A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Great One. . .

. . .weighs in this morning on Larry Craig's arrest, plea and subsequent resignation from the Senate. Well, to an extent. Mark Levin's overall point is that, in context, whatever Craig did or didn't do in that bathroom stall, or at any time in his life prior to the incident, it is of nearly zero importance in comparison to the actual culture of corruption that pervades Big Government.

I can't say I disagree with him one bit. While it's hard to defend the senator for what his actions seem to suggest, as far as anyone can tell none of his actions were actually criminal. Yet, he was arrested and charged anyway on the basis that his actions showed criminal intent -- something that occurs regularly in law enforcement. Shoplifters are frequently apprehended prior to actually leaving the store with stolen goods because they've been witnessed concealing items, which a reasonable person can interpret as intent to commit a crime. Fair enough.

But, if media and police accounts of what happened in that restroom are accurate, it's still difficult to see where a crime has been committed. It might be the case that Craig was trying to solicit the officer for sex in that bathroom. Then again, it might be the case that he was simply trying to solicit the officer to have sex somewhere else and was merely trying to establish contact so that arrangements could be made. Also, however unlikely, it could be true that Craig does have a "wide stance" and was indeed trying to pick up a piece of paper from the floor. Still, you don't have to believe that in order to think officer acted too hastily in this case.

Whatever took place in that restroom, in this conservative's mind, there's a bit of the aforementioned Big Government at work here. That's not to say that government doesn't have a role in preventing lewd and lascivious conduct, particularly in places like public restrooms. In this case, however, it seems that the standard used by the officer in making the arrest could potentially lead to a person being detained over a simple misunderstanding. While it may be sleazy for someone to proposition strangers for sex in public restrooms, unless it can be demonstrated that the person intended to engage in sexual activity right there on the spot, or in some other place where the public might be exposed to the sleaze, it's difficult to see where any crime is committed when a foot is tapped and a hand is waved beneath a stall. What is creepy isn't necessarily criminal.

As a conservative, it's difficult to oppose the notion of "thought crimes" and, at the same time, support Senator Craig's arrest, even though I think he's probably guilty of trying to have anonymous sex in a public men's room stall. That's because, in a world where a sitting President can have his very own interpretation of the word "is", surely a foot tap and a hand wave can have different meanings from one person to the next -- even if they are gay and creepy.

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