Don't get me wrong, I'm not wild about walking into a public restroom and seeing a couple using the a stall for something other than, as Sgt. Dave Karsnia, the arresting officer in the Craig case put it, "its intended use."So -- in Arianna's world -- if you have an airport bathroom that's become a notorious place for gay sex, you don't need to station an undercover cop inside to catch anybody and deter the behavior, you can just hang back and wait for the bathroom-goers to see the sexual beharior and to do what "most people do." These busy travelers will officiously run around the airport looking for a cop. That doesn't sound to me like the way "most people" react to sleazy quality-of-life crimes. I think most people would be disgusted, immediately leave the bathroom and plan to avoid that bathroom -- and maybe that airport -- in the future.
But that is not what Larry Craig did. If he had, someone in the restroom could have done what most people do when they see a law being broken: go get a cop.
Even assuming that men going to the Minneapolis airport bathroom would go searching for a cop, the cops in the airport should be a paying attention to other things, not dealing with a very particular problem that has nothing to do with airport security. Yet Arianna says:
And as it happens, since Craig was arrested in an airport, presumably there were plenty of law enforcement officers nearby looking for, you know, real threats -- like explosives or folks on a Watch List.And you want to take them off that task to go after some guys having sex in the bathroom (who'd probably be gone by the time he arrived)? How on earth is that better than using a police officer like Karsnia who is trained for a specialized task?
But Huffington thinks Karsnia's job is simply ridiculous:
It's unsettling that more people here in the land of the free aren't at all discomfited at leaving it up to the prognostication skills of Sgt. Karsnia and his crack team of B-men to determine what crimes people might have committed if not for the mind-reading and daring-do [sic] of Minneapolis' Special Forces Bathroom Unit.What other public servants with difficult jobs -- imagine training to be a cop and then getting assigned to sit on a toilet all day -- does the imperious Arianna Huffington think deserving of her mockery?
Is sending Sgt. Karsnia into the men's room to spend all day trying to get other men to look at him and tap his foot really the best way to use our limited law enforcement resources?I'm not an economist, but it seems to me that the sting is cost effective. One police officer, carrying out very few arrests, ruins the reputation of this bathroom as a place for sex encounters. That bathroom is in the state's most important airport, a hub of commercial activity. Minnesotans have a huge interest in maintaining the quality of their international airport, and travelers have endless opportunities to choose other routes when they dislike an airport. I would speculate that Karsnia's work probably produced a large net benefit to taxpayers.
And just how much money is Minneapolis/St. Paul spending on sting operations like this one? Just since May, 40 men have been arrested on allegations of illegal sexual activity at the same airport. And how much taxpayer money in total is being allocated across the country by local police to protect us from people whom the Sgt. Karsnias of the world think might, at some point, commit a crime?