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Go ahead, hurt me, I won't press charges.
March 24, 2008 2:51 PM   Subscribe

Ever have a job working for a record label on a street crew. And yer puttin up publicity posters on lightpoles for an artist like Rocko and some asshole won't stop takin yer picture. Whadda you do then? Break his friggin camera.
posted by Xurando (79 comments total)

 
Clearly if Dunlap was carrying a gun this would've gone over a lot more smoothly.
posted by phaedon at 3:08 PM on March 24, 2008


I would have pressed charges. The reporter is far more charitable than I would have been.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:11 PM on March 24, 2008


I can't express the level of confusion and anger inside me that this reporter declined to press charges against these perpetrators. I can't understand Dunlap's thinking in not having a problem with this type of behavior. By allowing a violent thug to violently assault him in the street and destroy his property, he has enabled that thug and perhaps others to behave like animals in a place that should in all ways be the pinnacle of civilization.

I can only guess that some moronic attempt at street-cred is what is causing Dunlap to commit this idiotic action.
posted by crazy finger at 3:12 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Note to self:
Boycott all "Rocko" products ASAP.
posted by Dizzy at 3:12 PM on March 24, 2008


Dunlap got exactly what he wanted: a violent reaction to his antagonizing, unnecessary crap talk. Lost a camera, but got a story which made him feel all cool. Dunlap is a gigantic, button-pushing douche. The guy putting up posters is far more charitable than I would have been.

Guy looks for trouble, and gets it. Wow, how surprising.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:16 PM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


23skidoo: Can you re-type that in rhyme?

Thank you.
posted by Dr. Curare at 3:18 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


23skidoo, you're wanted in the bullying thread.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:21 PM on March 24, 2008 [10 favorites]


These guys are doing it right. Now they're ALL getting publicity.
posted by snsranch at 3:23 PM on March 24, 2008


Sure.

David Dunlap's a sniveling wiener
Taking pics while he says "neener neener"
If his camera's wrecked,
That's what he should expect
When he's messing with one person who has a job to do instead of finding a way to do something that would, on a grand scale, make the streets less advertising-filled and cleaner.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:27 PM on March 24, 2008 [10 favorites]


You put the ack in dactyl.
posted by Dizzy at 3:29 PM on March 24, 2008


I don't know what to say about the phrase "You just do you...UMMA DO ME!!!" I find it extremely problematic.
posted by anazgnos at 3:30 PM on March 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


I have so much contempt for this "Rocko" character right now. Dollars to doughnuts says his music is terrible.
posted by hellslinger at 3:33 PM on March 24, 2008


What a douchebag.
(Take your pick)
posted by rocket88 at 3:34 PM on March 24, 2008


Umma go out on a limb and agree with hellslinger.
posted by robtf3 at 3:34 PM on March 24, 2008


You know who else gets what they had coming? You know who else got exactly what they wanted, based on their behavior?

Everyone who has ever been bullied, if you ask the bullies.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:34 PM on March 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


Well, shit, the last thing I need while humming along to UMMA DO ME is internal conflict.
But really, not only is guy sending a stupid message by rolling over, he's putting thier crappy sign on the NYTimes website for free.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 3:36 PM on March 24, 2008


STOP SNITCHIN
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:46 PM on March 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


Rocko - Umma Do Me
posted by nitsuj at 4:01 PM on March 24, 2008


23skidoo: antagonizing, unnecessary crap talk

"Because what you’re doing is illegal” (in response to being asked why you're taking pictures) = antagonizing, unnecessary crap talk?

Hm.

Guy looks for trouble, and gets it.

I'd say the guy, y'know being a journalist and all, was probably looking for news.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:05 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, trouble of this sort is news.

I've got to say, I got the same impression as 23skiddoo did — when this guy threatened him, Dunlop made a point of calling his bluff, which isn't the sort of thing you do if you're trying to avoid violence. I wouldn't be surprised if Dunlop was a little pleased at the beating he got, and the story he got out of it.

On the other hand, beating anyone up is wrong, and beating up a reporter is dumb and wrong. Dude with the posters still comes out looking like the bigger asshole by far.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:15 PM on March 24, 2008


Dollars to doughnuts says his music is terrible.

He's on Island Records. It's a given that his music sucks.
posted by dobbs at 4:18 PM on March 24, 2008


People putting up signs advertising stuff is not news. If he wanted to look for news, he should have been doing something else.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:22 PM on March 24, 2008


a place that should in all ways be the pinnacle of civilization

are you talking about America or NYC, cause either way, LOL, my friend, LOL.
posted by mikoroshi at 4:23 PM on March 24, 2008


I'm actually kinda sorta curious what that "something else" should be, skid.
Great Caesar's ghost!
posted by Dizzy at 4:25 PM on March 24, 2008


I don't know which is more infuriating, that he is not pressing charges or that people here are defending the attacker.
The photographer was not doing anything wrong, he was completely in the right. The other person was completely in the wrong. It's pretty fucking clear. It's about as close to black and white as you can get.

A person can photograph who ever they want in public. A criminal committing a crime has no right to expect to not be photographed or to disallow photography. He may still retain some basic rights because he's not committing a violent crime yet. But as soon as he attacked that photographer. The criminal committing a new and now violent crime against the law abiding civilian all that goes out the window, his name is mud in my book. If it was in my power at that moment I would have used any means available to stop the assailant and detain him. That includes broken bones and permanently disabling if needed.
posted by MrBobaFett at 4:34 PM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Dunlap got exactly what he wanted: a violent reaction to his antagonizing, unnecessary crap talk. Lost a camera, but got a story which made him feel all cool. Dunlap is a gigantic, button-pushing douche. The guy putting up posters is far more charitable than I would have been.

ditto.

fuck this guy and his "journalism." next time, break his fingers so he can't type this crap up.
posted by mr_book at 4:35 PM on March 24, 2008


People putting up signs advertising stuff is not news.

Ok, your opinion, but perhaps there are cases when it isn't.

People illegally putting up signs? I'd say yes. Considering that his article linked to previous NYT articles about people putting up signs/advertisements illegally, I'd say that at least one newspaper agrees with me.

If he wanted to look for news, he should have been doing something else.

Care to elaborate?
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:36 PM on March 24, 2008


I don't see why the might is right crowd here doesn't take the view that some people from the neighbourhood where this stuff is being (illegally) plastered up don't just come up and beat the fuck out of these sign hangers. But the photographer deserved it? Right. Whatever.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:42 PM on March 24, 2008


dobbs:

Hey now. Rain Dogs and Swordfishtrombones were on Island. So was Bone Machine.

I'll give you Frank's Wild Years, Big Time, and Night on Earth.
posted by sonic meat machine at 4:42 PM on March 24, 2008


I don't like you guys defending the attacker, and if you try to do it any more I'm going to break your fucking legs.

I warned you, so it'll be totally cool, right?
posted by 0xFCAF at 4:46 PM on March 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


I wonder whether this reporter's nonchalance is a put-on or whether he genuinely has no expectation of people not behaving like animals. But I suppose that he would be right not to have such an expectation.
posted by ionnin at 4:50 PM on March 24, 2008


That’s where I come in. I was the victim.

Ah, horse shit. This is such a sham. I bet they're all high-fivin' and sharing a blunt as we type.
posted by snsranch at 4:56 PM on March 24, 2008


I'll grant you that the Times reporter made a phenomenally stupid move. The correct answer to "why are you taking pictures?" is "No real reason. Sorry." Then you walk away. Dunlap would have gotten his story, and kept his camera in a single piece.

That said, as a single female who used to work a few flyered blocks from the incident—and who was frequently stuck alone in the office until 2 or 3 a.m.—Dunlap should press charges. Whether or not Dunlap made an idiot move, the guy who decided to pummel him is the bigger moron. And it'd be nice, for the rest of us, if the street crew had a greater sense of restraint in the future.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:06 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


fuck this guy and his "journalism." next time, break his fingers so he can't type this crap up.

Yeah, mr_book, censor him! Censor him good!

I'll give you Frank's Wild Years, Big Time, and Night on Earth.

No, sonic meat machine, don't give him Frank's Wild Years! It has "Yesterday is Here" and "Cold Cold Ground" on it! You're askin' for an old-fashioned censorin'.
posted by PM at 5:08 PM on March 24, 2008


Thank you.
posted by ratla at 5:13 PM on March 24, 2008


Now, PM, let's be honest. Frank's Wild Years is probably the weakest of Waits' "big releases." It has a couple of good songs, but all in all it's not a great argument for esteeming Island Records.
posted by sonic meat machine at 5:24 PM on March 24, 2008


He did not take my wallet, cash or briefcase; something he could easily have done while I was on the ground. Nor do I recall him using much more force than was needed to wrest the camera from me. He didn’t kick me gratuitously when I was down. He did what he threatened to do, but no more.

I think I'm going to vomit. Either he's still traumatized and not thinking clearly 10 days after the event, or he's got some serious self-worth issues to work through.
posted by mediareport at 5:24 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


phaedon writes "Clearly if Dunlap was carrying a gun this would've gone over a lot more smoothly."

Situations like these are what pepper spray is for. There's nothing funnier than a bully laying on the ground in the fetal position, crying.
posted by mullingitover at 5:32 PM on March 24, 2008


Dumbass journalist, when a good photojournalist would've gotten a shot of the guy posing, smiling proudly, next to the posters he just hung up.

Umma do me.
posted by not_on_display at 5:37 PM on March 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Guy looks for trouble, and gets it. Wow, how surprising.
he attacked him. that's a crime. by your logic the residents would have an excuse to do the same to the street crew for boarding up their area. the attacker belongs in a docket.

This is such a sham. I bet they're all high-fivin' and sharing a blunt as we type.
yeah, as would I if someone smashed my camera equipment. it's highly unlikely that said outfit was covered by the times.
posted by krautland at 5:37 PM on March 24, 2008


mullingitover: "There's nothing funnier than a bully laying on the ground in the fetal position, crying."

How about a bully laying on the ground in the fetal position, shaking and crying in a puddle of his own vomit and urine? :)
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:38 PM on March 24, 2008


Should he have know better than to act fairly antagonistically (though wholly legally) toward a total stranger on the street, at night? Yes. Did he "deserve" what happened to him? No. This is much different than, say, photographing a police officer doing something illegal and saying "nyeh nyeh you can't do anything. My actions are constitutionally protected", and then being rightfully indignant. It's not even nearly the same as antagonizing actualy agents of the corporation. The guy who attacked him hardly acted on behalf of the corporation. He may well have been approached on the street and offered fifty bucks to put up some posters for several hours. He was an idiot, and acted absolutely criminally. No more, no less.

That said, the article is crap. The journalist spends a good two thirds of it throwing himself a pity party, and focusing on the actions of the individual who attacked him. Then, a good two thirds in, where in any decent article, the writer would be wrapping up his or her main points, he basically says, but that's not the point. I'm not writing to go after this one individual, and I admit I was foolish to provoke a stranger. The point of this article is to go after these corporations. Then proceeds to spend the remaining third on what he reveals two thirds of the way in to be the point of the article.

And, no, it's not accurate to say that he spend most of the article on his personal anecdote to illustrate the point that he hinted at in the beginning, and would expound on later. An individual attacked him. That individual is hardly representative of the massive corporation ultimately behind this illegal marketing. It would have made sense to provoke someone in a suit at Vivendi, or to ask, the street team "do you know what your employer is having you do is illegal?" But he did not. He antagonized them (and yes, I know antagonize does not equal provoke. I'm not trying to say it does). That doesn't justify what they did. But their unsurprisingly attacking him does not make for a good article.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 6:12 PM on March 24, 2008


krautland, no, not covered by the times, but it was a shitty camera, and he'll itemize it next year as an un reimbursed business expense.

How about a bully laying on the ground in the fetal position, shaking and crying in a puddle of his own vomit and urine? :)
posted by MrBobaFett at 5:38 PM on March 24 [+] [!]

Ah, much better!
posted by snsranch at 6:16 PM on March 24, 2008


I'm actually kinda sorta curious what that "something else" should be, skid.
Great Caesar's ghost!


Someone else said that since he's a journalist, so he must be looking for news. Do you really think that pictures documenting someone hanging posters is newsworthy? Really? To me, pictures of a guy hanging up posters is really lame, and "something else" would probably be alot more interesting from a news perspective. (Something most people haven't seen it before, something interesting, something that might warrant discussion) I don't know exactly what that something else is. I know that pictures documenting the most commonplace of illegal acts is not something awesome. If he's a journalist, he should be able to do alot better.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:42 PM on March 24, 2008



He's on Island Records. It's a given that his music sucks.


Two words.


John. Cale.


Also, damn kids. Why can't they just spam Youtube comments and message boards like a normal street team?
posted by louche mustachio at 6:47 PM on March 24, 2008


Do you really think that pictures documenting someone hanging posters is newsworthy?

Illegally? And if it were in my city?
Yes.

Something most people haven't seen it before, something interesting, something that might warrant discussion

It's a newspaper, not MetaFilter.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 6:48 PM on March 24, 2008


Dunlap got exactly what he wanted: a violent reaction to his antagonizing, unnecessary crap talk. Lost a camera, but got a story which made him feel all cool. Dunlap is a gigantic, button-pushing douche. The guy putting up posters is far more charitable than I would have been.

What vulgar thinking.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:55 PM on March 24, 2008


Damnit that wasn't the preview button.

Anyway, you're saying it's "lame" and "not awesome." Not all topics are exciting watershed moments, or even all that exciting. You want something awesome, you go see a movie or read a book. The purpose of news is to inform. If I live in a city, and you write for a specific part of a newspaper that covers things happening in my city, like ugly-ass illegal posters being stuck up everywhere, then chances are I give a shit, and will probably read your article.

The fact that you weren't entertained doesn't enter into the "is this newsworthy?" equation by a longshot.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 6:56 PM on March 24, 2008


The purpose of news is to inform.

Exactly. People in New York do not need to be informed that people are hanging up posters. It's not news.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:03 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


My mistake.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 7:32 PM on March 24, 2008


DON'T MESS WITH 23skidoo!

Or he will litter your city with his posters....

Wait, that was supposed to be an anti littering campaign.
posted by Dr. Curare at 7:43 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now, PM, let's be honest. Frank's Wild Years is probably the weakest of Waits' "big releases." It has a couple of good songs, but all in all it's not a great argument for esteeming Island Records.

Thing is, sonic meat machine, I might be biased because that album was one of the first I'd heard by the artist, but I really think it's solid. I'll agree that it's no Bone Machine or Rain Dogs, but it's still strong enough on its own to redeem that corner of the Island catalog.

(I'm tired of arguing against the prima facie absurd pro-bully position, so I'll only address the Tom Waits part of this thread.)
posted by PM at 8:11 PM on March 24, 2008


Let me tell you about a strange dream I had.
In the Near Future, Guy A asks Guy B What Is He Doing.
Guy B hurts Guy A.
And then (Get THIS!!!) lotsa people I truly respect BLAME Guy A for being an ass.
Repeat: Guy B HURTS Guy B.
Then I wake up.
What a strange dream.
posted by Dizzy at 8:21 PM on March 24, 2008


What?! Not a single comment on Spring Bro-Fest?
posted by tighttrousers at 8:35 PM on March 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


"umma do me, umma do me, watch me do me, watch me do me"

spoken like a true wanker
posted by pyramid termite at 8:39 PM on March 24, 2008


The odd thing about putting up illegal posters is, they in and of themselves identify the ultimate perpetrator. If the city seriously wants to stop it, they need to start fining the promoters of ventures illegally advertised. The puncher here is instantly and cheaply replaceable. Taking photographs of him personally, showing those photos to the police, and getting him (rather than the promoters) in trouble, will do absolutely nothing whatsoever to reduce signage, and the reporter should have known that.

The guy who puts the sign up, whether or not he punches reporters, is probably paid $50 cash in hand with no records kept. In exchange for that he takes the risk of running from the cops and possibly being caught, or being caught later through the miracle of photography. Obviously he thought--maybe he still thinks cameras work with film--that if he broke the camera the photos would be ruined. He's clearly a dumb and violent man, and probably should have had charges pressed against him (although were I his lawyer, I'd definitely be pleading provocation). But regardless of your or the law's opinion of this individual sign-paster guy, the problem of signs--and all the other crapvertising we live with everywhere--is a lot larger than him.

Is photography, broadly speaking, provocation? It's been said to be an equivalent of a kind of sexual assault even if the subject is unaware, in the case of voyeuristic photography. Certainly to obviously and invasively photograph a person without permission or excuse is annoying; if someone came up to me as I went about my business and photographed me I'd probably allow it once, maybe twice, but if they persisted I'd tell them to stop and if they continued to persist, I'd consider it within my rights to make them stop. It's up there with yelling in a person's face, especially if the pictures are taken at night with flashes. If they then tried to charge me with assault, I'd plead self-defence against their own assault of me, and provocation, and I'd do it with a straight face and expect to be taken seriously.

If I'm engaged in some illegal activity against you, though, for example if I'm painting rude words on your car, it seems clear you have the right to photograph me. (Whether or not I stop you, given that I'm already (a) breaking the law and (b) hurting you in some way, is a separate decision, and I do think it's clear in this case that the reporter should, if he cared about his personal safety, have taken that into account.)

If I'm engaged in illegal activity generally though, it's a more open question. Clearly there's a public policy reason to allow you to do that and forbit me to stop it, but I'd argue this would come with a responsibility to turn over copies of such photos to the cops, and not to use them otherwise.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 9:19 PM on March 24, 2008


First off, just so we're clear: City Room is a blog. As such, Dunlap's article isn't an article. It's too personal, it's whiny, it's self-righteous...shockingly, it's a blog entry. I'm pretty sure the entry won't be running in print.

(This also explains why he was stuck taking his own photos, to begin with.)

Secondly, stories about "posters" are news in New York. There's a very brief slice-of-life story in there ("Meet the Street Team"). Alternately, and more likely, the paper was working on a wanky piece about hip-hop marketing, which scummy Madison Avenue types would pore over on the way to work.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 9:41 PM on March 24, 2008


fuck this guy and his "journalism." next time, break his fingers so he can't type this crap up.
posted by mr_book at 1:35 AM on March 25 [+] [!]


Oh look, an internet tough guy, how novel.
posted by cmonkey at 12:11 AM on March 25, 2008


The edit war on Rocko's Wikipedia page is amusing, to say the least.
posted by vanadium at 12:50 AM on March 25, 2008


And then (Get THIS!!!) lotsa people I truly respect BLAME Guy A for being an ass.

a.) Not so many people
b.) None that I respect
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:52 AM on March 25, 2008


Let me tell you about a strange dream I had.
In the Near Future, Guy A asks Guy B What Is He Doing.
Guy B hurts Guy A.
And then (Get THIS!!!) lotsa people I truly respect BLAME Guy A for being an ass.


Your dream does not mirror the events described in this FPP.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:32 AM on March 25, 2008


The guy putting up posters is far more charitable than I would have been.

If I were me with the camera, and you with posters, he's a lot less hospitalized than you would be.

if someone came up to me as I went about my business and photographed me I'd probably allow it once, maybe twice, but if they persisted I'd tell them to stop and if they continued to persist, I'd consider it within my rights to make them stop.

It's not.

If they then tried to charge me with assault, I'd plead self-defence against their own assault of me, and provocation, and I'd do it with a straight face and expect to be taken seriously.

You'd lose. It would be especially funny if you tried to press charges against the photographer you attacked/robbed if he bothered to fight back.

You have zero right not to have your picture taken by a person who's not acting on behalf of the government if you're standing in a public place. If you assault me (or anyone else who feels similarly), you will stop voluntarily, or you will be injured to the point where you can no longer do so.
posted by oaf at 5:34 AM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


If any of you motherfuckers take my picture without my consent I guarantee you will be getting an awkward rictus of a smile from me in the resulting picture. Also: if you take the picture with my consent.
posted by everichon at 8:17 AM on March 25, 2008


I blame society. Won't someone please punch society in the face, and leave the individuals alone?
posted by blue_beetle at 8:21 AM on March 25, 2008


aeschenkarnos: "(although were I his lawyer, I'd definitely be pleading provocation)

Seriously? I don't know how people like him get a lawyer that does anything more than protect his basic civil liberties. He clearly committed a crime and should be punished, but should be punished fairly.

Is photography, broadly speaking, provocation?

No, it's recording of light bouncing off objects. If you are in a public space deal with it, you can be photographed.

Certainly to obviously and invasively photograph a person without permission or excuse is annoying;

By this I assume you mean I'm actually in your personal space, I'm close enough to touch you easily. Then you might have a point. If I'm more than say five feet away ignore me, my activating a light sensitive sensor behind a lens does nothing to interfere with you going about your business.

if someone came up to me as I went about my business and photographed me I'd probably allow it once, maybe twice, but if they persisted I'd tell them to stop and if they continued to persist, I'd consider it within my rights to make them stop. It's up there with yelling in a person's face, especially if the pictures are taken at night with flashes. If they then tried to charge me with assault, I'd plead self-defence against their own assault of me, and provocation, and I'd do it with a straight face and expect to be taken seriously.

You be within your rights to file a complaint if they continued after you asked them to stop, you don't have a right to lay a finger on them. It's nothing like yelling in your face. The flash is maybe a point, however you can't get up in my face just for using a flash, in the account given the photographer had in fact stopped photographing the perp (remember this a criminal in the act of committing a crime, not a law abiding free citizen) and was now photographing things other than the perp. He is assaulting him for not cowing to his bully tactics.
Violent assault is not a reasonable defense against a non-violent perceived slight. And again that is assuming you're someone who is out and about in the public space doing no wrong. If you are committing a crime, fuck you.

If I'm engaged in some illegal activity against you, though, for example if I'm painting rude words on your car, it seems clear you have the right to photograph me. (Whether or not I stop you, given that I'm already (a) breaking the law and (b) hurting you in some way, is a separate decision, and I do think it's clear in this case that the reporter should, if he cared about his personal safety, have taken that into account.)

If I'm engaged in illegal activity generally though, it's a more open question. Clearly there's a public policy reason to allow you to do that and forbit me to stop it, but I'd argue this would come with a responsibility to turn over copies of such photos to the cops, and not to use them otherwise.
"

I should not fear that a non-violent offender will necessarily escalate to a violent crime when confronted. Also he is the offender I am not. I am the law and society is on my side, I am in the right. Choosing to escalate to violence should be a near fatal decision for the offender.
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:44 AM on March 25, 2008


Assaulting a photographer/blogger/anyone is bad. But what I don't get about this blog post is how the author dramatizes the illegality of putting up posters on lightpoles.

Has he lived in NYC longer than 5 minutes?

My office is located very near Hot 97, the city's leading hip-hop station, and the lightpoles and signposts for blocks around are blanketed with this kind of poster multiple times every week.

That's why the whole post has an air of overdramatization. He makes it sound like he discovered some exceptionally heinous activity going on. It's actually completely routine. Essentially, he's trumpeting DOG BITES MAN!

30 years ago, this guy would have gotten beat up in a Bronx trainyard after photographing a group of kids tagging a subway car, while lecturing them on the illegality of graffiti. And he'd think he'd just gotten the scoop of the decade.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 12:14 PM on March 25, 2008


Island Records?

John Martyn's 70s albums, Broken English by Marianne Faithfull, Nick Drake, Grace Jones, Brian Eno's first records, early Roxy Music, Traffic...
posted by Grangousier at 12:58 PM on March 25, 2008


I'd plead self-defence against their own assault of me

Why don't you plead "jello pudding". It'd make about as much sense.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:06 PM on March 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


oaf You have zero right not to have your picture taken by a person who's not acting on behalf of the government if you're standing in a public place.
You have a general right to peaceably go about your lawful business without being disturbed or pestered. I'm not talking about one guy quietly taking a couple of photos of people. Even a few dozen photos, from a ways away. I'm talking about a camera specifically being used as a device of annoyance. In these circumstances, photos as such are irrelevant. You can do this just as readily with a cigarette packet. Hold it up to your eye and say "clicky clicky" while you jump around someone. Yell "SMILE, I'M CAMERAING YOU!" while you do it.

"Don't be an asshole" cuts both ways. There are limits of acceptability. The photographer in the linked article was, in my opinion, within those limits; the sign-sticker, outside of them. However an analogous situation where a photographer is more obnoxious and a subject more innocent is worth discussing.

If you assault me (or anyone else who feels similarly), you will stop voluntarily, or you will be injured to the point where you can no longer do so.
Whatever, oaf. If you get up in my face to photograph me (or anyone else who feels similarly) over and over, and do not stop when you are asked to, then you will be made to wish you had. I'm just as tough an internet guy as you are.

It's not about you, or me, as individuals, it's about the principles by which individuals live. Consider a thought experiment, if you like. Imagine photographing people, over and over, invasively, intimately, lasciviously, with detail and with care. Think of the people as artistic objects, mere unvolitionary surfaces off which to capture reflected light. Your mission is to capture for posterity the exquisite way the booger hangs from that guy's nose, the way his shabby trousers stretch over his fat thigh, the way the tiny hairs on his unshaven face quiver as he moans some meaningless sound (sound? who cares for sound?) in your direction. Sweet little old ladies. Huge brutal thugs. Cops. Schoolchildren. If there's some point at which you'd be thinking "what I'm doing is really disrespectful of other people, and I deserve to get thumped", that's my point made, oaf.

MrBobaFett If I'm more than say five feet away ignore me, my activating a light sensitive sensor behind a lens does nothing to interfere with you going about your business.
If that's all it is, sure.

You be within your rights to file a complaint
To who? Either cops are right there, right now, watching the photographer bother you, or you have witnesses and photos of your own and even then, only if the cops want to pursue it. Or else the complaint's irrelevant.

if they continued after you asked them to stop, you don't have a right to lay a finger on them. It's nothing like yelling in your face.
In the absence of authority, you're entitled to defend yourself from threats. Is photographing a person a threat to them? Under some other circumstances, maybe. Consider a young woman, and a skeezy thug with a camera. Is him jumping around saying "one for the collection" a threat? Is him taking pictures with a camera, saying that, a threat? Is him just taking the pictures and looking like a dangerous creep, a threat?

Your argument holds water only so long as the photographer is blamelessly taking photographs, without ulterior motive or associated behavior.

The flash is maybe a point, however you can't get up in my face just for using a flash,
Whether it's "just a flash" or "OMGWTF MY EYES! ARRGH!" depends on which way it's pointing and how close it is.

in the account given the photographer had in fact stopped photographing the perp (remember this a criminal in the act of committing a crime, not a law abiding free citizen) and was now photographing things other than the perp. He is assaulting him for not cowing to his bully tactics.
Agreed, on both counts.

Violent assault is not a reasonable defense against a non-violent perceived slight.
Up to a point, you're right. Beyond that point? Judge and jury decide, as measured against the "reasonable person". There are many things a person could say to you or do in front of you that, if you were to punch them, and you were charged with assault, you could claim as provocation. There is no exhaustive list. Can you say for certain that photography is not ruled in, or out?

And again that is assuming you're someone who is out and about in the public space doing no wrong. If you are committing a crime, fuck you.
Committing a crime does not deprive you of all rights. I'm happy to accept that it deprives you of the (dubious) right to not be photographed.

I should not fear that a non-violent offender will necessarily escalate to a violent crime when confronted.
That is a very dangerous belief to hold. Just because he's committing a non-violent offense does not mean he is a non-violent man. I'd bet this guy here looked just like the sort to escalate. The wiser course, for our photographer, would be to snap shots from a distance, and then, if he cares so damn much about the stupid sign, put his camera into his pocket so it's not a smashing target, and confront the guy from about a ten foot distance. Generally speaking: you should consider it unlikely that a non-violent offender will escalate--he will probably tell you to "fuck off, chump", which should be no surprise, and then what?--but if he does, you should accept that he has escalated it, and react to that, not continue trying to insist in the face of reality that he can't or shouldn't do that. Don't get into situations where you stand a risk of being left lying there wondering what exactly happened.

(That he isn't going to press charges fits in just as much with his character as the fact that he got thumped without the slightest expectation of the possibility. He's a fool.)

Also he is the offender I am not. I am the law and society is on my side, I am in the right.
That's great. Can you use that to stem the bleeding of your nose? It will help you in a court of law, it won't protect you in the public street.

Choosing to escalate to violence should be a near fatal decision for the offender.
And now you want a person nearly killed for punching you? Not only does that put law and society off your side (because you may only defend yourself with reasonable force), it's incredibly hypocritical. All rights and duties aside, it's quite a thing to ask, to nearly kill a person; who are you asking it of, exactly?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:23 PM on March 25, 2008


aeschenkarnos: "
MrBobaFett:You be within your rights to file a complaint

To who? Either cops are right there, right now, watching the photographer bother you, or you have witnesses and photos of your own and even then, only if the cops want to pursue it. Or else the complaint's irrelevant.


To whomever the authority is. But more to the point your last line, the complaint is irrelevant.

MrBobaFett:if they continued after you asked them to stop, you don't have a right to lay a finger on them. It's nothing like yelling in your face.

In the absence of authority, you're entitled to defend yourself from threats. Is photographing a person a threat to them? Under some other circumstances, maybe. Consider a young woman, and a skeezy thug with a camera. Is him jumping around saying "one for the collection" a threat? Is him taking pictures with a camera, saying that, a threat? Is him just taking the pictures and looking like a dangerous creep, a threat?

Your argument holds water only so long as the photographer is blamelessly taking photographs, without ulterior motive or associated behavior.


But what if the person being photographed is a Nazi? Or what if we are on the moon? We're not. It's a law abiding citizen acting within his rights taking photos of criminal. My argument hold water because we are talking about a photographer taking photos. Not climbing privacy fences to shoot your pool party, not rubbing himself off while tries to point the camera up your skirt, etc. Those are clearly extenuating circumstances that entirely change the action.

MrBobaFett:in the account given the photographer had in fact stopped photographing the perp (remember this a criminal in the act of committing a crime, not a law abiding free citizen) and was now photographing things other than the perp. He is assaulting him for not cowing to his bully tactics.

Agreed, on both counts.


But isn't this what we are talking about? This guy, in this case, this incident?

MrBobaFettViolent assault is not a reasonable defense against a non-violent perceived slight.

Up to a point, you're right. Beyond that point? Judge and jury decide, as measured against the "reasonable person". There are many things a person could say to you or do in front of you that, if you were to punch them, and you were charged with assault, you could claim as provocation. There is no exhaustive list. Can you say for certain that photography is not ruled in, or out?


Photography I would say is ruled out, as stated above it's the additional actions and circumstances that make the problem. Lude behavior, assault, threats, etc... Those are the crimes. Also yes a judge and jury decided what is reasonable, every situation is different etc. But we are talking about this situation.

MrBobaFettI should not fear that a non-violent offender will necessarily escalate to a violent crime when confronted.

That is a very dangerous belief to hold. Just because he's committing a non-violent offense does not mean he is a non-violent man.


I should say, it is unreasonable to assume that a non-violent offender will escalate to a violent attack when confronted.

MrBobaFettAlso he is the offender I am not. I am the law and society is on my side, I am in the right.

That's great. Can you use that to stem the bleeding of your nose? It will help you in a court of law, it won't protect you in the public street.


The law is the more important of these two things. I am a part of a bigger thing, some temporary pain is what I may have to deal with. Of course ideally I defend myself and he is the one left damaged. But I don't see why I should suffer the tyranny of thugs by cowing to them until they are out of site. That's a pretty archaic way of life, isn't society supposed to move beyond that? Isn't that what a justice system is for?

MrBobaFettChoosing to escalate to violence should be a near fatal decision for the offender.

And now you want a person nearly killed for punching you? Not only does that put law and society off your side (because you may only defend yourself with reasonable force), it's incredibly hypocritical. All rights and duties aside, it's quite a thing to ask, to nearly kill a person; who are you asking it of, exactly?
"

Yes more or less. It is generally speaking not rational to escalate a non-violent situation (like the one in the article) into a violent confrontation. So it's pretty safe to say that the attacker is not behaving in a rational manner. His actions not being directed by rational thought are dangerous. It's not a big step for him to go from simple battery to homicide. If I am being attacked by this person I am being reasonable to fear for my life. Society should not tolerate thugs causing innocent people to fear for their lives.
posted by MrBobaFett at 10:05 AM on March 26, 2008


MrBobaFett But isn't this what we are talking about? This guy, in this case, this incident?
Not only him, I think we're all agreed on how that should have turned out. I'm more interested in talking about the hypothetical.

Those are clearly extenuating circumstances that entirely change the action.
That extenuating circumstances change the action is my point too. I'm saying, using a camera to harass a person ought to be, at some point, considered provocation as a defense to assault, or alternatively, an assault (or legally-defined harassment) in its own right.

it is unreasonable to assume that a non-violent offender will escalate to a violent attack when confronted.
Yes. He very well may not. But it is safest to prepare for the possibility.

The law is the more important of these two things. I am a part of a bigger thing, some temporary pain is what I may have to deal with. Of course ideally I defend myself and he is the one left damaged. But I don't see why I should suffer the tyranny of thugs by cowing to them until they are out of site. That's a pretty archaic way of life, isn't society supposed to move beyond that? Isn't that what a justice system is for?
Of course, and I don't dispute the article writer's courage at all; I dispute his wisdom.

It's clear the overall problem he has with the situation is people putting up signs, not just that guy putting up signs. Confronting any individual sign-sticker will likely lead to the outcome we've seen here, and little else (although his martydom may help draw attention to the cause). I don't know what else he was expecting: the guy to burst into tears, drop his signs, and flee, screaming about how sorry he is? The guy's already decided to break the law. There are three ways to make him stop: superior legal force (cops); superior physical force (beat him up, or scare him into fear of that, and send him on his way); or shame him. The first is vastly preferable, and the smarter way to achieve that is back off, snap your photos, call the cops on your cellphone, and when they arrive, offer to give a witness statement, and to provide copies of your photos for them to attach to the statement. If you choose the second, go hard. If you choose the third, don't expect it to work on someone who isn't, basically, still twelve in his head. This sign sticker has probably had years of practice being an asshole, interact with him accordingly.

If I am being attacked by this person I am being reasonable to fear for my life. Society should not tolerate thugs causing innocent people to fear for their lives.
Now you're just being silly. There is a reason common assault is distinguished from assault occasioning grievous bodily harm, and from attempted manslaughter. Menacing you, saying "fuck off you nimrod or I'll punch you," is a common assault (also offensive language, maybe threatening behavior as a distinct offense, depends on the jurisdiction). Punching you is likewise a common assault. While there's always a chance he'll punch you so hard that you'll die, if you want to take him making that statement as implying an intent to kill you, and defend yourself accordingly, then you're worse than he is.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 3:46 PM on March 26, 2008


If you get up in my face to photograph me (or anyone else who feels similarly) over and over, and do not stop when you are asked to, then you will be made to wish you had.

Except that if you attack me, we'll almost certainly both be injured, but you'll be headed to jail afterward, and I'll be headed home. If you don't want your picture taken, go somewhere I'm not allowed to go, and call the police if I follow you. That is your only recourse. Don't care? Too fucking bad.

There is no such thing as a right not to have your picture taken.
posted by oaf at 4:57 PM on March 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I know this thread's kinda old, but I'm just curious snsranch, what's so shitty about a D40?

I gotta say that as an owner of one of these so called "shitty cameras", I gotta disagree.

What's your basis on calling the camera shitty?

And to stay on topic a bit, I think that this guy is an idiot on two counts. One, that he was being all antagonistic about the whole situation, and two that he's not pressing charges.

I'm a completely amateur photographer with no delusions of anything even resembling grandeur, and I think it's stupid that this guy got a camera that's a minimum of $450 broken, and he's all like "oh no it's cool, I totally deserved it. At least I didn't get raped!"

Ok, so I'm being a bit hyperbolic, but I'm still confused about why this guy isn't pressing charges. If his SD card was ok like he said it was, he presumably has photos of the guy that beat his ass, so... press charges, ok?
posted by agress at 10:28 PM on March 26, 2008


Except that if you attack me, we'll almost certainly both be injured, but you'll be headed to jail afterward, and I'll be headed home.

Except that your actions towards me, something you repeatedly fail to even consider, let alone address, have constituted provocation. I'm not committing any crimes. You continue to fixate on the situation as described in the article, the photographer's entirely justifiable--if not exactly sensible--actions that I agree are not grounds for provocation in any legal sense; although they obviously were provoking in practice.

Let me try one more time, in the hopes that you will exceed your eponymy: forget about the linked article. Forget it ever existed. Let's suppose you're walking down the street, and you see me! omg! it's him! and overcome by admiration and horror, you decide to pull out your camera and photograph me so you can put it up as your desktop background or something. That's fine. Say you come up within a couple steps of me and snap another shot. That's mildly annoying, as it's now a shot of me, rather than just "the street", it's a mild invasion of my privacy, and you didn't ask me for permission. But I'll let it go. You stand there and snap another one. I'm now wondering what the hell your motivation is. I'm not that interesting, and I don't even know who you are. I'll ask why are you doing that, and would you please stop.

But you've now found that you love the idea of taking pictures of me, you're dumbstruck with glee, you can't even bring yourself to explain, and you need to have dozens more, from different angles and closer up.

Now, you're annoying me. You know that feeling you get, when someone's repeatedly doing something that's maybe noisy, or distracting, or troubling to you, or makes you uncomfortable, and makes you angry with them? Other people feel that too, me among them. And so I'll tell you to stop taking pictures of me, and whether I say it or imply it, there's an "or else" involved. Exactly what that is is indeterminate.

I really don't think this is likely to happen, by the way. I doubt you're that much of an asshole, to just up and do that to someone. (It's a breach of two points of the code of ethics of the National Press Photographers Association, if that cuts any ice. "Respect and dignity", "unobtrusive and humble".) Is this something you normally do? That you want to do?

So that's my justification. Whatever I do to you, in the rather unlikely event it reaches the notice of a court of law, it's not going past common assault and battery, or destruction of property. For neither of those am I likely to be jailed. I might not even be fined. I might not be ordered to pay restitution. (I'll argue against all three.)

Since I now know who you are, I'll also try my luck with a restraining order against you, and if you don't like that, you can explain to the court your reasons for repeatedly photographing me against my will, from a close distance in an obnoxious manner. Maybe if the court likes your reasons enough--but in that case, why the hell you couldn't explain them to me is still an open question--they'll refuse my restraining order.

At which point, I take up a new hobby: photographing you. And if you don't like that, you can get a restraining order of your own. I'll oppose that, citing yours; but I'd happily settle for matching ones. And if my previous violence towards you tips the scales, I might just pay someone else to follow you around. Photographing you. All day.

In summary, some people really don't like being photographed, especially in an intrusive manner, we have a right to refuse unreasonable attempts to invade our privacy, and the law's willingness to enforce your right to photograph us will stop a good deal short of the complete free pass to piss people off that you seem to think came in your camera box.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:13 PM on March 27, 2008


What colour is the sky in your world, aeschenkarnos?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:22 PM on March 27, 2008


Whitish, with swatches of grey. Come on, FFF, you're better than that. No non-sequitors.

How intrusive will you permit a photographer, photographing you, to get? What will you do about it if they cross your line?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:40 PM on March 27, 2008


Except that your actions towards me, something you repeatedly fail to even consider, let alone address, have constituted provocation.

Telling you I'm going to put you in imminent danger of physical harm constitutes provocation. Taking pictures of you does not. Next.

I'm not committing any crimes. [de-emphasis mine so you can tell it's a quote]

If you physically assault me for taking pictures of you, you are.

And so I'll tell you to stop taking pictures of me, and whether I say it or imply it, there's an "or else" involved. Exactly what that is is indeterminate.

The only option you have is to leave. You can't legally make me leave or stop taking pictures of you if we're in public.

Whatever I do to you, in the rather unlikely event it reaches the notice of a court of law, it's not going past common assault and battery, or destruction of property. For neither of those am I likely to be jailed.

For the latter, no. For the former, not before you're convicted.

I take up a new hobby: photographing you. And if you don't like that, you can get a restraining order of your own.

If you are stalking me, then it will be relatively easy to get that restraining order. Note that this is not a parallel to me seeing you on the street, deciding you're interesting (because you are putting up illegal posters, because you have neon orange hair, or because you're dressed like a Mountie).
posted by oaf at 4:58 AM on March 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


...and taking pictures of you.

Caffeine hasn't kicked in yet.
posted by oaf at 5:00 AM on March 28, 2008


OK, oaf. If you really are so sure that possession of a camera magically dispels anyone else's rights to be undisturbed, how about you go and use your powers. Look for a police officer in the street. Then pick another person, a random passer-by. Wander up nice and close. Then photograph them over, and over, and over. Make sure the cop sees you, and the other person can see the cop. This gives both you and the other person full access to their supposed legal rights, and ensures whatever crimes you commit will be seen and probably punished.

You've vigorously argued that this sort of activity is legal, safe, and it's not even particularly rude to do it. So why not do it? I don't think you will do it, because you know quite well that your actions would be seen, rightly, as harassment of that person. Stalking, even, since you bring it up.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:48 PM on March 28, 2008


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