Thursday, October 19, 2006

What is going on with YouTube?

There is something interesting going on, culturally, with YouTube. To see what I am talking about, watch this video. Also, be sure read the text description of the incident given on the right (click the "more" link):

Power-hungry cop takes over Walter's

After watching the video, read some of the 1,000+ comments that people have left to share their opinions.

Then watch this:

Aggressive HPD officer at Walter's on Washington

And this:

Houston Police Officer, Tazer, Two Gallants

We have three different views of the same incident, all filmed at the scene and posted within a few hours of it happening.

Now think back to the "Rodney King incident" of 1991. No one would have believed what happened to Rodney King had there not been video tape of the event. And the tape had a powerful effect on how people interpretted the event. That was one of the first cases of "inverse surveillance" -- citizens watching the police with cameras.

With YouTube, the same thing happens, but now there are many people taking video and all of the video is available world-wide an hour later.

The same thing happened when 50 cent was arrested this year in NYC (look at how many people have cameras):

50 cent

50 cent arrested

Then there are day-to-day incidents like this:

This is illegal!

Because of places like YouTube, combined with ubiquitous camera phones, we eventually arrive at the point where everything you do in public is filmed. If you do anything that has even a whiff of being "interesting" or "controversial" or "confrontational", it gets filmed by someone.

Police, to some extent, are used to this. In some places all traffic stops get filmed by cameras in police cars. Celebrities are also familiar with it because of the paparazzi.

But I don't think the rest of us are used to it. It changes the entire meaning of "going out in public." ANYTHING you do has the potential to be filmed and broadcast worldwide, often to your detriment. That's a pretty big (potential) price to pay for going out in public.

Something I also wonder -- why on YouTube do we see less video of people doing good things? For example, paramedics saving a person's life on the street?

Here's a theory on videos about good things and bad things:

When bad things happen, people generaly feel they should tell others so they may know what happened and prevent it from happening again in the future.

When good things happen, people genraly only share with others if they think doing so will help make it happen more. It is presumed that others will presume good thigns are heppening unless someone gives the news that they arn't.
I would say that it hearlds a wonderful improvement in the expectation of life in public. People are coming to be accountable for their actions in the way that they probably were in our tribal and small town past.
The microphone is always on, for everybody.
Why can tow truck drivers take your car when you are standing right there, and then charge you whatever they want?
Maybe it's the cynic in me: bad things are more entertaining to the general public. People would rather see something scandelous than hear about good things going on in the world. Just turn on the news...
As for the car being towed. if she works at the hospital, they would be paying her car return and an appology. Thta is why businesses have parking stickers.

He should have gotten her license and called her boss. If she lied then charge more. Otherwise he should drop the car and backcharge the person who called to get the car towed. That person has responsibilities that were not factored in.

I like cops having cameras in their cars. It makes them back up their case. I think it also reduces DWB (driving while black). If the cop points out on tape that the car was doing something wrong well before the race of the driver can be determined then so much for DWB.

For the cop's sanity anything they say while not arresting should not be kept or allowed for court or promotional review. People have to have some privacy and vent or they go nuts.
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Lets talk about the Walter's video.

A fraking noise complaint.

Once the cop had evidence to arrest the band, he could wait until the set was completely done.

Yes cops must be respected, but cops have to use tact and strategy. You don't need a tazer or a gun for a noise complaint. You just talk to the owner or organizer.

So overall I fault the cop with grandstanding when he could have waited till after the set.

I would have called backup and secured their band van so they could not drive away. Then let the band finish and get bystandards out of the way.

Then make the confrontation. It is only a fine if they refuse and not an arrest. If no one is going to jail, then you don't need the first ounce of force.
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