There was another disturbing school shooting last week, this time in my home state of Oregon, in a small town, where gun laws are nearly non-existent. Since Oregon is an open-carry state, I grew up seeing shotguns line the back windows of pick-up trucks, and listened to eight-year-olds boast about shooting guns after school. It’s a state where, if you’re rubbing shoulders with the right sheriff in town, it’s easy to get a concealed-carry license. That license is issued at his personal discretion, not by a series of background and mental health checks. Since every state in America makes their own laws about gun ownership, that might be one of the reasons there were 296 mass shootings in the United States in 2015 alone, according to shootingtracker.com.
I bought my first gun in Nevada, legally, at a gun store. It took me all of fifteen minutes and I walked out with a Heckler and Koch semi-automatic with a fifteen round clip. It was also in Las Vegas I had another first. I decided to rent out my body for money, as an escort. I’ve been responsible with both choices. I’ve never shot up a shopping mall full of people. Nor have I slept my way through the dating pool having sex-in-the-city one night stands passing chlamydia around like it’s Christmas eggnog. I did go on to start an escort agency, but there, too, I was responsible, providing a safe outlet for both women and men to explore their sexuality more safely. The women didn’t face traffickers, and the men weren’t robbed blind by tricks stealing their treats.
I find it absurd that it’s illegal for me to make a choice to rent out my body and my time for money. I find it disconcerting that it’s illegal for a lonely and or horny man to pay me to spend a couple of hours with him, but it’s not illegal to go to a gun show and buy a rapid fire assault military weapon with a thirty round clip.
The rest of the world is watching us right now and laughing. We’re like the immature freshman who has potential, but has yet to pull his or her head of the clouds first. We have prostitution all wrong. We have gun control all wrong.
Let’s take a look at Europe for example. Its perspective on sexuality, from topless beaches, to extra-marital affairs, to prostitution, isn’t a moral or conservative issue. France couldn’t understand our obsession with Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. When President Francois Hollande and his l’affaire came out, 77% of the French polled said his affair was a personal matter. 84% said it did not change their opinion of him, according the Journal du Dimanche.
The history of prostitution in Europe continues to adapt, but the Netherlands is widely recognized as a pioneer in legalized prostitution. It all started in their brothels, in 2001, when the government lifted a ban that had been in place since the start of the 20th Century. Prostitution was regulated. No longer forced underground, it became a viable legitimate business.
Since then, eight countries in Europe have legalized and regulated the buying and selling of sex, as a legitimate business. In another twelve European countries, prostitution is legal but brothels and pimps are not.
In fact, of the developed countries in the world–the countries with the highest income and GDP per capita, and higher standards of living and education–the United states, Japan, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, South Korea, Australia, Spain–prostitution is legal in all but two, the United States and South Korea.
Legalizing prostitution means that it regulates and protects. Prostitutes can register as a business, undergo health checks, and pay social security and taxes. They haverights, and with rights come services, safety, and self-worth. When prostitution is legal and regulated, it is taxed. Prostitution tax dollars add up to a 15 Billion euro a year industry in Germany alone, according to The Telegraph UK.
Gun control, on the other hand, faces stricter laws in both Europe and Australia. Following the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 in Australia, a new template of gun safety was put into effect. They’ve not had a mass shooting since, and it’s estimated to have saved 200 lives a year. European law prohibits the private possession of fully automatic weapons, and regulates the possession of semi-automatic ones and handguns. Gun owners undergo an extensive background and mental health check, and then they’re given a license to own a gun. No European country has more than 30% of its population possessing guns, compared to 88% for the United States, according to the Trans-Atlantic Magazine.
Although America is a leading super power of the world, it is a younger country, established in 1776. Europe, colonized during the 15th century, is way more mature than we are with social issues like gun control and prostitution. We are hurting ourselves socially and financially. My prayers go out to everyone who has, and will, fall victim to the next rampant shooter. We’re losing taxes, we’re wasting money fighting the oldest profession in the book, and we’re providing a platform for pimps to proliferate and contribute to all kinds of future social problems.
I’ll be honest, I’m a lot more afraid of a silent 22-year-old with a closet full of semi-automatics than I am of the local prostitute who has a weekly date with her john at the motel on the corner. If this isn’t a reflection on how immature America is, I don’t know what is. Everyone is waiting for us to grow up.
(Image Credit: MikeyGen73, iStock Photo)