“The idea was born during the strike of the Hathian Police Department. Rejects had attacked the Hemporium, and Monsieur Maddox, the owner – who also worked for me at that time – came up with the idea. Even if the HPD is not on strike they rarely are able to protect us sufficiently. Or willing. So we started to ask around, and a lot of business owners joined us instantly.” The manager of the Titty Twister bar and club, Blue Handrick-Noel, spoke to the Hathian Observer about the scheme which was established in response to gang attacks on local businesses.
Businesses who have joined the scheme include: The Hemporium, The Poision Apple tattoo parlour, and Hathin XXX, the adult entertainment store – all located at the end of Bourbon street. Businesses on Hathian Highway can also count in Hathian Motors and The Slab Butcher Shop & Delicatessen, as well as the 24 Hour Pawn, located behind The Daily Grind.
According to Handrick-Noel, the success of the scheme “definitely can use more publicity to attract more supporters, and for deterrence. We -do- have the numbers, and we have skilled men and women in our rows who won’t hesitate to stand up to gang violence, and who will fight to protect our businesses.” She is quick to add that: “we are not at war, it s all about self defense – and deterrence. As for the success – of course we can’t be everywhere. But we have a network – for example, when one business is threatened by a gang, we all will take care to check on them whenever we are around, we’ll show presence.” As to how successful or effective the scheme has been so far, Handrick-Noel believes that this is “hard to quantify” and believes it could be improved by working “a bit on our logistics. walkie talkies would be nice, for example. But at the end of the day, all we need are more courageous citizens who are willing to stand up for each other. Who don’t look the other way when a girl gets dragged off or when a store is robbed or set on fire. We all want the same, we just want to do our jobs, pay our bills, care for our families.”
With The Clam (not a part of the scheme) recently set on fire by the gang known as The Rejects and the Poison Apple recently robbed – allegedly by Reaper gang members – it does seem that the scheme is lacking. However, Handrick-Noel admits that TT’s has not been subject to too many attacks: “”We haven’t been targeted by gangs for a while. Thanks to.. diplomcy and a rather effective security.” She admitted that in the past, “Crows have been an issue forever and a day. But they are more targeting me than the club. And they have been silent for a while now. Reapers started shit with our neighbors, but they usually behave here. Of course, there is this Zero guy and his weird friends. They have attacked some of our girls. Anyway, for us it’s more on an individual basis. Drunks, wanna be gang bangers, pimps who try to expand their territory..” but she reinforced the idea that “we are in the lucky position that we have security, and so far we could keep the gangs out of our business. We are… neutral territory, the Switzerland of Hathian.”
While Handrick-Noel maintains that security and the fact that “..even Rejects want booze and girls from time to time. They dont have a reason to burn this place down..” she does admit “Rejects have bothered everyone in town,” but that being considered a neutral place where even gang members can relax meant that “even Rejects respect that to a certain extent.”
This leads to some questions: how does the Titty Twister manage to keep out of gang related attacks more successfully then it’s neighbors? Although Handrick-Noel claims it is down to tight security, it might be down more to diplomatic skills – whether those are the manager’s or of someone higher up is not certain, but in this city who you know and how you can use that connection is a survival skill. Which raises the question of whether citizens need to join a scheme when all along it might be that business owners are working their street cred in order to survive against gangs and criminals. Are the business owners of Hathian pandering to the criminals and negotiating in back rooms, maybe bending to meet their demands in exchange for saftey and security? With other business owners unavailable or unwilling to talk at the time of press to the Hathian Observer, we will have to wait and see whether the real success behind the citizens protection scheme lies in the the ‘diplomatic’ skills of the owners and managers of businesses or the citizen’s abilities.