Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Warning: Do not feed the hookers. Violators will be prosecuted.
Let's cut to the chase—
As part of a new police vice crackdown, employees at McDonald's and Shur Brite Car Wash were arrested last week and charged with aiding and abetting prostitution.
Brooke Caron, 17, an employee at the McDonald's on Franklin Road, was arrested by Metro Police last Tuesday, accused of selling a Big Mac to an undercover policewoman posing as a prostitute.
Caron, a Hillsboro high schooler who works at McDonald's after school to earn spending money, was led away in cuffs with tears running down her face.
"That lady comes through the drive-through all the time," she said. "I thought it was weird when she said into the microphone, 'I am a prostitute and I would like a Big Mac,' but people say all kinds of strange stuff. I just got her food, and then they arrested me."
"It wasn't just a Big Mac; it was a combo, with fries and a Coke," noted Police Chief Ronal Serpas. "Providing nutrition to prostitutes is directly abetting their illegal activities," the chief added. "Their bodies are the commodity that is being sold, and the food fuels the body. It's a clear legal connection."
Later that same day, police arrested Shur Brite Car Wash employee Jimmy Lee Borden after he allegedly washed, waxed and vacuumed a car being driven by an undercover Metro police officer posing as a pimp.
"This guy came in and said in this real loud voice, 'I am a local pimp and I would like my ride detailed,' " Borden said. "I just thought, you know, 'Whatever, dude. Just tell me what you want done.' "
After the detailing was complete, Borden was arrested and booked on charges of aiding and abetting prostitution.
"No self-respecting pimp will ride around in a dirty car, and these car washes are a real piece of the vice puzzle in Nashville," Serpas said. "And this is a puzzle that I intend to solve. I'm going to clean this place up, just like I did New Orleans."
It is simply appalling how callous our reporters have become. If prostitutes should declare themselves to be a religious sect, this treatment would be forbidden under the U.N. Convention on Genocide.1 But religion or no, even prisoners of war may not have food withheld.2
But James Lewis, newsman for WSMV-TV of Nashville, Tennessee, wasn't thinking about the welfare of prostitutes. His intent was merely to report on the Nashville cops' undercover prostitution sting—you know, show what the authorities were doing to clean up the neighborhood. So Lewis prerecorded a segment. I didn't get to watch it, but Liz Garrigan, who writes for the Nashville Scene, says it was "a solid piece of reporting."
On the evening his segment was shown, reporter Lewis turned to the anchors and told the MacDonald's story after the prerecorded portion had ended. Lewis said,
In one case, they even arrested a McDonald’s employee because the police officer pressed the button and said, ‘I’m a prostitute. I want a Big Mac.’ They sold it to her and busted her because it’s against the law to give nutrition to a prostitute....
Reportedly surprised, one of the anchors asked,
James, a little more on that. What kind of crime is that, to provide food to a police decoy? It is actually a crime?”
According to Liz, this was the moment of James Lewis' epiphany. While doing his research he had googled and found the article with which I began this post. It was from an unattributed column in Nashville Scene known as "The Fabricator." At the bottom of each installment it says,
(The Fabricator is not reality. Sometimes it just seems like it.)
Lewis was mortified. Liz writes that—
In the end, an embarrassed Lewis, who after a radio and newspaper career started in television when he was 50 years old, resigned. He says that his unknowing regurgitation of fiction as fact was “a bad mistake.” Finlayson [the WSMV news director] accepted Lewis’ resignation with “personal regret and with understanding.”
A reporter actually resigned for "regurgitating fiction as fact"?!!! If reporters in Tennessee resign over such a piffle, what are we to make of reporters such as Judith Miller? Or of the NY Times, for that matter?
[Notice to journalists: 'Most anything you read here at Simply Appalling likely came from another journalist. Be careful.]
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;