When Nudists Attack

FOR DOWNLOAD MORE GALLERY It's spring and the clothes are coming off again in Brattleboro.
"I looked out my window and saw a man in his 60s walking up and down Main Street totally nude," said Brattleboro resident Theresa Toney, about having dinner in town and spying the nude man through the restaurant window. "This is indecent exposure where it doesn't belong."
There is no report of any indecent behavior, but the Selectboard in the Vermont town has begun keeping a log of nude activity.
"How do you want to be viewed as Brattleboro?" asked the Rev. Kevin Horion. "We want to welcome families with small children." With nudists likely to pop up anywhere, he said, "I am concerned we don't know where they are going to strike."
There are no reports of any nude person "striking" or exhibiting any predatory behavior, but that has not stopped people from being hysterical.
"I encourage you to consider that we are asking our young people who attend Brattleboro Union High School to adhere to a dress code," said Mike Brooks, of Vernon. He said it might be considered hypocritical for the high school to expect the students to stick to the dress code if after school they can go downtown and see nudists.

"It's difficult as a parent," he said. "We try to explain to kids the dangers of predators."

It's very hard to explain to a 10-year-old the difference between freedom of expression and predatory behavior, said Brooks.
It's difficult to explain anything to a 10 year-old. It's difficult to explain to a youngster why a priest or minister would engage in child abuse. Or a Scoutmaster. Or a teacher. Or a politician. It's difficult to explain the rationale behind our invasion of Iraq.

Last year I said that no good would come of the situation in Brattleboro. You might remember that young people were congregating nude in a downtown parking lot (perfectly legal in Vermont), and after much brouhaha, the Selectboard decided to do nothing since the cold weather was setting in and the clothes were going back on.

But now the backlash is starting early in the warm weather season, and the moralists are fine-tuning their arguments. Jerry Falwell might be dead but his political machine still thrives. Watch out, Vermont, the right to be nude at the old swimming hole is about to go the way of the Dodo bird.

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