The more that you read about the arrest of Larry Craig in a Minneapolis airport restroom, the more troubling the situation becomes. He was engaged in no lewd act. There wasn’t even a casual victim exposed to offensive conduct.
If the government is to be believed, Craig used his foot to touch the foot of a man in an adjoining bathroom stall. He then ran his hand, palm up, along the bottom of the stall divider. Both are cited as invitations for homosexual acts.
Here’s my problem with the facts. There are no victims. Craig’s actions might signal intent but, in of themselves, violate no law. It can even be argued that it’s indistinguishable from the brazen conduct of legions of men making unwanted contact as a sexual signal in bars and night clubs across the nation. We don’t arrest them. Women simply choose to ignore their boorish behavior.
Men’s rooms are not an appropriate site for any sexual conduct. The difficulty with this case is that there was no sexual conduct. There’s a police officer interpreting signals and transforming them into a crime. Criminal conduct can’t come from the imagination of the government in a free society. It must come from the actions of the criminal.
I’m certain that Larry Craig has learned some things in recent weeks. The rest of us need to learn that the continuous expansion of police powers into victimless innocent acts has its own dangers. We don’t need the government to set moral standards and we do needthe police watching our airports for terrorists, car thefts and fleeing felons. Waiting for Larry Craig to put his foot under the stall might not be a crime nor should it be a law enforcementpriority.