Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Machine Gun Grandma

At a party last Christmas night I ran into a very old friend. I’ve known him and his brother since we were all in Elementary School some 50+ years ago. Their Mom was my Cub Scout Den Mother and their Dad was "the quintessential" Western Lawman. Guns were one of the “tools” he, their Dad, used on a daily basis and he had all types; including automatic weapons, all held legally. In actuality, the first pistol I can remember firing was his .38. That and a few other things contributed to my developing a lifelong interest in guns. Their Dad has long since passed and Mom is now 90 and confined to a wheelchair.

Seems that her sons took her out to the family farm for an afternoon and while there she took a few minutes to fire her SMG. It was captured as a video clip by someone else there and later posted on the net, much to her chagrin. As the clip is a little hard to hear, it’s also been subtitled. I was told that when she became aware that it was on the net, she was embarrassed and concerned that her fellow church members might disassociate her. Now, I know that’s not going to happen and that’s not where I’m headed.

But, I do have an issue. My understanding is that family and friends had gathered at their farm for an enjoyable afternoon of family companionship which included shooting. To some (particularly in the South and esp. Texas), it’s loads of fun and an absolutely legal afternoon’s entertainment. Whoever violated their privacy by posting that video clip rubs me the wrong way.

It seems to have become OK to post humorous clips without approval or license in our modern electronic world, and with no regard to the privacy expectations of the subject. Once posted, they exist forever in cyberspace. That being the case, why do we rail against cell phone taps (that some consider to be beneficial in a war on terrorism) and then ignore the daily privacy violations that abound with the posting of unlicensed photos or video clips? Therefore, my question is: “Where and how do we draw the lines?”


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