Alex Blaze

Public gay sex is worse than torture

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 28, 2009 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: criminal justice system, gay sex, john yoo, lawyer, mugshots, oklahoma, public sex, sex, sex sting, spain, war crimes

I posted a video this morning of an Oklahoma City police officer explaining a gay sex sting in which 16 men were arrested for public lewdness. After complaints were yoo jpeg.jpgmade, undercover cops were sent to several parks. Uniformed police officers can't be used in this situation because the people having sex generally stop having sex when they see a uniformed officer, and the last thing we want, I suppose, is for these people to stop having sex in public without being arrested. They'll be prosecuted and their names and mugshots were published in The Oklahoman, just in case someone thinks they need a little more punishment. You never know when enough is enough with these sorts of perverts.

Even though the Oklahoma City police recognize that the sex stings don't work to eliminate public gay sex (they've been doing them for 10 years), they have a 5-year plan to continue to do them. Because we need to send a strong message that this sort of activity is harmful to children.

Won't somebody please think of the children?

On the other side of the country, John Yoo works as a professor at the University of California at Berkeley's School of Law. You may remember John Yoo from the eponymous memo he wrote while working at the Department of Justice in which he used legalesque reasoning to justify torture. He argued that statutory bans on torture didn't apply to Bush because his plenary power as president to execute the Global War on Terrorism means that he doesn't have to follow the law anymore. Or, as Yoo put it, Congress "can't prevent the President from ordering torture."

The Obama administration has promised that no one would be prosecuted for participating in Bush administration war crimes. Even though there was plenty of sound legal advice at the time telling the White House that they had absolutely no right to torture people, and even though there is plenty of professional advice stating that torture does nothing to keep people safe since it usually provide false information and it destroys American human rights credibility and mobilizes all sorts of people against us, we don't want to look to the past, but to the future.

And what if we do prosecute these people? Will agents of the US government be less likely to torture in the future? The last thing we'd want is for them not to use whatever tactics they need to send the message that America is the meanest bully on the block the next time the US gets attacked.

Won't somebody please think of the children?

We've known for a long time that the US has a different criminal justice system for people who have power. We send more people to prison than any other country in the world, even for our population. We're so afraid of appearing soft on crime that we send more nonviolent offenders to prison than any other country for its population as well. You have to send a strong message or you're soft on crime.

But when it comes to torture, we're letting these people off the hook because they're powerful and considered very serious and respectable people. If they weren't so powerful, though, they'd be left to fend for themselves in the same criminal justice system that the rest of America has to deal with.

I'm not saying that there isn't anything creepy about people having sex in a park. But that isn't a reason to waste these resources to have stings just to make sure we prosecute them. And there is a way to have parks open to public sex so that people with children know not to go there (not that accidentally seeing a man go into the woods to have sex is going to send a child to an asylum for the rest of their life).

But if we are going to make sure that these people are punished for breaking the law, there's no reason war criminal John Yoo should be sitting in Berkeley with a very respectable (and assuredly well-paid) job teaching the next generation of lawyers how to analyze American law. He gave legal advice that was obviously written just to give his clients the cover they wanted so that they could go out and break the law.

Perhaps it's the Dirty Fucking Hippie in me speaking, or maybe the Radical Homosexual Activist, but a few boys in the woods giving blow jobs is nothing compared to locking a person in a coffin with insects or permanently destroying a person's mind with sleep and sensory deprivation and solitary confinement. One demonstrates a complete lack of moral compass and sociopathic tendencies, the other is merely a desire to have sex that has no other outlet.

If John Yoo doesn't do anything stupid like go to a country that's willing to extradite him to Spain to be tried for his lead role in war crimes, he'll likely get off the hook. The other men in Oklahoma, whose faces and names were published in the local paper to show everyone who the perverts are that live among them, aren't so lucky.

I'm sure the former Justice Department lawyers are just praying no one finds out about an illicit affair that occurred while they were choreographing torture, because that's probably the only thing that would lead to investigations.

(Just to clarify, the picture before the jump is of John Yoo, not someone arrested for public sex in Oklahoma.)

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David in Houston | April 28, 2009 3:10 PM

I'm taking this story at face value and not comparing it to torture or anything else. If a gay couple, or straight couple for that matter, have sex in a public venue it's just not unacceptable. I think the phrase "Get a room!" might be appropriate here. I mean, really, how hard is it to drive someplace else if you want to have sex with a stranger?

Now if two dudes are kissing on a park bench. That's a different story. The cops should leave them alone. But as far as I can tell, all of these upstanding gentlemen were going further than 'first base'.

PS: The woofie guy in orange (William Spradling) is hot. I might need to swing by that park bathroom myself ;-)

I have no problem with you going down there and shouting "get a room" at these men. But publishing their photos and info in the paper? Do they do that with any other misdemeanor?

As for this:

PS: The woofie guy in orange (William Spradling) is hot. I might need to swing by that park bathroom myself ;-)

I can totally imagine a performance art piece in which someone gets off on mugshots of men caught in public sex stings. OK, now no one steal my idea.

David in Houston | April 29, 2009 9:22 AM

I do agree. They should not be publishing their photos in the newspaper or online. Also, if the police are treating gay couples differently than their straight counterparts, that is obviously wrong. Based on the responses here, that seems to be the case. I stand corrected. The article and video conveniently don't mention similar situations with straight couples. Although I can't imagine a mom and child walking into the public restroom and not having a problem with a straight couple having sex in one of the stalls.

I'm just wondering how 'off the beaten path' these guys were? It apparently wasn't too difficult to find them. Did the police use blood hounds to track them down? In any case, if the police are doing these stings to only target gay men, while straight people are getting a free pass, that is not acceptable.

If a gay couple, or straight couple for that matter, have sex in a public venue it's just not unacceptable.

Arghhh! Give me a break!

Imagine this scenario: a young, newly-wed, straight couple goes camping in a national park for a long weekend. While hiking on a relatively unpopulated trail, they decide to sneak off back into the woods for a quickie. Is that really all that unacceptable? And would it make headlines in the local paper - complete with mugshots?

Now change the characters in that scenario: now they’re both older, now they’re both men, and now they’re strangers to each other. Same act, but now it’s suddenly a huge scandal requiring the use of undercover police officers.

The fact is that straight people have sex in public all the time!! In bar-bathroom stalls and state parks, in cars driving down the highway or pulled off on a dirt road, in downtown alleyways and everywhere else.

I'd venture to say that most sexually active folks have had sex in "public" at some point in their lives (if not, too bad for them). The suggestion that this is "unacceptable" strikes me as both absurd and unimaginative. We get to create the world we want to live in, or at the very least we get to fight for it! Dare to imagine that something fun and harmless, something that is arguably part of our American cultural identity*, something that is already happening hundreds of thousands of times a day across the country, is -- in fact, quite acceptable!

*Think of the use of drive-in movies and “look-out points” in popular media.

Sing it, sister. I'm with you for the chorus.

Talk about getting off the hook? Straight people are hookin up in parks all the time, suckin face on mall benches in front of impressionable teens with raging hormones every single day with security standing right in front of them. It is called HYPOCRISY. I don't make a judgement on these guys who have their pictures in the paper but i know it probably is devastating for them. That is exactly why we must never attempt to emulate straight people. We are who we are and if someone doesn't like, KISS MY BRANCH!!!!

Lynn David Lynn David | April 29, 2009 3:01 AM

Define "park."

Oklahoma City has been conducting gay stings for well over 10 years. I remember times back in the late 70's and early 80s that there were crackdowns in parks like Will Rogers Park and around a couple of hotel/motels while the ladies just north of the state capitol were daily selling their wares for all to see with no harrasment.

Vince in LA | April 29, 2009 12:30 PM

Police officers are supposed to enforce the law. If there are complaints that a law is being broken, then the police need to investigate and enforce the law.
While I disagree with the publishing of names and mugshots in the newspaper, I also disagree with the sentiment of "why waste our precious resources going after a harmless crime"? If you believe that these crimes are so harmless, then you should get the laws changed. Don't blame the police, who are just doing their jobs.

The question I was posing in this post is "Why are these laws enforced so harshly but others, like the ban on torture, aren't?"

If we believe that torture is so great, we should legalize it. I'd love to see how the world looks on at us as our Congress is passing a law to legalize torture.

This is probably the worst and the most ridiculous article I have ever read. All I read was all biased by the writer's personal opinion... not the way an article should be written.