Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Don't Get It

Throughout my life as an anti-war, human rights and environmental activist, I have been videotaped by the police numerous times. Never once have they sought my permission to do so. Never once have I been committing a crime of any sort while being videotaped.

What have I been caught on tape doing? Holding a protest sign. Participating in chants. Standing in a crowd. Marching. Delivering a speech. Driving a car. Even going into a grocery store. All this in the name of protecting the public from my dangerous rights of free speech and free assembly!!

So, a story posted today on CommonDreams, has me puzzled.
A Maryland man is facing up to 16 years in prison for videotaping an overzealous state trooper who stopped the man for speeding.

But Graber, a sergeant with the Maryland Air National Guard, is now facing 16 years in prison, not for dangerous driving, but for a Youtube video he posted after receiving a speeding ticket.

The video, filmed with a camera mounted on Graber's motorcycle helmet designed to record biking stunts rather than police abuse, shows a plain clothes officer jumping out of an unmarked car and pointing a pistol at the motorcyclist.

It does not portray the policeman in a positive light...
Why is it that police can film people doing all sorts of things -- many of which are not illegal nor immoral -- and then these videos can show up on various TV programs, yet a citizen can't film a police officer? I fail to see the logic.

Because of dashboard cameras, the police now routinely record most of their traffic stops. Many such stops involve individuals who have broken laws. But some of them don't. In some cases, it's simply a case in which a car has broken down along the road or a citizen has flagged down an officer.

Do officers ask these people if it's okay that they film them? Well, of course not. Such a request would be unreasonable and impractical. So, why in this case would anyone argue that it WAS reasonable or practical?

Events like this cause me to shake my head. What is going on?

2 comments:

  1. I suggest that the police think they can do this is because, in the words of the late Alan Watts, all of us are equally guilty in the eyes of government because we live in a society which has parodied the notion that we are all equally divine in the sight of God and turned it upside down. But he's not the only one who says this. Many others have said this, too (this blog, for instance). We fear the outcast, the outsider. We control because we fear. We fear something when we do not trust it. We trust because we realize the Infinite within it as well as ourselves. When we trust we let go and let it do its thing.

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