In what sounds like a scene from RoboCop, a cowardly band of marauders snatched a California news crew's fancycam before wheeling away in a couple of luxury sedans. In broad daylight, no less. KPIX photographer Gregg Welk and reporter Anne Makovec were wrapping up a noon live shot outside Oakland Technical High School Wednesday when five, count 'em five, no good hoodlums bum-rushed the duo. Details are sketchy at best, but apparently the furious five grabbed the station's six thousand dollar camera, yanking it sideways in such a fashion that even viewers at home could tell it was just another chaotic day in O Town. To add injury to insult, one of the punks even popped Welk in the mouth before the five of them made off in a Mercedes AND a Lexus.
UNCOOL, on more levels than we here at The Lenslinger Institute can list. But even clowns like us have to shake our heads in disgust at the brazen nature of this latest attack on members of the media non elite. What has this heartless orb come to when a first world news crew can't sleepwalk their way through a nooner without getting assaulted and robbed on live television? I know, I know: it's late 2012 in Alameda County. That don't make it right. Is it a gang initiation? A simple crime of opportunity? Or one more sign that social mores are crumbling under the weight of a generation raised on violence and smitten with instant gratification?
How should I know? I'm just a cameraman. And while it's easy for a proud Carolinian like me to chalk it all up to West Coast excess, I'll be keeping my head (and lens) on a swivel here in the Piedmont. I suggest YOU do the same, whether you sling a lens in Detroit, Durham or Duluth. A societal shift is upon us and it's coarsening our offspring. As much as I'd like to believe otherwise, you ain't got to be in Oakland to get your ass camera-jacked. As for the good folk of KPIX, they'll continue to cover their beat, but not, some sources say, without their very own security guards.
Where's Peter Weller in a tin can when you need him?