Archive for Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Wrong tactic

September 26, 2006


To the editor:

The secret video surveillance of those attending the Wakarusa Music Festival at Clinton State Park makes it clear that local, state and federal law enforcement officials are much more interested in making headline-grabbing arrests of people using or selling drugs than trying to prevent drug use/sales in the first place. If drug prevention were the goal, the surveillance would have been done openly.

Signs and brochures would have warned those attending the festival that they should smile as they're on "Kansas Camera." Drug use and sales would have certainly decreased significantly. But it's more fun to spy on local residents and their out-of-town guests and make multiple arrests employing cool gadgetry than to promote a drug-free society in a mature and open manner.

While I am certainly not in favor of using taxpayers money to videotape nonviolent people camping at a music festival (the $250,000 spying system may have been a rental free, but certainly our local and state tax dollars went into paying for law enforcement to set up and operate the system), if we are going to film those attending the festival, shouldn't those people have the right to know that they're going to be filmed and decide to go to a football game or a non-filmed country music festival instead?

The secretive video surveillance of the Wakarusa festival promoted skepticism and contempt for law enforcement officials while doing absolutely nothing to curtail drug use during the festival. It may very well have effectively destroyed the future of a wonderful music festival.

Rick Frydman,



imastinker 11 years, 9 months ago

Wasn't this months ago? Why am I reading this?

lunacydetector 11 years, 9 months ago

i wonder if the progressive commissioners were tipped off to these cameras? after all, didn't they give the okay for the check-point-charlie roadblocks entering the festival?

Confrontation 11 years, 9 months ago

Why do you have to publicize that you are going to bust people doing something illegal? Shouldn't they assume they could get busted, or does Wackorusa mean "use/sale any drugs you want and we won't bust you?"

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 9 months ago

If the stupidity of the first two posts here is any indication of how this thread is going to go...

gphawk89 11 years, 9 months ago

If the use of the camera systems had been made public knowledge, I wonder how long the cameras would have lasted before being "removed" by festival attendees? Maybe the camera supplier didn't want their equipment being vandalized.

Confrontation 11 years, 8 months ago

It makes more sense to bust the idiots, rather than warn them about the obvious. Defender may have to have signs posted (such as, "Warning, Coffee is Hot"), but some other people are smart enough to know that law. You're just sad that you and your buddies got busted. I think it's totally hilarious.

local_support 11 years, 8 months ago

"Rather than warn them about the obvious."

What a ridiculous statement. People do not expect to be under constant surveillance at a music festival any more than they expect to be under it while at a high school football game or in a church. Clearly police were not trying to deter crime (which is the point of the letter) but were more focused on playing with their new gadgets and padding their pockets with fines and fees. As most people can attest these tactics ultimately lead to an atmosphere of harassment that was pervasive throughout the weekend. Countless people left the area with a bad taste in their mouths which does not bode well for future tourism or the reputation of our community. Criminal activity is unacceptable but in this case the ends do not justify the means. People like Confrontation will never get this and we should not expect them to.

imastinker 11 years, 8 months ago

Countles druggies left the area with a bad taste in their mouth. Nobody else cares. These people should be afraid to light up anywhere, regardless of whether it's at a high school, church, or a music festival. I have no trouble with public surveillance by police in public areas.

I bet there will be less potheads next year, so it did work.

local_support 11 years, 8 months ago

That's where you are wrong my friend. It's the atmosphere of harassment that people didn't like, drug users or not. I have countless friends that aren't "druggies" and will not be coming back. One is a trial lawyer in FL and has spent approximately $3000 each year when he comes to the area.

This story has been posted far and wide and people of ALL stripes (smokers and non-smokers) have received the message: Lawrence does not want us there.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.