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Old Oct 14, 2009, 11:30 AM   #61
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Dave - I believe here is where the differences lie. For me, if I'm at a stoplight and the car next to me has a guy taking a photo of my 3 year old in the back seat - that's suspicious. That's me as a father. I'm 39 years old and at least where I live, having a person in one car take a photo of someone in another car is nothing I'm used to seeing. It's out of the norm and therefore a bit odd and given the subject of the photo is a toddler, it raises my suspicion. If I were alone in the car and he took a photo of me I would find it very odd, but I wouldn't call it suspicious.

I think the issue here is you believe everyone has or should have the same viewpoint as you do. I would suggest if you asked this question to 100 parents in my area:
"If you were stopped at a stoplight with your toddler in the backseat and looked over at the car next to you and saw a man taking a photo of your child in the backseat. Would you consider that suspicous?" I'd be willing to bet a large sum of money the vast majority of those parents would say "yes".

It's not illegal for me to stand at a playground and hand out candy to children. I'm not breaking a law. But a majority of parents might find that behavior suspicious.

So I think the flaw in your argument is the assumption that most parents do or should think like you do. As a parent of a toddler I for one do not. And I'm a photographer - and I'm a proponent of street photography. But someone at a stoplight taking a photo of my child in the backseat is indeed suspicious to me. It's not part of the social norm where I live. And I'm guessing most parents who aren't artistic photographers might lean towards this viewpoint. I took an informal poll of 5 parents in my office - all of them would find that behavior highly suspicious. Not scientific by any stretch. But I didn't find one parent that felt that was normal, expected behavior.
I think my post went right by you. "Suspicious activity" needs no camera. You defacto acknowledge this by your example of the guy handing out candy.

Forty years ago if I photographed six year olds in a playground, it would be considered a completly rational and natural activity. Today it's "suspicious," why? They are soooooo cute. So, you're saying the majority then were automatically right, and the majority now is automatically right. Yet the number of cases where you could say that a pedophile used such a photograph to harm a child were insigninigant then, and insignifigant now. That any child who would be harmed by such a person, would in fact be harmed by them anyway.

Ok, is todays attitiude healthy? We are now in a situation where adults will refuse to help children because of a fear of being mistaken as a pedophile. There is actually an article out on the net, which documents numerous instances where adults feared to intervene in a situation because of this fear.

What's the solution? Why it's to justify the irrational no matter how harmful it may be.

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Old Oct 14, 2009, 11:31 AM   #62
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I suspect that Chato will continue to think the way he thinks, probably even after an angry parent approaches him while carrying a tire iron.

I suspect that Chato isn't going to change anyone elses mind either.

Responses to his antisocial rationalizations simply pour fuel on the fire.

Can't we just let this thread die?
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Old Oct 14, 2009, 11:33 AM   #63
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Great post JohnG! Pure, intelligent common sense.
And I agree with TCav.
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Old Oct 14, 2009, 12:17 PM   #64
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I suspect that Chato will continue to think the way he thinks, probably even after an angry parent approaches him while carrying a tire iron.

I suspect that Chato isn't going to change anyone elses mind either.

Responses to his antisocial rationalizations simply pour fuel on the fire.

Can't we just let this thread die?
Children are being harmed by the idea that ANY adult who approaches them is a menace. This is a new attitude. I assume from your post above that this is healthy for children?

Is it also healthy for children that adults are afraid to approach children, even to the point of intervening when a child is lost?

If a parent approaches me with a tire iron, simply because I took a shot of his demurly dressed child in a public place he/she is commiting a crime.

Why are they commiting a crime? I can give you a rational answer. Indeed aside from the fact that my taking such a photograph is perfectly legal, it's also perfectly moral.

But you cannot give me a rational answer as to justify their assault.

Clearly Chato is an irrational, anti-social person simply because he is rational and for a healthy society. My bad...

This frustration at my point of view is something I find interesting in and of itself. As I said in my last post, what is suspicious about what I do, or don't do, has little to do with whether I do or do not have a camera.

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Old Oct 14, 2009, 12:33 PM   #65
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the problem is that suspicion is in the eye of the beholder.

snapping photos of their young daughter in the car is suspicious behavior for a parent. and in the end that is the point-of-view that is important.

the OP had no malicious intent, nor do you with your photography. we all know that, you know that. but that parent does not.
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Old Oct 14, 2009, 12:41 PM   #66
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If a parent approaches me with a tire iron, simply because I took a shot of his demurly dressed child in a public place he/she is commiting a crime.

Why are they commiting a crime? I can give you a rational answer. Indeed aside from the fact that my taking such a photograph is perfectly legal, it's also perfectly moral.

But you cannot give me a rational answer as to justify their assault.
Actually, Dave, I will give you a rational answer. The rational answer is - although a car is legally defined as public, society as a whole does not expect you to point a camera in the back seat and take a photo of their child. You would say this behavior is moral. The rational answer is, as I suggested, most parents would disagree with you. To most parents, without any other information about you, such behavior is outside-the-norm - i.e. abnormal. And because that abnormal behavior involves a child as the subject they are suspicious. While chasing you with a tire iron would be over-the-top the reaction that said parent has thinking your behavior was suspicious is completely normal and rational. I would suggest that any parent NOT concerned would be acting irrationally. Notice I'm not mentioning morals here. Because I don't think it's important per se - this is more of a sociology thing - society norms. In certain consentrated societies morals come into play (i.e. an amish community etc...). But in a more integrated environment it's more about societal norms than a specific set of moral principles.

But the point is the same - my argument is taking a photo of a child in the back seat of a car is not considered 'normal' behavior. And given the fact parents are more heightened to risks out there today such behavior is not only 'not normal' but suspicious.

In a related example: 30 years ago Catholic priests were molesting children. In today's world a parent is keen to educate their children on appropriate vs. inappropriate behavior and to report such behavior - in the past they didn't and kids kept silent. Should the parents not be concerned about their children today simply because parents 30 years ago didn't think about it?

And the reality is most parents out there don't have all kinds of studies to fall back on. So they err on the side of caution. To them, the safety of their children is more important than your freedom to take any photo you want. That is rational behavior given the information they have. So yes, my son will be educated on inappropriate touching and other things parents 30 years ago didn't think to do.

Now - to answer another issue you repeatedly bring up - the camera aspect. The camera is simply another tool. First, unlike film, digital is much more prevalent today. It's also easier to 'develop' and view in private on ones home computer. THere is also the sharing of said information over the internet. Contact a major law enforcement office or the FBI and educate yourself on how much is going on over the internet with the sharing of these photos. To most RATIONAL parents - there's a difference between a person taking a mental image of their child home in their brains and using it for their own pleasure and 2,000 people having an actual photograph of their child to do the same thing - something the internet makes possible.

Now -- if a parent has a better understanding of the reason for you taking the photo they are going to have a much different reaction. Again - when I take a photo of a boys basketball game at the local HS I get no reaction. If I drive around the neighborhood and take photos through the window of toddlers in peoples back seats, normal rational parents are going to react quite differently. As they should.
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Old Oct 14, 2009, 12:45 PM   #67
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But you cannot give me a rational answer as to justify their assault.
Yeah I can. They feel threatened. However justified that feeling is is irrelevant.

But contrary to what you seem to think, it is rational.

But you're not going to understand that, because you're position is irrational. I'm sorry to have to break it to you, but the world has changed since you took photos of young children in a playground 40 years ago. You're clinging to a past you've idealized, and that's irrational.
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Old Oct 14, 2009, 12:59 PM   #68
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the problem is that suspicion is in the eye of the beholder.

snapping photos of their young daughter in the car is suspicious behavior for a parent. and in the end that is the point-of-view that is important.

the OP had no malicious intent, nor do you with your photography. we all know that, you know that. but that parent does not.
It may be, or it may be not, that you are correct in this instance. After all it was the way the motorist drove his car, that would or would not be suspicious.

But as you know this discussion far transcends this one incidence. Defacto, many seem to believe that taking a picture of a child is automatically grounds for the police or personal violence.

Is this not a fair summation?

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Old Oct 14, 2009, 1:08 PM   #69
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Yeah I can. They feel threatened. However justified that feeling is is irrelevant.

But contrary to what you seem to think, it is rational.

But you're not going to understand that, because you're position is irrational. I'm sorry to have to break it to you, but the world has changed since you took photos of young children in a playground 40 years ago. You're clinging to a past you've idealized, and that's irrational.
The Law of course is on the side of rationality. Now if your position is so rational, just HOW would you change the law? Should be easy to give me a roughly worded answer - I wont hold you to technicalities.

Some people feel threatened by their souls being stolen by a photographer. Apparently if the majority of people believe this, than it's a rational belief.

You seem to feel that a harmless image viewed by one person is STILL harmless, but viewed by two thousand is harmful.

Hmm?

The reason we are all talking past each other on this question is that underlying these posts is the question of "harm" Somehow a harmless image is defacto harmful. But then again the exact same image of a child where he/she is not the main subject of the image is NOT harmful (even though anyone can crop an image to make an entirely new image)

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Old Oct 14, 2009, 1:11 PM   #70
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Actually, Dave, I will give you a rational answer. The rational answer is - although a car is legally defined as public, society as a whole does not expect you to point a camera in the back seat and take a photo of their child. You would say this behavior is moral. The rational answer is, as I suggested, most parents would disagree with you. To most parents, without any other information about you, such behavior is outside-the-norm - i.e. abnormal. And because that abnormal behavior involves a child as the subject they are suspicious. While chasing you with a tire iron would be over-the-top the reaction that said parent has thinking your behavior was suspicious is completely normal and rational. I would suggest that any parent NOT concerned would be acting irrationally. Notice I'm not mentioning morals here. Because I don't think it's important per se - this is more of a sociology thing - society norms. In certain consentrated societies morals come into play (i.e. an amish community etc...). But in a more integrated environment it's more about societal norms than a specific set of moral principles.

But the point is the same - my argument is taking a photo of a child in the back seat of a car is not considered 'normal' behavior. And given the fact parents are more heightened to risks out there today such behavior is not only 'not normal' but suspicious.

In a related example: 30 years ago Catholic priests were molesting children. In today's world a parent is keen to educate their children on appropriate vs. inappropriate behavior and to report such behavior - in the past they didn't and kids kept silent. Should the parents not be concerned about their children today simply because parents 30 years ago didn't think about it?

And the reality is most parents out there don't have all kinds of studies to fall back on. So they err on the side of caution. To them, the safety of their children is more important than your freedom to take any photo you want. That is rational behavior given the information they have. So yes, my son will be educated on inappropriate touching and other things parents 30 years ago didn't think to do.

Now - to answer another issue you repeatedly bring up - the camera aspect. The camera is simply another tool. First, unlike film, digital is much more prevalent today. It's also easier to 'develop' and view in private on ones home computer. THere is also the sharing of said information over the internet. Contact a major law enforcement office or the FBI and educate yourself on how much is going on over the internet with the sharing of these photos. To most RATIONAL parents - there's a difference between a person taking a mental image of their child home in their brains and using it for their own pleasure and 2,000 people having an actual photograph of their child to do the same thing - something the internet makes possible.

Now -- if a parent has a better understanding of the reason for you taking the photo they are going to have a much different reaction. Again - when I take a photo of a boys basketball game at the local HS I get no reaction. If I drive around the neighborhood and take photos through the window of toddlers in peoples back seats, normal rational parents are going to react quite differently. As they should.
I wont answer your entire post, I answer most of this in other replies.

However, yesterday I tried to take pictures of back seats of cars from a car. It ain't easy. In order for me to take such a picture would cause me to have to contort myself in an unreasonable manner; in a suspicious manner. With or without a camera. Try it without a camera and you'll see what I mean.

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