Wednesday, May 30, 2012

And here I just got a new smart phone that supposedly has a quality camera

On the one hand, I happen to believe that anybody who feels the need to whip out their portable phone to use the built-in camera to take pictures of anything that happens to capture their fancy is engaging in pretty insipid behavior.
My new 'toy,' and soon I'll have a restriction

Then again, I do believe people have a right to act in ways that are stupid. It’s their choice.

WHICH IS WHY I can’t help but think that a bill now pending before Gov. Pat Quinn is such a gross overreaction. I don’t see the need to codify the fact that anybody who feels the need to pull out their portable camera and take pictures of an accident scene is being insipid.

The bill in question got its final vote of approval in the General Assembly on Monday. The Illinois House backed a measure making it illegal for any automobile driver to make a call with their portable phone within 500 feet of an auto accident scene where emergency vehicles have flashing lights.

It also would be illegal for people to send pictures and video messages while driving their cars – regardless of whether there’s an auto accident occurring nearby.

In theory, there is an exemption that allows someone in a car to pull out their cell phone and make a call to report the emergency situation. But I can’t help but think that if there are ambulances and police squad cars around the area with their lights flashing, it means they’re already aware of the accident.

SO WHERE’S THE real exemption?

Personally, I would never feel compelled to whip out my phone to snap a picture of an auto accident I happened to drive past – even though the Nokia Lumia smart phone I got just last week (my old Blackberry completely died) supposedly has as one of its selling points a higher-quality camera than most hand-held phones have.

Whenever I see people walking down the street feeling the need to suddenly snap a picture of something that they randomly encountered in life, all too often I can’t help but think it’s such a waste of time.

I usually don’t think to say anything, figuring it’s their business what they do – or what they choose to clutter up their phones’ memory with. So I can sort of see the idea of a law addressing these situations.

IT’S JUST THAT this bill seems like such overkill – even if its backers claim their concern is reducing the chance of someone causing yet a second accident because they were paying too much attention to the first one they were trying to shoot pictures of.

Besides, a part of me can’t help but wonder if this is someone trying to come up with yet another law making it a sordid act to take pictures of police in action.

We already have those laws that make video without police permission a potential felony, and it is a good thing that the courts have shown themselves to be hostile toward the idea of enforcing the letter of that law!

Does somebody really fear that somebody is going to capture a moment on digital that might make law enforcement conduct at an accident scene look less than honorable? An embarrassing moment caught for posterity (or at least until the camera owner gets bored with the shot and deletes it)!

WE HAVE SERIOUS problems confronting our state Legislature. I’d like to see some effort put by our politicians into addressing them.

So while I understand that our legislators are capable of addressing many issues at once, I can’t help but wonder how much brain matter that could have gone into balancing a budget or properly funding Medicaid or pensions got put into addressing the “scourge” of those handheld phone cameras snapping shots of police milling around an accident scene?


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