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Kent Bernhardt: Neighbors don’t want ‘nekkid’ truth

Kent Bernhardt

Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.

Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.

Gerard Leeper says he isn’t doing anything wrong.

His neighbors just want him to put some clothes on.

Thus continues the saga that unfolded in a Charlotte neighborhood last week.

For some time now, Mr. Leeper has been making appearances in the buff at his glass storm door, exposing his uncovered attributes to anyone within eyeshot.

Technically, he’s within the law. The state of North Carolina forbids you to expose yourself in a place where the public has access. I don’t have access to the interior of Mr. Leeper’s home, so he’s free to walk around in there nekkid as a jaybird, even if you and I can see him.

And if I just happened to catch a sneak-peek at his cheeks while he was passing by that door, that would be one thing.

But Mr. Leeper knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s annoying his neighbors on a regular basis by baring himself to them in lengthy doses, deliberately. They’ve had enough, and they want law enforcement to do something.

His neighbors even have pictures. He calls that “intrusion of seclusion”. Hmmm, I never heard Perry Mason mention that one.

He told WBTV the other day that he doesn’t understand their anger. He has nothing but love for them in his heart, which is one of the few parts of his body he keeps covered.

Red Skelton used to tell a joke about an old lady who called police to report a man exposing himself in his house down the street. When an investigating officer told her he couldn’t see anything, she pointedly told him, “Well, stand on top of this dresser and use these binoculars, and you’ll see him clearly!”

Mr. Leeper, put some clothes on. Or at least close your door.

Your neighbors don’t hate you. They just don’t want to see everything you have to offer them. They know you’re naked. You know you’re naked. What you’re doing is for other reasons besides freedom of expression.

Besides, they’re tired of introducing you at the block party as “the nekkid guy”.

My dad used to say, “Your right to swing your arms stops where my nose begins.” In a figurative, roundabout way, those words apply here. Only, we’d be happy if Mr. Leeper was just swinging his arms.

He is violating our eyespace in a direct and deliberate way. He should stop, and his neighbors should forgive and embrace him — after he puts some clothes on.

On the bright side, Mr. Leeper will be getting counseling, and that’s a good thing. There are probably some hidden reasons he can’t see what we see, and professional counseling should help him understand that.

And perhaps laws should be redefined to cover such instances, though that is a sticky proposition. We should be careful in that area.

I don’t want to face arrest the next time I make a mad dash from the shower to the laundry room and forget to close the living room door.

Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.

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