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Okie cops bang Tin Drum rudely



Just before July 4th, control of Hong Kong was turned over by the British to the Chinese government, and there was much tongue clucking by American pundits and politicians about how this move might threaten the individual liberties of Hong Kong people. But while our leaders profess to be worried about the erosion of human freedoms in China, they are presiding over the rise of a police state in our own land. Ask Michael Camfield. It's not the People's Armed Police of China who knocked on his door just before July 4th... it was the police of Oklahoma City.;;Three plainclothes officers suddenly appeared at his house in this heartland city late in the evening to confiscate a videotaped movie he was watching -- a video they alleged was child pornography. First, it wasn't. The video was not some porno flick from some seedy porno shop -- it was "The Tin Drum," a 1979 Oscar-winning movie. It did have a fleeting, one-minute suggestive scene involving two 16-year olds. But that's all -- nothing more risque than Romeo and Juliet. Camfield had rented it at a Blockbuster.;;Second, how did the authorities know he had it? Simple -- they had gone to area video stores and demanded to see their rental lists, warning the clerks that refusal to turn them over could make them guilty of impeding an official investigation.;;Third, why were the police pushing their weight around by going into the homes of private citizens to confiscate the videos, rather than just collecting the supposedly offensive movies as they were returned to the stores? Because, the three officers told Camfield, they can. They claimed the police have the power to enter anywhere looking for pornography, even without a search warrant or a judge's approval. Ironically, "The Tin Drum" is a movie about the rise of fascism in Germany. Don't think it can't happen here.