Las Vegas closure: applause and nudity

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Sunday, December 22, 2013


THERE’S that story about a surgeon removing a patient’s inflamed appendix while being watched by medical students. He did it with such skill and theater the future doctors gave him a standing ovation.

Deeply moved, the surgeon capped his performance by cutting off the small intestine as well.

Part of the defense of owners of Las Vegas, a KTV bar in Mabolo, City, which City Hall decided to padlock for obscenity, is that they didn’t intend to violate the ordinance.

The dancers, scantily clad, were whipped into a frenzy by the customers’ applause, driving them to go naked.

Under what legal precept would such a defense fall? Lawyers tell us it’s not “an exempting circumstance”: it’s doubtful if drunken, turned-on clapping and cheering made the dancers act “under compulsion of an irresistible force.” At most, it mitigated the offense. Even then, KTV bar owners must show the dancers “acted upon an impulse so powerful as naturally to have produced passion and obfuscation.”

The passion-obfuscation thing is hard to prove. Besides, sending the dancers to jail may not be the intent of the anti-indecency board. It just wants to shut down Las Vegas that, it alleges, ignored its earlier finding of lewdness in its shows.

New name

What must also bother Las Vegas is the closure of business during the holidays. Profit loss hurts business folk most.

They may try to reopen under a new name. But subterfuge could take time: paperwork, expenses. And it could draw public scorn: violators making law enforcers run in circles.

[paseares@sunstar.com.ph]

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 23, 2013.

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