Allison’s Law

There’s a push in South Carolina by a couple of people to pass “Allison’s Law”. First, stop giving laws cutesy kid’s names. I don’t give a damn who Allison is or was, and whenever I hear one of these Kid Laws, I always picture some obese weepy woman on the news, which doesn’t do anything to gain my support.

Evidently Allison was a 16 year old girl that was killed in a car wreck in my state, along with her brother. Someone got to the wreck before the trooper, and took photos and posted them online. Mom got upset about it (understandably), and is pushing senators to pass some crazy legislation. Basically: You can’t post photos of minors as accident victims or crime victims online, without the parent’s permission.

This law caused a heated debate on Facebook, which is ordinarily known for its calm, educated, well thought out discussions.

A few things came out that need to be addressed:

1. Yes, you can be photographed in public. It doesn’t matter if you want to be or not. Your kids can be photographed in public. Even if you don’t like it. In fact, if I were so inclined I could set a camera on a tripod, get a zoom lens, and stand across the street from the elementary school and take pictures of kids if I wanted to, and there’s NO law against it. It’s creepy and weird, but not illegal.

2. Cops can’t demand you delete photos if they don’t like them. Cops can’t force you to show you the pictures. Cops can’t prevent you from taking photos. Yes, cops can get search warrants, but that’s for evidence. Yes, cops can close off accident scenes. But it doesn’t mean someone outside the scene can’t take photos. Even if you’re the first person there and take pictures, those pictures don’t necessarily constitute evidence – unless you change something. The cop can take the same picture and have the same record of the scene.

3. Cops don’t get to destroy phones. For those saying “I would hand the phone back in pieces”. That’s destruction of property, it’s illegal. Just because cops don’t like people taking pictures, doesn’t give them the right to destroy someone’s property, or even demand they delete it.

4. You can even sell the pictures you take of people in public. There are limits, for example, you can’t take a picture of a runner and say he’s endorsing a product… you need a model release. But you CAN take pictures of, say, a city sidewalk with people walking and  eating at little outside tables, and sell it to a travel magazine or sell it as art. The first amendment does apply here, artistic expression is a form of speech. If people want to take pictures and publish them in any means, they have that right.

I’m not saying that what people do isn’t morally wrong and sick and twisted. That’s obvious. There have been crime scene shots on the internet for years. What is worrisome about this law is it is another example of people trying to use a single situation to step on other’s rights. Today: No photos of minors in accidents. Tomorrow, no photos of accidents. What about no photos of police doing their job? How many people would agree to that? No photos of celebrities without their permission? No photos of kids, anywhere, without parent’s permission? Can you imagine that? No need to take a camera on vacation. You could give up vacation photos pretty much anywhere.

I say the parents could sue the accident photographer for mental anguish. But passing a law saying “these pictures can’t be taken” is just scary. When you whittle away one for of expression, you open all kinds of doors. What about music that you find offensive? Artworks? Should we start banning certain other types of artistic expression and personal freedom? Soon the only people allowed to take photos will be the government, because those cameras will be everywhere.


Author: theosus1

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3 thoughts on “Allison’s Law”

  1. Your facts are all wrong. Allison and her boyfriend were killed in the accident. The reason the mother is upset is because that is basically how she found out that her child had.been killed. And comin from a friend of hers I think this lawn needs to pass. Just saying because there are people who care about who she was. Her and her boyfriend (Dean)’s deaths devastated a community.

    1. The point was, in general, that restricting photography in public places is a bad idea, regardless of the reason. There is another law on the way about keeping crime scene photos off of social media. That would cover crime scenes in general, but images taken by the police. But telling someone on a public street, that they can’t take a picture on a public street is a bad thing for freedoms in America. First it’s children in wrecks, then its children in general without their parents permission, then its anyone… and before long you can’t take pictures of any people for any reason because someone gets upset. Im sorry for the family that this horrible thing happened to them, but keeping someone from taking a photo is not going to bring their kid back.

      1. Your points are understandable; however, it doesn’t change the fact thag there needs to be some sort of law to protect the families. Would you want to find out that someone you loved had been killed in a car accident by seeing their mangled body on social media? I sure know I wouldn’t. It’s a sensitive topic for her friends and family. Like I said all the points you made about the freedoms and such were very valid but there has to be something they (sc legislatures) can do; not so as to bring Allison or Dean “back” but, to keep someone else from finding out about a loved one’s death in the same manner.

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