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Hullabaloo


Saturday, August 16, 2014

 
Citizens, Use that Mobile TV Studio In Your Pocket For Fun and Profit!  by Spocko

 

Things have really changed now that we have gotten beyond using stone knives and bearskins to make mnemonic memory circuits. But some things haven't.

Even though it's totally legal to record the police there are still things to remember, like this 1963 quote from Houston vice squad captain, J.F. Willis “You may beat the rap, but you won’t beat the ride.”

What Willis knew then was that the power dynamic is always in play over time. We need to be prepared for this before during and after clashes. It helps to understand the media, your opponent, the law and your technology tools in order to come out on top, even if you are in the back of a cop car.

 Eventually the Ferguron story will drop off the twitter. Just like the Bundy Ranch story. But there will be another event.

We can get stuck in the same cycle or learn from past events. After the smoke bombs have been swept up and sonic cannons are parked let's do some thinking and acting.

 Lately I've been talking to people about making their own news worthy actions, flipping someone else's media event, inserting a different narrative in a breaking media event or revising a previous event for a new angle.

 One of the things I've found is that on the left many groups don't have the right "personality" to do this kind of work. Sure my friends at New York Communities for Change do, but there is so much more aggressive work challenging powerful groups that people could be doing.

I've developed ideas groups love, but they get nervous during the implementation. So sometimes people have to pick up the ball themselves, and when they do I want them to know the rules, tips and tricks. I want to teach them how to anticipate responses and next steps.  Luckily on the video rules side I've got guidelines for you.
Finally, my friends at Boing Boing have a podcast on what gadgets to use to gather your photos, video and audio. This is all good in helping people going to current protests, but I also want people to look at previous protests to see both what we can learn and how we can use them for change at a deeper level. Plus prepare for future actions. Let's look at history and then predict the future.

How can video be used to make changes in police actions and policies? 

Did you see this? Occupy protester wounded by Oakland police gets $4.5 million I noted what this story didn't say. The officer who shot the bean bag was never identified. Why not? Does the city know, but just not say? Was there no video or just no one to look at all the video and say, "There's the guy who shot the beanbag point blank at Olsen!" Was the officer following procedure? If not, what actions should be taken?  Maybe the procedure should be changed. Has it been?

Interestingly the officer who lobbed the tear-gas canister into the crowd trying to help the wounded protester was identified as Oakland police Officer Robert Roche.

Although Henry Lee of the Chronicle reported the footage was caught by a "TV news camera." I'm pretty sure that my friend Matt Kresling's reviewing the video and then highlighting the event was critical. I watched the KTVU footage when it first ran, they didn't point out the blatant disconnect between what the police told them and what they had on the footage.

The media today don't want to get "in the middle" of a conflict even when they are. It is our review, analysis and action based on the information that leads to change.

What is important to remember is that even though the city suffered "international embarrassment" it is follow up actions like the lawsuits that can lead to leadership and legislation change. And that change can be the gift for citizens that keeps on giving. 

You want to de-escalate the violence? De-militarize the police? Great! How are you going to do that?

Take away our tanks and big guns? You and what army?

 Let's think about the tools we have to help change things. Video. Photos. Blog posts and social media. Let's not forget good ol' telephone, email and search engine optimization!

And spreadsheets! Numbers people, help us out here! What is the ROI on those tanks? Sure it is "free" but what is the cost of upkeep? Wouldn't you rather have some hazmat suits for when the oil pipeline spills or the ebola pandemic?

I'll bet the city's insurance carrier would be happier with fewer "attractive nuances" and lawsuits just waiting to happen. What is the insurance cost for keeping these military weapons?

What's the PR cost for bad news?

Once people have power, and powerful tools, it takes other kinds of power and powerful tools to remove them.

Look to the tools we have for change.  One tool is a different perspective. What the city and the police think are assets are really liabilities. Help them see it.

The whole world isn't watching this part of the process, but it needs to be done. And you are just the people to do it.

LLAP
Spocko

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