At the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department “Choose Purity” event on Saturday, girls (and only girls) were treated to such a feast of fear-mongering and baseless scare tactics that it’s hard to believe that the event happened in real life and not as the plot point of a dark comedy in the vein of Election of Saved:
But this isn’t some cynical satire. This is real life. And in real life Las Vegas — correction North Las Vegas — on Saturday night Metro hosted a purity event to teach girls that sex outside of marriage is not only wrong, but will lead you to a life in which sexual assault, gangs, and the threat of being a victim of human trafficking is not only possible, but likely.
From the Las Vegas Sun:
“Choose Purity” aimed to show young girls what can happen when they don’t wait until marriage to have sex, according to Officer Regina Coward, president of the Nevada Black Police Association, who said she’d been asked by her church, Victory Outreach Church, to create a community event to go along with its abstinence message.
So what does Coward say happens? Typically four things: sexual assault, gangs, drugs and prostitution. …
Wide-eyed youngsters watched as two girls gave dramatic performances told from the perspective of one girl who had died after abusing diet pills and one who had died after contracting a sexually transmitted disease as a prostitute. The monologues concluded with each girl getting on a gurney and into a body bag.
When asked whether she’d recruited the “Toe Tag Monologues” to perform to send the message that engaging in premarital sex meant risking death, Coward said, “Yeah, because that’s what’s happening.”
Sweet Baby Jesus. This leaves me with so many questions.
Since when is it Metro’s job to be teaching sex education (because teaching kids abstinence is a form of sex education, people)? What are Coward’s credentials in organizing an event about sex education or to address the complexities of any one of the issues brought up as somehow linked to sexual activity — sexual assault, gangs, prostitution, human trafficking — because each one of those could merit a week-long conference and still not be covered entirely? And does this mean that we don’t have to hear about another proposal to raise taxes to pay for more cops — because clearly they have enough time and money (funds were donated from fellow cops to pay for the event, and a similar one scheduled for boys coming up) to take care of all sorts of side projects that have no business being a part of a Metro officer’s paid work?
Then again, this isn’t really a surprise. This is what we get for not having medically accurate, comprehensive sex education in our schools. This is what we get for having the worst ranked schools in the nation with one of the highest dropout rates (even having some of our schools deemed national “dropout factories”). This is what we get for prioritizing anything and everything else above providing quality, fact-based education for our kids on any and all subjects they will need to live productive, healthy lives.
We get what we paid for, Las Vegas. (And Nevada.)
We don’t want to fund education. We don’t want to allow the full scope of coursework to be taught in schools. We don’t want to create a community that has the foundational education system it needs to diversify its economy, which is why companies continue to pass us up (because employees have families who need good schools and businesses need educated residents who can fill the jobs).
We get what we paid for — which is nothing.
Instead of comprehensive sex education in our schools, taught by trained educators with standardized and medically accurate information, we get sexist, slut-shaming and scare tactics offered by unqualified people who are using their credentials in the community (police officers) to peddle conservative religiosity. This is not only unethical, it’s a crime against the public health. Telling girls that sexual activity will automatically result in being the victim of crime (sexual assault, human trafficking) or lead to a life of crime (gangs, prostitution) — and that they will ultimately wind up dead — is unconscionable on a moral level but it is dangerous on a rational level. Now, instead of helping young people understand their biology, their instincts, and whatever activities they may decide to engage in, you’ve not only labeled them whores, but given them absolutely no tools with which to protect themselves from diseases or pregnancy.
Surely, there’s nothing profile-y about having the purity event in North Las Vegas, a community with the highest concentration of blacks and Latinos as well as the highest concentration of low-income neighborhoods. I’m sure that Coward and her fellow officers (all volunteering, of course) weren’t swayed into thinking that Hispanic girls are easy, by editorials in the state’s largest daily newspaper.
Whatever. Tomorrow nobody will care that any of this happened anyway. Liberals will continue to eat their own and forget to focus on the job at hand while conservatives who want to do away with public schools sit back and let their long-con play out. (Hint: It has to do with cutting funding to public schools to such an extent that their absolute failure insures the necessity of “choice,” aka charter and private schools, as the only option.)
Actions speak louder than words and this just goes to show that what our community wants is to increase the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. In this case, the “haves” could be those with access to quality education or just access to money. I mean, my kid’s fine. So, whatever. You do you, amirite? Let someone else worry about whether or not there is democracy and equality in education. If someone wants to teach kids that the Flying Spaghetti Monster lives in their crotch, I mean, what’s the harm?
As Steve Wynn once said, “The world is full of boxes … and nobody cares.” Indeed, the Purity Ball model is exactly what we deserve, Las Vegas. In the vacuum of nothingness that we are willing to fund or fight for — or worse, what we are left with when our allies sell us out for their own gain — invasive weeds celebrating “purity” and peddling dangerous misinformation will move in and choke out the life of whatever fragile system that struggles to thrive.
You get what you pay for.