what his behavior really constitutes, specifically that it could quite reasonably be interpreted as a threat of physical violence.

    If it bothers you that much, I suggest you call the DA or the police station over there and complain.

  39. It seems that policing the sexual behavior of your neighbors might come across as invasive.

    If your neighbors are engaging in their sexual behavior on a public street, not so much. It’s not like the guy is walking up to people’s house windows to check what kind of sexual activity is afoot.

  40. Where’s Dondero-Rittberg to defend the rights of women (and trannies) to give it up for cash?

  41. No, but slumming it isn’t some path to sainthood either. People’s preferences are going to come into play.

    Setting aside the fact that you have essentially said nothing specific here, I’ll reiterate the point I was addressing: the presence of streetwalkers in a neighborhood does not mean the neighborhood’s residents are all unworthy of consideration as “decent” people. As a mundane example, many of the folks who grow up to live in quiet and expensive suburbs as middle-aged adults are required by financial reasons to live as young adults in apartments in cities where street prostitution is part of the neighborhood. The world is not divided into slums and palaces, with different persons divided appropriately between those two possible places. Normal people, for no extraordinary reason, live in places where streetwalking happens.

    And also, suggesting that I call the DA is not a refutation of my point.

  42. Ayn_Randian: You’re a ‘tard, man.

    What’re you, 14? Must be — most people outgrow their pseudo-intellectual “objectivism” by the time they discover the opposite sex.

    Let me guess – I’m a “lamer” too?

    Suggesting that this fellow who follows suspected “johns” around for kicks just might have his own sexual issues isn’t a smear, but it follows from the fact that those who object so violently to the consenting sexual behavior of others might have their own lingering sexual tensions — Ted Haggard, anyone?

    And unless these people are engaged in explicit sexual activity in the public, I see no problem with them arranging to exchange sex for money, in so far as no force is involved.

    Oh, and free Larry Craig!

  43. Ponce as in Ponce De Leon, a major thoroughfare in Atlanta (no, all the streets are not named Peachtree).

    You lie, sir. They are. 😉

  44. If it bothers you that much, I suggest you call the DA or the police station over there and complain.

    I don’t get it.

    Most everyone agrees that this guy’s actions are technically legal. The problem is that prostitution isn’t. Hookers cannot seek legal remedy, which is why they are choice targets for cowardly scumbags and stalkers of all types who enjoy the protections of one-sided law enforcement.

  45. “It seems that policing the sexual behavior of your neighbors might come across as invasive.”

    One of the arguments for legalizing prostitution I like is the suggestion that it might take more street walkers off the streets.

    And I’m sympathetic to the suggestion that if prostitution was legal, that interested private citizens might be more adept than the police at policing it themselves.

    I’m against physical coercion pretty much across the board, but I’m not so sure I understand why a transvestite’s right to practice prostitution on the sidewalk in front of my house is more valid than my right to encourage him or her to go somewhere else.

  46. This too gets a well deserved DEATH METAL GRRROOOOOOOOWWWLLL!

  47. Your right to swing ends at my eyes.

  48. well, none, if he continues to be within his rights, he could not by definition be guilty of harassment.

    What???

    if he rolls up on two people who aren’t engaging prostitution and shines his light on them or tries to get them to leave, even if one person is hitting on another, they are innocents being harassed. It may not be the legal definition of harassment, but it is harassing them nonetheless.

    So the point is, how many people has this guy bothered who weren’t engaging in prostitution?

    If your neighbors are engaging in their sexual behavior on a public street, not so much.

    Is trying to get someone to have sex with you “sexual behavior” ? If so then almost anyone who has ever flirted, hit on or otherwise tried to pick up someone in public is guilty of “engaging in sexual behavior in public”. I don’t really think trying to get a woman to fuck you is “engaging in sexual behavior”

  49. “if he rolls up on two people who aren’t engaging prostitution and shines his light on them or tries to get them to leave, even if one person is hitting on another, they are innocents being harassed. It may not be the legal definition of harassment, but it is harassing them nonetheless.”

    Absolutely wrong.

    If he goes up to somebody negotiating for prostitution and shines a light on them and says, “Why don’t you go get lost?”, he isn’t doing anything that should be illegal.

    …this is nutty. I really don’t get it. Again, how is prostituting yourself in public okay but telling somebody you don’t like what they’re doing in public not okay?

    If he goes up to somebody that’s just walking down the sidewalk and says, “Hey, that haircut makes you look like a fag!”, he still isn’t doing anything that should be illegal–but saying something like that to the transvestites hooking in front of my house, that somehow means it should be illegal?

    Honestly, I don’t get it.

    Hooking in front of my house, thumbs up–me complaining to hookers about hooking in front of my house, thumbs down?! This doesn’t even makes sense.

  50. Ken: So you completely skipped over the “aren’t engaging in prostitution” part? If he drives up to two random people who are talking on the sidewalk, flashes police-like lights at them until they go away, and, if he feels like it, follows one of them home, that’s perfectly righteous and good?

  51. Somehow, it seems to me, that if the First Amendment protects my right to complain to my congressman about how he’s voting, then it should also protect my right to complain to street hookers about standing in front of my house.

  52. “Ken: So you completely skipped over the “aren’t engaging in prostitution” part?”

    Did you completely skip over the part about how there should be nothing illegal about telling a guy his haircut makes him look like a fag, for no reason at all?

  53. Jeeze, where’d I put my “Your Favorite Movie Sucks.” t-shirt?

  54. If he goes up to somebody negotiating for prostitution and shines a light on them and says, “Why don’t you go get lost?”, he isn’t doing anything that should be illegal.

    That’s the part that makes me wonder what happened to the “not engaging in prostitution” hypothetical.

  55. “That’s the part that makes me wonder what happened to the “not engaging in prostitution” hypothetical.”

    I’m not saying he should be able to drag people off to jail, but he shouldn’t be allowed to say what he thinks of them?

    Should there be a law against telling people to get lost for no apparent reason?

    …If somebody thinks I look stupid, or my Mom dresses me funny, if people don’t like what I do for a living or they don’t want me playing my music so loud, what, they shouldn’t be able to hassle me about it?

    Nobody has a right to stop me from saying what I think about them in public or telling them where I think they should go. …not even transvestite streetwalkers or people who are mistaken for their customers.

  56. Ken — for my part, I don’t have a problem with public speech directly or indirectly directed against prostitutes and public prostitution. I have a problem with taking that speech activity and pushing it toward an implicit threat of violence, as I argued above that Gower’s behavior does.

  57. directly or indirectly directed

    Whoa, way to go me.

  58. What I really don’t understand about the oldest profession these days is why anyone is still on the street (in the USA, at least). Seems like it would be so easy for buyers and sellers to connect on the internet that the risk of the traditional “stroll” makes no sense at all.

    -jcr

  59. Crack addicts growing up in extreme poverty rarely have the wherewithal to set up online enterprises.

  60. “I have a problem with taking that speech activity and pushing it toward an implicit threat of violence, as I argued above that Gower’s behavior does.”

    I saw him get spat at. I saw him directly threatened repeatedly.

    I didn’t see him say, “Get out of here or I’m gonna beat the shit out of you!” I saw him tell people to get lost.

    P.S. So we’ve dropped the, it’s not okay to tell people what you think unless they’re Johns, shtick, right?

  61. “Seems like it would be so easy for buyers and sellers to connect on the internet that the risk of the traditional “stroll” makes no sense at all.”

    I’m guessin’ for some people, it’s like an impulse buy.

  62. John C. Randolph | January 22, 2008, 7:48pm | #
    What I really don’t understand about the oldest profession these days is why anyone is still on the street (in the USA, at least). Seems like it would be so easy for buyers and sellers to connect on the internet that the risk of the traditional “stroll” makes no sense at all.

    -jcr

    Yo, hit me up on my pager. Whip me up some myspace type shit and we can corner this motherfucker like j-hova.

  63. forgot, but straight up I am not going to be slanging no chicks with dicks.

  64. What “we” had that shtick and dropped it? I might have had a memory lapse about what I’ve written, but I don’t think I expressed that opinion or abandoned it later. And I don’t think anyone else has revisited their opinions on the topic. As I already said, I don’t care about “tell[ing] people what you think” — I care about acting in a menacing manner.

    Now, maybe I’ve made a mistake here. I didn’t read the linked article, only the H&R post and its quotation from the article. Still, it doesn’t surprise me to learn that Gower was threatened himself, and it doesn’t change my assertion that he is threatening others as well. Not all threats are explicitly worded (and I shouldn’t need to cite examples for this to be evident). If I followed you in my car persistently, you’d begin to suspect I intended you harm as well.

  65. Go watch the video, dude.

    He asks them why they don’t go somewhere else. He tells them to get lost.

    I’ve said worse to obnoxious people at sporting events.

  66. Go read the post, dude.

    “Wouldn’t you call that stalking?”

  67. I guess it would depend on whether she’d threatened me.

  68. …and even so, it doesn’t say anything about the central point, which remains that I have as much of right–regardless of the legality of prostitution–to complain to prostitutes directly as they have to stand out in front of my house and peddle themselves.

  69. Please, keep on ignoring the distinction I’m attempting to draw between speech and threat. Perhaps he’s only acted in such an intimidating manner once, toward that one woman/man (?). I can say again if it’ll help, I am not arguing against simply complaining to someone, as the video shows him doing. I’m not arguing in favor of the rudeness of the other people in the video.

    And how exactly would it constitute less of a threat to stalk someone just because they also had threatened you? Seems to me that such a circumstance would even more clearly imply a threat, as a reciprocation. (But, importantly, not a reciprocation of the self-defense form. After all, if you’re following someone, they must by definition be leaving your vicinity…)

  70. Courtney-Evans, a 55-year-old preoperative transsexual, says she

    Now this has gotten me in trouble on this forum before, but what exactly is the correct pronoun for someone in the gender limbo of preoperative transsexuality? The to-sex, the from-sex, or just plain old “it” (my unfortunate choice in the alluded-to incident)?

  71. “Please, keep on ignoring the distinction I’m attempting to draw between speech and threat.”

    Nobody’s arguing that people should be able to randomly threaten people with violence.

    …people should be able to tell the hookers in front of their houses to go somewhere else. …and despite what that angry hooker had to say, it looks like that’s all he did.

    …by the way, that hooker probably should carry some pepper spray anyway, and somebody should probably clue her in, that a lot of people feel it’s necessary to carry guns with them in no small part because of her, her associates and the people she attracts into the neighborhood.

    What? Is he supposed to feel guilty?

  72. Ventifact – all you’re going to do is dance around and miss the essential point that the man has the right to do this; and I like I said, if you think he’s threatening or intimidating, pick up the phone and call the cops or the DA. Why? Because that’s a legal charge to be made by the law, not you as a smear attempt.

    That was my point. Which you saliently and intentionally missed.

    Must be — most people outgrow their pseudo-intellectual “objectivism” by the time they discover the opposite sex.

    You’re right, I shouldn’t have called you a ‘tard, but this proves you’re pretty close:

    it follows from the fact that those who object so violently to the consenting sexual behavior of others might have their own lingering sexual tensions

    so, everybody who strenuously (I don’t know what you mean by “violently”) objects to a certain act or institution must have latent issues with it, right? Yeah I got it, but that’s a stupid invented television concept (with a few self-selected epitomes) I rarely see trotted out as serious unless the TV’s stuck on Lifetime that day.

    That’s why I said you’re retarded. Because that (“everybody has problems with things to which they strenuously object!’) is a pseudo-intellectual wannabe Freudian argument.

    So shut up.

  73. “Now this has gotten me in trouble on this forum before, but what exactly is the correct pronoun for someone in the gender limbo of preoperative transsexuality? The to-sex, the from-sex, or just plain old “it” (my unfortunate choice in the alluded-to incident)?”

    I think it’s whatever they want to be called. As a general rule, I think I’d just go with however the person was dressed. If you want to be called “he” and “him”, either a) don’t present yourself as a woman or b) let me know what you want to be called quick.

  74. “I’ve said worse to obnoxious people at sporting events.”

    Honestly, I’ve said worse to inconsiderate people in movie theaters.

  75. i just found this, and i have a question:

    what about the demand side?

    why is this guy not gleefully scribbling down licence plate numbers of the customers, instead opting to humiliate only one half of this equation? it would in fact be easier to get those numbers and would actually have quicker results in removing the prostitutes from the neighborhood (why stay if there’s no clientele?)

    wouldn’t it be funny (typical) if some of the people paying him were among the patrons of the prostitutes.

    the clients are no innocents and this guy should be rushing to gloat at their shame, since it would actually solve his problem.

  76. “why is this guy not gleefully scribbling down licence plate numbers of the customers, instead opting to humiliate only one half of this equation?”

    I obviously don’t know, but I think, in part, it probably has to do with Johns not being an eyesore on the sidewalk in front of people’s houses and businesses.

    I don’t think that works as well unless you publicize their names in some way too. …and I suspect some people are just loathe to do that.

  77. what about the demand side?

    Also, in terms of demand, you’re going against the economics of the evolutionary drive, you’re sure to lose no matter what.

    If you want to go after the demand side, why not just give the Johns a place to go where they don’t have to pick up hookers in public? You’re never going to wipe street walking out entirely, but I have to think that most Johns would just as soon not pick up somebody off the street.

  78. Nobody’s arguing that people should be able to randomly threaten people with violence.

    I’ll have to leave aside that word “randomly” for now and simply say: I argued precisely that Gower’s behavior, as described in Howley’s post, does constitute a threat of violence. No, it wasn’t random. But it was a threat of violence not made in response to any situation that warrants a threat of violence. I could keep reiterating each time you argue against points I don’t make, but I suspect eventually it’ll lose the thrill for me…

    the essential point that the man has the right to do this

    While I appreciate you paying me the compliment of assuming I was smart enough to see to the truth of this argument and simply chose to ignore it, I cannot reciprocate. I fear you really are simply not catching my drift here. (Fortunately this means I won’t be resorting to calling you a liar as you did me…) My essential point is that Gower does not have the right to threaten someone else unless in self-defense, and in at least the case of Courtney-Evans as described above, he was in fact behaving threateningly. If you’d care to read what I wrote, you might discover why I assert this.

    and I like I said, if you think he’s threatening or intimidating, pick up the phone and call the cops or the DA. Why? Because that’s a legal charge to be made by the law, not you as a smear attempt.

    Maybe I have already. If I said I did, or if in reality I had, would it impact whether or not my argument is true? You’re keeping going on some dandy dancing yourself there… (By the way, I’m not sure you can report crimes if you’ve only read about them on a blog.)

    Your “point” seems to be that it is not legitimate to assert a criminal activity in public venue separately from attempting to have authorities prosecute that criminal. I’d like to welcome you to Reason magazine’s blog and discussion forum, Hit & Run (often shortened to “H&R”). People here tend to do a lot of “smear attempt[s]”, complaining that many of the things going on around us are in fact unlawful — even at times unconstitutional — without simply calling the relevant prosecutor and forgetting the matter.

    By the way, the man in the video called the women/men prostitutes. Is that not a claim to be made by legal authorities only? Why didn’t he call the police instead of smearing those people on the corner by publishing malicious legal claims recorded on video but unsupported by any legal authorities?

    Also, in terms of demand, you’re going against the economics of the evolutionary drive, you’re sure to lose no matter what.

    As opposed to going against the evolutionary drive to eat (or maintain a stable brain chemistry)? Why would the prostitutes be so much more tractable? Don’t they tend to be the party, in comparison to Johns, with little to lose?

  79. ken schultz, this guy is not loathe to publicise the prostitutes, so clearly public shaming is ok to him– if he extended that public shaming to the johns, they wouldn’t patronise and the prostitutes would relocate, thus solving the problem (or at least displacing it more swiftly than the current method).

    but it’s not really about the prostitutes being eyesores– that is the excuse, little more.

  80. ” You’re never going to wipe street walking out entirely,”

    Seems to me that the Netherlands have succeeded in that aim.

    -jcr

  81. If he were intruding on private property I’d feel otherwise but he is effectively policing his neighborhood.

    Using a libertarian code of laws, with a kludge of the public roads being owned communally he is well within his rights.

    I don’t understand how you can feel otherwise, unless it’s a surface reaction, based on some misplaced emotion rather than reason.

  82. By the way, I’m not sure you can report crimes if you’ve only read about them on a blog.

    No, you can’t. That’s why I’m not understanding why you can’t just leave the community to deal with this.

    complaining that many of the things going on around us are in fact unlawful — even at times unconstitutional — without simply calling the relevant prosecutor and forgetting the matter.

    Really, what they are doing is attempting to parse what should and should not be legal, which is far different than judging from afar that Mr. Gower’s behavior is de facto.

    I’m trying to figure out what you’re angle is: you argue that he’s threatening, intimidating, that is, legally, a criminal.

    What good does that do you? Let’s assume this case meets your personal burden of proof that he’s committed a legal infraction. Uhh, so what?

  83. should read: What Reason is doing is attempting to parse

    AND

    de facto illegal.

  84. There are worse things in life than having your dark deeds exposed to the light. Sounds like Gower is performing a useful service to the perverts in question by protecting them from a case of acute lead poisoning at the hands of someone who “hates the oil cans.”

    Too bad for the perverts that there’s no way to protect them from themselves . . . they’re their own worst enemies.

  85. they can be protected by this guy actually bothering to shame them instead. then they wouldn’t go seek out the prostitutes! how hard is this.

    he preserves the anonymity of the clients, and then wonders why he still has prostitutes soliciting in the neighborhood.

  86. Randian, you seem to have moved yourself entirely into the position that the whole topic under discussion in this thread is unworthy of discussion because we lack first-hand knowledge or involvement in the situation. Again, allow me to introduce you to the world of online discussion forums. What good does it do me to comment on something? No good, directly.

    And although often H&R focuses on what should be legal, it really does often focus on what is legal. Take the recurring theme of violent police raids, where discussion often moves to false evidence plants and the failure to enact repercussions for negligent/malicious officers. And if we want to be speaking strictly, then all discussion of constitutionality is a question of whether activities contradict the so-called highest law in the land. Any time we discuss eminent domain, criminal prosecution procedure, free speech, states’ rights, gun ownership, police/surveillance powers, presidential powers, or drug use, we are discussing whether a policy is in accordance with basic U.S. law.

    It does the same good to determine an activity should be legal, or that some other policy is unconstitutional, as to decide that some other activity is also illegal (or unethical). (Although you fudge in favor of your point by describing it as “from afar” when someone comments on a crime, but not for other topics of discussion.) You seem to be having trouble with my “angle” because you are implicitly alleging no value for discussion that is not directly connected to action. Rand did write that knowledge without action was abominable, but I certainly doubt she meant that every bit of knowledge and pondering would only be legitimate with immediate and directly resultant action springing therefrom (otherwise what validity would a novel have, and how could an author produce one?).

    Do you tell forum posters who declare a law undesirable (the should) that they should write to their members of Congress but stop bringing it up here? Are such people, when they learn of a law from an H&R post instead of witnessing its action firsthand, unqualified to have an opinion because they are viewing the subject “from afar”?

    What distinguishes this topic, and my particular assertion that Gower is implicitly and entirely inappropriately threatening Courtney-Evans, as having no legitimate place in discussion? It seems you will not refute my claim, only insist on ignoring it (or declaring it a “smear”).

  87. “jerks off to transsexual granny porn every night?”
    People say that as if it were a bad thing.

  88. So, this man gets to arbitrarily choose what is offensive, and worthy of policing in his own neighborhood? Him alone? It sounds like anarchy to me.

    He gets to choose what situations he deems are sexual transgressions, and which ones aren’t. Yes, that makes me feel so much safer as a citizen.

    Apparently, Libertarians will excuse anything these days.

    Furthermore, I don’t know how anyone can take seriously someone with the handle “Ayn_Randian.”

    People like that should be harassed in public settings as well. You know, because I personally deem them a public nuisance.

    “Keep our neighborhoods rational!”

  89. Prostitution should be legal in legitimate brothels. Adult establishments should be legal but unmarked so it doesn’t visually pollute the public domain and affect kids. But NO! The American idiots have, as usual the worst of both worlds….Huge billboards and neon lights shout out for Strip Bars and “Spas” that are in fact lead-ins to prostitution all of this to feed the plastic tit culture of MORONIC males who want to see fried bleached blondes with plastic boobs. They think this is normal! The average American female wants to be a macho man or at least look like one from all the trips to the All-You -Can -Eat Chinese Buffet. Most of the USA is a low quality domain with low quality oligopolies and low quality fat narrow minded media believing cattle…and for the religious among you look at the true origins of your Gods at zeitgeist.com the movie….Glad I am out of that souless mass of consuming sucklings…Too bad more sheople(sheep people) are not aware enough to see the brilliance of the constitutional principles and the only one delivering that message Ron Paul…

  90. The only argument I could decipher from that cuckoo rambling is that it’s about the kids.

    Ah, yes, the kids. Who was it that said that some of the greatest restrictions on liberty are often disguised as the need to protect the children?

    I don’t know what prostitution has to to do with children, but America certainly isn’t unique when it comes to prostitution. In fact, it’s fairly tame in comparison to many other countries.

    But it’s good thing to know that yet another wacko has left the country because it has too much freedom. Now, if we can just encourage more of your ilk to leave.

  91. If the presence of streetwalkers indicates that all or most “decent” people have left a neighborhood, then the whores ARE the neighborhood watch and are living by the standards of their own community, regardless of the law. Works fine for polygamists in Utah. By this logic they should band together and tar and feather this asshole.

    I look over this thread and see a few interesting points but mostly just a bunch of classist over-burdened armchairs. This long-winded exchange about “the whore in front of my house” for example. How often does anyone actually see a 55-year-old transsexual selling her butthole in front of their suburban ranch?

    I might get out my camera to prove to my friends it actually happened but that would be it.

  92. In following this story around the Net, I’m amazed at how quick people are to demonize Steve Gower without being familiar with the situation or ever having set foot in the neighborhood.

    He’s not a solitary vigiliante; he has the support of the neighborhood watch behind him. The neighborhood also sponsors various “Take Back the Night” initiatives in these areas to further discourage this behavior.

    The part of Midtown where these prostitutes are working is almost entirely residential. These are not poor souls just looking to make an honest living. They and their customers damage property, disrupt the peace, and leave their used condoms and heroin needles on the street.

    For those of you so concerned about whether innocent people are being harrassed, take a drive through the neighborhood sometime and you tell me how easy it would be to make that mistake.

    Steve Gower’s actions help let the prostitutes and their johns know that they are being watched, and their destructive actions will not be tolerated. Bravo for him.

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