Vice Squad
Friday, April 02, 2004
Kansas Comstockery

Dickinson County, Kansas, is so rich that it is happy to spend its resources on sex novelties and special prosecutors: "On Thursday, a grand jury in Dickinson County District Court indicted the Lion’s Den Adult Superstore for engaging in promoting obscenity for selling sex toys from its store northwest of the city along Interstate Highway 70."

John Stuart Mill was afraid that democracy would be no cure for intolerance, and Dickinson County bears out his fears:

"The grand jury was impaneled in November after an opposition group, Citizens for Strengthening Community Virtues, collected voter signatures to force a summons. Jurors reviewed items that were purchased in an investigation by the Dickinson County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office spent $1,332.71 from the county’s diversion fund to purchase items from the Lion’s Den, after a complaint about the store was received." The move was applauded by an anti-obscenity crusader who just happens to be running for office. The would-be office holder knows not only what is right for himself, but what is right for all the good people of Dickinson County, and indeed, the Midwest, according to the linked article: "'I know what this community is about, what the Midwest is about — if they had their druthers, they wish (adult stores) weren’t there. But now they’re beginning to understand they can shape the destiny of their community.'" Let me see if I understand this: he knows his virtuous community well, and yet, he seems very concerned about "Community Virtues!" Funny how other people's virtues are such a popular target for crusaders.

Apparently our generous office-seeker and his supporters moved to state coercion after private intimidation proved insufficient: "He also helped lead Operation Daniel, a 100-day protest in which picketers stood outside the Lion’s Den and recorded and reported license tag numbers of store patrons." Reported? To whom, I must wonder, though I doubt that I would be enthused by the answer. Oh yeah, our fearsome crusader also accompanied sheriff's officers to the store to identify potentially obscene objects. Hey, if community standards are the issue, shouldn't everyone in the community know what is obscene? Why would the officers need help? Maybe they are from some neighboring, licentious community -- er, not in the Midwest, of course.

More people lived in Dickinson County in 1900 than in 2000 -- that "diversion fund" has been doing its job! Of the nearly 20,000 current residents, no doubt some live in despair (and with crusaders such as this, who can blame them?), but at least a fraction live in Hope....

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