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Taking pictures isn't illegal

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  |  Posted: Saturday, May 24, 2014 06:00 am

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Dear St. Albert baseball coach:

You are the lady who questioned me because I had a camera at my daughterís baseball game. I recall the shock and dismay on your face when I didnít co-operate with your unsolicited interrogation and I thought perhaps I should take a moment to explain.

I suppose had you approached me differently I might have reacted differently; hindsight is always 20/20. You stepped in front of me and began grilling me.

ďWho are you? Who are you shooting for? Why are you taking pictures? What are you doing with your pictures?Ē

I asked who you were, and you replied, ďIím the coachĒ, as if that explained why I was being interrogated about my presence at a public baseball field. You continued your grilling and I assured you I had a daughter on the team that was playing. That didnít seem to be enough for you to scale back your dragnet.

Iím curious about the discussion you all had Ė you and your coaches and the umpire Ė when you stopped the game and called a huddle to discuss what to do about the photographer. As you didnít visit me again and the police never came I can only imagine someone in the crowd had some common sense. Damn. I sure wish you had called the police.

As you approached me aggressively, I was probably less forthcoming than you would have preferred. Judging from the shock on your face, I guess my assertions that my presence was legal and that I was not going to answer your questions apparently didnít align with your belief that you had a right to challenge me.

And the disbelief you showed when you threatened to call the police and instead of cowering in fear I encouraged you to do it, clearly shows you do not understand the laws of the country in which you are playing baseball. So let me share some shocking information with you: Photography is not illegal.

In Canada I am allowed to take pictures in public places, all public places. I know there are a lot of Facebook lawyers who believe that they can pervert the idea of privacy into all kinds of scenarios, but they are wrong.

I can shoot pictures at my kidís baseball game. I can shoot pictures at your kidís baseball game too. And yes, I can take pictures of your kid. You might be somewhat relieved that I donít want to: Iím taking pictures of my kid and her teammates. Your kid is not special to me.

So next time you decide it is your responsibility to invent a law, and to incite people against a perpetrator of some fictitious crime, you should first get your facts straight. Had the police come, you would have been embarrassed. And had you harassed me any further, it would be me calling them and you, not me, would be the one charged.

Donít be afraid of cameras, be afraid of living in a society that fears the transparency that cameras bring.

Chris Barrett, Edmonton


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