So apparently there's this guy running around a town in California with a Cookie Monster costume on.

He hasn't done anything illegal (at least not yet) and apparently is pretty harmless. But the people of Santa Cruz, California, are up in arms.

Here's a copy of the public warning put out by the Santa Cruz Police Department:

"Recently, a man dressed up like the Cookie Monster in Santa Cruz is causing concern around the Beach and Wharf areas. The Santa Cruz Police Department identified the costume-clad man as Adam Sandler, and he has no relation to the actor. Santa Cruz Police Department have received calls and emails from people who say he is 'creepy' and his presence and comments make them uncomfortable. Based on Adam Sandler's history across the country, the Santa Cruz Police Department advises the public not to engage with this individual and steer clear of him."
There is a bigger message here, although I'm still trying to sort it out.
Consider these things: What if the man was dressed as Satan, or another nefarious character such as Darth Maul or Hannibal Lechter? In a state that outlaws open carry of firearms, what if a man started walking around town carrying a .38 revolver?
Or what if a guy in St. George just dressed as something we don't like, like a Democrat or former Missouri Governor Lilliburn Boggs? Would that be offensive enough to scoop the miscreant off the streets?
The Santa Cruz police were asked if it would be OK to get pictures taken with the man in the Cookie Monster outfit. Here's their answer:
"It's a parent's prerogative and risk to allow their child to take a picture with this character. Remember that SCPD advises the public not to interact with this person in the cookie monster costume due to his history of unpredictable vulgar comments and troublesome behavior. It is important to note he is not employed by, contracted by, or permitted by the City of Santa Cruz or any local business on the Wharf or surrounding areas. This individual is exercising his first amendment rights; however, if you are a victim or witness a criminal act by this individual, please file a police report immediately. We ask that you assist SCPD in identifying and signing a complaint against the person(s) responsible. We also ask you to be willing to testify in court if necessary."
Maybe I'm way off base here, but it seems to me the folks in Santa Cruz are making much ado about nothing. Of course, as parents we are charged with keeping our little ones safe. But to go after a guy who has committed no crime simply because he might do something wrong seems a little paranoid.
Watch your kids, keep them safe. But don't bust the Cookie Monster simply because he's different.

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