The Photo That Got Me Arrested

SouthGate

This is getting to be an ongoing series. There’s a lot of this going on. This happened in South Gate, California:

So on Sunday, when a lawman was caught on video snatching a woman’s cellphone in South Gate as she recorded and smashing it on the floor, it was with relief that South Gate police said the officer wasn’t one of their own but a deputy U.S. marshal.

“We’ve had incidents where people have videotaped us and it requires unbelievable restraint. Typically during times where things can be a little chaotic,” said South Gate police Capt. Darren Arakawa. “We really have to convey we’re living in a different environment now where police action is scrutinized and a lot of video is surfacing. We simply tell our officers to assume they’re being recorded out in public at all times.”

Here’s the deal. Apparently U.S. Marshals were going after some bikers (as in biker bang). Beatriz Paez lived in the neighborhood and started getting it all on he phone video. One of the feds took offense at this and requested she cease and desist. It would appear Paez knows her rights and declined the invitation.

That was the end of the civilities. The marshal wrested the offending device from the firm grasp of Ms. Paez and threw it to the ground. He then commenced to stomp on it until it was “really most sincerely dead.” See the photo from The Los Angeles Times.

la-me-ln-feds-probe-video-phone-in-south-gate--002

I observe Ms. Paez has put on a different shirt since the previous photo.

What the (clueless) marshal failed to notice is—drum roll—this is the 21st century. Just about everybody has a video camera within easy reach. Somebody else was recording the scene as Paez recorded the feds and had her phone destroyed in return.

If somebody would ask my opinion on this I would mention that there should by now be a former federal officer’s badge on his boss’s desk. There are still a few public servants who have not gotten the memo. People in public places can photograph, record, video anybody doing anything publicly visible, and that would especially include public employees in the performances of their duties.

Keep reading. There’s going to be some more of this.

The Photo That Got Me Arrested

WalterScottShooting-01

The title is from another post. There seems to be reluctance on some parts to police being photographed doing their jobs. Or not. Others, too. I’ve seen a little bit of this.

The above image was shot by Feidin Santana. He used the video camera in his cell phone to record the events surrounding the shooting of civilian Walter Scott by Officer Michael Slager of the North Charleston police. Officer Slager has since been dismissed from the force and is under arrest for Scott’s murder.

My point is another matter. Santana’s video shows Scott running away and Slager taking a shooting stance and firing eight shots from his service weapon at Scott’s back. We now know that four of the bullets struck Scott in the back. There were no wounds in the front of his body. What happens next in the video is so very interesting. We see Officer Slager walking up to the dying Scott and handcuffing him. He then heads back to his original firing position, in a slow trot by now. Another officer is already at the site of Scott’s body. Officer Slager retrieves something from his original position and returns, dropping an object near the body in the presence of the other officer. We next see Officer Slager picking up an object near the body, presumably the same object, and returning it to its original position.

Following is an excerpted transcription of the related police report for this incident. I obtained the copy that was available and have posted it on-line. What follows is from the PDF. I have corrected some capitalization and line endings to make for easier reading. Note that there are nine pages in the report with different pages supplied by different officers involved:

Page 1

Report by Sgt. J. Glann 55

On 4/4/15 at approximately 0930 hours i, sgt. Gann was conducting a traffic stop in the area of Dorchester Road and Scarsdale avenue. I hear officer Slager, 223 call out on a traffic stop in the area of Remount Road and Craig Street. A few minutes later, Officer Slager advised he was in a foot pursuit with the driver who was running down Craig Street toward the Singing Pines subdivision. I heard Officer Slager advised the dispatcher the direction of travel and a description of a black male wearing a blue hat and blue jeans. I discontinued my traffic stop and proceeded to Officer Slager’s location. While in route to the incident location, officer Slager advised that he deployed his taser and request for back up units and seconds

Page 2

ADDITIONAL NARRATIVE

Report by Sgt. J. Glann 55

Later “shots fired and the subject is down, he took my taser.” officer Habersham checked out on scene and EMS was requested. Officer Baines advised he was out with the officer Slager’s vehicle and had the passenger detained. I arrived on scene and observed Officer Habersham was administering first aid to the driver. I exited my vehicle and assisted Officer Habersham with first aid and CPR to the driver. We continued to perform first aid and cpr until ems arrived on scene. When ems and first responders arrived, EMS took over providing care to the driver, who was pronounced deceased a short time later. Departmental notifications were made as well as notifications to the Charleston County coroner’s office. The duty chief and detectives arrived and took command of the incident location. A perimeter was established around both the drivers’ vehicle and the incident location. Sled was notified and responded the incident location to assume control of the investigation.

Page 3

Terrell Supplement 4-4-2015

On the date above at 0940, RIO arrived on scene for the incident. RIO immediately secured the crime scene and assisted Ptl. Williams with the
scene. RIO stayed on scene until the scene was cleared by SLED. There is no further information at this time.

Page 4

J Banias Supplement

On 04-04-2015 at approximately 9:40 a.m. I responded to Remount and Craig St. in reference to an officer needing assistance for a foot chase.
While en route to the chase Officer Slager asked for an Officer to secure his vehicle at the site of the traffic stop. I then arrived on scene at the site of the traffic stop and secured Officer Slagers vehicle. I also spoke to the passenger of the vehicle that was stopped. The passenger was also detained and placed in the back seat of my vehicle. I remained on scene while SLED conducted an investigation. Nothing further.

Page 5

supplement by Habersham 1562015011011

On April 4, 2015 I Officer Habersham responded to the empty Lot behind Mega Pawn in reference to the above incident. I (Habersham) attempted to render aid to the victim by applying pressure to the gunshot wounds and dircting the best route for EMS and fire to take to get to the victim faster.

Page 6

Supplemental M Cooper 199 04-04-15

RIO responded to the scene in reference to an officer involved shooting. Upon arrival I observed officers rendering aid to the subject. At that time I began to secure the scene and establishing a perimeter. RIO continued to provide assistance on scene as needed until directed to clear. No further action taken by RIO.

Page 7

Supplement by Pfc, R, Killin

On the above date and time I (Pfc, Killin) responded to the incident location reference an officer involved shooting, Upon my arrival r observed several officers administering aid to the suspect and I began establishing a crime scene perimeter. I ensured the scene was secure for
emergency personel and remained on scene until directed to clear, Nothing further to report at this time.

Page 8

Supplement by Pfc, R, Killin

On the above date and time I (Pfc, Killin) responded to the incident location reference an officer involved shooting, Upon my arrival r observed several officers administering aid to the suspect and I began establishing a crime scene perimeter. I ensured the scene was secure for
emergency personel and remained on scene until directed to clear, Nothing further to report at this time.

Page 9

Supplemental by Sgt. Webb

On 04-04-2015, at approximately 0940 hours, PFC M. Slager advised that he was chasing a subject on foot down Craig Street. PFC Slager then requested for PFC Habersham to step- up his response. Shortly after PFC Slager advised that shots were fired and that the suspect was down.

I requested that EMS respond to the incident location.

At approximately 0941 hours, I checked out with officers in the vacant field located behind 5654 Rivers Avenue (Mega Pawn). I observed PFC Habersham administering chest compression to the defendant.

I next made contact with PFC M. Slager and secured his duty weapon in the trunk of my unit.

I then secured PFC M. Slager in my unit, along with asking him for the approximate area of the incident. I located and marked the shell casings from the incident.

I made contact with the defendant’s brother (Anthony Scott). and secured his cell phone at the request of SLED. A chain of custody form was completed and submitted to the Evidence Locker at the North Charleston Police Department.

And that’s it. Does anybody else notice some peculiar about this police report? Here it is. Where is the notation by somebody, possibly Officer Habersham to the effect, “Observed Officer Slager tampering with evidence at the crime scene?”

My question now is, how come there are not right now two badges lying on the police chief’s desk?

Y’all keep reading. The plot may get deeper.

Gaydar Alert

TwinGayWomen

Where to start? A couple of cute girls, right? Hunks out there may be disappointed to know that one of them is homosexual. Lesbian. Don’t take my word for it.

Eight Major Identical Twin Studies Prove Homosexuality Is Not Genetic

Excerpted from OTToday: Eight major studies of identical twins in Australia, the U.S., and Scandinavia during the last two decades all arrive at the same conclusion: gays were not born that way.

“At best genetics is a minor factor,” says Dr. Neil Whitehead, PhD. Whitehead worked for the New Zealand government as a scientific researcher for 24 years, then spent four years working for the United Nations and International Atomic Energy Agency. Most recently, he serves as a consultant to Japanese universities about the effects of radiation exposure. His PhD is in biochemistry and statistics.

Identical twins have the same genes or DNA. They are nurtured in equal prenatal conditions. If homosexuality is caused by genetics or prenatal conditions and one twin is gay, the co-twin should also be gay.

“Because they have identical DNA, it ought to be 100%,” Dr. Whitehead notes. But the studies reveal something else. “If an identical twin has same-sex attraction the chances the co-twin has it are only about 11% for men and 14% for women.”

Because identical twins are always genetically identical, homosexuality cannot be genetically dictated. “No-one is born gay,” he notes. “The predominant things that create homosexuality in one identical twin and not in the other have to be post-birth factors.”

We are prompted to ask, “what post-birth factors?” For the definitive answer we need to go to that notable authority on the rising tide of homosexuality, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. An excerpt:

Hello, I’m Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. You can’t blame people for asking after the Smithsonian’s decision to add a special exhibit on the LGBT movement. The collection highlights everything from “Will & Grace” show props to a transgender pride flag. Sports, politics, and cultural memorabilia are all part of the propaganda, which — like most Smithsonian projects — is funded by taxpayer dollars. “It’s a good example,” said the director, “of the kind of work that we want to move forward with.” And that’s exactly what people should be afraid of. This is just another platform for the Left to rewrite history — and ignore the destructive side effects of homosexuality. Students are already bombarded with the LGBT agenda, do they really need to walk past exhibits treating its extremists as heroes?

No actual “post-birth factors” are revealed. He has had more to say:

At the Values Voters Summit over the weekend, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, had two words for LGBT and progressive groups who took out an ad in The Washington Post which stated that his organization’s “groundless demonization of LGBT people,” linking homosexuality with pedophilia, is contrary to the “highest ideals” of the nation: “They’re wrong.”

Perkins clarified his position in a post on the Family Research Council blog last year:

Obviously, homosexual attractions are not a “choice” in the vast majority of cases. But it should be insulting to people with same-sex attractions to claim that they’re compelled to act on those attractions. Homosexual or heterosexual, people are responsible for their conduct. Have we come to the point that we are nothing more than our sexual urges? And that’s essentially the point Governor Perry was trying to make. But unfortunately for him, there’s no room for an honest conversation in Obama’s America.

So, being homosexual is a “choice” in rare cases. According to the expert. Here is additional word from real experts, the people who do the science:

Homosexuality is Genetic: Strongest Evidence Yet

The study detailed an in-depth analysis of blood and saliva samples taken from 409 pairs of openly gay brothers, including non-identical twins, from 384 families. The only common characteristic shared by all 818 men was being gay.

Knowing this, the researchers theorized that any single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) consistently found among these men would have something to do with sexual orientation.

Interestingly, five uniquely presented SNPs did indeed stand out, expressed in two portions of the human genome.

“The most pleasing aspect is that the confirmation comes from a team that was in the past somewhat skeptical and critical of the earlier findings,” Andrea Camperio Ciani, of the University of Padua in Italy, told New Scientist.

Now the same team is working to compare these gene variants to heterosexual males, expecting that it will not be a common find among “straight” men.

Still, the researchers stress that regardless of genetic preference, genes are but a factor in the greater picture, taking into account that social and cultural pressures can still effect an individual’s sexual lifestyle, no matter how they were born.

 

So, what about those two cuties pictured above, one gay, one straight? You’ve got me on that. The only answer I have is this:

Model Used in “Nobody’s Born Gay” Twin Ad Says He is Gay and Not a Twin

TwinGayMen

The “twins” they showed are actually one person, and he is an out and proud gay man, according to Richmond’s NBC Channel 12.

The South African model Kyle Roux, who does not have a straight twin, said that the billboard shocked him when he saw it and that he’d been told his image would only be used for corporate advertising and publicity materials. He wrote to Channel 12:

“It just seems like there’s no place in today’s world for an organization that is promoting this as being some kind of deviant or distasteful lifestyle, because I’ve lived my life openly gay and happy for my entire life.”

Chris Doyle, a PFOX board member, however, told Channel 12 that the photo is irrelevant. God is what matters here:

“The issue isn’t the photo on the billboard, but the actual science.”

I am so glad it is the “actual science” these people are concerned about and not some ancient writings being used to prop up their personal prejudices.

Full disclosure, I do the same thing. Let me explain. I sell stock images through various agencies. Eight years ago I realized what was selling were photos with people in them. So I advertised something like this, “Your model portfolio for free.” That is, I would take publicity photos and not charge. I only required in return a model release. When a photo of a person is used in a commercial application—selling a product or such—then a model release is required. The person gives permission for his likeness to be used to advertise a product or in a like manner. Here’s an example:

Female Dancer in Black Hat

This woman is a professional dancer. The release she signed allows me to use this photo in all manner of publications. It can be an ad for an exercise program (even though she was not actually a user of that program), an ad for physical fitness, even an ad for a dating network. There are applications for which I or any of the agencies handling this image would not use. That would be, for example, a scandal sheet story about prostitution in Las Vegas. That would totally mis-characterize this woman and put her in an insulting reference. She did not sign up for that.

So, what about the model whose image was used to mis-characterize homosexuality? What about the people who concocted this humorous exhibit? It might be insulting if not for the total irony. It’s those parading their innermost darkness in public that give me and many others such merriment.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

The Photo That Got Me Arrested

FireStation

I previously reported on the above as The Photo That Got Me Arrested. But first, my O’Reilly disclosure: I did not actually get arrested. In fact, the people who “arrested” me did not have the authority to arrest anybody. They were not police. They were firemen working for the Anaheim, California, fire department. What brought the whole thing to life was I was taking photos (see above), and they were suspicious of my motives. One of them called me over, and when I offered to leave (after explaining my business) one of them offered to physically restrain me. Technically that is an “arrest.”

Anyhow, some real people have been getting really arrested for taking photos. Prize examples surfaced in a recent report by the United States Department of Justice on the doings of the police and courts in Ferguson, Missouri. I’m not going to comment further. I’m just going to post an excerpt from that report. Please read the entire report at your leisure.

FPD officers also routinely infringe on the public’s First Amendment rights by preventing people from recording their activities. The First Amendment “prohibit[s] the government from limiting the stock of information from which members of the public may draw.” First Nat’l Bank v. Belloti, 435 U.S. 765, 783 (1978). Applying this principle, the federal courts of appeal have held that the First Amendment “unambiguously” establishes a constitutional right to videotape police activities. Glik v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78, 82 (1st Cir. 2011); see also ACLU v. Alvarez, 679 F.3d 583, 600 (7th Cir. 2012) (issuing a preliminary injunction against the use of a state eavesdropping statute to prevent the recording of public police activities); Fordyce v. City of Seattle, 55 F.3d 436, 439 (9th Cir. 1995) (recognizing a First Amendment right to film police carrying out their public duties); Smith v. City of Cumming, 212 F.3d 1332, 1333 (11th Cir. 2000) (recognizing a First Amendment right “to photograph or videotape police conduct”). Indeed, as the ability to record police activity has become more widespread, the role it can play in capturing questionable police activity, and ensuring that the activity is investigated and subject to broad public debate, has become clear. Protecting civilian recording of police activity is thus at the core of speech the First Amendment is intended to protect. Cf. Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 681 (1972) (First Amendment protects “news gathering”); Mills v. Alabama, 384 U.S. 214, 218 (1966) (news gathering enhances “free discussion of governmental affairs”). “In a democracy, public officials have no general privilege to avoid publicity and embarrassment by preventing public scrutiny of their actions.” Walker v. City of Pine Bluff, 414 F.3d 989, 992 (8th Cir. 2005).

In Ferguson, however, officers claim without any factual support that the use of camera phones endangers officer safety. Sometimes, officers offer no rationale at all. Our conversations with community members and review of FPD records found numerous violations of the right to record police activity. In May 2014, an officer pulled over an African-American woman who was driving with her two sons. During the traffic stop, the woman’s 16-year-old son began recording with his cell phone. The officer ordered him to put down the phone and refrain from using it for the remainder of the stop. The officer claimed this was “for safety reasons.” The situation escalated, apparently due to the officer’s rudeness and the woman’s response. According to the 16 year old, he began recording again, leading the officer to wrestle the phone from him. Additional officers arrived and used force to arrest all three civilians under disputed circumstances that could have been clarified by a video recording.

In June 2014, an African-American couple who had taken their children to play at the park allowed their small children to urinate in the bushes next to their parked car. An officer stopped them, threatened to cite them for allowing the children to “expose themselves,” and checked the father for warrants. When the mother asked if the officer had to detain the father in front of the children, the officer turned to the father and said, “you’re going to jail because your wife keeps running her mouth.” The mother then began recording the officer on her cell phone. The officer became irate, declaring, “you don’t videotape me!” As the officer drove away with the father in custody for “parental neglect,” the mother drove after them, continuing to record. The officer then pulled over and arrested her for traffic violations. When the father asked the officer to show mercy, he responded, “no more mercy, since she wanted to videotape,” and declared “nobody videotapes me.” The officer then took the phone, which the couple’s daughter was holding. After posting bond, the couple found that the video had been deleted.

A month later, the same officer pulled over a truck hauling a trailer that did not have operating tail lights. The officer asked for identification from all three people inside, including a 54-year-old white man in the passenger seat who asked why. “You have to have a reason. This is a violation of my Fourth Amendment rights,” he asserted. The officer, who characterized the man’s reaction as “suspicious,” responded, “the reason is, if you don’t hand it to me, I’ll arrest you.” The man provided his identification. The officer then asked the man to move his cell phone from his lap to the dashboard, “for my safety.” The man said, “okay, but I’m going to record this.” Due to nervousness, he could not open the recording application and quickly placed the phone on the dash. The officer then announced that the man was under arrest for Failure to Comply. At the end of the traffic stop, the officer gave the driver a traffic citation, indicated at the other man, and said, “you’re getting this ticket because of him.” Upon bringing that man to the jail, someone asked the officer what offense the man had committed. The officer responded, “he’s one of those guys who watches CNBC too much about his rights.” The man did not say anything else, fearing what else the officer might be capable of doing. He later told us, “I never dreamed I could end up in jail for this. I’m scared of driving through Ferguson now.”

The Photo That Got Me Arrested

FireStation

This came up again, and I was drawn back to the story about the photo that got me arrested:

OK, I really did not get “arrested.” It was more like “You better not try to leave, or we’ll come after you.” All right, maybe that’s technically “arrested.”

That was about five years ago (almost to the day) in Anaheim, California. Here’s what’s more recent, but it does not involve me. This is from CNN:

After ordering protesters and reporters to turn off their cameras, police fired smoke bombs, tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters after some threw objects at them Wednesday, according to media accounts. CNN crews have not been ordered to turn off their cameras during the protests.

That was in Ferguson, Missouri, several days after a policeman murdered an unarmed teenager. After authorities failed to place the officer under arrest or even to identify the culprit. MSNBC was the outlet that prominently reported on demands by police that the protests and police action not be photographed:

The scene late Wednesday resembled more of an urban war zone however with residents fleeing in freight, heavy smoke plumes hanging low to the ground and reporters forced to shut off their cameras.

There’s been a lot of controversy over photographing police in particular and public places and events in general. It’s possible the Rodney King beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 was a tipping point. King, a scumbag in his own right, led police on a high speed chase, following which police stood around and beat him while he was on the ground. It’s not that this never happened before, but by the time this happened the camcorder had been invented. Somebody caught the whole mess on video.

That was embarrassing to police, and some cops went to trial and were acquitted (surprise surprise), and there was additional trouble. Since that time additional video clips, some by news agencies and some by bystanders, of police malfeasance have resulted in consternation for the police involved. Police have become touchy about being photographed and especially recorded on video while performing their duties.

Police have countered by arresting people photographing them. Cameras have been confiscated (another English word for “stolen”). Despite that courts have continually ruled for the rights of citizens and especially news agencies to photograph police activity in public, those charged, those arrested, have suffered onerous outlays of their personal wealth to defend themselves. Spending a few hours (a night) in the slammer, being hauled into court to face charges, paying thousands of dollars in legal fees—all of this can have a chilling effect on anybody wishing to exercise his right to look, to see, to record, to report what’s going on in public.

This from The Verge:

Here’s the deal: as a resident of the US, you have the right to record the police in the course of their public duties. The police don’t have a right to stop you as long as you’re not interfering with their work. They also don’t have a right to confiscate your phone or camera, or delete its contents, just because you were recording them.

Despite some state laws that make it illegal to record others without their consent, federal courts have held consistently that citizens have a First Amendment right to record the police as they perform their official duties in public. The Supreme Court also recently affirmed that the Fourth Amendment, protecting citizens from arbitrary searches and seizures, means that cops need to “get a warrant” if they want to take your cellphone. (The ACLU has a concise guide to your rights, here.) And the US Department of Justice under Obama has affirmed the court’s stances by reminding police departments that they’re not allowed to harass citizens for recording them.

My own experience with the Anaheim Fire Department (?) was not so nearly dramatic. I was unemployed at the time. I had an apartment in one of the most pleasant cities in America, just a short walk from Disneyland (Walt’s famous and original theme park), where the weather was almost always peachy. I was spoken sharply to, but nobody laid hands on me. I could have walked away at any time. Although a fireman threatened to pursue and lay hands on me if I did walk away, I think he knew as well as I did that if he did that I would wind up thousands of dollars richer, and the city of Anaheim would wind up thousands of dollars poorer. In the end I had a pleasant conversation with a motorcycle policeman, who likely understood California law far greater than any of the firemen standing around me. I would also like to believe that after I left the cop had a conversation with the firemen about the matter of false arrest and the criminal consequences thereof.

And I got to publish my photos. But they were lousy photos. Try as I could I never got the camera completely level, and I never offered those photos to my stock agencies.

Now for some advice. If you want to photograph public events, particularly public officials in action, particularly police doing their jobs, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:

  • Stay out of the way. Do not interfere in any way with what the police are doing.
  • Make sure you are in a public place. Private property is not a public place.
  • Did I forget to mention stay out of the way?
  • Don’t talk to the police.
  • Don’t talk to any people the police are dealing with.
  • Do not take sides.
  • Do not do anything to attract attention to yourself. Keep your distance. It’s best to photograph from at least 50 feet away.
  • If police approach you, be respectful. Answer all their questions truthfully and in a straight forward manner. If you lie to the police or interfere with them in any way they can arrest you. If requested identify yourself truthfully. Give your name and your address.
  • If you are not driving a motor vehicle you do not need a photo ID. If you think you may want a photo ID, bring something besides your drivers license. A United States passport is always good. Don’t be a smart ass and show the police your concealed carry permit.
  • Do not have a weapon of any kind on your person or in your possession.
  • Do not let the police have (steal) your camera or your images.
  • Keep a spare memory card. Periodically switch out memory cards and save images in your pocket or in your wallet.
  • Make sure you do not have anything incriminating on your person.
  • Keep the phone number of a lawyer on your cell phone.
  • As soon as you can, offload your images and get them onto the Internet. Stuff posted to the Internet becomes set in stone and is almost impossible to erase.
  • Let me know about your personal experiences photographing the police.

After all of that, two accredited journalists were arrested inside a McDonald’s restaurant earlier this week.

Sadly, these rights are not always respected by the police. Even journalists are being harassed in Ferguson in the course of their reporting. Earlier in the evening, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery and Huffington Post reporter Ryan Reilly were arrested in a McDonald’s and later released with no explanation. Washington Post executive editor Martin D. Baron said Lowery was “illegally instructed to stop taking video of officers” and “slammed against a soda machine and then handcuffed.”

LowreyPost

From T.C. Sottek, The Verge

Two journalists were arrested, put in the slammer, released with no charges filed. How many different ways are there to spell
“police harassment?” This is what you may face the next time you attempt to photograph the police doing their job. And you don’t have even the thin protection of a press card.

Y’all be careful out there.

The Bible Project

You know me, then you know that I’m a photographer. That is, I’m a photographer in the same sense that I have a camera, and I know how to push the shutter release button. So, I sell a bunch of images through agencies, and I count on these agencies to protect my property rights and to make sure people who use my images pay me for them.

So you can imagine my conflict when I need an image for a blog post, and I don’t have one of my own. OK, when I’m doing a review I have no problem cobbing an image from the object I am reviewing, because the image is part of the review, and this is generously considered to be “fair use,” and I would have no problem if somebody uses one of my images in a similar fashion.

However, there are times I need an image for an illustration, and I have been known to grab one off the Internet. Official photos of celebrities are OK, because these people put those images out for public use. Also images created by government agencies are fair game, because I already paid to produce them in the first place. Then there are the others.

More recently I did a story which had a Bible image that went along with it, and I also used the image. No problem. But then later I needed another Bible image for something else, but I did not have one, so I reused the same image from the previous story. This is probably not fair use, and here is the image, which is being employed in fair use in this instance, because this discussion is about this image:

Bible image

Well, that’s a good image, but I can produce an equally good, or at least an acceptable image of a Bible. After all, I am a photographer. All I need to do was take a photograph of a Bible. Only I don’t actually have a Bible.

Now, I have told people many times that I have read the Bible, and that I do have a copy of a Bible, but the copy I have is not holy enough. It’s more a Bible a person would want to read if he wanted to find out what was in the Bible. You would not actually pray over this Bible, and you certainly would not use it to swear in the president of the United States, although it would be perfectly legal to swear in the president using a copy of Lady Chatterly’s Lover.

Also, when I want to do serious Bible research I go to the Bible on-line, for which there are many many sites, and searching is also facilitated on the Web. In addition I have a Kindle Bible, which I can read on an airplane and not disturb the pilot. But that still does not get me any Bible images of the kind I often need.

So, what to do.

Half Price Books to the rescue. There’s a store close to my house, and I cranked up my 13-year-old car and headed out.

HPB had a small selection of Bibles, and some were much too analytic, and the ones that were truly holy were more than I wanted to pay for just a photo prop. But I settled on this one, and paid the nice lady. And guess what? THERE’S NO SALES TAX ON BIBLES! Is this a great state we live in or what? Anyhow, here’s the book.

The book

I set up my outdoor table on the front porch where there was no direct sun and took a series of photos. I also went through a change of t-shirts and held the Bible in front of me and made images with several different color backgrounds and hand positions. So I am set with Bible photos for the near future and for ever and ever, and I will not have to use somebody else’s Bible image again. I swear it on my Bible.

The Race That Never Was

This was a fun time a few years back. My brother and I went to Monaco on the French coast, and I got a chance to relive one of my favorite movies. Originally Go World Travel published the story along with a few photos. Then I posted it on the IgoUgo site. Here is a rehash:

The Principality of Monaco is the size of a large tomato patch, but it has the good fortune of being located on the stunning south coast of France. A robust tourism industry and one of the grandest and most famous gambling casinos in the world keeps Monaco solvent. Also, over a hundred years ago Monaco abolished all taxation, making it a tax haven for people who have amassed considerable wealth and intend to hold onto it.

Once a year Monaco also hosts the world’s most spectacular automobile race. Since 1929 Monaco has hosted the Monaco Grand Prix and its predecessors on a course that snakes through this tiny country’s winding streets. To emphasize just how winding, you may note that cars capable of topping 200 miles per hour are only able to average 88 miles per hour around the two-mile circuit. The race puts a premium on driving skill. Not only do drivers have to deal with a high-speed bend through a sea-side tunnel, but they also have to negotiate a grueling series of switchback turns down a winding street that keeps them busy working the controls full time. Buildings, stone retaining walls, and other accoutrements of civilization line the full length of the course. A minor mechanical malfunction or a momentary lapse of concentration anywhere, and a driver will find himself parked up against something solid. If ever there is a driver’s course in the world, this is it.

Famous as it is, however, the best known Monaco Grand Prix was a race that never happened.

In 1966 director John Frankenheimer followed the Formula I world championship racing season to film the movie Grand Prix. That year he brought his production crew to the races and filmed the action at some of the world’s top courses.

The movie cranks up with the starting of engines for the Monaco Grand Prix, and the first scenes follow the cars in a breath-taking chase through the streets of Monaco. The aerial shots, background set pieces, and views from on-car cameras in the first few minutes of the film give the viewer a virtual tour of this tiny country. Although time has not stood still in the 39 years since the movie was filmed here, today’s visitor will have no problem spotting Monaco’s principal attractions using scenes from the movie as a guide.

The race starts on Boulevard Albert 1st, where trees still line the right hand side, overlooking the harbor. Drivers gun their engines up the hill, quickly leaving the shade of the trees as they come onto Avenue d’Ostende and eventually turn left around the lavish Hotel de Paris and into the square in front of the casino.

In Casino Square, the course turns right, around the traffic circle, but you won’t be able to drive this exact route because it runs counter to normal traffic circulation. Also, they like to block off this section so wealthy patrons can park some of the most expensive cars in the world here in front of the hotel.

Leaving the square, the cars plunge headlong down the tree-shaded Avenue des Spélugues, with its famous gooseneck turns. In the distance of a few city blocks this quirky street takes the drivers from the highest point on the course almost down to sea level. On any other day a casual stroller can stop to examine the menus of restaurants and clubs that line the left side of the street. On race days steel barricades block the sidewalk, and these inviting places flash by too quickly to be noticed by the drivers.

Frankenheimer’s car-mounted cameras take the movie audience on a white-knuckles ride through here as the cars charge straight into a dead end at the bottom of the hill. At the last moment the course turns abruptly to the right, completely reversing direction before encountering another hairpin turn in front of the Monte Carlo Grand Hotel. Scenes from the movie show grim-faced drivers slaving over the controls as they continually shift gears and crank their steering wheels from lock to lock. Finally, the cars emerge from this maze and head toward the waterfront. Here the racers encounter what may be the most famous feature of this course.

Following Boulevard Louis II as it hugs the shoreline, the cars enter the notorious tunnel section. Monaco has a number of real tunnels that everywhere pierce its granite underpinnings, but this one is an artifact resulting from construction of the Monte Carlo Grand Hotel on the cliff side above.

These days, as in 1966, drivers emerge from the tunnel and streak along the water’s edge, running almost parallel to the uphill portion of the course. It’s here, along this sunlit roadway, that Frankenheimer’s fictional race has its dramatic conclusion.

Grand Prix stars American actor James Garner as one of the drivers, and the story line has Garner cast as a second fiddle member of the BRM racing team. His career is in decline, and he desperately needs a win. However, the other team driver, played by British actor Brian Bedford, is obviously favored by the team manager. Bedford gets the better car, while Garner’s character is plagued by gearbox problems in the race. As a result the two BRM cars mix it up along the waterfront, with disastrous results.

Garner’s BRM goes into the harbor while Bedford’s car crashes through a barricade and tries to climb the cliff face before falling back onto the street. As fans would know it, Garner is quickly rescued from the water, but his teammate is badly injured and misses the next two races.

And that’s about all viewers get to see of Monaco for the remainder of the movie, unless you count the scene where the BRM team owner angrily confronts a soaked Garner at the waterfront, cursing him out and firing him on the spot, thereby completing his disgrace and setting up the remainder of the story’s plot.

Observant visitors to Monaco will notice a number of changes since 1966. In the movie the cars pass through a picturesque stone arch as the Avenue des Spélugues heads toward the waterfront. This sentimental fixture has since been replaced by a modern concrete pier and beam span that opens up a view of the harbor.

Also, shots from the movie show cars entering the tunnel through a stone arch set in a cliff face, but today there is no doubt the road is simply darting beneath the hotel.

What looked like a tunnel in 1966 now takes on the appearance of a parking garage, which isn’t far from true. The tunnel has been considerably lengthened by the construction of the hotel, and a stroll along this stretch confirms the parking garage image.

In addition, they have built a large swimming pool complex in the middle of the waterfront section. The pool facility extends into the harbor, and cars now detour around it. The famous hairpin turn at the end of the course is gone, as well. Scenes from the film show the cars doubling completely back to the right around a traffic barricade as they exit the waterfront section and start the climb toward Casino Square. These days cars leaving the waterfront proceed almost to the row of government buildings along Quai Antoine 1st and hook to the right around the Café Grand Prix.

Here, today’s drivers also pass close by a life-size bronze of the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio and his Mercedes Benz racing car. A sunny afternoon will find tourists posing for photographs alongside this racing icon and affectionately touching it, despite a posted sign that cautions against doing so.

Grand Prix was an immediate hit with racing fans when it came out, despite its somewhat syrupy story line. Not only does it feature dramatic racing footage shot at five famous race courses, but recognizable faces appear, playing the parts of other drivers.

All the actors, except Bedford, did their own driving for the movie, and a number of well-known drivers played either themselves or fictional characters. American drivers Richie Ginther, Dan Gurney, and Phil Hill appear. British racing star Jim Clark played himself, and the fictional character of Bob Turner was played by Graham Hill. A slew of other famous drivers participated, uncredited, in the filming. Even Fangio, retired by then, worked as a driver.

The story of “the race that wasn’t” would not be complete without mentioning the terrible irony that transpired the following year. In 1967, while the film was playing in theaters, many of the same participants were back competing in Monaco. Up and coming Italian driver Lorenzo Bandini was one of Frankenheimer’s uncredited drivers in 1966, and in 1967 he was leading the Monaco Grand Prix in a team Ferrari when disaster struck. To complete the irony, Bandini crashed at the same spot as James Garner’s fictional crash of the year before.

From Avenue d’Ostende above there is a street that branches off and drops down to the waterfront. This street flows directly into the waterfront portion of the course, but in the opposite direction to the race traffic. Race cars have to jog to the left to avoid this street entrance, and this creates the course’s famous chicane. It’s a real test of drivers’ attention to detail as they brake from their highest speed of the day and strive to weave through the gap created by the offset.

Bandini’s Ferrari failed to straighten out when exiting the chicane, and it plowed into the hay bales that lined the dock side. In the movie, James Garner’s crashed through the hay bales and sailed off into the water. Bandini, however, met reality in the form of a solid obstruction. The car flipped and burned for an intolerable period of time before rescuers could arrive to extinguish the fire and right the car. By then the driver had been horribly burned, and he died a few days later, so far the only fatality in the history of the Monaco Grand Prix.

As a great fan of the movie, I long dreamed of visiting Monaco and retracing the famous scenes. Besides that, having been born in the small town of Tolar, Texas, I had endured my share of small-town jokes. Now, much later in life, I had a hankering to see a country that was smaller even than Tolar.

And so it is. A quick geographical fact check shows that all of Monaco covers just 0.76 square miles while Tolar covers 0.90 square miles out on the Texas prairie. Of course, Monaco is built on a steep slope, so most likely if you laid it all out flat like Tolar, Monaco would be just as large.

Monaco is also a bigger tourist draw than Tolar. So it was that my brother and I, two boys from Tolar, dropped by with our wives to check it out. No contest. Monaco beats Tolar hands down.

To the new visitor it becomes immediately apparent why its Stone Age inhabitants, and subsequently the Grimaldi family, chose this site as their base. In those days it was so difficult to get here that the first line of defense probably consisted of hiding the road signs. Even after the casino was built in 1863 patrons had to be transported in along a mule trail.

What really opened Monaco up to visitors was the completion of a rail connection to nearby Nice, and these days there are also a number of ways to get there by road. You can take the A8 toll highway in France and get off at the Monaco exit, or you can take the scenic route. Driving out through the suburbs of Nice on N7 or N98 you will find helpful signs to keep you on the correct route. Once out of Nice the choice of routes dwindles precipitously, and there’s no question of getting lost. It’s either go to Monaco or else look for some place to turn the car around.

In Nice the N98 coast road is “La Promenade,” where it serves all the beachfront properties. It’s also the first street you encounter when leaving the Nice airport, and you can follow it directly to Monaco, about 11 miles (17-18 km) outside the city. On the way to Monaco N98 twists along the cliffs and through the picturesque towns of Villefranche sur Mer and Bealieu sur Mer. This route is particularly painless and offers some of the most spectacular scenery on the French Riviera. We observed that Tolar has nothing to compare.

If you are not up to driving you can catch the SNCF rail line from Nice. The line follows close by N98, passing through Villefranche and Bealieu. In Monaco the train drops you off only a few blocks from the casino. Beyond Monaco the rail line connects to nearby Menton in France, and Ventimiglia and San Remo in Italy.

If you are a couple of guys from Tolar, Texas, Monaco is a real hoot to visit. Actually, it’s a real hoot no matter where you’re from, but I don’t necessarily recommend staying there. As expected, hotel rates in Monaco are kind of steep, much like the countryside, and you can find cheaper accommodations a short drive away. Save the difference and drop some cash at the Casino.

A one-way SNCF train ticket from Nice costs 3.10 Euros and up per person with trains about every half hour. If you drive you can also stop along the way and take photos. Both N7 and N98 have a number of scenic places to pull off. Once in Monaco we were able to park our rent car in the pier garage at the cost of eight Euros for the better part of a day.

If you choose, eating in Monaco can also be quite painless. Being plain folk from Tolar, we were especially partial to an establishment called Shangri.la, along Boulevard Albert 1st. Here we spent a few Euros each for sandwiches and sodas while sitting around an outdoor table and enjoying one of the most expensive views in the world. Don’t expect to eat here during race week, however. Shangri.la is a temporary wooden establishment that probably gets carted away once a year to make room for some high-price grandstand seating.

You can come and see all the racing action for yourself, but you need to plan ahead. On the Internet a number of concerns hawk race packets for the coming season. I recommend the official site at http://www.monaco.mc/monaco/gprix/ as a place to start your search.

I also recommend the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) Web site at http://www.imdb.com/ as a good source for additional information about the movie. A Blu-ray disk is available on Amazon. See the link above. Here are some photos:

The Monaco Grand Prix, and the movie, start here on Boulevard Albert 1st. The cars charge up this tree-lined street and begin a two-mile-long chase through one of the most challenging courses in road racing.

At the top of their climb, the racers pass in front of the fabulous Monte Carlo Casino. On quieter days tourists pose beside some of the most expensive cars in the world parked in front of the Hotel de Paris.

Leaving the Casino Square, the cars plunge downhill along Avenue des Spélugues. A quiet park and a row of restaurants and clubs line the first two blocks, but then the street turns quirky, with some of the tightest turns on any championship course.

Avenue des Spélugues changes direction again as it continues its plunge to the waterfront. Imagine taking a 900-hp car through here just as fast as you would care to go.

In front of the Monte Carlo Grand Hotel, Avenue des Spélugues does a complete 180 and continues on downward.

Exiting the hairpin turn by the Monte Carlo Grand Hotel, the drivers face yet another blind turn as they head straight for a retaining wall.

Twisting and turning, it’s down, down, down toward the waterfront in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Unfortunately, the medieval-style stone arch is now gone, replaced by a modern concrete truss that carries street traffic across the Avenue des Spélugues.

Also gone is the stone arch entrance to the tunnel. The “tunnel” is now revealed to be a modern building complex built out from the cliff above and covering the lower section of the race course.

The “tunnel” is longer now than it was in 1966, and it is mostly open on the left to reveal the harbor beyond.

 

What Bandini saw. By the waterfront the street must jog to the left to go around this entrance from another street. On race day the drivers brake hard just after reaching their top speed on the course. With amazing concentration, they thread through this narrow gap in a blur of wheels and flashing color.

Almost home, the cars now round the Grand Prix Café and head back up Boulevard Albert 1st toward the finish line.

Across from the Grand Prix Café, legendary driver Juan Manuel Fangio stands frozen forever in bronze, next to his Mercedes Benz race car. He won the race here in 1950 and again in 1957. In 1966 he drove one of the race cars for John Frankenheimer in making the movie Grand Prix. He retired from racing in 1958 and died at the age of 84 in 1995.

You don’t have to spend well to eat well in Monaco. Two boys from Tolar, Texas, enjoyed one of the most expensive views in the world for the price of sandwiches and sodas here at Shangri.la, a knockdown eatery alongside the Boulevard Albert 1st.

Monaco positively drips money. Only 16% of the population is native Monégasque. The rest are French, Italians, and others who come here to escape taxation. Photos of Monaco make the principality appear to be larger than it is. That’s because a lot of what is built up around its two harbors really belongs to adjacent French towns.

Tolar, Texas, on the other hand, doesn’t drip much of anything, except when it rains, and that’s not often. You sort of feel Clint Eastwood should be in this picture somewhere.