SF Weekly cover story on nudity in the Castro

Unfortunately, the Patrol Specials come out looking not very good on civil liberties in this story. The article is online at http://www.sfweekly.com/2010-12-01/news/nudists-public-nudity-castro-san-francisco/, and the comment I posted there is below.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

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Hi Starchild,

Very informative and comprehensive article. Thank you for posting it. It was particularly interesting to me that in San Francisco nudity absent lewdness (the article's words) is not illegal. Therefore, for an arrest to occur, someone has to make a formal complaint. If a formal complain is made, then the SFPD as well as the Patrols would need to take action. As the Patrols clearly indicated when they visited the LPSF, they are bound to uphold the same laws as do the SFPD.

I personally would not ever make a complaint about nudity. If folks choose to freeze in San Francisco's chilly weather for the sake of satisfying their craving for exhibitionism and attention, OK by me.

Marcy

Marcy,

  Thanks. According to the story, some of the nudists see it as a sexual thing (not unlike the hundreds of thousands who dress provocatively for Pride or the Folsom Street Fair), but others do not experience it as sexual at all. Perhaps with some of the nudists, it's simply a craving for freedom -- to experience one of the most basic freedoms, in a society where one can often feel like one has relatively little control over one's own life.

  As far as upholding the law, police officers (including Patrol Specials) have discretion, or so they say. Of course this discretion goes against libertarian principle (being the "rule of man" rather than the rule of law), but as a practical matter, it exists. Police cite it all the time when there is a law they don't want to enforce, even though it often seems to mysteriously vanish when there is a law they do want to enforce. Supporter of Prop. L, the Sit/Lie ordinance, made a strong point of saying that law would not be uniformly and consistently enforced. If I went around during a festival making "formal complaints" to police about every person I observed sitting or lying on a sidewalk, do you think they would feel "bound to uphold the law" by issuing warnings or citations?

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

Hi Starchild,

You ask me if I were at a festival making complaints about persons sitting or lying in sidewalks (or being nude?) would the SFPD or Patrols be bound to respond. That situation would not happen in my case; if I choose to be at a particular festival, I need to accept whatever goes on there (as I do at the Pride Festival!). In the same vein, I would not complain about nudity in the Castro, since I do not live there, own a shop there, nor do I ever visit there.

Your comment about nudity being a way of exercising some control in a world that craves to control us, is very well taken. It reminded me of the teens I knew when my daughter was a teen who stated the same words -- their anorexia and/or bulimia were the only way they felt they had some control over their lives.

Marcy