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Opening Arguments

Speaking of crime

Be careful whom you talk to; it coud be a crime:

After an El Dorado Hills mom reported observing a strange man speaking with her two children at each of three children's-story events, deputies arrested the man at his Folsom home.

Victor Emmer, 49, was arrested March 13 on suspicion of loitering where children gather.

"It's an odd charge," said sheriff's Sgt. Jim Byers, noting the statute intends chiefly to protect school-grounds neighborhoods. "The family was at the Folsom Borders Books story-telling time, where he (spoke to one of the children), and for lack of a better term, he creeped the mom out. Then, a few days later at the

El Dorado Hills Library story time, she saw him again striking up conversation with her children. And then, he does it again. We felt it justified a criminal complaint, she signed it and he was arrested."

An odd charge, indeed -- "loitering where children gather." One consequence of such hystrical overraction is that authorities will become jaded, and too slow to respond to real threats.