First, credit where credit is due: Charlotte, North Carolina police haven’t arrested Gerard Leeper for standing naked in the doorway of his home in the city’s Cardinal Glen neighborhood. Yet.
Why? Because it’s not illegal to go naked on one’s own property in Charlotte. Yet. So, good call, Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD.
According to the Charlotte Observer, however, the CMPD is “trying to build a case against” Leeper and “will likely approach the legislature to recommend a stronger indecent exposure law.” They want it changed to cover things which can be seen from, not just in, “public spaces.”
That’s disturbing, for two reasons.
First, the job of the CMPD is to enforce the law, not to lobby the legislature.
Secondly, unless CMPD has solved all the real crimes in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, they shouldn’t even have time to worry about — let alone “try to build a case against” — some guy for standing around naked in his own house. Perhaps the county should look at cutting CMPD’s budget and manpower if it has spare resources to waste on this kind of non-problem.
But that’s the thing: Some of Leeper’s neighbors don’t consider it a non-problem. They complain that he stands naked in his doorway several times a week and has for a decade. They don’t like it. They don’t want to see it. They’ve had Home Owners Association meetings to discuss it. They’ve complained to Leeper. They’ve complained to the police.
And of course the police department — which answers to local politicians and taps the area’s taxpayers for its funding — hates telling local homeowners things they’d rather not hear. Thus the “case-building” and prospective politicking.
It seems to me that a ready answer to this “problem” can be found in the work of prominent American comedic singer/songwriter Ray Stevens. Specifically, in a line from his 1974 hit “The Streak.” In three simple words:
“Don’t look, Ethel!”
Yes, really. Just don’t look.
If you don’t want to see Gerard Leeper naked, don’t look at him.
If you can’t make yourself not look at him when you pass by his house, go out of your way to not pass by his house.
If you can’t avoid passing by his house, and can’t drag your eyes away from his occasional nakedness when you do, and just can’t stand what you see, move.
Yes, really. Move.
It’s not the government’s job to make sure you never, ever, ever see anything you don’t like, especially (although not only) when it’s on someone else’s private property. That’s YOUR job.
Leave the police out of it. Unless you see Sheb Wooley’s one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater. In that case, you should call 911 ASAP.
Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.
- “Don’t look, Ethel! (Really — just don’t look)” by Thomas L. Knapp, Batesville, Arkansas Daily Guard (paywall), 03/31/15