Tuesday, August 28, 2007

We have met the stalker, and it is us

One of the top stories on Channel 13's noon news today was that police were following up on a report of a strange man who was seen taking pictures of women in the the downtown skywalks. Downtown businesses are so alarmed by this that they are alerting their employees to Mace the living shit out of anyone who even looks like he might have -- or own -- a camera.

The piece included comments from the police department's PIO, Sgt. Todd Dykstra, who said that they want to know what the guy was up to and that it's conceivable he could be charged with harassment. I have no doubt that Dykstra knows damn well that there's almost no way to make such a charge stick if all the guy was doing was takin' pitchers o' purty gurls in the skywalks. (The Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that you have no presumption of privacy in a public place. That's why the authorities, and quasi-authorities like Wal-Mart security, are allowed to keep you under surveillance pretty much from the time you step out your front door.) But I understand why Dykstra said what he did: He'd just as soon not have the skywalks filled with weirdos taking pictures of random women. (The Supreme Court also says it's OK for the police to fudge the truth when their heart is in the right place.)

Which brings us back to the reason Channel 13's report this afternoon was unintentionally hilarious. Someone was stalking the skywalks with a camera, shooting pictures of random women. What did Channel 13 do for visuals for this story? It had someone stalk the skywalks with a camera, shooting footage of random women. If I was Todd Dykstra, I'd have Tased that sumbich.

Back at the studio, fifth-string Channel 13 anchorman Patrick Dix was utterly oblivious to the irony. John Bachman would have been all over that shit.

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