July 20, 2012

Motivated by "the absurdity" of the TSA trying to see him naked via machine, John E. Brennan got real-flesh naked... and arrested... and prosecuted.

And acquitted... by an Oregon state judge:
Citing a 1985 state appeals court ruling stating that nudity laws don't apply in cases of protest, [Multnomah County judge David] Rees said, "It is the speech itself that the state is seeking to punish, and that it cannot do...."

Brennan said he knew he wasn't breaking the law when he dropped trou partly from his experience riding in Rose City's annual Naked Bike Ride, during which Portland cops traditionally look the other way....

"The irony that they want to see me naked, but I don't get to take off my clothes off. You have all these machines that pretend to do it."
From a legal standpoint, I have a few questions. Is Rees saying that the state only prosecuted him because he was expressing an opinion via nakedness or that a consistently applied anti-nakedness law must have an exception for people who want to use nakedness as a way of expressing an opinion? Also, if a city allows one naked protest, does that mean — under Oregon law — that people can take their clothes off anywhere — in Oregon — as long as they're trying to say something via nakedness?

Here's some more detail about nudity in Portland, which might like a reputation as the "Naked City."
In recent years, Portland police have taken a reserved approach when they encounter residents in the nude. They receive 9-1-1 calls about naked people in public "off and on" and especially in the summer, said Sgt. Pete Simpson. Police will use nudity laws to pursue charges against people caught urinating or defecating in public, or having sex in cars, on lawns or in full view of others.

But how about those who are naked for the sheer sake of being naked? "We don't necessarily encourage people to be naked in public, but generally speaking ...being nude in public is not enough to go to jail," Simpson said. "You've got to be doing something more."

Case-in-point, each year officers look the other way when thousands fill the streets for the World Naked Bike Ride, he said, "because of the sheer number of naked people."
Pick a policy and be consistent. I remember the time last year when I was down at the Capitol Square here in Madison, checking out another anti-Scott-Walker protest, talking to a man on the street, and the naked bike riders suddenly appeared:

"That's America! That's America! That's the freedom!"

(That video of mine includes a racial analysis of the naked bikers and — if you watch to the end — an Ayn Rand point of view.)


Bruce Hayden said...

I think that the TSA is well deserving of protest. They seem, to me, someone who has traveled by air enough over the last decade, that I have had to replace my driver's license, to be the perfect government agency. They cost more and more every year. Their unionized employees, along with the Democratic party, seem to be the main beneficiaries. And, they essentially do almost nothing of value.

Did the new imaging machines that this guy was protesting save even one life? I would suggest that the answer is probably no. But, each one takes maybe a half a dozen more TSA employees to operate than the older metal detectors. You now have the guy in front telling you what to do and where to stand before you enter the machine, then the one making sure that you put your arms up right and don't have anything in your pockets, then the one talking to the people remotely watching the scans, next a couple people doing pat-downs for such things as underarm sweat, tissues in pockets, etc., and, of course, the people remotely viewing the images and telling the guy with the headset what they see. Add in the friction of everyone moving from post to post, and you are talking 8-10 people per machine extra per shift.

Are you safer with those machines? Not likely. The major safety improvements since 9/11 are in hardened cockpit doors, protocols to keep those doors locked and people congregating by them, and the reality that anyone attempting to hijack a plane these days, sans gun, is most likely to be taken down by the passengers, with no guarantee of their own survival. 9/11 changed the story - if you know that the plane can, and maybe will be used as a weapon, there is little keeping you from mass-attacking attempted hijackers.

So, now you have the new machines detecting tissues and single business cards in pockets, or sweat under arms (all of which have earned me pat downs). What is the danger of any of those? There isn't any.

So, maybe using sophisticated risk analysis, the TSA may be able to show that they save maybe .25 lives a year with the many millions they pay for the new machines, and many many millions that they spend on all the additional employees. Meanwhile, everyone is greatly inconvenienced, with maybe millions of additional hours of passenger time and hassle being wasted as a result.

BTW - you know that it is a farce, when you see all the women working for TSA wearing head scarves.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me add to my previous post, that the backup to those things that really do make us safer is that pilots are trained by simulator in maneuvers that would incapacitate anyone not strapped in.

My view is that the thing that would work a lot better than all that TSA screening, would be to allow concealed carry for people with state concealed carry permits who have gone through the sort of background checks that are used with the on-again and off-again TSA trusted flier programs. Probably more effective than all those TSA procedures and unionized army of employees, and far, far, cheaper.

But, then, remember, from the point of view of Democratic politicians, the purpose of government is to hire people who will vote to return the politicians to office, and to give money to their friends and political supporters. And, from that point of view, the TSA is quite successful.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

BTW - you know that it is a farce, when you see all the women working for TSA wearing head scarves.

Also, you know that it's a farce when you're on the "sterile" side of security and you're observing hundreds of high-turnover, low-wage, often immigrants-from-who-knows-where employees coming and going at the various fast food/gewgaw shops, making deliveries, etc. I have to dump out my water bottle before going through security but no one could possibly ever slip a bomb into a pallet of Burger King patties? Not to mention that apparently security on the runways is lax enough to allow for a handful of stowaway deaths when people have folded themselves into landing gear.

bagoh20 said...

"But how about those who are naked for the sheer sake of being naked?"

Ever notice that like with drugs, it's only worthy of being banned if you do it for pleasure. What the hell is so objectionable about pleasure? It seems we really can't stand seeing people having a good time.

edutcher said...

Usually your rights end when you apply them against the Feds.

Appending some witty riposte to your 1040 or the check attached will get you hauled into Federal Court for filing a frivolous return and your precious (in the eyes of the courts if you're burning a flag or posing as a vet) "protected" speech is suddenly not.

edutcher said...

PS bag, you may have the right to be naked for pleasure, but I have the right not to have it inflicted on me.

(considering how some guys half my age I see at the pool everyday look, it's a right I'm willing to defend to the death)

Luke Lea said...

I'm not going to bother watching that video of Ann's but what does she mean when she refers to an Ayn Rand point of view? Did she used to be a Randist? If so I would certainly want to know.