Seeing as this blog IS called solving the world’s problems I thought I would address a problem that I have been aware of for some time, but was brought to my attention anew this afternoon when I was listening to old people’s radio.
The problem is when people attempt to solve a problem by creating a new rule (often a law) which will apparently stop this ‘problem’ from happening. The example I heard on the radio is a new law that will require anyone taking photos of people under the age of 15 for artistic or professional reasons to have permission from their parents (presumably in a tangible form). This is a reactionary response to the Bill Henson scandals of earlier in the year. The two controversies he has been involved in this year are taking and displaying (in an art gallery) pictures of nude children (one child involved was 13) and being escorted around a school by a principal and pointing out two children who would be good models for his photography. Both children’s parents were contacted by the school, one set declined and one accepted. The children’s parents in the first example had all given permission so far as I know.
So, the point here is not to discuss whether or not children should be photographed naked, that is a whole nother(sic) discussion. However, all the children were (rightly) photographed with their parent’s permission.
So I hear on the radio that they are bringing this new law in whereby ANY child under the age of 15 who is photographed can only be used if parental permission is obtained. Apparently this is to protect the children. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about protecting children, but if this law was in place then Bill Henson could still have taken his photos. What will happen is that anyone doing street photography will be extremely limited in that if they have a great photo, and they get home and notice there is a kid in the picture, practically speaking it will be impossible to get permission and they won’t be able to use it. I assume that photoshopping a person out of a picture is not an option because if you are going for original photos, generally photoshopping them is not allowed.
Perhaps another reason for this law is to stop regular people from taking photos of children for nefarious purposes, which is ridiculous because it is pretty easy to get pictures of kids on the internets. And from what I read of people in our own and other countries, people are already being harassed for taking pictures of their OWN kids by other parents who feel they have to protect any and all children.
As for myself there are naked pictures of me in the bath (and even out of the bath) up until at LEAST age 8 or 9, probably older. As for having my picture taken in public, one time I was sitting in Fed Square, reading a book and listening to music (using chunky headphones) and I must have looked photographable because something made me look up and there was a photographer (with a huge-arse camera) about 2 metres away who was just standing up having obviously taken my photo. He gave me a double thumbs up and walked away. I could have stopped him, but I was kinda stunned and had all my stuff piled around me. Plus the only thing I would have asked is what they were for and if I could get a copy.
I’ve probably written enough, but another example of this from recently is the new laws saying P platers in Victoria can only have one passenger of a certain age for the first year of their licence. This is pure stupidity. I lived in the country when I was in high school, and my observation of people was that some were dumb and some were smart (in terms of driving cars safely). I was at a party once when a guy who had been drinking all night didn’t really want to stay the night and so he drove home (on his own) in the car he had driven there in. He was probably over the legal limit, and he didn’t have p-plates up, he also didn’t have his licence, I can’t remember if he was 17 or 18. I knew a few guys who would drive into town or to mate’s houses when they were still 17 and just wouldn’t put Ps up cos they you are more likely to get pulled over by the cops.
Then some good things are, at my year 12 formal afterparty one guy decided not to drink but instead to shuttle people who wanted to go home back into town (about 20minutes one way) and charge them a little, but not as much as a taxi. So people didn’t have to drive drunk. The school organised a bus to take us to our year 12 muckup party so that we would either have to stay the night or catch a taxi home.
The problem with these new laws is that those kids who were driving without a licence with or without drinking will continue to do so, but as for the 18yo who was ferrying people into town, that is no longer possible, unless he breaks the law by putting up green or no Ps and filling his car. Otherwise half the people at the party have to not drink. Which is not going to happen. The one boy I know who has died in a car accident was 18, he had had his licence for about 3 weeks and he had one passenger in the car, a 21yo male. According to the police he wasn’t hooning, his car aquaplaned and no amount of experience would have kept it under control. This new law would not have saved his life.
Many people wrote into the paper arguing for the instigation of this new law because they had children who had died in car accidents where the driver was drunk. But the thing is (and this is my point) there is already a law against drunk driving, or any alcohol in your system when you are on your Ps. What is required is not a new law that forces people who want to do the right thing to break the law, but better or more policing of the existing laws. I have seen (and heard about) people in the country hooning and driving unsafely (including drunk driving) because they KNOW there is only 3 cop cars patrolling a HUGE amount of area and one always stays in town so their chances of getting caught are practically zero. And people know once they have seen the cop car it isn’t coming back, which make their chances literally zero. I guess what can happen is that people who don’t want to drinkdrive can stay overnight at parties, but that is not always practical and people may not feel comfortable to do so. Also don’t come crying to me when teen pregnancy rates go up!