James Leroy Wilson's blog

Monday, February 13, 2006

So, What Was the Crime?

I clicked on the Yahoo teaser headline about a rock star getting married, then arrested, even though I was never a fan of Creed and didn't recall that its lead singer's name was Scott Stapp.

Anyway, what fascinates me is in bold:
Stapp, en route to his Hawaiian honeymoon, was stopped from boarding a plane at Los Angeles International Airport Saturday after airline personnel deemed the rocker "antagonistic" and "boisterous."

A spokesman for the airport police, Lieutenant Tyrone Stallings, said the rocker was arrested on suspicion of being drunk in a public place and taken to the Van Nuys station for processing.

According to TMZ.com, which first reported the incident, Stapp demanded a blood-alcohol test at the station, where he registered a 0.18--twice the legal limit.

Stapp, 32, eventually was freed and ordered to report for arraignment on Mar. 8.

Twice the legal limit for what, exactly? Boarding a plane? Walking in public?

I have no problem with the airline refusing to board someone they perceive to be obviously drunk. I'd also have no problem with this arrest if, instead of being merely "antagonistic" and "boisterous," he threatened or assaulted people. But public drunkenness, determined by a blood alcohol test? Excuse me, but what's the crime?

Worse, people can be arrested and sent to the station upon suspicion of being drunk?

Frankly, I bet if people got drunk only when they were in public, society would be better off. They'd be more closely watched, and could be more readily restrained when their behavior goes out of bounds. That's not so easily monitored and controlled in domestic situations.

In any case, people should be held accountable for what they do that hurts others, and not merely for being in a particular condition.


  1. Seems to me I remember a news item Rational Review News sent out about some cops back east somewhere. They were going into bars and using breathalyzers on patrons. They'd go in, see who looked like they might have had a few. If the patron blew over the limit, they were arrested for drunk in public. Their way of nipping drunk driving in the bud.

  2. What if you are boisterous and antagonistic while you are sober? Is that a crime?

    The comedian Ron White tells the story of being thrown out of a bar by bouncers where cops arrested him for being drunk in public. "I didn't want to be drunk in public," he protested. "They put me in the public."