Public acts should be fair game for photographers

Two matters have caught my attention lately. I spent four years as a journalist in California and on Maui, so I can identify with reporters and photojournalists.

First: The arrest of a local newspaper publisher for taking photos of police officers while they were apparently carrying out their duties – in public. When I was studying journalism, I was told that if something took place in public, anyone was free to photograph it. Were the police officers doing something they did not want publicized?

Second: Sen. J. Kalani English’s efforts to introduce and pass the “Steven Tyler Act.” I can understand attempting to prevent prominent people from being harassed. But when I first moved here in 1975, one of the first things I was told about local customs was that if you saw a celebrity in public leave them alone – don’t rush up, fawn on them and demand an autograph. That was not the local way. They came here so they could walk down the street, shop and go for gasoline without causing a stir. At that time, that would have meant people like Peter Fonda, who lived on his yacht off Lahaina.

Do we need to go back to those days and ways? Maybe so. If the paparazzi are not from here, at least that would be a saving grace.

Dave Slocum