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.