Monday, November 16, 2009
Oxford in Boulder
"But this Halloween, one of its wackiest traditions is under siege: the Naked Pumpkin Run [NPR]. ... For nearly a decade, naked pumpkin runners did their thing unmolested, stampeding through the frigid dark past crowds of admirers who hooted, hollered and tossed cady. ... All [police] have orders to arrest gourd-topper streakers as sex offenders. ... The American Civil Liberties Union has fired off a letter accusing the police of violating citizens' consitutional rights to express whatever it is they're expressing when they slip hollowed-out pumpkins over their heads and race buck naked down the Pearl Street pedestrian mall. ... Oleg Abramov, a 31-year-old planetary scientist, says it's an excruciating choice. He loves the run; he calls it a 'liberating and somewhat surreal community arts project.' But being labeled a sex offender could ruin his career. ... More recently, Boulder has played host to an annual Naked Bike Ride to protest dependence on fossil fuels. And the Boulder Daily Camera, the local newspaper, serves up a steady diet of stories about clothes-free joggers and nudist gardners. ... Given that the [NPR] starts at 11 p.m., long after young trick-or-treaters have retired, and given that the route is packed with fans who come out specifically to see the event, runners argue that it's absurd to think that their prank is causing either affront or alarm. ... Police acknowledge that they have not been flooded with pumpkin-run-related complaints, but say that's beside the point. A throng of naked people with jack-o-lanterns on their heads is by definition, an alarming sight, Chief [Mark] Beckner says. Therefore, it's illegal. Those convicted of indecent exposure rarely get jail time, but they must register as sex offenders, just as rapists do. Which seems a bit excessive to Boulder County [DA] Stan Garnett", my emphasis, Stephanie Simon at the WSJ, 31 October 2009, link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125693458626119361.html.
In 1968 or 1969 I attended a lecture by Commander Whitehead of Schweppes Tonic Water fame. He spoke of two Owford dons who swam naked in a lake. A few co-eds went by. One wrapped his "privates" in a towel. The other wrapped his head in a towel. The first said to the second, "That's extraordinary". The second replied, "Not at all. On this campus I am generally recognized by my face". So it is in Boulder. Laugh! A law which does not distinguish streakers from rapists should be repealed. Boulder has too many cops. It should fire some. Starting with Beckner.