Fear Force – Keeping citizens safe from themselves

A couple of days ago Kevin Geraghty-Shewan took his 4-year old son to the supermarket in Sunderland. At the entrance to the store was a children’s train ride and the boy jumped on board to have his picture taken.

And this is where the forces of law and order stepped in.

A vigilant security guard spotted this suspicious behaviour, approached Mr Geraghty-Shewan and told him to delete the photo. He was told…

You can’t take pictures here

When Mr Geraghty-Shewan explained the boy was his son the guard explained…

You can’t prove that. For all I know you could be a paedophile

Warning - NSFW locomotive image

Now, this isn’t the first story that has emerged from the UK about the almost arbitrary rulings on where and when citizens are allowed to take photographs in public places. This is mainly due to the other Great Modern Fear, that of terrorism.

Section 44 of the UK Terrorism Act 2000 states…

Officers have the power to view digital images contained in mobile telephones or cameras carried by a person searched under S44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, provided that the viewing is to determine whether the images contained in the camera or mobile telephone are of a kind, which could be used in connection with terrorism

Given this justification, hundreds of photographers have been stopped by the police, who are doing one of two things. They are either using their powers under the Act as an excuse to harass innocent citizens or they genuinely believe their actions are keeping the streets safe.

I find the former of those fantastically annoying. To get hassled whilst taking photos because it is your hobby, passion or job would be utterly dementing.

But the latter I find horrifying. And, looking back at Mr Geraghty-Shewan’s experience in Sunderland, I’m not entirely sure this wasn’t what occured.

Having shrugged off the attentions of the security guard he shortly found himself stopped by a policeman, who had been alerted by the store.

They took my details and said they had the right to remove the picture from my phone. I got annoyed and things got heated, then he threatened me with arrest for breach of the peace.

Ben thought I was in trouble because he had sat on the ride and we didn’t put the money in.

Good job that incriminating nugget of information slipped their notice, it would have been off to the nick with Dad and the kid would have been in a foster home before you could say Thomas the Tank Engine.

In this case he was let off with a warning… but what was he even warned for? If the security guard and the policeman had actually thought he was a paedophile shouldn’t there have been some sort of arrest?

No. Because what they wanted him to do was delete the photograph… that’s all. So we can only assume that, should you wish to let your recently kidnapped 4 year old victim play on a supermarket ride, just make sure you don’t photograph him. And if you do, delete the photo and wander off with a warning.

I can just picture the scene back at the police station. It plays out like a Monty Python sketch

Superintendant – Ah, P.C. Wilkins. Back from patrol I see. Anything to report?

P.C. Wilkins – Another of those paedophiles taking photos, Sir.

Superintendant – Dear, dear. And what did you do?

P.C. Wilkins – Got him to delete the photos, Sir. Sent him and the boy on their way…

Superintendant – Good work Wilkins. What I couldn’t do with more men like you.

P.C. Wilkins = Yes Sir. Thank you Sir.

Australian politician’s advice on virginity not a votewinner

We’ve previously looked at virginity a couple of times (here and here) at Notes, particularly the way in which virginity can become overvalued within a culture, and how that overvaluation is often associated with Continue reading

Topless sunbathing versus the New Puritanism.

It’s summer time in the southern hemisphere and for many people that means heading to the beach and getting your gear off. It appears, however, that in many countries women are taking off Continue reading

Cape Horn Dead Ahead – Jessica Watson Update

It was back in November, the 23rd to be precise, when I took a look at Jessica Watson’s attempt to become the youngest solo round the world sailor. (The original, Jessica Watson: The First Leg Complete can be read here)

At that point, Jessica had just Continue reading

Awwww – Finally a cute baby to coo over…

I’m at that awkward stage of one’s life when almost all my friends, without exception, are frantically breeding like rabbits. Something happens to humans at a certain age… one moment they are crushed next to you at a bar Continue reading

The extreme dangers of social networking

Here’s what happened when a guy got grassed up by his sister for having beer in his room. The guy got grounded for three months. What does he do? Searches his sister’s room, finds some incriminating evidence in her diary, scans it, then releases it to their social circle (and the world) via Facebook.

This is either going to wreck her social life completely or make her very, very Continue reading

Here’s a role model for the kids!

This is Mastercard priceless. One of Tiger’s slappers comes out with a winner, believing that she was the only “other woman”. Here’s the quote from Cori Rist:

“I’m not like most of these girls. I’m a mum and I try to set the right example by my son.”

Nuff said!

Genetics at work

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Jessica Watson: The first leg complete

A while ago I posted on Dutch teen Laura Dekker who had wanted to sail solo around the world at the tender age of 13. In her case a Dutch judge stepped in (you can read the post here Judge torpedoes teen dreams) and made her a ward of the state in order to prevent her making the voyage. 16 year old Australian Jessica Watson however has been at sea since Continue reading

Groundhog Day

Here in Australia, winter is gradually, hopefully, giving way to summer.

Given that one of my favourite comedies is Groundhog Day and everyone I know has inexplicably decided to breed, this cartoon from the good people at xkcd tickled my funny bone from two separate directions.

“Family Man” Politician in “Messy” Sex Scandal

I love a good sex scandal, especially when it reveals the hypocrisy of politicians. This latest affair is a particularly good example. The politician involved is Californian GOP Assemblyman Mike Duvall, a married man with two children who has been praised many times by the Republican Party for his staunch promotion of family values.

It turns out that these values weren’t all he’s been “promoting”. Duvall has recently been busted for banging Heidi DeJong Barsuglia, an energy company lobbyist. What makes this story particularly juicy is that Duvall’s dalliance wasn’t revealed by an intrepid reporter, a vengeful wife or Continue reading

Virtual Global Taskforce

The Virtual Global Taskforce has one of those lunatic names that conjures up 1970s Godzilla movies or, perhaps, the all powerful military outfit from the Jon Pertwee era of Dr Who. It certainly doesn’t sound like the name one would give a serious outfit that coordinates the efforts of law enforcement offices around the globe in a bid to prevent online child predation.

The allseeing eye is watching. Or perhaps it's not.

The allseeing eye is watching. Or maybe it's not.

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Do I Need a Parental Lock?

This is a story about ageing, sex, technology. and the pitfalls of having only a little knowledge as you navigate your way through the strange new world of cyberspace.

I read somewhere recently that if you want to succeed as a writer, you need to write as if your parents were dead. I guess this advice makes sense; you need to throw off that indoctrinated, parental yoke that may prevent you from expressing yourself openly Continue reading

Won’t somebody please think of the children?

I still remember the first proper book I ever bought for myself. It was set in an enchanting, fantasy land.

It was Comet in Moominland by Finnish writer, Tove Jansson and when that first copy eventually disintegrated under the strain of multiple readings, I bought a new one; I still read it once every couple of years, and I often recommend it to parents with kids keen to read. As a child I was drawn to the eccentric characters, the whimsical nature of the world they lived in and the sense that this world was designed and drawn by a person who truly understood me.

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Gosh! Thanks Mum and Dad!

Keeping growing kids happy can be hard these days. Choosing something for a child’s birthday gift can be even more so. What do they really want? What do kids think is cool? What will they think of you if you buy them something that will get them teased at school?

Thankfully the man behind the original G.I. Joe doll has created a line of biblically inspired figurines that will make fruit of your loins think you are the World’s Coolest Parents™.

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