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The late Sam Kinison, an incomparably loud and invariably offensive comedian, once delivered a comedy routine about famine. He remarked that whenever he sees heart-rending scenes of famine victims he wonders, “How come the film crew didn’t just give the kid a sandwich? How come you never see that? What are they afraid of”that it would spoil the shot?”
His famine routine was really very funny. In a twisted way it was also trenchant. The “Camera or Sandwich” problem is a good starting point for examining any human problem. Is it better to try to collect lots of insights about many issues than to get bogged down in particular problems involving particular people?
Dear Mr. Trump, For decorum’s sake, please have a policy that noisy cameras will not be allowed to be used during press conferences. Preview Open
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As America is yet again riveted on a controversial police shooting, one thing that keeps coming up in the discussion is the subject of police cameras. Ricochet’s Own Troy Senik mentioned it in his thoughtful post on the tragedy of Ferguson, and it seems to be an article of faith, in particular among more libertarian-leaning precincts of the Right: “You want to solve this? Body cameras for cops. Done.”
I have seen this point bandied about a lot in the past week. And while I agree with the overall point, I feel I must offer a word of caution: people see these cameras as argument-ending panaceas, and they are not.
I was recently in the testing program for a number of wearable camera systems my department is looking at, during which time I frequently felt like the DP on the world’s stupidest documentary. I generally liked having them, and I’m eager to get one issued (the bureaucrats are currently hashing out which system to buy). But they are not without their issues, and a great many people seem unaware of them.