Where's this guy when we really need him?
The Jordan River Parkway in West Valley City, Utah is apparently a popular place for homosexual perverts to cruise, hook up and engage in anonymous sex in the bushes with each other, even as families with kids attempt to enjoy the surroundings nearby. Back in August 2007, a sweep of this area by West Valley City police resulted in 15 arrests.
And on Sunday, April 6th, 2008, another sweep along the Jordan River Parkway by West Valley police Sunday netted 12 more arrests. Story published in the Deseret Morning News.
Actually, undercover officers conduct much more frequent sweeps along the trail, looking for people who are trying to hook up with strangers to commit lewd acts, said West Valley police Capt. Anita Schwemmer. "We're targeting those that are wanting to do this in a public area," she said. Typically, those arrested are hoping to engage in sexual acts in the bushes just off the main trail where families, many with children, and recreationists travel.
During Sunday's operation, 12 people were arrested for misdemeanor lewdness. As is typical with these kinds of sweeps, those arrested came from a wide range of backgrounds. Two people arrested were over 70 years old, the oldest being 73. All those arrested Sunday were men, the majority of them over 40 years old. Some of the men arrested were from West Jordan and Murray, and at least one was from Kamas, according to jail records.
Commentary: Marsha West published a great column about this practice on Newswithviews back in September 2007. Apparently, these creeps have a flourishing sub-culture. They even have a website, www.cruisingforsex.com (cut and paste the URL; I refuse to provide a direct link to this dump) which highlights the best places in the country to hook up for anonymous public sex. Idaho U.S. Senator Larry Craig was just the tip of the iceberg. And as the AmericansForTruth website documented back in August 2007, if ignored, it can get completely out of hand, as it did in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Ironically, according to a 2006 Deseret News article, 60 percent of those arrested for public lewdness not only do NOT identify as gay, but many are married with children. The same article also identified other popular cruising spots in Salt Lake, including Oxbow Park. It also identified Tonaquint Park as the most notorious spot in St. George.
A September 2007 Salt Lake Tribune article referenced on TheDemocraticDaily website provides some additional insight:
The solicitations from men - they were always from men - were discreet and almost always unspoken.
Eye contact followed by a simple hand gesture. Just enough to let the object of their attention know they were interested in sex.
Often, the first words exchanged between the two were from Jeff Bedard telling his suitors that he was a Salt Lake City police officer and they were under arrest.
The men are most often caught “cruising” for sex in public parks and restrooms. Most are between 36 and 56, and a third of them are married and consider themselves straight, according to statistics kept by Salt Lake City.
They include businessmen, professionals and religious leaders.
“A lot of the people we’ve arrested live lives that are opposite to the activities they are engaging in,” Bedard said.
And of course, there are no lack of psychobabblers who are prepared to explain and excuse their conduct. One such psychobabbler is Gershen Kaufman, a professor emeritus of psychology at Michigan State University, who offers this incredible excuse: "Cruisers are not sex offenders. They are deeply, deeply closeted. There is a lot of self-hatred and shame and they can't allow themselves to come to terms with their sexuality." But then Prof. Kaufman goes on, "There is also the added element of danger and being discovered." So, I guess resolving their "issues" is more important to them than respecting their fellow citizens with who they share public facilities.
Obviously, not all gays fall into this category. As a matter of fact, despite the publicity, I suspect a majority of gays do not engage in this sort of outrageous behavior. But should we really be allowing the promotion of an alternative that tends to enable this sort of behavior? Why don't the gay rights lobbies speak out more vigorously against this type of behavior?