Whether it's stories about NSA big brother tactics, DEA brutality, or TSA overreach, instances of government invasiveness seem almost inevitable these days. Although we should all be concerned with the expansion of the surveillance state and curtailment of civil liberties, we need to use common sense and expect some scrutiny of weird or suspicious behavior. This Tuesday, a YouTube video began making the rounds, claiming to show police officers violating the filmmaker's First and Fourth Amendments. If the objective was to show how arbitrary and unreasonable the police are — and there's no doubt some are — this civil libertarian has failed utterly.
Watch the embarrassing video below:
The video opens with the view of two Phoenix Police officers approaching the videographer and the sound of a helicopter overhead. From the discussion, we learn that the guy has been taking pictures of a government building and is openly carrying a firearm, and someone has called the police. And this is the second time it has happened. When the officers ask him why he's carrying around a firearm while taking pictures of a federal building, the filmer defiantly replies that he's within his rights to do so. When one of the officers asks to take his firearm, the filmer promptly refuses, also declining to submit to a patdown. Clearly our hero — identified only as John Doe — knows the letter of the law in Phoenix, and isn't hesitating to let each and every one of us know he does.
Even before reading the guy's blog accompanying the video, in which he admits to trying to "test" the police and that it was "fun," we get an idea of his motives and empty head by his response to the cops' interest in his backpack: whatever is in there is "not a pressure cooker." John Doe almost seems disappointed not to have been arrested. For advice on how to accomplish that, he should contact Adam Kokesh.
Can we all agree right now, that in the post-Oklahoma City, post-9/11 world we inhabit, taking pictures of a federal building in the middle of the night while carrying a gun, for the second time, can and should arouse suspicion? We get it — the cops can go overboard in the name of security, and individual rights must be protected. Duly noted.
But John Doe, stop wasting police time and taxpayers' money with stupid stunts trying to show that "Phoenix in (sic) now also a Police State". All you did was look like a self-aggrandizing idiot. Leave the activism to the people who know how to make a coherent point.