Sunday, January 31, 2010
Little brother is watching
I shot a video clip at a local school fair that showed police cars careening around a field. It happened a year ago. I have kept the footage all this time because initially I didn't know how to get the material off the phone and onto my computer. Bluetooth connection between the two devices just wasn't happening. I solved the problem with a little memory card, downloaded it, then forgot all about it. I have been shooting and editing video recently so I was reminded that I had it on file and decided to post it.
The clips show two police patrol cars driving at speed on the school field. Aboard are children who have paid for the joy ride.
During the incident the cars drive at speed in a confined space between an ice cream truck and a inflatable bouncy castle. Children line up for ice cream and play without concern.
I have no malicious intention or axe to grind. Some commenters imply I am biased for some reason (I have since disabled comments because of vitriolic and threatening remarks). I have no bias and only the highest general regard for Police who perform their duties, which are often appalling (and, no, I wouldn't change places with them). That doesn't mean they always get things right though, they are humans, like the rest of us.
Some comments on YouTube implied that, because police are trained drivers my observation is fatuous. Who knows, they might be right, but without information about who was driving and their level of skill at the time it is impossible to make an informed comment about that. In principle one could reasonably argue that an experienced, skilled and trained driver would be circumspect about engaging in such a demonstration. Things go wrong, even for the most skilled people. Just recently a New Zealand Air Force pilot, a senior member of the aerobatics squad, was killed during a routine manoeuvre in training.
Yesterday a journalist from the Dominion Post called to ask about the clip. It is in the paper this morning.
The article said the police would be requesting the original footage to determine whether it had been tampered with. "…Police National Headquarters spokeswoman Debbie Corney said police in Waitemata district would be requesting the original footage to establish its authenticity and "speaking to staff to determine exactly what happened" The comment is telling - the initial reaction is to lash out - is it authentic? It is just as you see it. Crudely shot, in low resolution but all the footage is complete and joined together simply from it's raw form. Nothing has been sped up or altered. As for speaking to staff to determine what 'exactly' happened? Well, once again the, the video speaks for itself. Staff will only be able to subjectively interpret events like anyone else, myself included.
In part I regret posting the clip, I am not interested in bagging the Police generally and I accept that some people feel that I have been unfair. I simply recorded and commented on the event.
But it has been instructive in a sense. People in the public eye need to be aware that cameras are everywhere. I often have three cameras with me (while my old Samsung phone - that I shot this footage with is pretty rough, I also have point and shoot HD). I never know when something interesting will become material to be shared. Most times the material I do share is mundane and barely warrants a notice. Who knows, footage you or I capture might solve a crime one day?
This is the era of social media. You and I have access to our own private channels - this blog, Posterous, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook… did I say channels - I meant networks. It is a fact of life.
Sometimes the mainstream media will pick up the story. I have had photos of other observations picked up in the past - such as candyfloss in the fruit and veges section of the supermarket - media voraciously consume 'content'.
Curiously enough even mundane material is deemed more 'important' when it is in the newspaper or on TV then buried amongst the millions of clips and images on YouTube. My clip would have been ignored if the journalist hadn't been listening out on Twitter and it would only have been part of the conversation in my limited networks. I'm not interested in leading a crusade (unless it is to improve men's health)
This morning other media outlets have been contacting me through Twitter and Facebook. Interestingly the clip isn't news. It is an artifact, a year old, something to discuss and think about. I am not interested in being drawn into an antagonistic conversation about the police generally.