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Art Buchwald

Shooting for a Law to Ban Video Cameras

August 01, 2000|Art Buchwald | Art Buchwald is reprinting some of his favorite columns

The most dangerous weapon being used against law-enforcement people is not the gun but the video camera. Citizens fearful of losing their rights are buying more camcorders than ever, and the situation is wreaking havoc with police brutality.

A movement is underway by law-and-order citizens to ban the video camera or at least make people register it.

It is headed by Archie Locust, who says, "The video lovers will tell you that they own cameras only for recreational purposes, but they can also get people indicted for civil-rights' abuses.

"My group wants every person in this country to register his or her video camera. We have nothing against a father using his camera to record his daughter's graduation. But we are absolutely against anyone making a videotape of the police playing hockey with their batons."

"There is always an amateur who will take advantage of a photo opportunity to get on TV," I said.

"We know we're not going to have a complete ban on video cameras, so we're asking for a seven-day waiting period between the time a camera is purchased and the date it's delivered. This would give the FBI a chance to check out the buyer to see if he has ever recorded an act of police brutality before."

"Doesn't the Constitution provide American citizens the right to bear cameras?"

"The Founding Fathers were referring only to still cameras. The video lovers would have you believe that they need the cameras as protection from the law. But the police are there for that purpose, and they're not going to do it if they think you're a peeping Tom with a zoom lens." "Is there such a thing as a camera-proof vest so that if someone starts shooting a bad police scene, his camera won't work?"

"There isn't now, but we're getting close."

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