What is it about people happily allowing
themselves to be photographed doing things that are patently stupid?

The AWB’s Trevor Flugge and Michael Long
grinned widely while playing with hand guns, assault rifles and cash in Iraq –
but there is nothing for them to smile about on the front pages of the SMH and The
Age
today.

Maybe there’s something particularly
seductive about the combination of firearms and Iraq –
Liberal Senator Ross Lightfoot made a goose of himself with an AK-47 there as
well.

Let’s make a little confession here: It’s
perfectly natural for fellas to enjoy playing with guns, particularly the more
exotic kind not kept in a farmer’s shed
for dispatching sick sheep. But to let yourself be photographed playing Rambo
while on official business – well, it’s none-too-bright, is it?

In Flugge’s case, it’s worse. Anyone from
the bush with any sort of responsibility knows you don’t point guns or rifles at
things you’re not prepared to shoot, but there’s bare-belly Trev aiming a
revolver at the photographer’s head. In retrospect, a Russian roulette pose
would have been more appropriate.

The thing about the embarrassment of
Flugge, Long, Lightfoot and, for that matter, the Abu Ghraib prison guards is
that none of this was the work of investigative photographers with metre-long
telephoto lenses lying in ambush. They did it themselves. It’s called shooting
yourself in the foot.

Just like aiming a gun, intelligent
individuals don’t do anything in front of a camera that they aren’t happy to
have shot and published.

Peter Fray

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