Here’s a story from June of 1969, from the time when hippies and bare feet were in full swing.
And those in authority were not reluctant to arrest you for going barefooted, even if they had to make stuff up.
The incident happened in the New Hampshire State House.
Concord Boys Put in Jail For Resisting an Officer
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The prosecution has dropped charges against two youths, one of them the son of former Mayor Herbert Quinn, who were arrested when they refused to leave the State House cafeteria.
Joachim Luneau, 18, of Concord and a juvenile, identified later by former Mayor Herbert Quinn as his son, John, 16, were charged with resisting an officer when they refused to leave the cafeteria on an order from a State House guard.
The youths, one barefooted and the other with long hair, were arrested by Concord police called by the guard.
Assistant Atty. Gen. Henry Spaloss withdrew the charge against Luneau in district court Thursday. Quinn was released to his parents.
Sen. Alf Jacobson, R-New London, said he witnessed the arrests. He said the two teenagers were dressed no differently from other youngsters their age.
The senator said the boys sat by themselves at a table in a corner of the cafeteria and the guard told them to leave. He said the youths refused. Later, Jacobson said, the guard returned with Concord policemen.
“They yanked them out of their chairs. It took two to manacle one, and the other policeman manacled the other,” Jacobson said.
“As far as I can see, they weren’t violating the law. I would say the situation could have been handled better,” he said.
The former mayor said police did not notify him of his son’s arrest. He heard about it and asked a friend to go to the jail and pick up his son, who spent 4½ hours in the cell, he said.
We can pretty accurately guess exactly what happened.
The guard was sure that it was against the law (or health codes) to be barefoot in a restaurant.
The boys knew better. (Teenage boys always know better, right?) So they refused to leave. They weren’t doing anything wrong.
I wonder if things would have turned out the same if one of them hadn’t been the son of a local politician? But as they say, they may have beat the rap, but they didn’t beat the ride.
In these sorts of situations it’s probably better to acquiesce at the moment and then write letters so that the guards know that it is okay. Of course, that doesn’t always work in the long run; here in Ohio that meant that the politicians made it illegal: Statehouse Approves Shoe Rule — Again.
[I should add that sometimes it works just fine. Someday I need to write about my visit to the Smithsonian.]
Anyways, the attitudes against bare feet are long-standing. And guards are rarely well-trained.
[Photo from Wikipedia Commons.]