Letter at length, August 21

Public nudity is not free speech

Public nudity is not freedom of speech. Unless you are like Navickas, who can talk out of his butt. The spirit and intent of the First Amendment was to be able to speak and write against an oppressive government. Limits are put on the First Amendment whenever the speech, written or orally, hurts someone. Burning flags is political; nudity that scares little kids is pornography. Human beings have been wearing clothing since the Stone Age for many social and moral reasons. The vast majority of people are grossed out by naked people strolling by, ergo public nudity hurts. Who wants to eat at an outdoor café and see a bunch of naked nuts go by? Excuse the puns.

What is really wrong about the idea of allowing public nudity is a contradiction some people can't seem to grasp. Sexual harassment is a big deal in our society. The City of Ashland has the policy, I'm sure. No suggestive photos or sexual cartoons or anything close are allowed because it can offend both men and women. Yet we would allow naked people to expose themselves outright. Pictures of naked women are not allowed in the workplace, but a naked woman can stroll around town. We arrest flashers, but men can lose the raincoat and walk around letting it all hang out. It makes no sense to do both. I can see lawsuits over this. One doesn't have to be aroused to make a naked display sexual. In fact, some of these naked men can't get aroused; that is why they get a kick out of shocking the statistically normal people.

I got news for anyone proposing a ban on nudity near schools. Children are everywhere! And so are adults who are offended by this behavior. Do we attend to arrest a naked person near a school but give him a pass if he walks by a school child on a doctor's visit? How about a field trip in the park? Will that be covered? Where is the common sense? Let's have a total ban on public nudity and join the rest of the planet for God's sake.

Joe Russo


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