Monday, August 27, 2007

Don't Tap Your Foot In The John

I couldn't have made this up if I'd tried. A U.S. senator from Idaho was arrested in June in the Minneapolis airport for "lewd conduct" in the men's room; he pled guilty in court but now says he was misunderstood and shouldn't have entered the plea. If he wasn't guilty, then I agree, he shouldn't have pled guilty; he says he was "trying to handle the matter myself".

The incredible part, however, is the account of the arrest:
Roll Call, citing the report, said Sgt. Dave Karsnia made the arrest after an encounter in which he was seated in a stall next to a stall occupied by Craig. Karsnia described Craig tapping his foot, which Karsnia said he "recognized as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct."
The message here is clear: under no circumstances should a gentleman, sitting in a bathroom stall in Minneapolis, tap his foot. You will be misinterpreted. You may be arrested.

No doubt some of my erudite readers will respond to this post saying that I'm wrong, and Sgt. Karsnia was right, and men tapping their feet in the bathroom are soliciting all sorts of lewd and indecent conduct. But I still think the whole thing is ridiculous. Is it now illegal to have a nervous tic that causes one to tap one's foot while sitting for a short period?? Give me a break.


  1. Anonymous2:02 PM

    Guess I better quit tapping my foot, huh? Live and learn. You would think policemen had better things to do?

  2. I read a later account of the bust, according to which the honored Senator was actually doing more than just tapping his foot (see toward the bottom of the article); but the first reports were pretty sketchy on what actually went on...

  3. Anonymous6:32 AM

    Actually, the foot tapping is old school homosexual hitting on another guy, according to a comment on Talking Points Memo. The issue, of course, is not Senator Craig's sexual orientation, but rather his right wing assault on homosexuality, a psychological disorder which currently defines the Republican Party even as it is a bastion for closet gays in public office.

    Anonymous David

  4. My suspicion is that the arrest was politically motivated. Apparently, Craig had an underground reputation as a fag, and the operation was specifically to target him. Had he not been such a hypocrite about Gay life-style, I doubt anyone would have bothered him. After all, the Washington call-girl circuit is well known to cater to numerous Congressional playboys--and they're hardly ever touched. Jack Kennedy had women on the anteroom couch of the White House three times a week, and no one ever breathed a word.

    I suppose sex in a restroom isn't something we should tolerate openly, but it's hard to imagine how two consenting adults behind a locked stall door constitute a threat to society.

    I feel for these poor wives, forced to mount the podium when their wayward hubbies face the music. Why should they have to share this shame?

  5. Well, Senator Craig's history of homophobic statements and voting certainly made it more, shall we say, piquant when he was busted for soliciting. On the other hand, I recommend everyone read Jon Carrolls column on Sept. 4 on the subject, for a different point of view. He begins with the excellent point that this sort of sting operation is a colossal waste of the cop's time, unless you assume that Minneapolis has no burglars, no muggers, no armed robbers, etc. Viewed in that light, a specific sting operation to get Craig just because he was reputed to be gay seems like an even bigger waste of the taxpayers' money, and I hope the Minneapolis taxpayers keep that in mind at the next local election.

    The rest of Carroll's column is the most compassionate look at Craig himself that I've read.

    Second, I'm afraid I think we all have better things to worry about than sexual activity between consenting adults, no matter what the locale. It was a "public" restroom, but that isn't anything like as public as a public street. Sexual activity without consent, of course, is assault and battery; but there's no question of that here, and if the man in the next stall had been a non-police straight man, he would presumably have declined in some rude fashion and left. I don't understand why any form of sex between consenting adults is illegal at all.

    Curtis, I agree that the real losers in any of these cases are the wives, who are now being punished for what they couldn't know was a poor decision, because their husbands weren't honest enough to tell them the truth. I suspect Mrs. Craig was up on the podium beside him because she was too shell-shocked to refuse.

  6. I just realized that Stephen made Jon Carroll's point about wasting the cop's time, as well.

  7. Anonymous6:59 AM

    "If people were allowed to be as God made them as opposed to the way some humans think they should be, the cops could concentrate on crimes with victims and let the peaceful people alone."

    Well said, Mr. Carroll, well said.

    Anonymous David

  8. Anonymous4:42 PM

    you don't think these women know they married gays?
    if they didn't realize it or if they chose to ignore it because of prestige or money or pride i have no sympathy.

  9. Actually, anonymous, it doesn't sound to me as though you have much sympathy in any case. The problem with Larry Craig isn't that he's gay - it's that he has consistently shot his mouth off about the evils of homosexuality. Looking at his bio in Wikipedia, I see that he married very late (he was 38) and has no children of his own - he adopted his wife's 3 from a previous marriage. So maybe she did know, or maybe she didn't - in either case, I don't see where it gives you the option to sneer at her. Maybe she needed a good provider for her kids. You don't know what her motives were - or his - so judge not, lest ye be not judged. You give no evidence of having walked even 10 feet in those shoes.