Irrational behavior

By David Webb

Why are people willing to risk illegal activities when they know the
consequences?



David Webb: The Rare Reporter

There’s something truly irrational about the thought processes of people who engage in public sex when they know the consequences of their behavior.

How can anyone particularly a U.S. senator not know that police departments in every major city in the country are regularly staging stings to arrest people involved in public lewdness, public indecency and prostitution? Vice squad officers go to work every single day with the intention of arresting people on those charges.

It’s their job, and it’s only a matter of time before they bust someone who regularly commits such crimes.

That’s why it is so amazing to me that Republican Sen. Larry Craig, of Idaho, would attempt to arrange a liaison in a men’s restroom in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

According to police reports, the senator who is an outspoken critic of gay rights peered through the crack in a restroom stall door, entered the stall next to the occupant, made hand signals under the stall divider and even rubbed his shoe against the shoe of the occupant of the adjoining stall.

Unfortunately, for Craig, the occupant next to him just happened to be an undercover police officer.

It’s perturbing to think that someone with Craig’s obvious lack of good judgment would be helping make decisions of national importance.

We’re talking about a crowded airport restroom. Craig reportedly had to wait until an occupant had finished his legitimate business in the stall before the senator entered it for his failed attempt to seduce someone.

Eventually, the occupant of the other stall flashed his police identification card under the stall divider, and Craig reportedly bolted from the stall without flushing the toilet. When he was stopped outside of the restroom door, he attempted to claim his actions were innocent.

When asked for his identification, he reportedly gave the policemen one of his U.S. Senate cards and said, “What do you think of that?”

I rather imagine the policeman thought to himself, “I’m about to get a promotion.” Or maybe he thought, “You’re about to be an ex-senator.”

So now the 62-year-old Craig, who is married and has three grown stepchildren, is proclaiming his innocence. He claims the officer “misconstrued” his actions. He contends that he was using bad judgment when he pleaded guilty on Aug. 8 to disorderly conduct in connection with the June 11 incident, paid fines and fees totaling $1,575 and accepted one year’s probation.

To Craig I would say, good luck getting anyone to buy that story. A gay man has reported having had sex with Craig in public places in Washington, according to Mike Rogers of BlogActive.com. Allegations that he was a closeted gay man have long plagued the senator.

With a U.S. senator acting so stupidly, I guess it’s no wonder that gay men in Dallas continue to take similar risks. Even though the Dallas Voice has extensively reported about the vice squad’s arrests of gay men on charges of public lewdness and public indecency, it appears not to have made much of a dent in the activity.

Just last week, we were tipped off that a gay man we had featured recently was nabbed for alleged indecent exposure on the same day Craig pleaded guilty.

Gay men keep trying to have sex in public places, and the Dallas Police Department keeps nabbing them in the act. Even though they risk
having their pictures posted on the police department’s Web site under indecency-related offenses, getting fined and possibly even being sentenced to jail time, the thrill apparently outweighs the danger for them.

Actually, being arrested might be the least of the danger involved in searching for anonymous sex. The homicide department’s files contain numerous unsolved cases of gay men who apparently were murdered while trying to arrange sexual trysts with strangers.

There was a time when gay men seemed to have little choice other than to meet each other in clandestine situations, but that’s no longer the case. That’s what the gay rights movement is about. And sex in public places will never be tolerated not even by most gay and lesbian people.

So to anyone who is still getting their thrills out of sex in public places, wise up before you find your photo on the police department’s Web site. These days, it seems like it’s more likely to happen than not.

E-mail webb@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 31, 2007

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