September 03, 2007

It's Like We're Back in the Fifties, Only with Worse Popular Music and Less Attractive Cars

From Mark Steyn's column on Larry Craig:

My general philosophy on public restrooms was summed up by the late Derek Jackson, the Oxford professor and jockey, in his advice to a Frenchman about to visit Britain. "Never go to a public lavatory in London," warned Professor Jackson. "I always pee in the street. You may be fined a few pounds for committing a nuisance, but in a public lavatory you risk two years in prison because a policeman in plain clothes says you smiled at him."

Personally, I find the idea of undercover cops hanging out in the men's room spying on everybody far, far more disturbing and creepy than anything Larry Craig is alleged to have done.

And if I were a Minneapolis taxpayer, I'd be mightily pissed off that the police have decided to serve and protect by assigning what appears to be at least one full-time cop to a crackdown on gay sex in a single public restroom rather than putting him out on the streets to deal with real crime. I really hope they're not allocating law enforcement resources along those lines in Oakland, but if they are maybe it explains something.

(via Instapundit.)

UPDATE: Arianna Huffington asks an interesting question:

how much taxpayer money in total is being allocated across the country by local police to protect us from people whom the Sgt. Karsnias of the world think might, at some point, commit a crime?
I'd love to know how much of the Oakland law enforcement budget is being spent on sleazy Prick Up Your Ears operations like this when people are being set on fire in residential streets and shot with shotguns downtown in broad daylight. Posted by Dr. Frank at September 3, 2007 07:23 PM | TrackBack

Happens all the time here in Cincinnati. I thought Oakland was a much rougher city though. Perhaps things have changed?

I also didn't know that about London. I thought the peeing in the streets was just something a bunch of chaps did because they couldn't hold it on the trip home after having one too many pints in the pub while watching the match.

Posted by: Z at September 4, 2007 04:48 PM

While I think the whole thing's daft, I suspect that cop was assigned there because of complaints about actual lewd behaviour (which Craig never got to, of course) occurring in that restroom.

(I vaguely but uncertainly recall reading such a thing in one of the reports on the issue, and it makes more sense than any other explanation.)

Posted by: Sigivald at September 4, 2007 08:13 PM

So when a police officer gets to indulge in voyerism he gets a pay cheque for it, but when Humphreys got his jollies in the name of sociology he didn't even get his damn PHD. The social sciences have never been appreciated!

Posted by: Leah at September 5, 2007 01:22 AM

While I agree that this is a questionable use of police resources, I find the discovery of this sort of Gay Morse Code extremely interesting.

Posted by: kaos at September 5, 2007 02:52 PM

People probably shouldn't be having sex in public restrooms. It really does ruin the restrooms for the rest of us.

Posted by: josh at September 5, 2007 05:08 PM

"People probably shouldn't be having sex in public restrooms. It really does ruin the restrooms for the rest of us."

Really? Unless they are having sex with *you*, how so?

People are pissing and shitting and gargling and washing and spitting all around you, but a little cocksucking in the stalls ruins the refined atmosphere?

And you need a phalanx of cops inserted into the scene to make it all nice?

Posted by: Bill Quick at September 16, 2007 05:43 PM

Coming from someone who has had the misfortune of entering quite a few mens rooms to find that weird, creepy, vibe hanging in the air, along with a few loiterers who look like they were just caught in the middle of something, I applaud the police's work in MN. Not to mention the time I actually made the mistake of trying to pee in the Washington Square Park bathroom, where I was the only one in the entire row of urinals whose arm wasn't pumping like a piston.

That said, not speaking from homophobia but merely as a man who likes to use the restroom in peace, I would happily allow my tax money to be used in such sting operations. Something tells me if a cop claims you 'smiled at him' in the bathroom, you were probably up to something you shouldn't have been to begin with.

Posted by: Anonymous Taxpayer at November 5, 2007 10:33 PM