Zero Tollerance Follies

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Kid gets arrested for trying to shock his buddy with a toy camera.

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25 Responses to “Zero Tollerance Follies”

  1. #1 |  Dave Krueger | 

    From the article:
    The student was taken into custody by a student resource officer and was charged with possession of a weapon at school, breach of peace and attempted assault.

    Beach of peace? He must have been wearing a T-shirt disrespectful of the drug war or something.

    I guess we should be glad the “resource officer” didn’t tase the shit out of the kid, cuff him, and lock him in a utility closest and then forget about him until he started to smell really bad.

  2. #2 |  OGRE | 

    Have to congratulate the officer on his clever charge-stacking. Most impressive! I’m a bit disappointed that there was no obstructing charge though.

    He must really be looking for something to hang on this kid if he has to add a breach of peace charge.

  3. #3 |  Marty | 

    at least the kid’s dad isn’t drinking the kool aid… if they had vouchers, this family could try to find a school that’s not loaded with dumbass administrators.

  4. #4 |  OGRE | 


    “Guns don’t kill people; Camera’s kill people.”

  5. #5 |  jac | 

    He ought to be commended for bringing a safer alternative to gun to school.

    This line is priceless.

    “When dealing with electricity, you can cause injury or harm. We want to stress that these aren’t toys,”

  6. #6 |  Danno49 | 

    I remember when our high school campus liaison officer sent a message by just being there if we needed him. I can’t ever recall him ever being needed to stop and or punish a kid from pulling a stupid prank.

    Ah, the good old days before the drug war and 9/11 . . .

  7. #7 |  Scooby | 

    Possession of a weapon? There’s at least 15 things in a typical middle-schooler’s book bag that could be used to kill, maim, or inflict pain on a person. Should every student be charged with “possession of a weapon”?

  8. #8 |  David | 

    This line is priceless.

    “When dealing with electricity, you can cause injury or harm. We want to stress that these aren’t toys,”

    It is funny coming from a profession where they routinely act as if being tazered is no big deal.

  9. #9 |  nom de guerre | 

    whaaaat? no conspiracy charge? nothing good can come from being this soft on crime, i tells ya. joke cameras are the gateway gizmos to *murder*!

  10. #10 |  Robert S. Porter | 

    This article is a lot more measured than the article Drudge is linking to: “Police say the camera, modified according to instructions available on the Internet, had been converted into an improvised electronic demobilizing device similar to a Taser.”

    Is it really similar to a taser? I’d say it’s more like one of those handshake shock pranks.

  11. #11 |  Burdell | 

    Apparently, Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn of the Clinton Police Department must really just want to stress that kids shouldn’t respect the police, because that’s exactly what this sort of asinine response will do.

    Once the kid is arrested and (disproportionately) charged, only two things can happen:

    1) he’s convicted and thinks the police are idiots and holds a grudge, or

    2) he’s acquitted or charges are dropped and he can prove the police are idiots and holds a grudge.

    So when the police are actually working to improve the community, this kid will be useless at encouraging/helping them.

    But, hey, it’s worth it to prove that a disposable camera isn’t a toy, right?

  12. #12 |  Vermin Kol | 

    Shee-it! When I was in something like the 3rd grade I got tricked by an older kid to put my tongue to a 9 volt battery.

    We all had a pretty good laugh.

  13. #13 |  MacK | 

    Was this kids name McGyver maybe?
    Perhaps when he grows up, and invents the stupidometer he will come back and prove it really works on the cops in this town.

  14. #14 |  Jozef | 

    This just in: CVS will lock disposable cameras into the same cabinet that already holds sinus congestion medication, and will sell them only to customers older than 18, with a valid weapons permit.

  15. #15 |  roy | 

    The charges are overkill, but a suspension would probably be in order. A camera’s flash capacitor does not cause amusing tingling sensations like a 9V on the tongue. It hurts, and it causes brief muscle jerks which can lead a person to hurt himself more. It can even burn skin, albeit only to a sunburn level in my experience. Doing this to another student is not OK behavior.

    I was zapped by such things as a joke a few times by friends, which might seem to undermine my point, but remember that you can find teenagers playing with Tazers on YouTube.

  16. #16 |  Katherine | 

    I played with the circuit that recharges a flash capacitor in an engineering class in college. I’d charge the cap, remove it and then discharge it to admire the spark. I blew some nice little pits into metal with it. Wouldn’t want it discharged on any part the body. Ouch.

    Still, just normal teenage stupidity and criminal charge are overkill. They could have just taken it away and given him detention.

  17. #17 |  Jerry | 

    I guess it’s alright to Taser folks who get unrurely when your the law, but a mild shock from a camera. I wonder what they would do these days if you talked your friend into sticking his/her tongue on the end of a 9-volt battery? Suspend em for a week, that’ll teach them.

    The dumbing down of America, no wonder our country is going to the toilet.

  18. #18 |  Bronwyn | 

    I wonder if cootie shots qualify for assault charges these days.

    Or wet willies?

    Where do we send our letters in support of this kid? Come on, I’m on a roll!

  19. #19 |  Against Stupidity | 

    Is “student resource officer” the assignment you get when you can’t pass the physical?

    When did the definition of assault or weapon change? I thought unwanted physical contact was a battery? Was he trying to intimidate or coerce his friend?

    A crime that occurs when one person tries to physically harm another in a way that makes the person under attack feel immediately threatened. Actual physical contact is not necessary; threatening gestures that would alarm any reasonable person can constitute an assault. Compare battery.

    Stacking bogus charges should incur a financial penalty to the police department and or Officer. When you have to defend yourself against a charge that is clearly inappropriate the Police Department should be liable for the expense.

  20. #20 |  Jon H | 

    First, it’s not a toy camera, it’s a disposable camera, which as noted above carry very serious capacitors to run the very real flash.

    Second, when instructions for this modification were posted on the net recently, and the Make Magazine blog linked to it, the comments at the linking site rapidly filled up with, basically, “Holy crap is that a bad idea”. This is a site for people who do hardware hacks and know more about this stuff than, say, a Cato staffer.

    In a worst-case scenario, if the charge went in one arm and out the other, it might well be fatal.

    I’m not actually sure if this is a case of overcharging.

  21. #21 |  Against Stupidity | 

    Even if the charge went in one arm and out the other, assuming the flash capacitor is 120uf and it was charged to 300 volts, it would contain about 10 joules, just at the threshold that might cause heart fibrillation. Even in this case, you’d probably be lucky if you could get more than 5 joules into the person.

    Maybe if you somehow made a sharp point contact with the skin or an arc developed you might get a pinpoint burn, but this would be a fluke.

    Given the design shown on the internet. Its a real nasty practical joke. Is it a weapon, not even close. Electrically dangerous, not very, the person is more likely fall down and hurt themselves from being startled. Is it an assault, I’m no lawyer, but I think the cop is blowing smoke out his ass.

  22. #22 |  Jon H | 

    Interesting trivia: the ‘liquid bomb’ plotters apparently were going to use a capacitor from a disposable camera to trigger the explosion.

    Of course, their bomb also included TANG has one of the components. As in, the astronaut’s drink.

    NB: Being part of a war on terra prosecution, this could all be bullshit.

  23. #23 |  markm | 

    “Even if the charge went in one arm and out the other, assuming the flash capacitor is 120uf and it was charged to 300 volts, it would contain about 10 joules, just at the threshold that might cause heart fibrillation.” Actually, it’s about 5 joules (1/2 capacitance * voltage-squared) – and that would be a large, heavy, and expensive capacitor that I wouldn’t expect to find in a disposable camera.

  24. #24 |  Jon H | 

    A page at the MIT OpenCourseware site has a photo of a disposable camera’s innards. The cap looks relatively big compared to the other components, and is marked as 120uf.



    “Hacking the Kodak Max Single Use Flash Camera into a Self-Repeating Strobe”

    “DANGER – The photoflash in a Kodak Max typically stores 5.4 joules of energy. There is considerable talk in the world that it takes 10 joules to kill someone from a capacitor discharge, but there is also significant scientific opinion the lesser amounts have some chance of being fatal. Critical variables include skin moisture content and distribution and also what point of the heartbeat cycle your heart is in if you get shocked.”

  25. #25 |  chris | 

    Just finished reading a popular mechanics article from the 60’s, where a kid took motorcycle batteries and made a go-kart.

    He’d be off to cuba for creating WMDs, I bet.

    Let’s continue to stiffle every bit of creativity left. We are all just supposed to sit in front of the tv and eat fast food, duh. Govt has it all figured out for us, just give up already.