It all started in early August of 2008. A handful of grassroots activists, political novices, and disgruntled voters met at the “Uncle Sam’s” restaurant in Scottsdale to discuss the upcoming invasion of a statewide photo enforcement program.
It seemed too late to do anything about the massive surveillance rollout, and groupthink apathy greeted ideas of resistance and protest with the equally-powerful emotions of uncertainty and doubt.
A small handful of the people at that meeting decided they wanted to pursue “photo enforcement”— more accurately defined by CameraFRAUD as automated ticketing — as an issue worthy of substantial dedication.
Within a week, on August 15th, CameraFRAUD went live online. Three days later, a video showing activists hanging “FRAUD” signs on ticketing equipment was uploaded to YouTube. And, on August 22, our first “sign wave” demonstration was held at the intersection of Thomas and Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times even took the time to dissect the new group’s grainy, “rough”-looking logo in an article titled “Pick-axe Politics:”
The initial opposition to the cameras started with the grassroots organization CameraFraud.com, which itself came out of a monthly meet-up of Ron Paul supporters. That origin probably explains the similarity in CameraFraud.com’s homemade,
stenciled protest signs and those roadside signs from earlier in the year touting the “Ron Paul Revolution.”
Lemons was correct: the logo paid homage to what for many had been their first adventure in activism: the 2008 Presidential race.
Fast forward two years. While still true to its unofficial Libertarian and freedom-oriented roots, the group encompasses members with a vast range of political beliefs and ideologies. And due to the constant efforts of many activists, the statewide DPS-Redflex surveillance and ticketing program came to an end.
Many people associated with CameraFRAUD are even more active towards other issues or subjects, while some are involved solely due to the cameras. The reasons for opposing the cameras vary wildly among supporters and readers of the website, with some citing civil liberties as their primary concern while others tout limited government intrusion as a factor in participation.
Despite all differences, a dedicated group of about 50 meet each month in Tempe as CameraFRAUD — not necessarily as a collective, but as a group of individuals who are encouraged and empowered to “do it, not dream it.”
After 165 events, 499 articles (this one is, appropriately, #500), 15,000 WordPress comments, countless media interviews, and millions and millions of website visitors, it’s important to realize that our strength is not in numbers, but as individuals who freely choose to associate and take action towards a cause that’s important.
The following video is not specifically “CameraFRAUD,” and you may see examples of activism you dislike or issues you disagree with. It doesn’t really matter what issue you choose to get involved in. What really matters is that you’re active, in a capacity you’re comfortable with, doing the things you like to advance the principles you believe in.
A radical example? Even those who go to work each day at Redflex and American Traffic Solutions are activists in their own way, and while we disagree with them vehemently, we applaud anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in.
Editor’s Note: Come to our next monthly meeting on August 17th, and help shape the next two years of “The Cameras Coming Down!”