Letter to the City Council

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In 1987, at the height of pit bull hysteria, the Sacramento City Council began considering a proposal to ban or severely restrict pit bulls. Because I count a number of pit bulls as part of my immediate family and friends and have always known them to be gentle and timid animals, I was incensed at the proposed discrimination.

One night when a friend who was working to defeat the proposal showed the city staff report for the ordinance, I rather sardonically remarked than having working for years at the Sacramento Rape Crisis Center, I thought human males were certainly a greater threat; maybe we should have an ordinance for them. We all laughed, since such a proposal is not unusual among women who’ve worked with victims of male violence, but it’s not usually spoken aloud in the world. It was this common, and, to many, unspeakable suggestion that led to the following satire.

I sent a copy to each Council member and to the newspaper at the university where I teach. From the Council members I heard nothing; from the audience of The Hornet I received everything from praise to death threats. The article seemed to touch a nerve far deeper than I intended. Total strangers came up to me – some (mostly women) to thank me and tell me they had put up copies of the article on their office walls and refrigerators, others (mostly men) to let me know I should be “strung up,” “tied and quartered,” or “hog-tied.”

The City Council is currently considering the passage of an ordinance essentially banning pit bulls from the city of Sacramento based on a report of seven deaths or serious injuries to humans caused by pit bulls in the past four years on the Sacramento area (from a staff report to the City Council 8/27/87). While this figure obviously raises concerns, Sacramento humans face a considerably more formidable thread which should take precedence for action by the Council. During the same period of time, human males have been responsible for at least 2,056 serious injuries or deaths to other humans (based on conviction statistics from the State Department of Justice Bureau of Criminal Statistics). In light of the low rate of convictions for violent crimes, we can assume that this figure may represent as few as 10 percent of the actual crimes committed. (And we cannot begin to speculate on the number of serious injuries or deaths inflicted on pit bulls by human males, since these crimes usually go not only unreported but uninvestigated by appropriate authorities.) In addition, serious injuries and deaths caused by men have more than doubled in the past two years. It is apparent that human males pose a much greater threat to the Sacramento community than do pit bulls.

Even if we consider crime rates, men are responsible for a higher percentage of serious injuries to humans than pit bulls: pit bulls have been attributed with 78 percent of all serious dog bites, while men have committed 89 percent of all physical and sexual assault and murders.

Therefore, we can only conclude that we need an ordinance controlling human male behavior more than one governing pit bulls. Since all the preliminary work has been done on the pit bull ordinance, we can borrow its language in constructing a new ordinance for men. The following makes use of this language:

What accounts for man’s antisocial behavior? Humans are social animals highly attuned to reading facial and posture signals from both other humans and animals. The can communicate their own intentions and can read the moods and intentions of others. However, men have been bred historically for fighting. As such, they display genetically based physical and behavioral characteristics which reflects their heritage and which are often different from the characteristics of other humans. Most humans fight only when necessary to protect food, territory, or a mate or when provoked by the flight of a potential prey. However, men will attack with no provocation and once engaged, will fight until they physically cannot continue. Therefore, a gender specific ordinance requiring special precautions for humans that are innately dangerous would allot greater protection for public health and safety without relying on individual, case to case complaints.

The newly proposed ordinance shall incorporate the following provisions:

1. Any woman wishing to keep a man must pay a $500 licensing fee. Only those men who are properly licensed on the effective date of the ordinance may remain in the city. They will be subject to registration, to be completed within 60 days after the ordinance takes effect. No new men may be brought into the city after the effective date and newborn males myst be removed from the city within eight weeks of birth.

2. For the purpose of this ordinance, man is defined as any human who cannot establish his femaleness.

3. All registered men must be maintained in conformity with the following conditions:

a. Confined securely indoors (no open doors, windows, screens, etc.) or outside in an enclosure.
b. Must be under the control of a female adult. May not be chained to trees, posts, etc.
c. Warning signs, “Human male on premises,” required.
d. Must carry $500,000 liability insurance coverage.

4. Harboring an unregistered man or harboring a registered man in violation of the ordinance conditions is a misdemeanor with a minimum $500 fine and a possible jail sentence up to thirty (30) days.

5. A man’s registration may be suspended or revoked, subject to appeal, if he is not maintained as required, if the liability insurance lapses, or if the man engages in any behavior which falls within our definition of “vicious,” including an unprovoked attack which requires any defensive action by a person or animal to prevent bodily injury or property damage (including injury to another male). Upon revocation or suspension, the man must be removed from the city within ten (10) days.

Questions of constitutionality may be raised by such an ordinance based on issues of vagueness and equal protection, but such challenges can be effectively answered. Vagueness is clearly not a real problem. It is certainly easier to determine the gender of a human male than the breed of any number of dogs that generally fit the description of pit bull. As to the equal protection issue, the general rule is that legislation is presumed to be valid and will be sustained if the classification drawn by the statute is rationally related to a legitimate state interest. It is certainly in the city’s interest to regulate its most dangerous menace.

Although this proposed ordinance may sound harsh and perhaps even discriminatory, if we can save the life of one innocent women or child. It will have been worth the inconvenience it may cause to some.

I urge you to reconsider your priorities, to recognize that the human male is the truly vicious animal, and to support an ordinance that would get to the root of the problem.

Sincerely,
Theresa Corrigan

Note: This article was taken from the book entitled With A Fly’s Eye, Whale’s Wit and Woman’s Heart

Sally Wagner’s Animal Liberation

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We as a society don’t see the torture death of lab animals as murder, any more than most whites saw the killings of slaves as murder. Oppression always rests its power on prejudice. Definitions of the oppressed are surprisingly similar. Blacks, children, women, animals: all have been defined as less important, less intelligent, and incapable of taking care of themselves, therefore requiring a master who is the legal, god-given superior for his lesser counterpart.

And if there is indeed one thing that Lenin taught Sally Wagner, it is how you create the new world in the process of dismantling the old.

Women in the Shelves on the Shadows

Most women with foreign boyfriends here in the Philippines, I noticed, submit themselves to certain requisites: that they should be wearing skimpy outfits, that they should be covered in heavy make-ups, that they should be weak, simple-minded and predictable and that they should be passive and agreeable all the time.

As if only by satisfying these requirements could they be loved — if love is what they’re after.

In an isawan a while ago, a couple arrived — a local and, based on his accent, I guess an American. She was wearing some leggings and rubber shoes; he was topless, sweaty and tattooed. Both of them looked sporty and the way they presented themselves suggests that they’ve been exercising. Jogging, in particular.

Well, since I’m addicted to people-watching I looked at the girl and studied her features. Hair in pigtails. Sando. Dangling earrings. Make-ups. I looked again. Danging earrings. Leaves hanging on the stem. Make-ups. Some bluish eye-shadows and linings.

By the time I was engrossed wondering about the impossible relationship of her make-ups and jogging in this tropical environment, he left her in the clouds of smoke and went to the other side of the street. The task of waiting for their BBQ order fell unto her.

To have a better view of them, I adjusted my position and went behind her. Her head kept moving, restlessly, following his trail as if he’d get lost though his movement was full of certainty.

It went on like that — I, watching them; her, watching him — for some time, until the vendor handed her the BBQ. He came back, then they left together. Him in tattoo. Her in melting make-ups and eye-liners. Both of them quite young, early to mid twenties, and I wonder if they have sex.

I wonder if after the present conditions and requisites have successfully commodified her, he would still take her entirely. Or if in the end, he would be like the other passing foreigners in this country — say, the GIs in Olongapo, Subic or Clark — snatching only the meaty portions of the market and forgetting the rest. Including their babies.

Until now, actually, I am still wondering how we could arrive at this point when human lives are being reduced to products for sale — labour, women, even happiness and love. And when we would finally break these shelves and liberate ourselves from these shadows of conformity and expectations.

Divide and Conquer, Then and Now

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The photo of the crying cop was perhaps the most misunderstood, most overrated, and perhaps the most striking sight as far as the 2013 SONA is concerned. It has to be explained.

As the clash between the protesters and the policemen seared up, a certain PO1 Joselito Sevilla broke down. As his fellow policemen unapologetically acted on their bloodlust, often sugarcoated as the “duty to serve and protect,” he reportedly stood still, sobbing in the middle of the truncheon-hitting frenzy.

When a reporter asked Sevilla why he was crying. “Sa gutom at pagod. Walang tulog. Walang pahinga. Dalawang araw na kaming nakadeploy dito. Tapos, ganito, nagkakagulo,”  he answered,his face tight in a grimace.

The response, assuming that the crying was authentic and not a media gimmick, was a bolt from the blue. We know for a fact that in countless protest  actions, policemen – well-fed and pot-bellied – unfeelingly beat protesters to a pulp. The SONA was not an exception, as expected. The social media networks are now laden with a photo of an old man with a head injury and ablood-drenched shirt. Apparently, old age did not excuse Rudy del Rosario, 77years old, from the righteousness of the Philippine National Police (and eventually, the righteousness of netizens who blame him because he “asked for it.”).

The response explains a lot about the behavior of policemen with a seemingly insatiable desire to beat the daylights out of protesters. For two days, these individuals have been deployed to their stations – completely equipped with hunger and deprived of proper rest. There is no going home until the show is over. The House of Representatives must be protected at all costs from the citizens that, ironically, the representatives claim to serve.  Or else, they will lose their jobs.

These objective conditions created by the volition of individuals managing the PNP had reduced the policemen from being an actual human being down to mere animals incapable of rationalization, devoid of reason and driven by self preservation. The emotional and physical starvation allows the Id to overpower the Superego, such that no amount of rational explanation can ever make sense.

The enemy is the unarmed protesters, whose only crime is to exercise their right to free assembly and free speech. The enemy that is the sole reason they cannot go home to their families, eat a satisfying meal, and assure them that everything will be all right.

In the eyes of the ruling class, those at the upper seats of the parliament and the owners of the biggest and most exploitative businesses, these individuals are nothing but impertinent pawns designed to keep them unharmed by dividing the exploited majority, all the while totally disregarding their human condition and engineering their destruction.

They say that “divide and conquer” is a military strategy of the conquistadors of the past, dividing the area into smaller parts and attacking one at a time or sowing divisiveness among them. But the divide and conquer is still very much alive even in the 21st century. This time,the conquistadors are the ruling class and the divided are the people.

But the time will come when the divided will conspire to overthrow the conquistadors and claim what is rightfully theirs. It is inevitable.

(Note: I and Gidget Estella wrote this. This is not to glorify the police, absolve them of state brutality, or discredit the people’s protest.)

Photo from ABS CBN.com. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/07/23/13/story-behind-crying-cop

Inhumanity

I recall a discussion I had with a past lover, regarding prostitutes. His theory was that prostitution stems solely from the lack of education. Totally disregarding the objective conditions that enslave the vast majority, the core of his contention stands on the popular belief that a college degree is a ticket out of poverty.

The base, on the other hand, stands on the shaky ground of his subjective assumption regarding human laziness.

He argued that prostitutes had choices—that they could work in the factory or call centers, or, at the very least, serve as maids or house help—disregarding the fact of the growing rates of unemployment, underemployment and job mismatch.

Hastily, he asserted that the only reason they had chosen the fatal path of sexual exploitation is the fact that in that scheme, money can be easily generated.

With figures based on flimsy estimation, he even calculated the possible income of prostitutes. A total of P2,000 a night could lead them to earning a sum of P20,000 in 10 days, and P60,000 in a month—excluding tax, of course.

Deducting their expenditures, they could still save a lot more, he claimed. Prostitution gives them easy access to the acquisition of material possessions—so easy it is that they have practically chosen to stay in the said industry.

He has, however, fundamentally disregarded the factor played by the failing economy, the growing social inequalities, and the fact that we were debating, not about commodities sold at a relatively fair price, but about the sheer exploitation of his fellow human beings.

To begin with, the unemployment problem stems not from the lack of education but from the lack of employment opportunity itself. Being connected to a larger oppressive scheme and considering the societal graces and their economic state of absolute poverty, the women have been forced by this system to swallow every opportunity for survival purposes, even if it means hocking their human dignity.

They are not prostitutes. They were prostituted.

To say that those women have choices and conclude that laziness is the root cause of their situation indicate perfect ignorance. If the condition for a decent standard of living means meeting the physiological, social and other needs and keeping the mortal existence beyond subsistence level, then most are living a life of sheer indecency.

In this era of economic inequality, options are available only to a privileged few. The rest of the population has to struggle. In the world of these women, options do not exist.

Because universities never teach pertinent matters about life, intellectual learning is reduced to a mere commodity framed in the form of a diploma. And given this feudal society that implants irrational beliefs in his head, I cannot blame my past lover for his uncritical reasoning.

But in his pool of anti-people and inhumane stances, I have lost all interest.

Also, in his poor sense of humanity.