Being the Bigger Brother

By Nathaniel Mayer

This morning, like most mornings, began with me waking up in terror. No way could we be living in an era where the Truth is silenced at every turn, but look at these new laws saying we can’t videotape police anymore. Isn’t that how the savage beating of Rodney King was reported to the world? Is the First Amendment being fisted by the government into oblivion? How can we not be allowed to film the same police that are supposed to be here to “protect and serve”?

I have only recently been able to tap into the power and resources of the internet as a forum, just as it is being warped into a controlled and censored security grid. I feel like a 14-year-old virgin boy showing up too late for some sort of ecstasy-fueled teen orgy and it’s getting broken up by the cops just as I’m slipping my belt off. Internet journalists are working on borrowed time right now and video is one of our last tools for Truth.  Just YouTube “asshole cop” and you’ll catch a glimpse of what power the web can have in broadcasting our police with dozens of uploaded videos displaying our government at its most sinister. The power of video can expose any injustice these rabid foot soldiers dish out against the people.

Video is America’s last honest witness and our First Amendment of the Constitution says that we have freedom of the press. Press was specifically defined in 1938 by the Supreme Court as “every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.” This inherently includes YouTube, Blogs, and just about anywhere else on the Internet. You don’t need to be another slick Neo-Con on assignment from Fox News, or some drugged-out journalist on The Rolling Stone payroll to be considered potential press.

We have had the internet at our disposal for over two decades and we have taken it for granted. We are still are subservient to corporate media; we flock to their news-sites and subscribe to their RSS feeds and like them on Facebook. There is a world of knowledge and important information out there to take in. Dozens of sad stories occur every single day involving violently depraved behavior and evil corrupt business practices. All the while, we still end up just following Justin Bieber on Twitter, standing in line for the Twilight, watching sports entertainment in our free time and listening to Glenn Beck, hoping he’s the next best bet for our puppet president.

The police are saying that the law being broken is “illegal wiretapping” and “filming without consent” but America is supposed to put The Bill of Rights first and foremost in any legal scenario and our First Amendment is the most important. Don’t blame me; I didn’t write it, I didn’t make this up. For some reason the founders of this once-great country decided to put this first in our Bill of Rights. Being first is supposed to give it priority but in Maryland it is specifically against the law to audibly record anyone without their permission and that is how their enforcing this new tar-baby on the public.

A 25-year-old Maryland man, John Graber, who also happens to serve in this country’s military, is being charged with felony wire-tapping and is facing up to 15 years in jail. He posted a video on YouTube of himself being pulled over by an off-duty cop who had his gun drawn. A week after posting the video of the encounter, he was arrested.

This isn’t the first victim of this new deranged interpretation of our laws. In 2007, two men in Pennsylvania and one in New Hampshire were charged with “wire-tapping” for filming their encounters with police. Much more recently, a New York cop threatened a man with rape for filming him, a Massachusetts man was arrested on wire-tapping charges for filming his traffic stop,  and a young student in Connecticut was tackled and arrested for filming his friend being arrested at a bar.

In a country where the cops are now allowed to issue roadside drug tests, it’s more vital than ever that we be allowed to point the unbiased eye of the camera back at those whose job it is to protect us and serve us. The Rodney king beatings were seen round the world and no cop in his right mind would want to be on that side of a camera. It’s a fact that many cops will be put in a Rodney King-type scenario at one time or another during their career. It has become part of the police officer’s handbook to be aggressive and not take any snide bullshit or be disrespected by any “civilian” they may encounter.

They have always resorted to violence and intimidation to get the job done. My own Great-Grandfather was a cop in New York and told his children about planting weapons on Wops and Micks because they were guilty anyway and this just sealed the deal. They mislead and lie to the people they interact with and use dirty tactics like planting evidence and exaggerating on official reports. These methods are present in every police force in America every single day. It’s become completely natural and inescapable, so what other option do we have?

We could live in a perpetually monitored and recorded Scanner Darkly police-state but no one would agree to that. Not in a million years would presidents, pedophiles or preachers (who all have dark secrets behind closed doors) agree to that. But would a privacy-eradicated constantly monitored society be wrong? If there are things you shouldn’t be doing that you do not want others to know about, why are you doing them in the first place?

It’s not what we’re doing in private that is the point but the fact that our founding fathers felt The Bill of Rights are inalienable, god-given, and that every human being is born with those rights. Who are we to argue with rich white slave-owning terrorists that didn’t want to pay their taxes? Or better yet, which ones should we listen to? The men who forged this country two-hundred years ago or the ones in charge that are dismantling it today?

No, I believe the next logical step is a new police-force, assembled and consisting entirely of soulless robots. They would be the perfect protectors, willing to really risk their lives for us 100% and totally incorruptible since the all-too-human urge to cheat and dominate would not be present in their programming and they would never be tempted by corruption that any American civil-servant, making $30,000 a year, is subject to.

Well, we don’t need all that invasion of privacy and we do not need all that expensive technology. We have the power right now to monitor who really matters and that’s the police. If every officer was fitted with a small head mounted mini-cam then we wouldn’t need as many time-consuming police reports and every interaction would be truthfully documented. Europe has practiced this for years already, so why isn’t America already on board?

That isn’t in our near future either though, so let’s forget about sci-fi and focus on what’s tangible. Barely tangible and hardly recognizable is our Constitution and Bill of Rights that now  resemble a fifteen-year-old child who’s been kidnapped by some strange evangelical pervert for the last ten years and kept in a Coleman tent in a backyard. It’s been left a shell of what it once was by the Patriot Act and the American citizens that still care are left grasping at straws. It’s up to us to film interactions between the officers and citizens and catch misconduct. The resources are there; since we all have some sort of recording device on our cell phones, it’s easier than ever. If we don’t pay attention to where this slippery slope is going, our rights are going to be taken away before we know it.

Nathaniel Mayer is a journalist and freelance writer based out of
California. He's been writing for nearly a decade and currently does regular
columns for

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