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Old Oct 20, 2009, 7:09 PM   #221
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But again, someone taking a photo of a child may have some purpose other than pornography in mind, and it could be evil too.

So limiting the list of possible motivations to pedophilia is unreasonable too.
This, and no offense, seems to be the "be all, and end all" of your argument.

Since normal street photography has nothing to do with the question of harm, it's a reach to me. If someone has evil intent for a child, or an adult (or my dog) they don't need a camera, and in fact don't use a camera. Are there exceptions? Sure, and so what? No ban on photography has anything to do with these exceptions. I would indeed be a bit more paranoid if I was a big time drug dealer who just executed the family of my compitition.

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Old Oct 20, 2009, 8:03 PM   #222
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This, and no offense, seems to be the "be all, and end all" of your argument.
Your cryptic responses can usually be deciphered, but I'm not sure I get this one.

What I said was that taking a photo of a child could have an evil purpose, yet have nothing to do with pornography or pedophilia.

Taking a photo of anything could be a prelude to an act of evil, just as looking at something could be a prelude to an act of evil. The circumstances may indicate that the act of photographing, or just looking, is suspicious, and in those circumstances, the police can and should investigate.

What could you possibly object to, presuming that those circumstances are at least possible?

In other words, isn't it at least possible that one person, in the act of photographing a child, could, in the judgement of another person, appear suspicious?

And in that situation, wouldn't the police be doing their duty by invesitgating the behavior that someone else judged to be suspicious?

(I have gone to great pains to phrase those last two questions in such a way that a reasonable person can answer them with simply a 'Yes' or a 'No'. I'm looking forward to your latest obfuscation.)
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 9:02 PM   #223
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I take my big lens and sit in my car on the shoulder of the road at the local elementary school taking pictures of kiddies.

I am doing which of the following?

A) Taking pictures of my kid(s) playing on the play ground in a manner that they will not readily realize their picture is being taken.

B) Taking pictures of a child for a parental custody issue in the performance of my private detective license.

C) Taking random pictures of children at play for the local newspaper, the school district's website, my art portfolio or any other legitimate purposes

D) God knows what evil purposes.


While I am clicking away on the camera, wanna guess how long it will take for two cruisers from the local PD to park themselves on the corners of my car effectively blocking my ease of escape?

My guess is within 3 minutes of the first teacher, parent, nosey neighbor, passer-by etc spotting my vehicle and my actions.

Oh, BTW, don't need a camera. Binoculars, telescope, hells bells just my creepy presence hanging around the school yard will be enough to justify the PD response.

Yet, in 3 of my 4 scenarios, I am doing absolutely NOTHING wrong. Even so, in every town in this country I will be questioned/investigated for potential criminal acts.

Don't think the PD will aggressively respond to my activity?

Try being the Chief of PD explaining your officiers lack of action in preventing a known pervert kidnapping little Suzi from the school yard. Yep, they are gonna error on the side of caution every time.


Is this right, wrong, legal, ethical? I don't know. It is, what it is.
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 11:12 PM   #224
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i really don't see why everyone gets so upset that a concerned father called the police to follow up on something he perceived as suspicious. which is the father's right, as the police's job is to protect and serve. the police then followed up appropriately and no arrest or charges were made when it was clear that it was not a threat.

i fail to see anything wrong with this scenario.
I guess, for me, it's that it's rather extreme to think that someone taking your daughter's picture is "suspicious" in any way. I think what Chato is trying to accomplish is for society to not just accept the slow erosion of our freedoms because of irrational fears. I appreciate what he is trying to say, even if I don't agree with 100% of it.

Think of it this way: when it comes to money and investing, people are easily aware of the risks of investing in stocks, etc. It is much harder to explain and convince them of the risks of NOT investing! But there is, indeed, a risk to stuffing your money under the mattress or putting it in a bank to languish away with inflation.
Everything has its risks, there is no way around it, and no way life will ever be free of pain and hurt.
SO, the question becomes, which risks are we willing to take? Are we willing to go to all lengths to prevent any crime from every occurring, at the expense of giving all our power and freedom away to the government? I'm sure most of us here fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, but I am just giving the extremes to illustrate that there is a risk to both choices.
Living in fear that your photography may someday upset someone enough to call the police is a price to pay for supposed protection of children. It may or may not be worth that price, but the point is to be aware that there is a price to be paid!
Furthermore, we have yet to establish that this scenario actually would help protect anyone! Suppose the photographer WAS a pedophile...the same scenario, the police calls and he says "yes, I took her picture...it was just a cool picture, is that illegal?" The officer says "why no, it wasn't...thank you for your time"??? I mean, if there is NOT a "watch list" of some kind, what could possibly have happened in this phone call other than the remote possibility that the photographer blurts out "well, yes, because I'm a pedophile!" How did the policeman's phone call actually protect anyone????
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Old Oct 20, 2009, 11:16 PM   #225
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Saying all the above, after being concerned with this issue for many years, I have never seen a legitimate study that shows a link between those who use pornography, (or the Sear catalogue) and the actual abuse of children. No doubt there are individuals who are affected by such images, but they are extremely disturbed persons, who may not even be diagnostically pedophile. The manifestation of their insanity can go in any direction.

As to normal porn, there have been many studies showing no link between erotic pornography and an increase in rape or such crimes. There IS rape pornography, and obviously anyone who buys such images is predisposed to abuse woman.
I beg to differ. There are studies which do demonstrate this link.
But really, this is not the main point of the conversation anyway, so never mind
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To say that you can protect your children by protecting them from photography, is at best a lose/lose proposition. The creation of an atmosphere where No Adult is prepared to help a child because of a fear of being labeled a pedophile is far more dangerous than the actual chance of a child being molested. Parents can best protect their children from the real dangers by simply telling their children not to go with a stranger, do not accept gifts from a stranger. Obviously those parents who let their kids hang out at 2AM in the morning are creating an anything goes situation.

This entire question needs a society wide response, and the least of our dangers are the photographs of properly dress kids in public. To criminalise that is to also criminalise those people who like children, and enjoy the activities of children - And those people are the first defense against real pedophiles. In other words, when your neighbors are afraid to look at children, you have just obliterated your main defense when the parent is not around.

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I did NOT say that you can protect your children by protecting them from photography, just to clarify. I agree with the rest of your statement! I think the risk of being a victim of a pedophile is really pretty small, barring family members and close friends. And unfortunately, that remote fear HAS changed society, and in many ways, it is more dangerous (the isolation, for example) than the possibility of pedophilia. It's just more subtle and harder to demonstrate.
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 2:55 AM   #226
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Taking a photo of anything could be a prelude to an act of evil, just as looking at something could be a prelude to an act of evil. The circumstances may indicate that the act of photographing, or just looking, is suspicious, and in those circumstances, the police can and should investigate.
Just about anything can be a prelude to an act of evil. Catching the bus. Or purchasing a box cutter for example.

And suspicious behaviour should (or not) be reported to the authorities. I favour not because the cure is worse than the disease and open to monstrous abuse. That is why we have an open society, so that people can go about their idiosyncratic business without having the state supervising and controlling their every move.

These things are all on a continuum of course, but I lament the swing towards the totalitarian oversight of our behaviour. In totalitarian regimes most arrests are instigated by one member of the public informing on another, that's just how these things go.

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In other words, isn't it at least possible that one person, in the act of photographing a child, could, in the judgement of another person, appear suspicious?
Yes.

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And in that situation, wouldn't the police be doing their duty by invesitgating the behavior that someone else judged to be suspicious?
Unless there is prima facie evidence that the person has committed a crime, then absolutely not. Their duty is as much to the person being reported as it is to the person doing the reporting.
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 6:43 AM   #227
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Their duty is as much to the person being reported as it is to the person doing the reporting.
Exactly - which is why the police acted properly by getting THEIR side of the story. Once they had their side of the story, the matter was dropped. The police served both sides very well.
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 7:30 AM   #228
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And suspicious behaviour should (or not) be reported to the authorities. I favour not because the cure is worse than the disease and open to monstrous abuse.
That is, I'm sure, unless it's you who witnessed the suspicious behavior and the potential victim is you or a member of your family. I understand this tendancy, as it would be my own in similar circumstances.

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That is why we have an open society, so that people can go about their idiosyncratic business without having the state supervising and controlling their every move.
All anyone here is advocating is that the police investigate suspicious behavior. Suggesting that the inevitable outcome of having police investigate suspicious behavior is having the state supervising and controlling everyone's every move, is just as absurd as suggesting that every person that takes a photo of a young girl is a pedophile.

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These things are all on a continuum of course, but I lament the swing towards the totalitarian oversight of our behaviour.
The swing you lament is already on its way back. State and local governments are already reversing their "Zero Tolerance" policies. The advantage of democracy is that it is self-correcting. It doesn't always act or react as quickly as we all might like, but it eventually comes around.

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In totalitarian regimes most arrests are instigated by one member of the public informing on another, that's just how these things go.
That's how most arrests are instigated in free societies as well.

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Unless there is prima facie evidence that the person has committed a crime, then absolutely not. Their duty is as much to the person being reported as it is to the person doing the reporting.
Evidence is rarely discovered unless someone has a suspicion. Are you suggesting that only certain people, licensed and regulated by the state, should be able to report their suspicions to law enforcement authorities?
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 8:51 AM   #229
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while I understand Craig's point there is a monumental difference between state monitoring of individual activity and authorities investigating a complaint. Again, I believe this comes from not understanding that investigating complaints is a huge portion of what police do on a daily basis. Civil rights aren't being violated. Police simply get boths sides of the story and determine a proper course of action. It really is how things already work in a free and open society Craig. Without that service you would have people taking matters more into their own hands which is infinitely more dangerous than having an unbiased neutral third party looking into the matter. Unfortunately people have a misconception about law enforcement based upon movies and TV.
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Old Oct 21, 2009, 4:44 PM   #230
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John G, you make some good points, and since you have connections in law enforcement, I have one question for you: are you saying that ALL complaints must be/are investigated by the police, regardless of merit? Regardless of whether the complaint actually involves a criminal action? ...In this case, after all, there is no way to argue that taking the photograph was, in itself, a criminal action...so what, exactly, were the police investigating? Can I call the police because my neighbor is just weird and I think there *might* be some chance that they are abusing their children because they yelled at them the other day? I don't mean to be flippant about this, I am giving an example that I could think of, but it's a real question--I was under the impression that the police force was selective about which complaints they investigated. Also, what about the question I posted earlier--who exactly would be protected by the investigation in the OP?
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