Deep In The Heart of Texas, Stupid Sex Toy Laws
But there is hope!
Four undercover officers served a search warrant at Somethin' Sexy lingerie shop on Slide Road, Lubbock, Texas, on May 4, 2007. An employee who sold a sexual device to an undercover police officer was arrested and charged with promotion of obscene devices, a class A misdemeanor.
Gary Evans, owner of the Somethin' Sexy lingerie shoppe, said Tuesday that he feels like police singled him out in the latest chapter of an ongoing "witch hunt" against any sexually related business in town.
Citing chapter 43 of the Texas Penal Code which prohibits the possession of six or more obscene devices (described as "a dildo or artificial vagina, designed and marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs") the police confiscated about 120 items from the store, taken from inside a closed cabinet at the rear of the store, which were called "hard core" sexual devices "obviously intended for sexual gratification." This based on a "complaint-driven investigation."
While the store owner said he didn't understand how a citizen could have seen the sexual devices (as they were not on display and only accessible to customers who requested to view them) apparently an undercover officer with the police department had been in the store the night before and had requested to see a vibrator. Then he purchased the item.
And the next day, he and two other cops came in with a warrant, made an arrest and took 'evidence.' (Worst day at work ever for that employee.)
Evans, the shoppe owner, said he wants to know why the Lubbock Police Department is so eager to enforce sections of the state penal code that police in other cities seemingly ignore, saying, "The items they confiscated from our store are on open display in Dallas." Adding later, "In my opinion, Lubbock Police Department manpower would be better served trying to solve murders or get drugs off the street."
Police there also recently shutdown a Chippendales performance, saying "the dancers were making obscene gestures."
But, you'll be happy to know, citizens in Texas aren't going to take it anymore.
Andy White wrote to the paper, in amazement:
Are you kidding me? Of all the things that are happening in this town, you have the time to give this kind of trivial stuff the time of day is beyond me.
Think of the man hours, the paperwork, the poor person behind the counter (who was arrested and had to post bond for release), and the time spent away from the job that we have spent to accomplish what? To see all the massage device sales come to an end?
Come on! There's got to be some latitude given for common sense in things of this nature.
Kathy Deshler also sounded-off:
I've lived in Lubbock most of my life. I've seen this town go through many changes.
Our abstinence-based education system resulted in an obscene teen pregnancy rate, an inexcusable STD rate and, not because of the abstinence issue, but the high school dropout rate is outrageous.
These three problems have been plaguing our city for over 30 years.
Now a poor clerk in some lingerie shop gets arrested and for what? Doing her job. Look people, it isn't the 1950s anymore. To paraphrase a line from the movie "Footloose," "The devil doesn't live in these books, he lives in our hearts. We need to sit in judgment on ourselves."
What scares me most about the whole situation is very simple. While we have the Morality Police telling us what is and is not pornography (which will eventually end Lubbock in court and cost us tens or hundreds of thousands in legal fees), we still have teens getting pregnant and getting diseases more than anywhere else in Texas. What's more important, adult book stores and strip clubs or our children's lives?
(Bonus points to Kathy for not only sane thinking, but applying a Footloose reference!)
At least not everyone in Texas is laying down for the Morality Police and rolling over regarding sex toys and sex education.
With Ann Richards and Molly Ivins gone it's nice to see that some folks in Texas are still sane.
In a world where most of us stand by like sheep and watch rights taken away, I'm proud of these folks (and others like them) who dare to remain indignant (in-dignity) and voice concerns. More of us should do so.