Is Larry Craig Getting Duked?
By: J.J. Jackson
As news was breaking that Senator Larry Craig had pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct (a misdemeanor) for allegedly attempting to solicit sex in a menâ€™s restroom at Minneapolis Airport the first thought that went through my head was, â€œHere we go again!â€ But I held back in commenting because my spider sense was all a tingle.
With Congressman Filnerâ€™s recent blowup and own unquestionable disorderly conduct still in the news, something prompted me to think of how convenient the timing of this was considering the incident with Craig from June 11th. So I put out a couple feelers to sources and within the hour one of my most reputable sources responded back that it would be best to wait to comment until I heard the tape of the interrogation that happened after the incident.
So I waited. And I waited. I waited while others commented.
There have been rumors of Larry Craigâ€™s â€œdouble lifeâ€ for some time. The Idaho Statesman seems to have taken a perverse joy in rumor mongering with regards to this subject. He has been accused of being a closet homosexual which, in and of itself, is nothing really except for the fact that he is married and thatâ€™s not exactly copasetic activity for a man with a wife.
I know, call me â€œold fashionedâ€ but I still do believe that when you marry someone and promise to be faithful you should actually remain faithful. If Craig is gay I personally donâ€™t give a darn beyond the fact that he would have broken his word to his wife. After all, itâ€™s not like he suborned perjury over sexual acts to prevent a woman from getting her constitutionally guaranteed day in court right?
So all the while I was listening to people throw Senator Craig under the proverbial bus, demanding he resign, etc and so on and so forth. The incident was certainly a convenient excuse to try to ditch a man who has at times not exactly been a very staunch conservative. However it seemed suspiciously like a smoke screen to cover Mr. Filnerâ€™s backside in a sort of â€œLook! They are just as bad!â€ excuse making session.
Then I got a copy of the tape. And I listened.
The tape of the post arrest interview by Sgt. Dave Karsnia with Senator Craig was interesting to say the least. In it Senator Craig never admits to anything that he is accused of (i.e. solicitation of sex) and Sgt. Karsnia gets extremely belligerent with the Senator when it becomes clear that Mr. Craig is not going to admit that he was soliciting the officer, who was part of the sting, for sex. Senator Craig, to the contrary, remains calm and very polite for the most part considering the browbeating he is getting and even says to the officer, â€œYou solicited me.â€
What Senator Craig admits to on tape is that his foot touched that of the officerâ€™s in the stall next to him and that he reached down, supposedly, to pick up a piece of paper that was on the floor. The officer claims more happened such as Mr. Craig turning his hand palm up and â€œtouching the bottom of the stall dividerâ€ which is I guess a signal that Mr. Craig was a little horny and wanting to see if the guy next to him was similarly inclined.
But here is what basically the entire case against Craig comes down to. Sgt. Karsnia sums it up his molehill of evidence against Craig as this, â€œI am trained in this, and I know what I am doing. And I say you put your hand under there and you’re going to sit there and …â€
Wow. To say I was stunned at this being the extent of the evidence against Craig when I heard the tape would be an understatement. In fact it put me in direct mind of another recent scandal where three lacrosse players from Duke University were â€œguiltyâ€ of rape because a woman said they raped her. And after all, she should KNOW if she was raped right?
Larry Craig seems to be getting â€œDukedâ€, or convicted without any real evidence against him.
Make no mistake. I still have a lot of questions and am by no means letting Mr. Craig off the hook. But I am not going to lynch him either.
He did plead guilty to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct and I wonder why if this was all that there is to his actions. But I cannot, at the same time, convict this man in the court of public opinion based on this sort of weak evidence. And I doubt seriously if any judge or jury in America would do the same without some sort of ability to verify the incident is as the officer claimed it was.
I wonder, seriously, if Sgt. Karsniaâ€™s badge actually has the word â€œthoughtâ€ before the word â€œpoliceâ€.
So letâ€™s see if I understand this incident properly. Police set up a sting to catch people having sex or soliciting to have sex in public bathrooms that consists only of a police officer sitting in a stall without any sort of corroborating evidence being collected such as video (probably because they are scared of being sued for invasion of privacy) and basing their arrests and prosecutions based only on the â€œtrainingâ€ of an officer.
This â€œtrainingâ€, I sadly must say, apparently consists of a special course by Mondo the Magnificent on how to read minds.
Is it silly? You bet it is. Letâ€™s see if this sort of â€œevidenceâ€ would fly in other situations shall we?
An officer is sitting on the side of the road when a red car goes by. The officer darts out from his hiding place and stops the car because he has seen many red cars speeding in the past and therefore because this car is also red either must have been speeding (or was going to speed in the future). He has no sort way of actually verifying that the car was speeding mind you, only his â€œtrainingâ€ and â€œinstinctâ€. Therefore he writes the driver a ticket despite her protests because his â€œtrainingâ€ and experience tell him what was happening.
Or maybe this scenario might occur. You donâ€™t get along with your neighbor. Itâ€™s nothing too bad, but the two of you are not on speaking terms. You purchase a brand new 9mm handgun and despite never having threatened to harm your neighbor the police arrest you after mysteriously divining your intent as murder. You protest, but the cops are convinced that your purchase of a gun and your less than friendly terms with your neighbor amount to an intent to commit murder because they have seen many people kill other people they donâ€™t like with guns in the past.
Or maybe this one? A young, black male is standing on a street corner and officers arrest him because they have noticed that in that particular part of town black men often deal drugs from street corners. Despite finding no drugs on him they take him in anyway because the incident fits a pattern they have witnessed in the past and their â€œtrainingâ€ tells them that he might deal drugs in the future although he hasnâ€™t yet.
Could you imagine the outrage over an arrest in any of these scenarios based on this same sort of â€œIâ€™ve seen this beforeâ€ and â€œIâ€™m trained to recognize what this meansâ€ logic as was done in the case of Mr. Craig?
Ok, you walk in and find Mr. Craig actually doing the bone dance with another fellow in his stall and Iâ€™m all with you on this! Arrest him for public indecency or what ever.
But what we actually have is a scenario of he said, he said with not even a guilty plea to anything close to what was alleged. And since when is it illegal to try and pick up someone to do what two consenting adults might chose to do anyway? Are we going to start having police officers staked out in bars arresting men hitting on the cute lady at the end of the bar now?
Yes, if the one trying to be â€œpicked upâ€ declines and the other persists then ok; law violated! Itâ€™s harassment. I can go for that.
With Senator Craig, I am still left with many questions. But I have learned something. Apparently touching the foot of another man while in the bathroom and reaching down to collect a piece of toilet paper is considered disorderly conduct in Minnesota. Thatâ€™s good to know in case I ever have the misfortune of flying through the Minneapolis Airport. Because, I must admit, I can think of a couple times when as I was doing my business in a public restroom I have turned in such a way to get toilet paper from the dispenser and my foot has crossed into the stall next to me and touched the foot of the person next-door. Iâ€™ll definitely be more careful if I ever am in Minnesota because I donâ€™t want to be arrested by an over zealous cop in the middle of a poorly contrived sting operation for soliciting sex.
To me this sounds like the whole â€œitâ€™s the seriousness of the chargeâ€ argument again that some politicians use to simply cast a cloud over someone that they donâ€™t like politically even if the charge is weak or completely unsubstantiated. While I do applaud Republicans for trying to clean up their own house and keep it in order, which is more than I can say about another political party, we donâ€™t need to â€œDukeâ€ people because of hypersensitivity.
Iâ€™m sure coverage of this crap (literally) will continue. And maybe Senator Craig will admit to doing something more than just taking a dump in a wide stance.
J.J. Jackson’s is a conservative libertarian author who has been writing about America, freedom and politics since 1993. His weekly articles are available at Liberty Reborn.
J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the Pittsburgh Conservative Examiner for Examiner.com. He is also the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts The Right Things. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at Liberty Reborn.