Sunday, September 2, 2007

Such blissful ignorance

A guest editorial at NYT on the Craig follies makes a couple of astounding conclusions:

Clearly, whatever Mr. Craig’s intentions, the police entrapped him. If the police officer hadn’t met his stare, answered that tap or done something overt, there would be no news story.
Um, no. Entrapment involves enticing someone to commit a crime they wouldn't have been predisposed to commit. How, exactly, was Craig "entrapped," encouraged to do something he wouldn't have done ordinarily? As the article itself states, a straight man would have been left alone after the first unanswered cough, gesture, whatever. Craig participated willingly. He was many things, but not entrapped. The question of why Minneapolis is spending public resources sending cops out to deal with these kinds of things is a legitimate question...but a charge of entrapment is risible.

Quoting the first study looking at these questions, "The Tea-Room Trade," she goes on:
“The only harmful effects of these encounters, either direct or indirect, result from police activity,” Mr. Humphreys wrote. “Blackmail, payoffs, the destruction of reputations and families, all result from police intervention in the tearoom scene.” What community can afford to lose good citizens?
Except the only harmful effects don't result from police activity. Unsuspecting spouses are exposed to STD's. Adultery is not victimless. The men themselves are trapped in a cycle of shame and self-loathing. Men who are able to be out don't spend much time cruising the parks and men's rooms. (Some do, of course; but most don't. They have other options.)

She does get one thing right, though:
[L]et’s stop being so surprised when we discover that our public figures have their own complex sex lives, and start being more suspicious when they self-righteously denounce the sex lives of others.

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