As a Minnesotan of high moral fiber, it fills me with pride to know our airport police sit on toilet seats, hour after hour, keeping a vigilant eye and ear out for toe tappers, funny flushers and hypocrites.
There are a lot of them, including soon-to-be-former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, who got nabbed in the dragnet our valiant Potty Police have been conducting whenever they get a break from duller work, such as watching out for terrorists.
You won't catch our cops with their pants down. They may look like air travelers just doing their "duty," but they actually are undercover cops on duty, watching for shifty-looking types who linger too long or occupy a stall without using the restroom "for its intended use," a phrase in many of the arrest reports filed by our guardians of the civic porcelain.
Relieve yourself in confidence, weary air travelers. Our bathrooms are protected.
Some say the police make themselves party to the footsie by sending cutie-pie cops to make eye contact with men who should be staring straight ahead. Craig seems to have thought he was going to play Washroom Tag until he was arrested on June 11 after he and a cop performed an in-the-stalls duet from "Happy Feet."
If Craig weren't now convicted by cable TV as being a Likely Gay Person, or LGP, or if he had been caught with a woman instead of playing patty-fingers with a guy, there might be sympathy for him when he complains he was entrapped by a loitering lawman with a killer "come-hither" look. But he pleaded guilty after he fell for the cop's promise that it would just be their little secret. Until it all came out.
When it did, Craig had to resign. The one thing conservatives hate more than Hollywood and Hillary is a Republican who might be gay.
A lot of Democrats seem to think they won something from this spectacle, but a lot of Democrats are dopes. Hypocrisy knows no party, and human beings are pretty much the same.
So the only question that lingers is: Why in the world are cops squatting on toilets on the public dime to see if they can get guys from Boise excited?
Cops should prevent bathrooms from becoming bathhouses. But the airport cops aren't accomplishing that. They made sure that Craig and the dozens of others who have been arrested were busted quietly, so as not to bother patrons using the plumbing lawfully.
A sting operation quietly arresting consensual gropers doesn't do much for decorum. If you want to keep sex out of a restroom, you don't lead perps away and write tickets in private so no one knows it's happening. You post warnings that cops are watching and won't allow hanky-panky.
That keeps most people's hands to themselves, so the cops can put their uniforms on and go back to real police work. Where they won't have to do so much sitting.
"Without causing a disturbance," the arresting cop reported, "I discretely motioned for Craig to exit the restroom... I told Craig that we would speak in a private area without embarrassing him."
The cop meant he "discreetly" motioned to Craig (preserving confidences) rather than "discretely" (separately, distinctly). But it wasn't just his choice of homophone that was wrong. His soothing assurance that he could help Craig avoid embarrassment was misleading.
If you arrest someone in a men's room, it doesn't just matter what people at the sink think. You are busting open a life -- and probably a lie.
The officer's assurances to Craig -- "You won't have to explain anything"; that Craig would pay a fine and "that will be it"; and "I don't call media" -- all proved false.
Someone, 10 weeks after the arrest, called the media. Somebody made sure a senator was disgraced in a far larger forum than a men's room.
Who? I'd really like to know.
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