Video Vigilantes and the Future of Social Justice

We all remember the video of the Rodney King beating.  Of course, that was long before YouTube, so we watched it on the evening news.

Now, as this article in the LA Times explores, there is a growing number of people from a wide variety of backgrounds, hitting the streets with cheap video cameras and shooting people in the act of committing crimes or other outrageous behavior.

From the LA Times:

“Steering wheel in one hand, camcorder in the other, Bates slowly drove a white Ford Explorer with tinted windows past a procession of sad-eyed prostitutes. But his camera was not trained on them; it was targeting their customers.

Bates, the self-styled Video Vigilante of Oklahoma City, sneaks up and surprises men consorting with prostitutes and then posts cleaned-up versions of the footage on the Internet — to disgrace them.

“If you get caught by the cops, you pay a fine. If you get caught by me, you get a life sentence,” Bates bragged as he trailed a middle-aged man who had invited a young prostitute into his red Ford pickup. “There’s no reprieve, no probation. People will be hitting that video on Google searches as long as you live.”

While Bates seems interested in some sort of social karma, others are simply in it for fun and for profit.  There are going to be more and more videos hitting the internet showing everyone all sorts of dark little secrets.



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