Dateline: Beatrice, Nebraska.If you were walking down Court Street in
central Beatrice last week, you might have been surprised when you
reached a store called "Hannah's Treasures". The store name is sort of
obscure: since it deals in medical scrubs, it was always unclear who
exactly "Hannah" was, and what her treasures were. But if you glanced in
the front window last Wednesday, it might suddenly have seemed
all-too-clear. "If that's supposed to be Hannah," you might have mused,
"then it's pretty tasteless if those supposed to be her 'treasures'."
And then you might have called the police.
week, the owner of the store, one Kevin Kramer, was packing, getting
ready to move his business to Lincoln, Nebraska. So things were in that
mid-move state of disarray. While he was off doing an errand, Mr. Kramer
got a call from a friend, who told him that the front window of his
Beatrice location had been papered over. And when he rushed back, he
contacted the Beatrice police.
out the police had some questions for Mr. Kramer. Specifically: why had
he left a female mannequin with her pants around her ankles, otherwise
clad in nothing but a pair of shoes, standing so brazenly in the front
window of "Hannah's Treasures"?
was no idle question. The police themselves had covered the window with
paper, after receiving complaints from Beatriceans that the naked dummy
was "obscene". And now Mr. Kramer was facing possible arrest on a
charge of "disorderly conduct".
to Beatrice's chief of police, obscenity is determined by what citizens
consider obscene. And he felt the people offended by the fiberglass
replica of a female human had a point. In his words, the dummy was
"fairly descriptive, not your typical J.C. Penney mannequin".
Furthermore, according to offended members of the citizenry, it was
In the end,
one big bust did not provoke another. The poliice were convinced Mr.
Kramer hadn't intended to offend anyone by displaying a statue's
business in the window of his business. Kevin Kramer himself was
offended, though. And he's been publicly mulling a lawsuit against the
local constabulary, for anything from trespassing to littering --
because of that paper on his window.
he has put a bikini on "Mary Beth". That's the mannequin's name, by the
way. Not "Hannah", just to clear that up. And Mary Beth continues to
stand alone in the window of "Hannah's Treasures" -- having now received
both more and less coverage than anyone would have expected.