You’ve probably heard the recent tourism advertising campaign touting Louisville as “Possibility City.” I was born and raised in the ‘Ville, and I love my home town. Unfortunately, if recent trends continue, a more appropriate slogan for Louisville might be “Predatory City.”
As reported in the Courier-Journal, local and state agencies worked together to arrest 14 Louisville men in a sting in which 12 of the men met with who they thought were 12-to-15-year old children. In related news, Louisville was crowned the U.S.’s “most obscene city” by Google. The search engine measured internet searches for pornography, including child pornography, and concluded the River City is head and shoulders below the rest. To complete the triple crown of dubious distinction, only a few years ago a former FBI agent with over 20 years of experience investigating sex crimes cited our fair metropolis as one of the 5 worst U.S. cities in terms of sexually-oriented businesses. Uneasy is the head indeed.
Once again pornography advocates (who dreams of being a pornography advocate when they grow up?) will roll their eyes and rail against us uptight prudes who are letting a few bad apples tarnish the rest of the fun-loving bunch. I think the ladies and gentlemen protest too much. While not all people who regularly view pornography become pedophiles or rapists, nearly all pedophiles and rapists have a history of pornography addiction. Often it starts in adolescence, and often it starts with so-called “soft porn” like Playboy. But as with any addiction, the law of diminishing returns is triggered in many users. Eventually, the imagery needed to produce the desired effect must become more and more aberrant and depraved, until eventually imagery is no longer enough to satisfy.
I guarantee that if interviewed, virtually every one of those 14 men arrested would recount a history of pornography addiction. Does this mean they are not to be held responsible for their own actions? Of course not. Just as the alcoholic cannot blame Jack Daniels for making him drive drunk and kill someone, when an adult makes the decision to harm another adult or, God forbid, a child, he or she should be punished to the full extent of the law.
Where the alcohol analogy breaks down is that, regardless of my personal opinion of alcohol, it is a legal substance. Obscenity is not (click on “A quick primer on pornography and the first amendment”). Why the laws restricting the production and distribution of porn are not enforced is the subject for another blog on another day. Also unlike alcohol, there is no such thing as moderation when it comes to Porn. By definition the act of producing it debases the participants and the act of viewing it debases the user.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the citizens of Louisville and southern Indiana have worked hard for years to ensure that the local sex industry is regulated and that those regulations are enforced. As is so often the case, when sex businesses are forced to operate under health codes and zoning parameters (i.e., legally) they see their profit margins shrink dramatically.
The significant reduction in sexually-oriented businesses in Louisville in the past five years is heartening. However, the arrests of those 14 men provide a sobering reminder of the incredible potential for destruction inherent in the sex industry today.