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Thursday, 14 July 2016


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Yikes. I'm happy no one was hurt, but my heart is still pounding after watching the video. As much as I think there are too many firearms out there, it would have been very reasonable to shoot this guy as soon as he started driving directly at the photographer.

My partner brought this to my attention, likely because one of my photos of a local (western New York) Confederate flag being displayed (many more have popped up in the past year) suddenly received a torrent of objection, claims of invasion of privacy, and harm from numerous friends of the householder.

One claimed to have called the local sheriff, so I did the same. As opposed to what the person who claimed to have called told me, the sheriff I spoke to expressed a clear understanding of what was legally allowed as public speech on Facebook (including, as he pointed out, outright lies).

A glass bottle was thrown at and smashed in front of my business, but so far we are holding onto the notion that it could be a coincidence.

That's nothing compared to the trolling on petapixel.

My personal rules for commenting 1. Would I say it to your face? 2. Would I still say it if I took time to think about it? 3. Would I say it if it was hurtful?

[Smart. Very good ideas. --Mike]

In addition to jail time and a fine, under Calif. law the state can (and should) confiscate his truck and sell it. This applies even if the property is held jointly with another person (like a spouse). Of course, the state will have to pay off any existing lien on the property first, then it can keep the remaining proceeds. The photographer can (and should) also sue this man in civil court. I can't think of many things more traumatic than having some wing-nut try to run you over with a truck. Civil damages could be substantial!

--Penal Code 245(e) says:
"When a person is convicted of a violation of this section in a case involving use of a deadly weapon or instrument or firearm, and the weapon or instrument or firearm is owned by that person, the court shall order that the weapon or instrument or firearm be deemed a nuisance, and it shall be confiscated and disposed of in the manner provided by Sections 18000 and 18005.")

--PC 245(a)(1) reads:
"Any person who commits an assault upon the person of another with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, or in a county jail for not exceeding one year, or by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment."

Has it been confirmed that he was drunk? I mean, he seemed like it but I watched the video and didn't pick that part up.
Either way, I'm glad the jackass was arrested.

I'm familiar with Ramona and it is somewhat in the middle of nowhere. In the least sense a very rural community. That is a great photo and I am going to assume that Mr. Gordon did not know it was being taken, bcause raising a camera to your eye and snapping a shot at that moment in the conversation is an extremely significant flash point. to touch on some recent posts....Don't you think that flagpole coming out of the roof of the truck should have been photoshopped out of the composition !

[Hi David, I'm pretty sure it was a frame grab from the video. --Mike]

It would be interesting indeed to see how this all turns out. I wonder how a person could check or follow up on the final disposition of this case.

At TOP, posting a comment is a privilege, not a right.

At TOP, reading comments is enlightening and a joy, not a slog.

Moderating is hard work but so is cleaning the bathroom.

Kudos to Alex for keeping his cool so well. Not sure I'd have been so nice. Sad individual whom I hope gets nailed. Glad we all know who he is. I'd say he's having a really bad day, but his problems extend far beyond 24 hours.

I wouldn't want to be Gordon's defense counsel. He'll probably ask for a suspended sentence and probation, maybe even argue that Gordon would benefit from "anger management" classes or some other New Age sentencing alternative. Of course, the judge will have that video in his mind's eye, again and again. So I think Gordon is going to get some time to serve, lots of time to think about impulse control, anger management, and his "driveway".

There was only one lane each way, with double yellow lines in the middle. The Audi should not have been blocking the road. This comment is not related to the guy's behavior.

I'd have shot him once he drove the truck at me. So what?

[So...then you would have been arrested and spent at least some time in jail before negotiating bail; so you'd have to hire and pay an attorney to defend you, and spend an extended period of time in uncertainty over whether you could successfully prove self-defense or not; so you would have had to face the man's distressed and bereft family at some point, whose lives you would have grievously disrupted, many of whom were blameless in his misjudgement but would be suffering anyway; you would disrupt your own life for the extent, at least, of the trial; you would be guilty for the rest of your life of the one act most cultures agree is a crime and most religions agree is a sin which might be fine with you now but which you might regret later; and you would have transformed a transitory loss of temper and poor behavior with a permanent and irrevocable "solution."

You would risk the real possibility of prison, the possibility of a civil suit, and the possibility of further unpredictable repercussions in your own life. You'd certainly lose a lot of time, suffer a lot of worry, and waste a lot of money. And you'd end the life of a fellow human being who might have been acting like an asshole but didn't deserve to die for it. If you were truly in peril of your life and saw absolutely no other way out, you might risk all that. Otherwise, it would be pretty stupid, petty, excessive, and pointless.

So that. --Mike]

Yet another good reason to avoid Facebook Mike - I made a very innocent comment lately questioning the level of rudeness towards a friend of mine, and not only was I excoriated, but my poor wife got dragged into it as well - for being unfortunate enough to be married to me! There's a PhD for someone exploring peoples online behaviour!

...Moderation in all things......

Had to take an Atenlol after watching this. I believe California has concealed carry but it is not as loose as say Texas.
I shudder to think how this might have played out if you added guns to the mix.

Although I've had my fair share of photographic contretemps, I've never come across someone like this in my photographic excursions. Fortunately.
And thanks for arousing my curiosity about the comments on the article you linked to. If you didn't, I would have never found this wonderful piece of wisdom:
"assumptions are like a***s. don't expose it in public.»
It made my day!

Mike your moderation is the reason this is the only website that I would even dare to glance at the comments section.

I was pretty appalled by the behaviour shown in the video. The assailant should suffer the full consequences of the law.

However, whilst I am completely opposed to the USA's approach to gun ownership (living in the UK it doesn't impact me directly, of course) I have some sympathy with Frank Petronio's simple response. Appreciating and sympathising with your comments Mike, I can't help feel that, when someone deliberately drives a vehicle at you and you have no way, really, of knowing if they will stop, then using whatever force is at hand is entirely understandable. If you live in a country where carrying guns is normal, then the perpetrator has to expect that response. However, I expected him to be the one pulling the gun.

Two things spring to mind:

- tonight's attack in Nice - a man drove a lorry through a crowd for over a mile an dhas murdered dozens of people in that one shameful act.

- a man has recently been sent to prison in the UK for the murder of an elderly gentleman who was involved in a minor car accident with him. He was so out of control that he stabbed the old man some 39 times.

I can't defend the generalised right to bear arms, but there are too many victims.


I wonder if the photographer and his crew obtained a permit to use a public road for the shoot.I'm guessing he didn't as it probably would have required flag people for traffic control amongst other requirements. This alone might have mitigated the situation.As a previous commentor (toto) stated,this comment in no way addresses the behavior of Mr. Gordon.

Excellent response to Mr. Petronio's comment, Mike.

Had I shot him with this same video evidence of his truck attack I'm confident I'd be cleared with a simple hearing, it would never make it to trial and be well worth the $500 or so for a middling country lawyer.

I would however feel dumb if I were out in the country in that context and did not have my CCW weapon on me.

Check out the "Road Rage" Trunk Money commercial.
You might also enjoy some of the others in the series.

"So among photographers, Mark Gordon stands for every jerk who ever hassled any of us"
My thoughts too but I couldn't find the words to describe my own emotions with such brief accuracy. Very nice writing Mike, as usual.

What a day to contemplate this post, Mike. It was a truck that was used as a deadly weapon in Nice, France last night, to deadly effect.

[I really hate coincidences like that, and I'm sorry for it. --Mike]

exactly one of those situations that the presence of firearms can turn into something tragic.

Exactly why I'm glad I live in England where this is not an option.

The "pretty blonde girl" referred to in an earlier post" didn't bother to read the news because she "had no plans to do anything about" what she read.
I live in a country where I have the right to vote to choose who runs my country and, along with millions of others, I cherish that right. I like to think that reading the news informs my voting decision and voting, at the end of the day, is what I can do about what I read. So can all of us who are fortunate enough to live in a democracy.

Many years ago I was photographing a tree in New York's Washington Square. I had a little pocket camera pointed at the upper branches when I was punched in the back by an unseen assailant who ran away shouting back that I better not photograph him again.

I, too, wonder about the photographers blocking a public roadway. Not that it excuses the guy's reaction.

There is a part of me that says the whole video was staged.

What a depressing state of affairs.

I just hope that Mark Gordon feels suitably humiliated by all the adverse publicity on social media to add to what the police charge him with.

And on the other hand...every once in a while we are surprised by random acts of kindness which should also be shared.

At Frank Gehry's Disney Performing Arts Center in LA one morning at dawn I was getting set to photograph when I was approached by two security guards. Expecting to explain I was on public property, etc. they asked if I would like to come inside to shoot the lobby and directed me to the upper outdoor levels to shoot from the building itself. I still smile when I think of this wonderful moment.

We need more of this kind of behavior but I fear it is rapidly disappearing in this climate of fear and hate.


on the one hand "inexcuseable" and a poor reflection on what i imagine is his profession ( if he's not a student ) . . . . on the other hand just plain "inexcuseable:b . . . .

I've never experienced this level of response to my photography activities as I am drawn to the wilds as far from humanity as possible. However, as an avid road cyclist, this sort of behavior from angry motorists is almost expected. This is a whole other debate, and cyclists can certainly provoke motorists to anger on occasion. I have personally been a part of a similar reaction before while riding and I am astounded to this day by the amount of rage that one can unleash based on the most trivial of circumstances. This is also a good reminder to get the GoPro attached to my bike to provide witness should a similar event happen again.

I've had my share of confrontations in the past, usually by people who simply want to Be Somebody. I'm pretty easy going so I've never had any actual physical confrontations. However, I have to say that the presence of firearms in itself doesn't necessarily lead to an escalation of such confrontations. I have a concealed carry permit and the presence of a firearm is comforting when and if you are faced with a potential life threatening experience. As I noted, I'm pretty easy to get along with, I don't practice the "in your face" attitude that seems to cause so many problems these days and I attempt to avoid potential confrontations. I realize there are people who carry a gun (or use an vehicle, as in the case of Mr. Gordon) and strut around trying to provoke others just to show off and Be Somebody. But I'm not that person and the presence of a firearm on my person actually keeps me grounded in trying to avoid such dumbass behavior. Luckily morons like Mark Gordon are in the minority. Unfortunately, even a few Mark Gordons tossed into the mix can cause an awful lot of real problems for the rest of us.

The question of whether or not the photographer will face legal consequence for setting up on a public road is a good one. Right here (TOP) we have read several reminders that one should not use railroad tracks as photography shoot locations...How is a public road any different?...Even if it does appear safe for the moment.

Bottom line, there are procedures for getting a permit to use certain public facilities for private use. I would be interested to know if the photographer sought, or even inquired, about such procedures. Such things are in place for good reasons......Is this particular spot a popular one for auto related photo shoots? How frequently are local inconvenienced by such shoots.

No news- on a major scale- here: one indvidual does something irresponsible, and it ultimately attracts another irresponsible, albeit less tempermental, person to react.

Confirmed: There are numerous, and varied, irresponsible persons in this country.

I mostly shoot the street and similar outbursts of rage are not that uncommon, but the more you deal with them the earlier you learn to avoid them, and most of such cases are relatively easy to avoid even before they unfold...

Here's my last encounter:

and a pic that started the last (and only) time I had to call the police for help:
(the guy accused me of being a spy! ;) )

I'm not saying that this particular situation could've been avoided or eased in any constructive way, the guy was playing out his own scenario and did not respond anything outside of it... to the contrary, my two examples above are of two situations where being there with a camera was enough of a spark.

I might have done things a bit differently, but keeping a cool head and being polite, respectful (even if not justifiably so) is key.

See the Notable Residents section of Wikipedia for Ramona, CA. This jerk had made himself infamous:


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