Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Edition of "Is This What We've Come To"

(Photo courtesy Michael Adkins)

Don't take pictures in a mall in Charleston, West Virginia. Especially of a random scene of Santa Claus and a choir. When you're a award-winning video journalist.

"Photographer arrested at mall after taking holiday ... - News - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports" (hat tip to John Aita)

People always assume the worst - he's a pedophile...he's a stalker...the cop is a thug, and so on. Gary Harki, writing on the Gazette blog, adds some thoughts.

As we do with everything, let's find some blame! Mr. Rensberger? I suppose trying to take a picture of the accosting police officer was a bit much. Then again, why didn't he do that with the two men who approached him? And Mr. Rensberger erased the offending photo (and by the way, those two men were just a tad paranoid). You can't even SEE the child in the photo. Sheesh!

So what about Charleston police Cpl. R.C. Basford? Well he did seem a touch over-the-top, hardly unusual and there is some talk that he has a history of that. OK, yet he was also just doing his job. Yet all that force over a photo? Really?

I take a police officer's job seriously, as we all do, and certainly respect them. I also consider the point of view of those whom I know in the law enforcement business. So I'm trying to give Cpl. Basford the benefit of the doubt, but I'm struggling with it.

Off-topic! Thanks to those I know in law enforcement - specifically those who work in Dutchess County (HINT! HINT!), as they got me off of jury duty a week ago. The fact that I work in the media didn't hurt, of course. I would have gladly sat on the jury, but it wasn't meant to be. We return you now to our story...

Then there's the mall itself. They get to just kind of sit back, recite policies...
When a working journalist takes photos in the mall, they are supposed to let mall management know
...yet Mr. Rensberger wasn't WORKING! He was there as a private citizen, and there's no law against a private citizen taking a photo.

So...shouldn't we just blame the media and get it over with? After all, Gary Harki reported the story, and Chris Dorst took Scott Rensberger back to the mall and photographed him - in front of Santa with a baby in the background!

Now since not everybody gets sarcasm, let me hit you over the head with it. This is sarcasm.

But in all truth - has the story been told completely? Are there things we don't know? And I'm reminded once again why I'm nervous virtually every time I take a road sign picture, or something like that.

That's your happy holiday story of the day. Move along now.

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