Saturday, January 05, 2008


A reader directs our attention to this article, written by someone I don't like. Paul Craig Roberts is a 9/11 tranny, a Libertarian, a former Wall Street Journal opinion page editor and a Reagan administration economist -- hardly an endearing resume. Although the piece is an overwrought screed on the subject of cops-as-criminals, Roberts begins by citing a troubling incident, verifiable through mainstream sources.

Last May, in Columbus, Ohio, a firefighter named Robin Garrison was walking through Berliner Park, where he encountered an attractive topless woman. She flirted with him. He sat down next to her. She "came on" to him quite strongly as she placed her feet on his shoulders. Then she asked him to show her his penis.

The moment he did, cops arrested him. They had videotaped the entire encounter.

An obvious case of entrapment? Here's what ABC News has to say:
Police arrested Garrison for indecent exposure based on video footage taken by cops who were targeting men having sex or masturbating in the park. While topless sunbathing is legal in the city's parks, exposing more than that is against the law. The sunbathing woman is not affiliated with the police department and she was not asked to take part in the sting operation, according to a spokesperson for the department.
Not affiliated? Yet she did what she did with police aiming hidden video cameras right at her?

Although I make no excuses for public exposure, one may fairly argue that -- under those circumstances -- Garrison would have been a pervert (or gay) if he had not unzipped. I would not be surprised to learn that the woman was a prostitute who had made a deal with the cops to avoid arrest.

Although Thomas makes an absurd overstatement of the case, I can agree that some cops have become far too zealous. Mind you, I respect police; the ones I've encountered have been, for the most part, professional and courteous. But in recent years, their reliance on automobile seizure has become intolerable.

In the sane old days, someone driving with a suspended license would pay a fine. He might end up in jail. These days, in Los Angeles, such an offender will have his vehicle taken away immediately -- even if he is stopped in a terrible area of town at 2:00 a.m. (Only a very few buses run all night.) He'll lose the car even if he is not wearing clothing appropriate for cold and stormy weather. Impound fees are stiff; if the offender cannot come up with hundreds or thousands of dollars pronto, he will lose his car. He may lose more than that, just trying to survive a bad night.

Such a punishment does not fit the crime. In fact, the punishment is a crime: Theft.


AitchD said...

"one may fairly argue that -- under those circumstances -- Garrison would have been a pervert (or gay) if he had not unzipped." It depends on what you mean by "one", by "may", by "fairly", and by "argue". But if every word means exactly what it says, I disagree, it can't be done. Nevertheless, there's a great Rashomon screenplay waiting, n'est-ce pas?

Anonymous said...

You've accidentally given Paul Craig ROBERTS the wrong surname: Thomas.

I like Roberts in his current incarnation, which is as an outraged principled conservative (former nutjob?) railing against the morally outrageous depredations, war crimes, impeachable offenses, creeping to galloping fascism, and etc., of this, our worst president ever. His rhetoric as he makes his case is so scathing against W that he makes critics of Bush like Micheal Moore or Paul Krugman look like supporters of W by comparison. What's not to like about that?

When former down the line conservatives like a John Dean or a Bruce Fein come across from the dark side to the correct position of opposing W, they ought to be welcomed, and not instead shunned for past perceived wrong positions. Same with Roberts, who is correct now on W, and correct in his denunciation of these police tactics.


Joseph Cannon said...

I am grateful for the correction, and have changed the copy. I have no idea why I committed such an error int he first place.

AitchD said...

I don't know who Roberts is, probably just dumb luck, but I get the impression he's now opposing a fascist take-over after supporting the idea for most of his life. I don't know, but I have the impression that people who actively opposed the Bush tactics are serving jail time at this hour, or are dead. So, is Roberts entitled to amnesty? Have his editorials called for the release of those political prisoners? Maybe he only thinks Bush has botched it and set the fascist movement back. Sorry, like I said, I don't know his POV, only what I read here. But it's not like he's a turned Daniel Ellsberg, am I right?