Pam Spaulding

Larry Craig: He'd 'take a very serious look' at legislation to stop restroom stings

Filed By Pam Spaulding | October 17, 2007 9:45 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Marriage Equality
Tags: closet cases, David Karsnia, Larry Craig, Matt Lauer, Minnesota, sex stings

The nightmare continues for the GOP. Toe-tapping Larry invited Idaho newsman Mark Johnson of KTVB into his home and sat for a 90-minute interview that aired Tuesday. Craig's wife Suzanne dutifully sat by his side as he told his side of the story about the encounter in the Minneapolis airport bathroom that made him a household name for all the wrong reasons. The transcript is up.

I'll give you the money quote from the interview first:

Mark Johnson:  We gave folks an opportunity on our website to ask questions - and boy did they submit the questions. Many of them you've answered here tonight.  Mark from Boise... not this Mark from Boise - had one that I think you might find interesting.  Mark writes "You are accused of a sex crime without physically committing one.  Would you support legislation that protects citizens from police entrapment in restrooms and other public places.

Sen. Larry Craig: Mark, I'd have to take a very serious look at that. I've not only heard from Mark - I've heard from a lot of citizens and e-mailers.  They've felt they got entrapped, they felt they got profiled. The worst thing in a free society is to have law enforcement profiling people because they look a certain way, therefore they must be.  That is just wrong. I've always opposed it - and I'll continue to oppose it. If legislation like that comes along, I'll take a very serious look at it. I'm innocent, I've been through it. It's not a very pleasant experience. It's changed my life, it's changed my family's life, it may have changed the political life in Idaho, I don't know. But, it is the question - a very important one.

So, if someone proposes such legislation to protect citizens from profiling -- doesn't sound like he's ready to take up activist arms and do it himself -- how many of Larry's GOP colleagues do you think are going to co-sign it? A bill that protects busts of people for "looking a certain way" (guess this time he couldn't squeak out "gay") when caught up in a public restroom sex sting? These stings focus almost exclusively on gay men cruising in these public facilities -- an issue right there that probably has Republicans squirming.   

Oh my, the gift that keeps on giving... .

The interview is full of a lot of fluff, but he does recount what he says really happened in the restroom (which differs from or leaves out details in the police report, or even the police interrogation after the arrest [audio | transcript]).

I go to bathrooms to go to bathrooms.  I walked in that morning into a sting, that I had no idea I was walking into.  I suspect every American, or anyone who wanted to listen or try at all has heard the tape of the interrogation.  They know a great deal of the detail that has been told by others. Yes, I walked by the stalls.  I looked to see if they were empty, most of them were full, or apparently all of them were full as I recall. I stood back, I waited, I kept looking - finally, one opened up.  I walked in, I put my suit case down - I sat down on a bathroom stool.  

I did not realize that to look into a stall, set a suitcase in front of you was a gay action, or at least according to this law enforcement officer.  He was watching out through a door profiling me. "Oh my goodness he did this, oh my goodness he did that."  At least that's my reaction to what I finally experienced.  Something caught my eye. I glanced down. Whether it was foot movement close to my stall, I was spreading my legs, and uh I saw paper - it looked like it was stuck to the heel of my shoe.

...Well, I reached down, I pulled it off. My hand went below the divider.  Within seconds there was a card under the divider that said "police," and the motion of the finger to the door. And I said "no!" - then the motion again.  I stood up, stepped out and was physically jerked out of the bathroom in to a lobby area. And I said "what's going on here, what are you doing?" "You're under arrest." I said "I've got a plane to catch, what are you doing?" At about that time, and I was attempting to pull away - about that time another officer came up, grabbed me by the other arm and said "if you don't behave, we're going to arrest you and throw you in jail." I've never been arrested in my life.

Craig doesn't explain why, for instance, if Sgt. Dave Karsnia was in the stall to his right, and Craig alleges that he was picking up a piece of toilet paper on the floor next to his right foot, Karsnia saw Craig's left hand waving and gesturing at him under the stall. The gymnastics of this, considering Craig said he had his pants down and his legs in a wide stance, is impressive.

He was called on it in the police interrogation.

From the interrogation about the June 11 incident at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport:

Dave Karsnia: I saw your left hand and I could see the gold wedding ring when it when it went across. I could see that. On your left hand, I could see that.

LC: Wait a moment, my left hand was over here.

DK: I saw there's a...

LC: My right hand was next to you.

DK: I could tell it with my ah, I could tell it was your left hand because your thumb was positioned in a faceward motion. Your thumb was on this side, not on this side.

LC: Well, we can dispute that. I'm not going to fight you in court and I, I reached down with my right hand to pick up the paper.

DK: But I'm telling you that I could see that so I know that's your left hand. Also I could see a gold ring on this finger, so that's obvious it was the left hand.

LC: Yeah, okay. My left hand was in the direct opposite of the stall from you.

Karsnia also noted in the police report:

Craig provided by his Idaho driver’s license. In a recorded post-Miranda interview, Craig stated the following:
- He is a commuter
- He went into the bathroom
- He was standing outside of the stalls for 1-2 minutes waiting for the stall.
- He has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine
- He reached down with his right hand to pick up a piece of paper that was on the floor
- He is unable to take his gold wedding ring off of his left ring finger

It should be noted that there was not a piece of paper on the bathroom floor, nor did Craig pick up a piece of paper. During the interview, Craig either disagreed with more or “didn’t recall” the events as they happened.

***


The other Craig hypocrisy bomb was set off during his interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show. He doesn't see it as a shame to be gay.

"Do you view it (being gay) as something that would be awful to have to admit?" Lauer asked.


"I don't agree with the lifestyle and I've said so by my votes over the years, and by my expressions," Craig said. "Have I viewed it as awful? I've viewed it as a lifestyle I don't agree with."


Lauer pressed, asking if it would be a "great shame" for Craig to admit he's gay.


"I'm not sure I've ever looked at anyone else's sex life as great shame," Craig asserted.

He certainly finds it quite reasonable not only to disagree with the "lifestyle", but that it's ok to discriminate and legislate against gay folks, that's certainly not a live-and-let-live attitude.

* Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)
  * Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
* Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)
  * Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage. (Sep 1996)
  * Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. (Sep 1996)

Craig has a 0% rating in HRC's 2006 Congressional Scorecard.

The problem is that he says gays don't have to be ashamed of who you love; what he really means is that you shouldn't be able to tell anyone about it or affirm it. It's better, in Craig's (and wingnuts') eyes, to reduce homosexuality to sex acts alone, regardless of whether we're talking about employment discrimination, hate crimes, or the legal right to civil marriage. These legal matters do not involve performing a sex act, but gay sex acts are all sad and dangerous head cases like Craig can think about.


Related:

* Larry Craig, Cognitive Dissonance and the Closet (diary by JulieWaters)


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Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | October 17, 2007 12:33 PM

Absolutely outstanding post, Pam! I'll admit that in my enthusiastic agreement that propelled me through its justifiably length, I did not carefully digest every word, and am going to go back and do so. You may or may not have noted something that made me want to yell at Matt Lauer through the screen last night: His reference, at least once, to "signals commonly used by the gay community in soliciting restroom sex", or something close. No, Matt, it is more like "signals used by men, who, in many cases want no identification with the 'gay community' because they are in denial, to effect quick transient sexual liaisons with other men, who likewise don't make such 'community" identification, and then want no part of any of it until the next time."

Maybe it's just me, but I actually believe Craig about the which hand was which story. I mean, cops have lied about men busted for "bathroom sex" for how long now? Men are arrested for NOT having sex - as in Craig's case - or even asking someone for sex in private in a current case in the South.

And am I the only one who can see a certain cop suddenly getting nervous when he realizes he has a sitting Senator in his clutches? He says the wrong hand, Craig counters that he's wrong and suddenly the cop saw a ring, etc? I mean, what - just what - if that part happened like Craig said?

Since Craig has a history of these sorts of things, I don't believe he's innocent. But I do see a lot of other cases that are pure entrapment. And it wouldn't shock me if this situation is a little bit of this and a dash of that too, if you know what I mean. Both the cop and the Senator want to cover their asses...