Saturday, August 20, 2005
"If I was going to commit any kind of money in recognition of war, then it should be toward peace, given what our war is in Iraq right now," Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi said.
It's kind of ironic, and darkly funny, that the city of San Francisco is so self-righteous and so (to use Diane Feinstein's word) petty about "war." Especially when you consider that, in absolute numbers, the AIDS virus that was spread--peacefully, of course--in San Francisco bathhouses has already killed more people than the wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq put together. And hot on the heels of World War I.
Michael Fumento has pointed out how the city's refusal to close the bathhouses, in spite of massive evidence of an ongoing public health disaster, facilitated the spread of the epidemic. "It wasn't until 1987 [1987!] that the last bathhouse closed its doors."
The appalling, purely political failure to close the bathhouses gave an enormous boost to the disease in its earliest years. And at the time, the city abused and vilified the late Randy Shilts for speaking that fact out loud:
In the mid-1980s, his stories suggesting that gay bathhouses in San Francisco were breeding grounds for AIDS made him a pariah, unable to walk through the city's Castro District without being jeered or spat upon.
San Francisco: The conscience of the nation.