News & Criticism

Slate Editors on Craig

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Interesting insider-ish look at the online mag's editors chatting about the Craig scandal, including some somewhat surprising comments from libertarian Jack Shafer.

I guess that loathe as I am to sympathize with Craig, I'm with the "why was this a crime?" crowd. Laws against public sex are understandable. Laws against merely soliciting someone for sex are something else entirely. Might as well sent the SWAT teams into singles bars too, then. Maybe the foot tapping and paper-snatching really are code for "let's do it in the stall." I don't know. But Craig didn't actually engage in the lewd behavior. Didn't get that far.  Aside from the peeping charge, which was thrown out, the only thing I can see that he's guilty of is looking for a willing sex partner. And I can't see how that is or should be a crime.

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  1. Good to see Radley state the obvious, if somewhat belatedly.

  2. I think it’s just because of the gay implications. It’s not the only inconsistency out there.

    A man isn’t supposed to proposition a woman, in most cases, unless she wants to be propositioned, and who the hell knows how you’re supposed to figure that out? …and turnabout isn’t fair play here–I think that river only flows one way.

    I know if I filed charges against all the women who threw themselves at me, they’d have to hire a new prosecutor just to handle nothing but that.

  3. As far as I am concerned, aside from sexual issues, invading my ensconsced enclosed protected crap-zone for any purpose, even for a fifth amendment-covered public use WITH fair compensation, violates the non-coercion principle. A temporary property issue. Sorry to be anal about it.

  4. From what I’ve read so far, Craig’s actions would probably not have been noticed by anyone else even if it had not taken place in the restroom. His coded language would most likely not even have been understood as a come-on by a straight man if it even happened in an open public area.

    AFAIK, no sexual activity took place, no offers of money for sex, and hardly any words or contact at all.

    He’s a stupid closeted scumbag hypocrite, but it doesn’t seem he’s actually done a anything lewd.

  5. This is “attempt liability.” Criminal law punishes attempts at crimes even when not ultimately successful.

    Do we really have to pretend that Craig wasn’t taking a substantial step towards sex in that bathroom stall? The big difference between this and the singles bar analogy is 1) less likelihood of success in the bar scene 2) even if successful, the act will probably take place somewhere private, and thus be legal. A certain subset of gay men, Lor’ bless ’em, have traditionally not required the niceties of long courtships or private rooms.

  6. Shecky: Peeping in between stall dividers is not normal male restroom behavior. I would notice that.
    As to whether soliciting sex in public toilets _should_ be criminalized, it _is_.
    While I doubt that there are Federal laws banning such behavior (which he was in a direct position to influence and change), I can’t imagine state legislators in his state would ignore a plea from a home-state Republican Senator to de-criminalize restroom sexual solicitations.
    Having made no such effort, I think he deserves what he gets. Were he a non-legislator ordinary citizen (in no position to influence the direction of the penal (sorry) laws)), your argument might hold water.

  7. This is “attempt liability.” Criminal law punishes attempts at crimes even when not ultimately successful.

    Yeah, but attempted what? Gay sex? Why is merely looking for a sexual partner illegal just because it was done in a bathroom? That sort of thing is done more commonly and much more blatantly and in equal public view in bars all the time.

  8. I mentioned in a previous (one of the four! if I have my math right) threads on this that I was solicited in an adult bookstore by a man many moons ago. Should his actions have been a crime?

    While I found it greatly disturbing, I think this is yet another of those matters that should be left to the civil courts, instead of criminalizing everything.

    Frankly (and this is a matter for another thread), I’d suggest that at least 50% of the criminal code could be left to the civil courts. If a person cannot make restitution in civil court, then perhaps the criminal system should take over. However, I’d rather see (for example, and man I’m overusing parentheses tonight) “video voyeurs” make direct restitution to their victims than have to have tax dollars spent on incarcerating them.

  9. From the Slate article:

    Thomas: But remember, the cop’s been in the stall for 13 minutes. He’s sitting there waiting to be propositioned.

    Forget Senator Craig and bathroom sex for a minute – what I want to know is, how low on the police union’s seniority scale do you have to be to pull this kind of assignment? Is it punishment for taking the chief’s last jelly-filled? Is it some form of hazing the newbies? Whatever it is, if the guy wasn’t a police you’d almost have to feel sorry for him. Sitting on the can for that long you must have plenty of time to ponder what in the hell you did wrong to end up there, how you’re going to wring out and salvage any last vestige of pride in your job and what you’re going to tell your wife when she asks what you did today at work. “Well honey, I got to sit for extended periods on a public shitter enjoying the fine ambiance, rich aromas and delightful sounds of men backing one out.”

  10. Yep, Radley, you’re absolutely right, why should this behaviour be a crime.
    It’s a catch 22. How do you find out if somebody is consenting if the finding-out is a crime.
    Convenient way for all the assorted Nannys to enforce their anal-retentive ideas of what’s moral and of “appropriate” behaviour on everybody else.

  11. For crying out loud Johnny D. Are you one of those types that can’t handle anything in life without the Gubmint behind you? You know, civil courts are Government too! What about just telling the guy no thanks and going about your own business? Or would you expect every woman you try to become acquainted with to run to the Government. “Help! This creep tried to pick me up! If you can’t lock him up I want you to bleed his purse dry to compensate me for my suffering!”
    Ever thought about that, have you?

  12. It’s quite detailed about the signals men apparently send in bathrooms.

    Wasn’t Jose Padilla convicted based on secrete code words that he denied? The difference between asking for gay sex (should be legal) and planning attacks (should be illegal) is night and day, but the police methods are eerily simlar. Overcharge a guy based on code signals most people don’t know so that the compromise conviction sticks. Craig’s fate asside, these are not good precidents.

  13. When they say “foot tapping”, I think they are talking about reaching the foot into the next stall and tapping the foot of the guy next to you. I had a guy do this to me once and there wasn’t much doubt in my mind what his intentions were.

    And for the record, I did not take him up on it.

  14. martin,

    I dealt with the manner in exactly the way you suggested a reasonable person should.

    Maybe I didn’t make my case clear. If the AIRPORT has a problem with people having sex in their bathrooms, it should be a civil matter, not criminal. OR, if people are so offended by men having sex in the stalls, they should have to prove damages in civil court.

    I realize this is absurd, but so are the laws outlawing trying to hook up in the men’s room.

  15. I don’t think that what Sen. Craig did is a crime per se, without specific proof that he intended a bathroom hookup (though that’s the most likely, I’ll concede).

    Whatever the case, the most important thing is that this bizarre and amusing story kicked the 2008 snoozefest out of the headlines for a few minutes.

  16. Sorry, but Jack Shafer’s idea that a public john should be like a singles bar doesn’t appeal to me. Do you want guys hanging on there trying to hit on you? “Hey, you look like you could use a Handy-Wipe! What’s your sign?” There’s a significantly greater expectation of privacy, right?

    Would Mr. Shafer want a stranger saying anything to him–anything at all–while he’s taking a piss? “Nice day, huh? Where are you from?” “Nice trenchcoat! Is that a Burberry?”

    I admit the charges against Larry are circumstantial, but would you like a guy sticking his foot, and his hand, under the stall? Come on.

    And the fact is, Larry is in big, big trouble. From what I’ve read, there are indications that he did see a lawyer. My impression is that the Republicans are furious at him for not telling them about this, and it’s easy to suspect that they’ve had suspicions about Larry in the past. Plus Alberto is leaving and the stock market is dropping again. If it wasn’t for Iraq, George wouldn’t have any good news at all.

  17. I suppose the question of whether the solicitation was for sex, or for sex IN THE BATHROOM, is the heart of the issue about whether the act was a crime.

    Would it be reasonable for a judge or jury to conclude that the solicitation was for sex on the spot? Possibly.

  18. And I can’t see how that is or should be a crime.

    This brings up the obvious debate on what constitutes a crime. In English Common Law (and earlier in Germanic cultures in general) a crime was an infraction upon the rights of an individual. Today, perhaps deriving from the old Roman system, a crime is anything that transgresses upon the will of the state.

    Pretty fucking scary, eh?

    “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”
    — Thomas Jefferson

  19. As usual, I have to side with Mr. Balko here. Even though it is on the books as a criminal offense (hopefully a misdemeanor), it’s hard to argue in favor of its prosecution, or existence even, if one is in fact a libertarian.

    As Ayn_Randian posted in a previous thread, if the bathroom was privately owned, and the owner didn’t want those kinds of things happening in there, they could simply throw out the offenders, or call the police if things got violent.

  20. I’m happy to see that Tsu Dho Nihm made my point much better than I could have. If someone is so traumatized by having the foot signal and the hand waving happen from the stall next to them, let them go to civil court and prove damages. Otherwise, this should be a complete non-issue.

  21. Somebody explained the bathroom foot code to me years ago and I immediately forgot everything but the foot part. I’m finally catching up again on the details.

    I really don’t understand the rejection here of any laws governing public bathroom sex. There seems to be some equation of these laws and homosexuality. There isn’t. For me it is based on the idea that I, and whoever I care about, should be able to go into a public toilet without being confronted by dicks flying everywhere. Or tits. Or asses. I don’t care what body parts are involved but if you follow the logic of the “no law” crowd, sex on the city bus would be perfectly ok.

    Good libertatian theory, bad way to live.

  22. BC –

    An excellent point… I recall, in some city I passed through years ago, that there was a subway line with only two stops. Glancing at the dead eyes of the chap in the cab, I had to wonder just who he had pissed off to get stuck on that shift.

  23. I don’t care what body parts are involved but if you follow the logic of the “no law” crowd, sex on the city bus would be perfectly ok.

    All those who said this, please raise your hands.

    Looks around. Sees no one. Concludes eb is an idiot

  24. I really don’t understand the rejection here of any laws governing public bathroom sex. There seems to be some equation of these laws and homosexuality. There isn’t. For me it is based on the idea that I, and whoever I care about, should be able to go into a public toilet without being confronted by dicks flying everywhere.

    eb, has it ever occurred to you that sex in public bathrooms goes on all the time, but most men who aren’t interested in them never get confronted by dicks flying everywhere? Is it really so hard to believe that guys who were interested in having sex in toilets might be clever enough to come up with rituals–like the foot tapping and hand waving–that insure that people who aren’t interested often don’t figure out what’s going on? Has it ever struck you that in all these stings, the officers have expressed interest using the same code the guys cruising are using in order to prompt the behavior necessary to justify the arrest?

  25. If the AIRPORT has a problem with people having sex in their bathrooms, it should be a civil matter, not criminal. OR, if people are so offended by men having sex in the stalls, they should have to prove damages in civil court.

    Placing the burden on individuals to police public environments by use of civil litigation, besides absurdly overburdening the courts, would never work; no one would bother, because no individual is sufficiently damaged to be motivated to follow through with such a case, even if financial damages could be proved (impossible) and even if there were any way to ascertain the ability of the wrongdoer to pay.

    Look, objecting to all laws the govern public morals — or even public order — is one thing. You’re libertarians, and you probably don’t remember what places like Times Square and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in the 1970’s, so you have no idea what the effect on the common weal is of government abandonment of its order-promoting function. (It is a fantasy to say, by the way, that in Anglo-Saxon cultures, crimes were only infractions on individual rights. No one who has studied these cultures could make such an assertion.)

    But pretending that private enforcement is a practical substitute for the same is preposterous. The whole reason we have criminal law is that some actions offend society as a whole.

  26. We don’t need to over-think this. We can stipulate that bugging a guy who’s trying to take a shit is asshole behavior, and perfectly worthy of a “Knock it off, asshole” response. We can even stipulate that it’s OK to have a few public restrooms. (Consider, for instance, the restroom in a courthouse that only handles contract enforcement and trials for people accused of theft, murder, rape, or other things that would still be a crime in a minarchist state.)

    Stipulating all that, there’s still no reason why behavior meriting “Knock it off, asshole” requires the involvement of the criminal justice system.

    Those who want to could argue that he went well above and beyond a bit of casual flirtation when he made physical contact with the cop and then put his hand in the stall. OK, fine, but if the guy in the stall had been any unreceptive person other than an undercover cop the initial response probably would have been “Um, do you mind?” and it would have ended there. The undercover cop failed to send the signals that 99% of the male population would, so the Senator responded. Instead, he waited for the hand to arrive, and then threw down his badge.

    Finally, those who want to can say that it should be a crime to have sex in a public restroom. Even if we grant that premise, it’s like Radley said: Nobody had sex. The signals could very well have been an invitation to bathroom sex, but they also could have been an invitation to go somewhere a bit more private. Say what you will about what the signals normally mean, but I think there’s some reasonable doubt there.

    So no charges should have been brought. In fact, no undercover cop should have been involved. If the airport was indeed experiencing a rash of bathroom sex, the problem probably could have been just as easily resolved by having an airport employee come in frequently and say “Knock it off!” to anybody caught in the act. That would probably solve the problem without any arrests.

  27. Ironically, I wrote “We don’t need to over-think this” at the beginning of a 5 paragraph post. Whatever.

  28. I like this because Craig is a vociferous, self-hating, homosexual who went so far out of his way to vilify, criminalize, and discriminate against other homosexuals.

    It’s not a crime, it’s karma.

  29. We can even stipulate that it’s OK to have a few public restrooms. (Consider, for instance, the restroom in a courthouse that only handles contract enforcement and trials for people accused of theft, murder, rape, or other things that would still be a crime in a minarchist state.)

    But think how much having no such restrooms would support the right to a speedy trial!

  30. I’m torn between three questions about this matter:

    First, why should anyone be concerned about communication between consenting adults?

    Second, aren’t there more pressing concerns for Minneapolis police?

    And finally, isn’t Craig too stupid to remain a senator?

    Geez, I wish the people here in Idaho would quit electing people like Craig, Sali, Otter…

  31. rm2muv: QFT and thread winner!

    This is stupid and unprofessional behavior by a MARRIED SENATOR. It just shouldn’t be illegal.

  32. Would Mr. Shafer want a stranger saying anything to him–anything at all–while he’s taking a piss? “Nice day, huh? Where are you from?” “Nice trenchcoat! Is that a Burberry?”

    Wrong question.

    You might not want somebody macking on you while you’re doing your biz, but that doesn’t mean it should be illegal — any more than it should be illegal for a giant drooling slob to hit on me at 7-11. (No, I didn’t have my slacks around my ankles at the time.)

  33. I don’t think soliciting gay sex should be illegal, but there might be a public-health case for outlawing sex in public restrooms. The problem, when assessing attempt liability, is that it’s hard to say what may be the terms of such a vague solicitation.

  34. It isn’t his gay behavior that makes this a disgusting case. It’s Craig’s blather about values that makes him so digusting. What he did was apparently a crime even though it shouldn’t be. And Craig’s values crowd rhetoric shouldn’t be happening in a modern America either.

  35. Where is joe to tell us how closeted gay men are the spawn of Satan?

    Nothing like his thinly veiled gay bashing in the name of leviathan to lift up the spirits.

  36. It isn’t his gay behavior that makes this a disgusting case. It’s Craig’s blather about values that makes him so digusting. What he did was apparently a crime even though it shouldn’t be. And Craig’s values crowd rhetoric shouldn’t be happening in a modern America either.

    Never mind Lamar has got his back.

  37. Nothing like his thinly veiled gay bashing in the name of leviathan to lift up the spirits.

    As if it needs pointing out, and I’m a little sad that it does (at least to a grown-up), it’s not “gay bashing,” it’s “hypocrite bashing.”

  38. The problem, when assessing attempt liability, is that it’s hard to say what may be the terms of such a vague solicitation.

    It’s not that hard. He plead guilty. If it went to trial, maybe there’s reasonable doubt. There’s no reason to pretend that the time-honored rituals of anonymous bathroom cruising would have changed at that very moment. If the cop had been an ordinary cruiser, he & craig would have done it right in the stall.

    Doin’ it in public bathrooms, while not the biggest deal in the world, imposes a bit of nuisance on the general public. These nuisances do impose upon the personal rights of others–like parents trying to change their kids diapers nearby, weary travelers trying to squeeze out some airline’s idea of chicken cordon bleu, etc. If someone wants anonymous gay sex without hurting anyone and encroaching upon their privacy, use peep shows and bath houses like a decent person would.

  39. The signals could very well have been an invitation to bathroom sex, but they also could have been an invitation to go somewhere a bit more private. Say what you will about what the signals normally mean, but I think there’s some reasonable doubt there.

    The problem is that he was in the secured area of the airport. It’s unlikely that they would both be about to leave the airport. There was nowhere a bit more private that they could have gone.

  40. In Columbia, SC during the mid-90s, my gay male friend was arrested for “lewd behavior.” He had met a guy at a bar, and they were sitting in a car parked on the street, talking. No physical contact had occurred.

    Seems to me that interfering with them at all was an unconstitutional invasion of privacy, and the arrest was unjustified for that reason, but more importantly because no lewd behavior had occurred. I feel the same way in Craig’s case. It isn’t a mere technicality that the act he was arrested for did not even occur.

    The best thing that can be said about Craig is that he had the sense to stop denying his intentions, regardless that the charges are unjustified. This isn’t a comment on his moral character, but only an observation.

  41. I’m not saying that Craig’s privacy was invaded ~ only that he was charged for something that didn’t actually happen.

  42. We can stipulate that bugging a guy who’s trying to take a shit is asshole behavior

    I’ve been in public rest rooms. The guy taking the shit is the one who’s wreaking havoc. I’ll take the gay solicitation any day over Dracula walking in and saying who died in here? Can’t the guy take a shit at home? Have you heard the noises they make? The stench, my god, you can’t eat for a week. For the love of God, the paint is melting off the walls and the mirrors are wavering and we’re worried about the guy taking a shit? All I want is to be left alone to wash my hands and take a leak. I’d sooner get hit on by a gay guy in the stall next door than put up with the olfactory treat that the guy taking a shit has to offer. Course gay guys never hit on me. Except that one guy at Stagliano’s party in Vegas. Where, exactly, are your priorities, Tee?

  43. Ron Coleman,

    You missed my point. I said it was the airport’s responsibility to bring civil charges, although any individual could as well.

    Having this behavior be elevated in the eyes of the law to be a criminal act is stupid, and I shouldn’t need to explain why to anyone with a working brain.

  44. I know if I filed charges against all the women who threw themselves at me, they’d have to hire a new prosecutor just to handle nothing but that.

    All the cases were thrown out due to lack of evidence.

  45. What’s odd about the discussion here and among the Slate editors is that no one raised the possibility that the cop lied about Craig’s actions. But a cop wouldn’t lie just to get a bust would he? Balko?

  46. I recall, in some city I passed through years ago, that there was a subway line with only two stops. Glancing at the dead eyes of the chap in the cab, I had to wonder just who he had pissed off to get stuck on that shift.

    peachy,

    Heh. I’m not sure which is worse, that some city actually built a subway with only two stops or that they built it to require a driver… That’s like having an elevator operator in a two-story building.

    Now that I think of it… when I (briefly) worked on Capitol Hill we had both of those – a two-stop subway with a driver and elevator operators in…, well, I suppose there were three stories for them to handle. Anyway, I’m just glad I never ran into Senator Craig and his “wide stance” in the men’s room – not that there’s anything wrong with a wide stance!

  47. What’s odd about the discussion here and among the Slate editors is that no one raised the possibility that the cop lied about Craig’s actions. But a cop wouldn’t lie just to get a bust would he? Balko?

    Of course he would – we all know that. It certainly crossed my mind when reading the story and probably many others as well. It’s just that this doesn’t seem as likely to be the kind of case where a cop would feel the need to lie to get a bust. Unlike drug cases, there isn’t much in it for them here (except for the poor schmuck getting out of toilet duty, I guess). Also, if cops are going to lie to get a bust, they would usually be smart enough to do so only when the bustee is powerless to fight back. A sitting US Senator doesn’t strike me as the kind of target a cop would choose to pick on.

  48. I read this thread with an open mind. . thinking that a crime had not been committed.

    Then I wondered about sending my 10 year old son into that restroom!!!! (I am not so naive that I think gay men are pedophiles, but I do not want my child exposed to homo or hetero sex at this point!)

    Just another issue to complicate the matter.

  49. The problem with the “decoder” method of determining that there was a pick up attempt going on is that we had a guy here at work who thought it was a socially good thing to have a conversation with you while in the stall (and pass the magazine he was reading to youunder the stall). Now, I sure checked to make sure he wasn’t in there, but unless there is some no talking rule, he would have been arrested.

  50. I agree that simply soliciting for sex should not be a crime, but do you have to always bring in the SWAT team examples? It’s like a broken record.

  51. no one raised the possibility that the cop lied about Craig’s actions. But a cop wouldn’t lie just to get a bust would he? Balko?

    this doesn’t seem as likely to be the kind of case where a cop would feel the need to lie to get a bust. Unlike drug cases, there isn’t much in it for them here (except for the poor schmuck getting out of toilet duty, I guess). Also, if cops are going to lie to get a bust, they would usually be smart enough to do so only when the bustee is powerless to fight back. A sitting US Senator doesn’t strike me as the kind of target a cop would choose to pick on.

    …Which would make more sense of the Senator’s initially flashing his ID with the challenge “What do you think of that?”

    If he’s “guilty,” such a response is not only futile, but exacerbating (so to speak), because busting a famous guy enhances the cop’s glory. However, it’s intelligible if he’s not “guilty” as a gesture to discourage a cop who’d thought he’d been trying to frame Joe Nobody.

  52. Thoughts:

    Was he looking in the stall because the cop was inside for 15 minutes? Was he fidgetting because he was waiting for an open stall? Is putting your luggage in between the door and you really a ‘sign?’ If so, where are you supposed to put it? I fidget. I tap my feet most of the time. Is being ADHD a sign of homosexuality?

    Sorry about the smell Mr. Wine – I won’t dump away from home base again.

  53. Shouldn’t be a crime.
    His career is over no matter what.
    Still funny.

    But why are we obsessing on this? How many H&R threads should we devote to one politician hoisted on his own petard.

  54. But why are we obsessing on this?

    Because it’s easier than discussing Bastiat? Also, both Freud and his misunderstanders have led us into assigning excessive meaning to sex.

  55. Remember as well that this is an example of deterrent policing. The idea is not really to get dangerous guys like Larry Craig off the streets, but rather to discourage others from participating in public restroom pick-ups due to fear of getting busted.

    It’s the same principle as used in prostitution stings. They’re done to scare men away from picking up hookers by reminding them that every once and a while the hooker is a cop in disguise.

  56. In what way is Larry Craig dangerous?

  57. The other thing to remember here is that the police and criminal justice system continually express that you have no right to privacy when you are not at home. And then a cop expects privacy when he’s not at home.

  58. “[…] every once and a while the hooker is a cop in disguise.”

    jeez. are the police unions so weak now, that cops have to moonlight?

    [ducks]

  59. The most important aspect of this scandal is it happened to an Idahoan.

    Idaho is one of three States in the Nation governed by a bonafide, hardcore principled libertarian – Butch Otter; The other two, Sarah Palin of Alaska and Mark Sanford of SC, of course.

    Bottom line: Craig resigns, Otter gets to appoint his replacement. The buzz is already circling around libertarian conservative Cong. Bill Sali, a friend of Otter’s.

    Larry Craig was a blah standard conservative Senator. To have Sali as his replacement, or another “Otter-ite,” would be a HUGE victory for the libertarian movement.

  60. Yeah, I have limited sympathy for his personal embarrassment due to his public policy stance. I have little doubt that he’d be all in favor of railroading anyone else in the world on these charges.

    But that doesn’t mean that the police should be empowered to arrest people for vague things that at most would squick most people. I don’t want people coming on to me in a public restroom, but I have trouble seeing just the desire not to be come on to as being sufficiently compelling that I get to have the police arrest people for it.

    My problem is with the “Public lewdness” part of the charge. While putting his foot against mine would be annoying, I couldn’t call it lewd. How can it be ‘public lewdness’ if you have to be a trained professional to notice it? Isn’t the whole point of something being ‘publicly lewd’ that it is so apparently offensive that most people would find it normally offensive? If it’s subtle enough that you wouldn’t know what it was unless you were ‘in’ or ‘a trained professional’ then it really isn’t lewd, is it?

  61. Alright, I admit it. I once attempted to “pick up” a women at a church function. How sick is that? Fortunately, she didn’t responded with prosecution or a lawsuit (The undefinable “mental/emotional anguish”. We’ve all been propositioned by people who don’t float our boat. It’s happened to someone in just about every setting imaginable.

    Remember this kind of WASTE of police resources the next time law enforcement comes, hat in hand, claimig they need more of your money to keep you safe.

  62. In what way is Larry Craig dangerous?

    Sorry, that was sarcasm. I should have put “dangerous” in quotes or something.

    My point is that sometimes the police want to bust somebody to get them off the streets, and sometimes they want to bust a random perp to prevent others from doing something.

  63. Remember this kind of WASTE of police resources the next time law enforcement comes, hat in hand, claimig they need more of your money to keep you safe.

    I don’t know if enforcing the law can be considered a waste of police resources.

  64. While putting his foot against mine would be annoying,

    I just got done taking a shit at my office. The stalls are rather narrow, and someone went into the stall next to mine.

    Several things came to mind:

    1) The person who went into the next stall was trying to take a shit. I could tell because all I could see were his shoes (assuming it was a man and not a transgendered person)… and his pants around his ankles.

    2) When I was done I put my pants back on and briefly sat back down. There is no way in hell I could get my foot into the next stall. The only possible way two people in adjacent stalls could touch feet is if BOTH people moved their feet to the edge of the stall AND have their pants on.

    Sounds to me like the cop was sending the same signals as Craig. So what we have here is entrapment.

  65. Another thing came to mind…

    I always wondered why the shithouse stalls at O’Hare and other airports went almost all the way to the floor. Now I think I know.

  66. Russ 2000,
    I think it’s more likely a theft deterrent. Imagine taking a dump with your pants around your ankles and some hand reaches under and snatches your luggage.

  67. I think it’s more likely a theft deterrent.

    I used to think that, too. But someone can steal my luggage when I’m just taking a piss, too. Stopping the flow and zipping up still takes a few seconds, enough time for the thief to get away. If they really cared about theft deterrence, they’d take the urinals out and force everyone into the theft-deterrent stalls.

  68. Also, in a stall your eyes are forward and you can see your luggage in plain view. You can even lean over and keep one hand on your luggage if you’re that concerened about theft. When pissing in a urinal, you are likely facing away from your luggage.

  69. All the talk about proving damages in a civil court are ridiculous. Nobody passing through MSP is going to: 1. find out the name/identity of the offender and then; 2. stay in MSP vice continuing on to their destination in order to file a civil case. Expecting that sort of recourse to solve problems in a facility specifically used for transit is the same as declaring the airport a free zone for any nonviolent activity. I agree with others that said that as a traveler using the airport I don’t think it is an unreasonable expectation to use the restroom without having to endure the sight or sound of two people getting it on. The airport was specifically responding to complaints of this sort when they requested the cops to stake out the john.

    I’ve been hit on before and have no problem saying no. I’ve never felt there need to be criminalization of undesired propositions. The offence was not the proposition but rather the intent to engage in public sex, and I don’t think public sex in any form (hetero or homo) should be looked at as a Constitutional right.

  70. The airport was specifically responding to complaints of this sort when they requested the cops to stake out the john.

    No they weren’t. As I stated in another thread, if they were merely responding to this, they’d have a uniformed officer in the bathroom that everyone would notice when they walked in. Instead they tried the “lets arrest the fags” approach.

  71. While putting his foot against mine would be annoying, I couldn’t call it lewd.

    Wiki: “At common law, battery is the tort of intentionally (or, in Australia, negligently) and volitionally bringing about an unconsented harmful or offensive contact with a person or to something closely associated with them (i.e. a hat, a purse, etc.). It is a form of trespass to the person.”

  72. Alright, I admit it. I once attempted to “pick up” a women at a church function. How sick is that?

    I don’t see the “sick”ness. I thought the reason many, maybe most, people went to church was to meet people.

  73. The peeping charge wasn’t “thrown out.” It was pleaded out. That’s a hugely important distinction.

    Peeping was actually the crime whose elements much more closely fit the conduct alleged in the police report. But it would be universal for accused defendants to prefer to plead guilty to disorderly conduct – which is indeed more vaguely defined, and need not carry any stigma of sexual perversion, or sexual conduct of any sort – than to plead guilty to peeping.

    The senator was given an accommodation here by the prosecutors and the court. That doesn’t make him guilty of nothing at all. That means he was permitted to plead guilty – thereby making him, conclusively in the eyes of the law, guilty indeed – to a crime that might possibly be less damaging to his reputation (but for the fact that the police report and the factual bases for the crime(s) described therein also became public knowledge).

  74. According to a news article, the airport asked their police to investigate after receiving numerous complaints. What exactly were the police supposed to do, ignore complaints about propositions in a public, airport bathroom?
    Those of you who don’t think this is a crime, I’m not sure you have kids. If a boy goes into a public bathroom he shouldn’t have to confront such a thing (and what if he responds in a way that sends the wrong signal to the perpetrator).

  75. eb, has it ever occurred to you that sex in public bathrooms goes on all the time, but most men who aren’t interested in them never get confronted by dicks flying everywhere? Is it really so hard to believe that guys who were interested in having sex in toilets might be clever enough to come up with rituals–like the foot tapping and hand waving–that insure that people who aren’t interested often don’t figure out what’s going on?

    Hmmm, has it ever occurred to you that complaints filed to the airport had to do with people walking in on something involving dicks?

    Do people here actually believe that the cops invented the complaints before they invented the charges of behaviour that they solicited with their own activities?

    Do people actually believe that this is all innocent bathroom flirtation to be consumated at the local Holiday Inn?

    What’s the difficulty in discussing this honestly?

  76. I don’t know if enforcing the law can be considered a waste of police resources.

    The fact that you don’t know that, is about all we need to know of your philosophy to dismiss you as a serious or thoughtful person (just in case anyone around here was still in doubt).

    Anyone familiar with the mountains of statutes on the books must realize that, even if they were all just, no amount of policing could ever enforce them all. Therefore, there must be discretion in choosing which ones to enforce. With limited resources one would hope that such discretion would be applied in such a way as to enforce those laws most deserving of enforcement – to otherwise is most certainly wasteful. If those resources could be saving a life by eliminating real threats to public safety and are instead chasing guys looking to get a bj in a bathroom then that wastefulness is compounded by the unnecessary (and unseen) suffering of a real victim somewhere.

    Add to all that the fact that many laws are simply unjust (how many states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books? – would you consider investigating who is getting blow jobs at home to be non-wasteful Dan?) and an assertion that police enforcing a law cannot be a waste of resources ought to be seen for the embarrassingly ridiculous nonsense that it is.

  77. Ron Coleman stated:
    (It is a fantasy to say, by the way, that in Anglo-Saxon cultures, crimes were only infractions on individual rights. No one who has studied these cultures could make such an assertion.)

    I think it is fantasy to examine the laws of Alfred and Ine of Anglo-Saxon England and the Grey Goose Laws, the Gragas, of the Icelandic Commonwealth, and conclude that the vast majority of these laws did not deal with infractions on the rights of the individual. Yes, there is ample evidence of “societal” laws, but they are quite clearly the minority and many seem to stem from the transmission of classic Roman law via the spread of Christianity.

    This is not a new idea, by the way. Legal scholars and historians have noted the same thing for quite a while. One only needs to consult the primary sources and the commentary drawn directly from those sources.

  78. Craig’s behaviour should not be a crime. However, outing this hypocrit was worthwhile. In a perfect world the outing would have been done by a National Enquirer reporter who would also have photos of Craig with a mouthful. Unfortunately, we can’t depend on the liberal media to do their job.

  79. If I go into a public washroom to urinate I do not want to witness some guy getting a blow job. That is a desire for privacy, not homophobia. C’mon people, the government has no place in the bedrooms of the nation and there are plenty of private places to indulge your appetites. Screw whether it’s a waste of time to enforce some statute. Can’t we simply say that some things are not appropriate?

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