I must admit that I was disgusted with the anonymous essay describing the views of one of the johns who cruise my neighborhood (Real Stories, “Meet John Doe,” 9/24). This person posits that it is his right to violate the rights of homeowners in one neighborhood in order to solicit prostitutes and buy drugs. His view is very limited, since his focus is self-gratification, even though he suffers from erectile dysfunction and cannot achieve “the moment of truth.”
I have lived near Logan Circle for seven years and have borne the brunt of the sex and drug trade. If I had been wealthy, I would have sought a neighborhood farther west. That is not the case. I have put up with the women, drug dealers, used condoms, and crack vials. I have been subject to the peripheral violence associated with these “crimes without victims.” Fortunately, the atmosphere is changing; there has been a significant decrease in such activities around the circle. I hope for more improvement.
I was particularly incensed by the tirade against one of my neighbors who was out collecting tag numbers to turn over to the Metropolitan Police Department. Since Mr. Anonymous is smart enough to steal tags to use when he is cruising (to evade detection), it seems absurd that he would express such violent intentions against the people who live in the neighborhood who seek to limit his activity. He seems to be a prime example of the type of person that we would like to remove from our neighborhood streets. Does he feel that violence is a right?
It is only near the end of the article that I find something to agree with the anonymous writer about—at least part of his argument. He attacks me and my neighbors as opponents of prostitution. We are against the drugs and crime associated with the street prostitution, but many of my neighbors (and I) support the concept of legalized prostitution. The overtly violent statements on the last page of this essay only support our concern about the status quo. It would be a valiant campaign to seek legalization of prostitution in the District. It would provide public health benefits, crime benefits, and improvement in the situation of the purveyors. Of course, Congress would find this far more repugnant than even the proposed needle-exchange program…
I cannot close without noting a comment in Loose Lips the same week. In a discussion of the issue of the Garrison Field parking issue (near the Metropolitan Baptist Church), there is a comment by LL that most of the tags were from Maryland, with only a few from Virginia and the District. This is a similar issue to what the 12th Street Revitalization Committee discusses every meeting: Most of the people who cruise the Track do not live in our neighborhood or even in the District. I suspect that they would not allow such activities to occur on their suburban streets.
Once again, the issues expressed by this writer only suggest an alternate solution that may not be acceptable to those who control the actions of the District. Perhaps it is time to investigate beyond the “acceptable” box, to seek alternate solutions to our social and political issues.
Congratulations on a provocative article.