Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Let the punishment fit the crime

Nothing could seriously dim my pleasure at seeing Republican Senator Larry Craig outed in such a succulent manner (see below), but a $500 fine and one year's probation, with the possibility of ending up in jail if uninvited footsie activity recurs before August 2009, does seem a tad harsh. Is this the kind of punishment that's meted out to anyone whose clothed extremities stray a little in public places? Or is it reserved for adult men in 'rest rooms'?

And isn't the role of the arresting policeman slightly compromised? I would have thought that to react to the senatorial tootsie's advances, as this officer
so clearly did, seated and on the alert in the adjacent booth, was an act of, well, provocation. What was his state of dress? Did the senator, married and father of two adopted children, get a glimpse of the policeman's naked calf, or was he lured on by the promise of a sock, a trouser leg?

And who designs these booths? I've never seen European booth partitions with space enough for hands and feet to ramble willy-nilly from one cubicle to the next. I thought such things were the prerogative of pornographic fantasy, along with ever-willing plumbers and car mechanics. How wrong I was.


Chancelucky said...

There's an interesting post on the normally liberal blog tpm muckraker on exactly this point. What exactly did the guy do that should get him arrested? He didn't have sex, pay for it, or even exchange anything more than nonverbal signals...that certainly weren't a nuisance to anyone else in that bathroom.

At the same time, I can't feel sorry for Larry Craig. He is after all a guy who's supported the sort of laws and restrictions that got him arrested.

In 1982, there was a scandal in Congress because a page claimed that he'd had sex with three male congressmen. Larry Craig, who hadn't been named by anyone publicly, then held a press conference to say that it wasn't him and he wasn't gay. He insisted that people just thought that because he was male and single. He then married a few months later.

In the same vein, there was a homeland security guy who got on the internet with someone he thought was a 14 year old girl and arranged to meet her. It turned out to be a police sting.....but he never even had a conversation with a 14 year old girl....just some adult male posing as a 14 year old girl. In both cases, you have something bordering on a thought crime.

Charles Lambert said...

Absolutely. In Craig's case, the crime is hypocrisy and the punishment is exposure, and that's fine with me. But the idea that this law might put other people in jail is very disturbing.

And talking about paedophilia hysteria, I believe that it's also a crime to possess drawings of children in compromising positions. How victimless is that? What do we do with all those Raphael cherubs showing their bits? Have they seen that Caravaggio of the infant John the Baptist, otherwise known at the Holy Jailbait?