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Marion Square Sunbathing Burns Up Councilman
Charleston Post & Courier ^ | April 25, 2003 | JASON HARDIN

Posted on 04/25/2003 2:59:48 PM PDT by Big Steve

Marion Square sunbathing burns up councilman

Gilliard approaches police, C of C about deterring bikini display

BY JASON HARDIN
Of The Post and Courier Staff

It's Charleston's own version of "shock and awe:" scantily clad sunbathers soaking up the rays in Marion Square.

Ever since the city wrapped up its renovation of the popular downtown park, it has become a hot spot for bikini-wearing college students. On any fine day, dozens of students soak up rays, turning heads and even, apparently, stopping traffic.

One city councilman says the display is inappropriate in a place frequented by families and surrounded by churches. Councilman Wendell Gilliard says he is ready to take a stand, comparing the activity to the hot-selling "Girls Gone Wild" videos of college students in various stages of drunken undress.

"I've seen them pushing the limit. They have their breasts exposed, their ... rear end exposed, wearing a G-string bikini," he said. "This 'Girls Gone Wild'-type attitude has caught ahold all across the country. We don't want it to get to that point, but I'm sad to say I think it's at that point now."

Gilliard, who has led the city's effort to shut down a West Ashley adult video store, said he was disturbed by the sight of several sunbathers during a recent gospel music concert in the park. He added that they have caused other problems, including a recent traffic jam.

"Everybody thought something had happened, but these two guys in a truck were looking at the girls laying out on the lawn," he said.

Gilliard recently asked city police to look into whether the bikinis violate the city's indecent exposure ordinance, and he will meet with College of Charleston officials to ask them to deter students from sunbathing in the park.

It's not clear whether his efforts will lead anywhere. His comments drew little reaction from other council members at a recent Charleston City Council meeting, and Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. said he doesn't agree that sunbathing is a problem.

For students lying in the sun Thursday afternoon, the idea of a crackdown on sunbathing went over like a third- degree burn. Most said no one would see anything there that couldn't be seen at the beach and that there's nothing wrong with seeing people in bathing suits anyway.

"Girls walk around in skimpy bathing suits. That's what they do here," said Shannon Malmstrom, stretched out in the grass with two friends, all wearing two-piece bathing suits.

Students say they come to the park to relax, hang out with friends and sometimes meet members of the opposite sex. Many don't have cars and don't have an easy way to get to the beach. Back on their campus, there are few spots where enough sun filters through the live oaks to make sunbathing worthwhile, they said.

Jennifer De La Cuesta said she doubted any kind of sunbathing ban would work.

"Do you know what kind of protests there would be? Everybody would be out here sunbathing," she said.

"Everybody would be naked!" joked Malmstrom.

Those with more clothes on agreed.

Sam Morgan, visiting Charleston from Virginia, said he saw no problem with students in bathing suits.

"If there were frolicking in the fountain, having a wet T-shirt contest, that would be something different," he said.

That idea seemed to sound all right to another park-goer, who declined to give his name.

"Let 'em go wild," he said. Dennis Brown, lounging in the park with his dog Schatzy, said Gilliard's idea smacks of government intrusion.

"If this person feels offended, then he should avert his gaze. But he simply has no right whatsoever to impinge on the rights of others," he said. "We still have one foot in the Victorian Age."

Brown said he likes to see women sunbathing.

"There's nothing wrong with it," he said. "I'm able to simply enjoy female beauty and not feel guilty about it. There's a big difference between enjoying and leering."

Not everyone disagreed with the Gilliard's idea.

The Rev. Carl Wiggins, pastor of the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in Ladson, said he wouldn't mind seeing a sunbather-free Marion Square.

"I'm here praying, and it's hard on a human being not to be distracted," he said.

Concerns about improper attire aren't new in Charleston. In recent years, some downtown residents have complained about sloppily dressed tourists, although no one has sought to ban them. For the most part, those complaints have centered more on questions of respect than outright indecency.

The city's indecent exposure ordinance states, "No person shall appear in any public place or property open to the public in state of nudity or otherwise make any indecent exposure of his or her person."

Gilliard said he does not necessarily want police to start attempting to enforce the ordinance against bikini-wearing sunbathers, although he does hope the college will attempt to restrain them.

Riley said he does not agree there is a problem.

"It's spring, and warm days after a cold, gray, dreary winter ... attract sunbathers," he said. "Frankly, I feel that it's a very positive thing that Marion Square, beautifully restored ... is attractive to our citizenry."

Police Maj. Herb Whetsell said officers would have a difficult time trying to enforce an ordinance against sunbathers, although public nudity is another thing entirely.

"If a person is standing out there peeing on the sidewalk, yeah, we'll lock them up," he said.

Figuring out what kind of swimsuit should be considered indecent would be difficult, he said.

"The problem is, the Supreme Court has been trying to figure out for 30 or 40 years what indecent exposure is. So how's a cop going to figure it out? he said. "It is unenforceable ordinance. That's something you just don't want touch."



TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: South Carolina
KEYWORDS: cofc; councilman; sunbathing
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Feel free to post with your comments. This is really a hoot in my opinion.
1 posted on 04/25/2003 2:59:48 PM PDT by Big Steve
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To: Lady In Blue; lawgirl; PhiKapMom; rintense; ohioWfan; summer
BTTP. You people would get a kick out this. I wonder if this article would make people take a look at Charleston, SOuth Carolina. Also, any students interested in attending the College of Charleston may want to check this out. LOL
2 posted on 04/25/2003 3:05:25 PM PDT by Big Steve (Yakety Yak! Bomb Iraq)
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To: Big Steve
I've studied the picture closely. I see nothing at all amiss.
3 posted on 04/25/2003 3:05:58 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Larry Lucido
My thoughts exactly.
4 posted on 04/25/2003 3:09:19 PM PDT by Big Steve (Yakety Yak! Bomb Iraq)
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To: Big Steve
"I'm here praying, and it's hard on a human being not to be distracted," he said.

Say Amen, Brother.

5 posted on 04/25/2003 3:10:29 PM PDT by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: Big Steve
Charleston is one of my favorite cities. What is better than scantily clad, beautiful young women lounging in the shadows of the beautiful statues honoring the brave heroes of the Confederacy.
6 posted on 04/25/2003 3:12:17 PM PDT by GaConfed
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To: Big Steve
We need more photos to draw a proper conclusion.
7 posted on 04/25/2003 3:30:17 PM PDT by moyden2000
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To: moyden2000
I don't think there are any that can be found, but it would prove the critics wrong.
8 posted on 04/25/2003 3:47:01 PM PDT by Big Steve (Yakety Yak! Bomb Iraq)
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To: All
Pass the word on about this thread on to your friends and fellow Freepers.
9 posted on 04/25/2003 3:48:34 PM PDT by Big Steve (Yakety Yak! Bomb Iraq)
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To: Big Steve
>>He added that they have caused other problems, including a recent traffic jam. ...these two guys in a truck were looking at the girls laying out on the lawn," he said.<<

I am aggravated by his twisted reasoning. The irresponsible drivers caused the traffic jam, not the women in the bikinis.

risa
10 posted on 04/25/2003 3:52:38 PM PDT by Risa
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To: Big Steve
>>He added that they have caused other problems, including a recent traffic jam. ...these two guys in a truck were looking at the girls laying out on the lawn," he said.<<

I am aggravated by his twisted reasoning. The irresponsible drivers caused the traffic jam, not the women in the bikinis.

risa
11 posted on 04/25/2003 3:52:39 PM PDT by Risa
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To: Big Steve
Pass the word on about this thread on to your friends and fellow Freepers.

What is the word, on?
12 posted on 04/25/2003 3:57:56 PM PDT by SwinneySwitch (Liberate Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, NK, Cuba...; Support the Troops!)
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To: Big Steve
A caller to a local radio station said that the councilman can "kiss her ordiance." Very funny.
13 posted on 04/25/2003 4:06:47 PM PDT by Big Steve (Yakety Yak! Bomb Iraq)
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To: Big Steve
Looks OK to me.
14 posted on 04/25/2003 4:10:42 PM PDT by aomagrat (IYAOYAS)
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To: Risa
"Everybody thought something had happened, but these two guys in a truck were looking at the girls laying out on the lawn," he said

Actually that was inappropriate behaviour by the girls. If they had just been lying out on the lawn it would not have been an affront to public decency.

15 posted on 04/25/2003 4:17:31 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy (Paging Nehemiah Scudder:The Crazy Years are peaking. America is ready for you.)
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To: Big Steve
Slow news day.
16 posted on 04/25/2003 4:20:28 PM PDT by You Dirty Rats
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To: You Dirty Rats
It may be a slow news day, but this story was one that cannot be buried in the pages. It made the front page of our paper.
17 posted on 04/25/2003 4:23:22 PM PDT by Big Steve (Yakety Yak! Bomb Iraq)
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To: Big Steve
Life's a beach. :) Some aren't so lucky to live near one.
18 posted on 04/25/2003 4:28:44 PM PDT by anymouse
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To: anymouse
I agree. Some wish they could live near a beach.
19 posted on 04/25/2003 4:52:33 PM PDT by Big Steve (Yakety Yak! Bomb Iraq)
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To: Oztrich Boy
>>If they had just been lying out on the lawn it would not have been an affront to public decency.<<

He said the truck drivers were distracted by 'girls laying on the lawn.'

What do you propose the young women were doing that was inappropriate--did I miss something in the article?

regards,
risa
20 posted on 04/25/2003 5:40:05 PM PDT by Risa
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To: Risa
"laying" is what you do during sex.

"lying" is what you do after sex. Either just lying there, or: "Was it good for you too?" "Yes".

21 posted on 04/25/2003 5:48:18 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy (Paging Nehemiah Scudder:The Crazy Years are peaking. America is ready for you.)
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To: Big Steve
...That's something you just don't want touch."

I respectfully beg to differ.

22 posted on 04/25/2003 5:51:41 PM PDT by tcostell
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To: Big Steve
Is it Public Property?... well then, pass an ordinance that proscribes sunbathing in scanty costumes or in the nude on that Public Property. Then, when the idiots show up to push the limits, arrest them and fine them, bigtime! Might be a nice way to raise a few thousand for Charleston coffers ... call it paying theior voluntary taxes for their volutary disobedience to the laws of Public display, if they like, but fine the bejeebers out of the little pissants.
23 posted on 04/25/2003 6:00:24 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote Life Support for others.)
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To: Big Steve
"I'm here praying, and it's hard on a human being not to be distracted," he said

LOL! Amen, reverend!

24 posted on 04/25/2003 7:03:04 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (Plus de fromage, s'il vous plait...)
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To: Big Steve
I'm just damned glad they don't have anything like this where I live.
25 posted on 04/25/2003 7:08:14 PM PDT by Scenic Sounds
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To: MHGinTN
Gee, your solution is how the Democrats try to stop everything they don't like. Same philosophy, different topic. I'm offended by bald guys, fat people and beards. If I am in power, your thinking would allow me to fine / "tax" the beejeebers out of all of these things too.
26 posted on 04/25/2003 7:08:52 PM PDT by bluefish
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To: All
Have a good night everyone. Keep this thread going.
27 posted on 04/25/2003 7:39:15 PM PDT by Big Steve (Yakety Yak! Bomb Iraq)
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To: bluefish
Your PC whining doesn't even phase my intolerance level, honey.
28 posted on 04/25/2003 8:05:43 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote Life Support for others.)
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To: MHGinTN
I lived in Charleston for 23 years and have been to the College of Charleston many times and dated a girl that went there and I'm outraged,, outraged I tell ya that more babes aren't taking advantage of Marion Square,, Joe Riley got one right,, I was opposed to his getting the city to mandate a closing time for area bars however,,,
29 posted on 04/25/2003 8:17:49 PM PDT by Lib-Lickers 2 (God Bless Our Military)
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To: Big Steve
Thanks for the ping,Big Steve! I'm kind of surprised at South Carolina! I thought this kind of indecency was found on the East Coast and the Left Coast! These kids! I don't just don't know!
30 posted on 04/25/2003 8:19:00 PM PDT by Lady In Blue (Bush,Cheney,Rumsfeld,Rice 2004)
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To: Oztrich Boy
>>"laying" is what you do during sex. <<

oh. I failed to catch the slang.

regards,
risa
31 posted on 04/25/2003 10:55:07 PM PDT by Risa
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To: MHGinTN
First, try to figure out what PC is, and why it is bad.

I'm not doing the whining. You are. You are whining about sunbathers. PC folks whine about people being free to think and do what they want. Your solution is to "tax" the sunbathers b/c it offends you. I point out that your aggressive solution to this horrible problem of girls sunbathing is not much differnent than the way Leftists deal with their own silly issues. You then refer to my comment as PC whining. You don't even get it, HONEY.

The PC crowd tries to eliminate what offends them through regulation, taxation, fines, etc. The PC crowd is quite totalitarian and does not respect individual freedom. Your desire to control society is no different than theirs. Your moral and philosophical beliefs about the purpose of goverment is identical to that of the Leftists. The only difference is the silly issues you choose to get your panties in a bunch over.

The problem with PC HONEY is that it imposes a moral view on others, at the cost of freedom.

Why are you on FREE Republic? Maybe you should start a new site: Taliban Republic. It would fit your style well. Heck, why stop at taxation. Maybe we should herd 'em into a soccer stadium and put a gun to their head. Then we can make the rest of the women wear Burkhas, so as not to offend your sensibilities.

32 posted on 04/26/2003 12:18:29 AM PDT by bluefish
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To: bluefish
You've convinced me. Up until this very post, I was of the opinion (mistakenly, obviously) that the Libertarian people were a breath of fresh air on the political scene. But you've now convinced me that they are, rather than the criminal enterprise democrat party, the people of degeneracy, the champions of hedonism. Thank you so much for enlightening me on this issue.
33 posted on 04/26/2003 7:43:34 AM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote Life Support for others.)
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To: MHGinTN
Let's just ban ogling at beautiful women. Problem solved.
34 posted on 04/26/2003 7:46:04 AM PDT by goldstategop ( In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: MHGinTN
It's sunbathing Mullah MHGinTN. Try to get some perspective.

You have convinced ME that SOME social conservatives, like yourself, have such a distorted view of what is important in the grand scheme of things that they cannot even recognize a simple aregument for what it is. You presume to know where I stand politically. You assume to much.

Your view, Mullah MHGinTN, explains why brutal dictatorships and theocracies around the world sitll exist and why we have to end them. People like you value their own twisted sense of superior morality, over liberty and freedom. You would sacrifice freedom and support the use of a totalitarian police state to put an end to the horrors of sunbathing LOL.

35 posted on 04/26/2003 12:35:01 PM PDT by bluefish
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To: Big Steve
This guy better never come to the beaches of California..He would implode......
36 posted on 04/26/2003 12:38:38 PM PDT by Joe Hadenuf
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To: Lady In Blue
You are welcome for the ping, LiB.
37 posted on 04/26/2003 12:47:50 PM PDT by Big Steve (Yakety Yak! Bomb Iraq)
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To: Joe Hadenuf
Either in California or in South Florida- Ft. Lauderdale, Miami Beach, West Palm Beach, etc.
38 posted on 04/26/2003 12:50:34 PM PDT by Big Steve (Yakety Yak! Bomb Iraq)
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To: bluefish
ZZZZt ... wrong. I value the innocence of children far more than the amount of skin you seem to crave in public places. Sunbathing in a public park where impressionable children are exposed to string bikinis and topless coeds is just not a level of debauchery I will tolerate. And thank you for the high praise.
39 posted on 04/26/2003 1:57:21 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote Life Support for others.)
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To: MHGinTN
Ahhh... I see. Your dream police state is "For the Children" now. Wonder where I've heard that before?

I can name a lot of places around the world where your innocent eyes don't have to be assaulted by a coed in a bikini. You might have to give up God in exchange for Allah mind you, but those places have accomplished what you would have for us here already. The children there aren't exposed to any of the debauchery and depravity of which you speak either. Some of these places may be paradise for you.

40 posted on 04/26/2003 5:31:36 PM PDT by bluefish
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To: bluefish
You're floundering. The City of Charleston has every right to pass a restriction banning such behavior in the City Park where tourists bring their children to see the city, not the skin of Charleston. [You might want to put some ice on that bigotry you sling around. Sound familiar to you, dearie? Yes, I'm exercising my right to be intolerant of your ilk. Live with it ... or would you prefer to legislate against it? Bwahahaha]
41 posted on 04/26/2003 5:52:40 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote Life Support for others.)
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To: MHGinTN
Sorry, dearie, but you suggesting that I am floundering does not make it so. Explain yourself.

Simply telling me that the city of Charleston has the right to pass a law against bikinis does not address my point. You have merely circled back and restated your position and ignored all of my arguments. It is true that a law can be passed. It doesn't address my suggestion that your priorities are in the wrong place though, nor does it address whether it is right to pass such a law.

I support your right to be intolerant of anything you wish, so stop with the stupid and overly reactive assumptions already. I'm not whining about your thoughts on girls in bikinis, so get over it already and take a moment to understand the discussion taking place.

Had you merely expressed disgust or displeasure at the activity in the park, I would not have responded. I would have respected and agreed with your position even. Surprise!

You are so ready to fire off a rapid defense of your position that you can't take a moment to understand what it is you said that is being objected too. Thus, you toss out your wholly incorrect assumptions about "my ilk" and end up looking more like a fool than you did with your original position.

My objection is not to your position on the matter. It is your proposed solution. You prefer to be fast and loose with legislation and government solutions to every minor thing that disturbs your fragile sensitivities. You see government and the law as a tool to impose your moral beliefs on others.

This is where I disagree with you. This does NOT tell you anything about where I stand on specific issues of morality. Your assumptions about what I believe in this regard are completely incorrect. You can be "intolerant" all you want. Frankly, you and I probably agree more on what is right and wrong than we disagree. Where we part is how to deal with those things we don't like.

I will leave you with my previous suggestion, since a discussion about the valid purpose of government is beyond you: Get a grip, "dearie" It is a girl in a bikini. Your priorities are in the wrong place. Unwind your bunched up panties and think about it for a moment, before you continue with your stupid and incorrect assumptions about me "and my ilk."

42 posted on 04/26/2003 8:21:50 PM PDT by bluefish
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To: bluefish
Simply telling me that the city of Charleston has the right to pass a law against bikinis does not address my point. Is that absurd red herring to be taken as your rational approach to 'discussion'? If you think this is an issue over bikinis, I have no further reason to discuss this further with you.
43 posted on 04/26/2003 9:17:04 PM PDT by MHGinTN (If you can read this, you've had life support from someone. Promote Life Support for others.)
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To: Big Steve
There are some places where bikinis are not appropriate.

Would you accept a bikini-clad woman shopping in your supermarket?
... in a restaurant?
... on the floor of the Senate?
... on a public bus?
... in an office building?
... in church
or any other place where it is appropriate to be more formally dressed.

Perhaps downtown Charleston is not an appropriate place for bikini wear. There are lots of nearby beaches where it would be appropriate.

44 posted on 04/26/2003 9:31:40 PM PDT by FreedomCalls (It's the "Statue of Liberty" not the "Statue of Security.")
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To: MHGinTN
Truly laughable and pathetic MHGinTN. I cannot let stand your final lame attempt to bow out by projecting your own failures in this debate onto me.

Is that absurd red herring to be taken as your rational approach to 'discussion'?

I addressed YOUR red herring and you turn around and suggest that I am using a red herring. Ludicrous! Look up the word, and then look at our exchange. I pointed out in my last post that your argument regarding the city's ability to pass a law (YOUR red herring effort to ignore my prior post about the legitemate use of government) has nothing to do with the real point. You ignored my argument with that silly insert. You haven't addressed my argument yet.

If you think this is an issue over bikinis...

You should truly be ashamed of yourself here. I made the point repeatedly, and in a variety of ways, that the big picture is not about bikinis and that you should temper your desire to send in the police state to end sunbathing.

You kept the focus of YOUR argument on morality. My suggestion to you was that your focus was on the wrong thing and that the bigger picture was the legitemate use of government. Your rebuttal was that the city can pass a law if it wants, your Red Herring which didn't address my point.

Rather than address the bigger issue I raised, you chose to accuse me of being morally depraved for not feeling that sunbathers were an important issue, having a need or desire for skin, being more debaucherous than Dems, being PC and whining about your whining about bikinis, etc.

The discussion is about your desire to use totalitarianism as a method to create a model society, and my assertion that it leads to just the opposite. You have continued to refuse to address the primary topic while instead choosing to presume the whole time what my moral status is or political leanings are.

For you, the discussion has continued to be about bikinis.

Don't project your own failings onto me, and don't dismiss the discussion by accusing me of engaging in the very tactics you have attempted to employ. That is what Dems do when their arguments fail.

45 posted on 04/26/2003 10:57:54 PM PDT by bluefish
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To: Big Steve
Steve, it is'nt a "hoot" to me. If they want to sunbathe, let them go out to - now let's see, how many beaches in the area? Or why not on their own campus? Marion Square is in the heart of the business district and tourist area, not the beach or someones backyard.

But them in jail for indencent exposure if thats what it takes and/or get them put on probahition at the college or what ever. But that is inappropriate behavior - no matter how old you are.
46 posted on 04/27/2003 12:43:56 AM PDT by dixie sass (GOD bless America)
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To: bluefish
Bugger off! You don't live here, I do. We have beaches at the ocean and beaches at the lakes and private backyards, Marian Square is not the place for that -- period!
47 posted on 04/27/2003 12:48:47 AM PDT by dixie sass (GOD bless America)
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To: MHGinTN
I agree with you 100%. Apparently they don't even thing for themselves, just follow the guy in front - isn't his name Timothy Leary? Turn on, Tune out etc, etc, etc...
48 posted on 04/27/2003 12:53:43 AM PDT by dixie sass (GOD bless America)
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To: dixie sass
bugger off? nice
49 posted on 04/27/2003 1:47:06 AM PDT by bluefish
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To: dixie sass
Careful with the assumptions there dixie. perhaps you should make your way through the thread first. You know what assumptions do.
50 posted on 04/27/2003 1:49:02 AM PDT by bluefish
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