Citizen Journalist Dennis Gilman and His Video Camera Take on the Valley of the Sun
The cops march down Jefferson Street in black riot gear, lobbing tear-gas canisters that erupt into clouds of violet and lawn-green. Even the bursts of electric-yellow pepper spray they unleash on protesters add to the psychedelic color scheme. Anarchists with black rags over their faces chant slogans. A woman in a wedding dress stands with a sign. Amid the chaos, police and demonstrators ignore an accordion player.
As police escort a gang of neo-Nazis toward the U.S. District Court building in downtown Phoenix, the avowed racists grin at members of the crowd fleeing the tear gas.
"Gas those Jews!" some of the men standing beneath swastika flags chant.
The 50 neo-Nazis are marching to show support for Arizona Senate Bill 1070. The crowd, several times that size, has shown up to hurl rocks and themselves at the Mexican-haters.
Dennis Gilman is there to film it all.
Gilman gets doused four times that day with pepper spray, sending him into coughing fits and welling his eyes with tears.
He's never been pepper-sprayed before. But it's common for the activist-videographer to be threatened with physical violence.
A Tea Party geezer once lunged at him, poking him with a sign that read, "Dennis Gilman is a Pimp." (The meaning of the insult has always escaped Gilman, but imagine getting beaten with your own name.)
The 5-foot-5 Gilman holds the camera up by his tripod to show a better view as the protesters throw themselves into the police officers' clear-plastic shields in human waves. A 28-year-old neo-Nazi — who a year after the march will be arrested with pipe bombs he intends to bury near the border — screams into Gilman's lens:
"I'm gonna take your camera and stick it up your ass, Jew boy!"
Gilman points the camera at the man's pumpkin-shaped head, responding that what the racist really wants to do is "lick [his] ass."
The man in a black commando shirt yells, "Why don't you suck a dick, faggot boy!"
"You're just jealous because you don't have a dick," Dennis ripostes.
Some protesters hurl rocks at the neo-Nazis, then pull metal newspaper bins into the middle of the road in a vain attempt to prevent the procession from making it to the federal courthouse here.
The neo-Nazis finally arrive in front of the massive glass-and-steel structure; they sieg heil! repeatedly and play the U.S. national anthem as the demonstrators seethe.
Before this all got under way, Gilman had bantered with the Phoenix area's most infamous neo-Nazi, J.T. Ready, there to participate in the procession. Ready had been a pal of recalled Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce's. The extremist pol, author of SB 1070, the infamous anti-Mexican law that the march is all about, had sponsored Ready's entry into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It was Gilman who'd helped expose Pearce's ties with Ready. Gilman's video titled "Exclusive Footage: Russell Pearce Endorsed J.T. Ready," attracted 18,000 views. The video shows Ready's Mormon baptismal record, signed by Pearce, and captures the then-legislator praising Ready as a "true patriot."
As the march gets started, neither Ready nor Gilman have any idea that the clash will turn into a melee. Nor did they foresee that, two years later, Ready's temper would explode and he'd shoot dead his girlfriend, two other adults, a 15-month-old baby, and himself.
Over the years, Gilman had talked to his racist adversary many times. He considered Ready an "asshole" but not a murderer. When he heard about the multiple slayings, Gilman drove to the house where they had happened, lit a candle for the poor baby, and symbolically burned sage to purify the dark spirit that had occupied Ready.
Gilman's video of the November 2010 march to the federal courthouse and its aftermath is among 150 he's made of heated confrontations — including the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's notorious anti-immigrant raids. All the videos can be seen on Gilman's YouTube channel, Humanleague002.
Why does this middle-aged installer of security systems suffer abuse and risk injury to document the antics of unscrupulous politicians, extremists, and sometimes out-of-control cops?
Gilman gives two reasons: "It's the right thing to do to help people who aren't in a position to help themselves," and he enjoys confronting right-wing zealots: "They think they can fuck with me, and that's a big mistake — because I welcome it."
Dennis Gilman and other Arizona activists — some call them citizen journalists — mostly have moved past just carrying signs and yelling through bullhorns. These days, they produce videos or blog about injustice and political causes.
In 2010, then-state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne wrote and championed a bill that ended a Mexican-American studies program in the Tucson Unified School District. If the school district refused to comply, it stood to lose $15 million in funding.
Students and activists protested mightily, even chained themselves together during a school board meeting. It all prompted Tucson local David Morales to start a blog, Three Sonorans. All along, Morales had marched in protests over the frustrations of the minority community in Tucson, and he came to resent tepid nightly TV news coverage of the issues affecting Latinos. The mainstream media, he felt, never captured the desperation of a community under siege.
"The local media in Tucson was just horrendous," Morales says. "If they did cover an event, they would have a five-second clip just saying there's a protest."
The 33-year-old resembles a young Fidel Castro — from the beard to the olive-green army hat. He started writing screeds on Facebook, speaking up for the activist community. But soon he wanted to reach a wider audience. A mathematics graduate of the University of Arizona who now teaches at a Tucson community college, he was invited to move his blog to the Tucson Citizen website and soon became the voice of militant frustration in town.
"[The school district] continues to ban Mexican-American history, our books, and now our language. That will keep us behind long enough until either ICE deports us or our youth fall into the private-prison pipeline," he wrote in one of his posts.
While at the Citizen, Three Sonorans regularly received more than 50,000 hits a month. His then-editor, Mark Evans, says the success was the result of Morales' finding a way to voice an "anger that wasn't being covered in the regular press."
A lawsuit filed to stop the ethnic-studies ban lost in U.S. District Court in Tucson, but an appeal to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is under way, and Morales continues to blog Latino anger about this and other injustices in his hometown.
"Someone once called me the Dennis Gilman of Tucson," he says. "I don't know if I'm that, but I do what I can."
One of the videos that Gilman's most proud of is about activists standing up to now-state Attorney General Horne and the ethnic-studies ban. It's called "Arizona State Capitol Protests, 2011: Students Fight Back."
The video opens with a reverberating guitar and text scrolls. A young activist yells into a bullhorn, "Everyone has the right to be here, education, and the right to work. That's our God-given right!" Protesters march and Republican state Senator Lori Klein (who once pointed her pink .38-caliber Ruger at a reporter) is shown telling Fox News that the National Council of La Raza is a racist civil rights group that teaches young Hispanics to "spit on America."
The video jumps to protesters running after Horne, who leans into Gilman's camera and says, pointing back with his thumb at the throng, "This is the behavior they teach in those courses."
The screen flashes to neo-Nazis and Tea Party types, who call Mexicans "wetbacks" and say they're turning our melting pot into a "toilet bowl." Gilman prefaces these scenes with text saying, "These people obviously never took an ethnic-studies class."
Shane Wikfors may not be the polar opposite of Gilman and Morales, but he's close.
Oddly, he and Morales have a complaint in common about the mainstream media.
Wikfors worked as executive director of Arizona Right to Life and says he had a hard time spreading his organization's message to the mainstream press. He heard a radio talk-show host lecture conservatives on the importance of representing themselves in media and decided to start his Sonoran Alliance website in 2006.
Last month, 24,000 people browsed Sonoran Alliance. It began as a platform for Wikfors' own agenda and interests, but now guest bloggers berate Democrats, and once in a while even Republicans. Governor Jan Brewer's recent plan for a modest expansion of Medicaid, still before the Legislature, earned several posts, some of which claimed she now has Marxist ties.
"Governor Brewer doesn't care if she's hurting the political future of Republican legislators," one such Sonoran Alliance blogger declared.
The site's critics like to lambaste it for allowing Republican politicians to anonymously pass off propaganda that his little relationship to the truth. Former Deputy County Attorney Rachel Alexander was one of those GOP pols accused of shilling for her boss, then-County Attorney Andrew Thomas. Alexander was part of a sycophantic cabal in Thomas' office that filed bogus charges (later dropped for lack of evidence) against a slew of county officials, including Supervisor Don Stapley.
It was widely believed that Alexander used a pseudonym on Sonoran Alliance in 2009 to attack Tom Horne, who was competing for the Republican nomination for AG against Thomas.
After Thomas lost to Horne, he was disbarred, and Alexander's law license was suspended. Thomas' cabal, which also included Deputy County Attorney Lisa Aubuchon (who also was disbarred) was found by a state Supreme Court disciplinary panel to have, among other ethical violations, intimidated political opponents.
Nowadays, Wikfors claims he's working to rid his blog of anonymous comments and posts. He maintains that he wants it to be a place where "deep-thinking conservatives" go to test their ideas. He contends that he also wants it to be a dead-on news source.
"If it's not accurate, then you lose your credibility," he says. "And if you lose your credibility, you lose your readership."
Sonoran Alliance's right-wing pandering is part of what earned Wikfors a contract as a political consultant for the state Republican Party, but not every activist's online work is partisan.
Steve Muratore started his Arizona Eagletarian blog in December 2010, because he wanted people to know more about the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which redrew both congressional and legislative district boundaries.
"People from every socioeconomic level deserve a voice in lawmaking," Muratore says. "And I believe that redistricting [hugely influences] their ability [to have one]."
In two years, the 58-year-old wrote more than 400 posts about the commission's activities. The commission submitted its plan for Arizona's new political map to the Department of Justice for approval in spring 2012, but Muratore still covers the AIRC, as a lawsuit by Republicans — claiming the newly drawn districts favor Democrats — gets decided.
An activist in Santa Ana, California, helped spark Dennis Gilman's idea to create a YouTube channel that chronicles his exploits recording the likes of Tea Partiers, Sheriff Joe Arpaio's forces, and neo-Nazis.
Naui Huitzilopochtli has battled for immigrants' rights for more than a decade. In 2006, he says, a member of the Minutemen group stole his camera. The cops didn't care, and Huitzilopochtli asked the Minuteman who took the camera to return it. Instead, the guy posted a video online of Huitzilopochtli demanding his camera back, but Huitzilopochtli's voice was dubbed over with that of a crying baby.
It was a good lesson for Huitzilopochtli: "If they do that to me, I decided, I'm going to do it to them to show their racism. I wanted to show [on video] the side of the Minuteman that the media didn't show."
Huitzilopochtli has spent the past seven years filming the immigrant struggle around Los Angeles, including a riot in Anaheim after police shot an unarmed Hispanic man. He ventured to Phoenix for SB 1070 protests, where he and Gilman videotaped together. His posts have amassed more than 25 million hits online.
Huitzilopochtli believes his videos showing the racism of Tea Party members in California have forced them to act more civilly in public.
"I embarrassed them," he tells New Times. "[Tea Party] leaders would get questioned about how their followers were acting."
Says Gilman about Huitzilopochtli: "My hat's off to him. I started watching his videos, and it gave me the courage to do what I do."
Gilman's videos have been used by a multitude of Arizona Latino leaders to get their points across.
"My work as a Hispanic activist cannot be accomplished, [because] I can't reach as wide an audience without Dennis' help," says the Valley's Lydia Guzman, National Immigration Committee chair for the League of United Latin American Citizens, who's used Gilman's videos to illustrate her speeches across the nation about Arizona's struggle for immigration reform.
"Here's a guy who has no money behind him — a gabacho — who does this out of the kindness of his heart."
And because he's itching for a confrontation.
Back when it wasn't much more than an intersection, before it was legally called Fifty Lakes, the biggest attraction in the Minnesota town was its general store. During Prohibition, people drank at a bar in the back. Residents thought the store owner had lost his mind when he harrowed a perfectly good cornfield and demolished a barn to build a golf course and restaurant. Turned out to be a huge success.
Fifty Lakes became a seasonal town, a place to fish and escape for a weekend. Dennis Gilman's parents owned a few cabins on one of the nearby lakes, and Ron Manger's parents had a cabin next to them. Manger's 15 years older than Gilman and mostly hung out with his older brothers but remembers Gilman as a precocious youngster:
"He would come up with things to say that were always entertaining. He had a fresh insight that you wouldn't expect from a little kid."
Gilman recalls stealing beer (from the supply building his parents kept to satisfy fishermen who summered at their cabins) as the main source of pleasure while growing up in the town. Gilman's parents both were Republican Catholics. He says his father "had Nixon's back," even after the former president fled the White House in shame. Gilman's family has little idea what he now does — nor does Manger — and Gilman feels he has nothing in common with much of his family.
The Fifty Lakes area was the type of place a boy who collected Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters albums — and who pasted a picture of his face on a Rolling Stones poster — only dreamed of escaping.
Gilman's always loved music, and after he graduated high school in 1976, he left home and tried to make it as a musician. He played guitar at bars in neighboring college towns, but he could never keep a band together. He says he demanded too much of bandmates, fought with them incessantly. Between playing honky-tonks, he married a local girl at 21 and had a son.
The couple divorced after a year, and Gilman's ex-wife and son moved to Arizona. Gilman traveled to the Phoenix area to visit his son in 1984 and never returned permanently to Minnesota.
In Phoenix, Gilman played guitar with a rock band called Design 9. But he never was able to break into the music business. He enrolled in a Phoenix technical school and learned to fix jukeboxes. He says he bluffed his way into the alarm-installation business, learning as he went, and spent the next two decades passing through different companies. Eventually, he enclosed his patio and converted it into a recording studio in the hope of helping others make music. But that never happened, either.
In 2006, at age 46, he was earning the most money of his life installing security systems. He practiced yoga daily, worked out, had quit smoking, and taught himself to play sitar — but something was amiss.
Seeking to find out more about himself, he discovered the Franciscan Renewal Center, a New Age spiritual retreat in Scottsdale.
Gilman encountered a ponytailed friar at the center who described how he'd walked migrant trails near Nogales and set out water for Mexicans on their way north through the rugged desert to Tucson and Phoenix. The friar explained that people died every day making the journey.
Gilman says he'd never thought about the plight of those who brave the elements and worse to get to the United States from Mexico and points south.
Charlie Brown, general manager of the Franciscan retreat, remembers Gilman well. He recalls him eyeing a flyer at the center from No More Deaths, an organization that leaves water in the desert and otherwise cares for ailing immigrants it finds in Arizona's barren terrain.
Brown says Gilman decreed: "I'm going to go down and see what this is about!"
During this time, Gilman awoke at 2:30 one morning in a cold sweat.
"My God, I'm fucking selfish!" he recalls saying to himself. "I have to change."
He knew he had to travel to the border and get in touch with No More Deaths.
When he did, he met a group of volunteers who cried and fought with each other, who struggled against the immensity of their task. But they were happy. There was serenity in them; Gilman figured they didn't wake up in the morning and think about how to fix themselves. They worked at trying to fix the world.
At first, he didn't fit in. He kept referring to immigrants as "illegals," a phrase the No More Deaths members admonished him for using.
Gilman joined the volunteers as they put out water. As he and the others crossed a wash, he noticed a rosary lying in the dust next to a baby shoe. It was hot, and he wasn't used to such a trek. The blood ran to his head. Was he having a heart attack?
Then, he realized that he was overcome with emotion."My God, this is a real person's little shoe!" he remembers thinking. "This is a little baby [out in the treacherous desert]."
Mothers, fathers, and children were the type of people crossing, he realized, trying to find work to better their lives. These were real people taking real risks. His own emotional distress meant nothing compared to what these human beings were going through.
Gilman acted as a silent observer at protests for No More Deaths for a time, reporting back to the organization about what transpired. But Dennis Gilman isn't a quiet man. Soon he joined those yelling and carrying signs.
Then, Arpaio sent his deputies to raid the tiny town of Guadalupe in 2008, and Gilman became a full-on activist. He started using his videocamera to "get back at" certain politicians and their "bullies" with badges.
Gilman's a fireplug of an Irish-American who can be self-conscious about his height (he'd probably punch you if you used his name in the same sentence as leprechaun). He's a jeans and T-shirt guy, and when he talks, he speaks with his arms and eyebrows. Even his thick, graying hair shakes in solidarity with his exclamations. His eyes are a youthful blue, but his tanned face seems creased with every emotion he's ever felt.
He takes his rabble-rousing hobby of five years as seriously as he takes his day job installing security systems.
He's proud of the work that pays the bills — he's a consummate professional. But it's become a way to fund his after-hours passion: camera-wielding activism.
"You know who Ed Pastor is?" he asks, shaking his head furiously as he paces his overgrown lawn. He asks because the don't-rock-the-boat Democratic congressman is barely known to many. "That piece of shit just endorsed Rebecca's opponent!"
On Gilman's mind is Rebecca Jimenez, who's running for mayor of Guadalupe, a pocket of about 1,100 homes between Phoenix and Tempe, a place where three of five residents are Latino and 36 percent of the town lives below poverty level.
He heard of Jimenez and began to admire her because she told off Arpaio to his face when he first raided Guadalupe in the spring of 2008. Amazingly, standing up to the law enforcement tyrant for her town cost Jimenez her mayoral job.
But she's challenging the current town mayor (Gilman previously had made an election video for Jimenez) and the primary election is under way as Dennis fumes.
"I can't believe this stuff — what an asshole!" Gilman spews about Pastor, who represents heavily Latino South Phoenix and whom Gilman calls a "lukewarm invertebrate."
Gilman storms through his modest Scottsdale home, passing his guitars, his sitar, the bullhorn he no longer uses, and bins of records on the floor as he heads to his editing room.
This room once was his music studio, but now the waffled, gray foam soundboard covering the walls is a cushion for his pinned-up political pictures and drawings (one's of Arpaio with a penis for a nose). The studio drum set's covered with dust. Somewhere in the clutter are 10 hard drives storing his video footage. Gilman sits down at his computer, broods for a minute, and finishes editing a Facebook message he's about to send to Ed Pastor:
"Your endorsement of a pro-Arpaio candidate just shows how you've always been part of the problem. We need to get rid of cowardly politicians like you who are too busy making backroom deals to care about the people you pretend to serve."
Gilman was at that legendary 2008 raid in Guadalupe, sans camera, as an activist, and it moved him more than usual. Jimenez's bravery was one reason. Guadalupe being a small town (Gilman grew up in a village) was another. It added up to the reason he started his side career as a videographer, why he started documenting Arpaio's future raids.
Gilman met a young activist named Andrew Sanchez on his first trips to Guadalupe, and the two began dogging Arpaio's deputies as they carried out raids, with Gilman documenting on video everything the pair witnessed.
"The media is neglectful; the media came here just to find a news story," Sanchez says of Gilman's work in Sanchez's hometown of Guadalupe. "Dennis has a soul and a heart and cares about this community and others."
As Gilman and Sanchez ventured across the Valley, they listened to a police scanner. When they heard about deputies pulling over Latino drivers — often for cracked windshields, expired plates, or broken taillights as an excuse to ask about immigration status — the pair showed up and Dennis videotaped.
The two cop-busters routinely arrived, along with deputies in riot gear, at every raid ballyhooed by the publicity-hungry Arpaio and his office. Gilman later submitted much of the footage to the U.S. Department of Justice to help in its civil rights investigation of Arpaio's office. The investigation resulted in the DOJ's concluding that the MCSO engages in discriminatory policing aimed at Latinos. The latest is that Justice is suing Arpaio's office to force it to change its racial-profiling ways.
When Gilman and his camera showed up, it struck fear among Arpaio's men. Doggedly holding them and their bosses accountable with his camera was an amazing power. Vastly different from the typical seconds- or minutes-long TV news clips, Gilman's videos showed the public what really happened out there: handcuffed Hispanics sitting on curbs with heads hung low and sheriff's deputies in black ski masks looking like terrorists.
Sanchez, now a councilman in Guadalupe, has continued to criticize Arpaio and Mayor Alma Yolanda Solarez, who, like certain other Guadalupe residents, wants to stay off Arpaio's grudge list (residents' fear of Arpaio is what cost Jimenez her mayoral job).
Cigarette dangling from his lips, Gilman bolts out of his house to drive to Guadalupe and film Jimenez watching primary election returns at the town's open-air mercado.
As Gilman arrives, Jimenez's family's setting down a wooden coffee table to hold cookies and chips. Aside from a handful of family members and Andrew Sanchez, few have come to her election-results party. No media are present.
Through the dark, on the other side of the parking lot, a voice yells out voting results.
"I got 48 to her 44" in the four-person race, Jimenez says, staring into Gilman's camera, a smile spanning her cheeks, as her children hug her legs.
"So, you got 48 percent?" Gilman asks.
"No, 48 votes!"
This put these two top candidates in a runoff. (Jimenez wound up winning the general election over Solarez on May 22.)
Gilman says goodbye and climbs into his silver Scion, not much bigger than a Smart Car. He didn't clash against any of what he would consider forces of evil on this night. He won't even post the election-night video from the speck of a town. But he believes that showing support is important.
"He still comes in to a place that a lot of people forget about," Jimenez says.
Driving away, he jabbers about music before the conversation goes back to politics. Suddenly, he's off on one of his quintessential rants about Republicans, Tea Party members, and the "phony fucks" in Arizona.
His face flushed with anger, he spews about the anti-immigrant crowd: "They're selfish! They haven't the capacity to care!"
Gilman considers teabaggers especially vile foes.
Indeed, men and women dressed like bikers, with guns strapped to their hips, and angry senior citizens have called Gilman "asshole," "communist," "fat boy," "pimp," and "chickenshit," many screaming into his camera and some swatting at it with signs or trying to cover its lens with American flags.
Such characters recently met at Arizona Republican Party headquarters to discuss how they could counter the recall effort against Arpaio. The sheriff's "Shadow Army," as they called themselves, conspired about how to compromise signature-gatherers. How does Gilman know? Because he helped plant a mole inside to hear what was said.
Chad Willems and John DeCarlo from the Summit Group, in charge of fundraising for Arpaio, met with the crowd of middle-aged and elderly supporters. The audience was advised to flock to libraries, grocery stores, community colleges, and anywhere else signatures were getting gathered to disrupt things. The "Shadow Army" should heckle workers and would-be signers, Summit's strategy being that most citizens would avoid such calamitous scenes.
The crowd was revved up by such declarations as, "Signature gatherers are inherently lazy people; they're going to make enough money to buy their booze or their dope. . . and start all over tomorrow."
Gilman stood on the sidewalk outside the beige building, filming as Arpaio's long-in-the-tooth warriors exited the meeting. An elderly man in a polo shirt waddled up to Gilman holding a poster that read: "STOP: Do not sign." Sneering, he slammed the poster into Gilman's camera and swatted at Gilman's hand before retreating into the GOP building.
"I'll tell you, Tea Party people are more filled with hate than the neo-Nazis," Gilman says later. "I swear to God! They are way worse people! And, trust me, I have no love for neo-Nazis."
There are three names written on Dennis Gilman's bathroom wall: Joe Arpaio, Jan Brewer, and Russell Pearce. Gilman has devoted many of his videos to the machinations of the sheriff, the governor, and the Mesa demagogue, but only Pearce's name has a squiggly line through it.
The in-your-face videographer did all he could to ensure the recall's success so he could put a line through Arpaio's, but the effort failed recently when organizers couldn't gather enough signatures county-wide.
Dennis Gilman wanders with a cohort through a gun rally at the Arizona State Capitol. They come upon a high school kid waving a Confederate flag. The kid insists to Gilman's camera that black people appreciated slavery because everything was provided for them.
There are some neo-Nazis at the rally, of course. And teabaggers shout from a stage that all of Latin America, down to Argentina, is flooding the north with criminals — with one speaker shouting that there's "no way in hell" his group will stand still while foreigners take over America.
An ABC15 reporter has stopped to film two little girls with pink rifles. The reporter is surrounded by screaming fanatics, but he chooses to hold his microphone in front of the angel-faced darlings, asking if they know how to work their guns.
"He's just got to polish the turd," Gilman says of the TV guy.
Next, Gilman runs into a much-encountered acquaintance, "Buffalo" Rick Galeener, an aging former country singer and Tea Party enthusiast who was once cited for public urination. Galeener mentions how he'd recently driven by Gilman's Scottsdale house.
"Oh, yeah? You have? What were you doing by my house?"
"Well, it's a free fucking country!" Galeener yells, gun strapped to his hip.
"Yeah, that's true," Gilman says. "Is that why you came by my house, because it's a free fucking country?"
"No. I just wanted to see your silly fuckin' ass standin' outside."
"You're a coward, Rick. Any time. Any fucking time!"
"Okay, come on! Put your fucking camera down, and come at me!" Galeener says, setting down a flag declaring "Don't tread on me" and heading toward Gilman.
"Take your gun off! I'll put my camera down!"
It's hard to tell what occupies Buffalo Rick's mind. Hand on his hip, he'd previously screamed out varying sex acts Gilman should perform on himself.
Gilman lowers his camera, in case he has to throw a punch.
The two end up yelling nose-to-nose at each other and walking away.
Gilman later muses that every time he has a confrontation like this — and there have been many — he wonders, "Is this the time I'm going to be shot? Is somebody gonna take my camera and smash it, and the cops aren't gonna do a damn thing?"
Hasn't happened yet. Maybe it's the luck of the Irish.