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Speed camera torched in Gaithersburg

By Mary Pat Flaherty

There is burning through a red light and then there is burning the speed camera.

The Montgomery County Fire Marshal is investigating the intentional burning of a county speed camera at about 2:30 a.m. Monday on Quince Orchard Road and McDonald Chapel Drive in Gaithersburg. The box -- about one-third of the way up the light pole -- housing the electronics for the camera was in flames when firefighters arrived and they quickly extinguished the fire, said Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham.

The early investigation shows the fire was deliberately set and disabled the camera, Graham said.

So no chance the suspect was caught on tape before the flameout?

"No ma'am." said Graham. "Based on the mechanics of how the camera operates, unless the suspect was running past at 35 miles an hour with a burning match, the camera wouldn't have gotten it."

--Mary Pat Flaherty

By Mary Pat Flaherty  | November 1, 2010; 10:10 AM ET
Categories:  Fires & Fire Safety, Mary Pat Flaherty, Maryland  
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Comments

Please torch all of these unconstitutional devices.

Posted by: CalmTruth | November 1, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I would love to knoiw who did this so I can shake his hand and buy him a beer. They are nothing more then taxes on an unsuspecting public.

Posted by: hotnbothered21 | November 1, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't just buy this person a beer, I'd buy them a whole case of beer.

Posted by: clancrs | November 1, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone else surprised its taken this long for someone to take one of these out?

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | November 1, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Too bad it wasn't a grenade

Posted by: mdpilot | November 1, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Who cares about the safety of others as long as I can save a few seconds. Laws are are chumps. I'm way smarter than other people.

Posted by: vmax02rider | November 1, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

How are these cameras unconstitutional?

Posted by: jckdoors | November 1, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

yay!

Posted by: loved1 | November 1, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

THIS IS WONDERFUL NEWS!!!!

Let's hope the speed cameras in DC meet the same fate.

Posted by: ceefer66 | November 1, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The fire chief quoted in this article is wrong. The cameras are not activated unless it detects someone going 11 mph over the speed limit. I believe the speed limit is 35 there, so the torcher would have to be going 46 mph with a match to get photoed.

Posted by: matt_s | November 1, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

The fire chief quoted in this article is wrong. The cameras are not activated unless it detects someone going 11 mph over the speed limit. I believe the speed limit is 35 there, so the torcher would have to be going 46 mph with a match to get photoed.

Posted by: matt_s | November 1, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Bravo. More citizens should take upholding the Constitution into their own hands.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | November 1, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Please visit this website:

http://www.MDScamera.com

Tomorrow is election day, and you can vote out of office those responsible for these cameras. Vote Bob Ehrlich, he vetoed these cameras. The current governor, Martin O'Malley signed the speed camera bill into law. If you hate speed cameras, vote for Bob Ehrlich. Check the site for other endorsements too.

Posted by: danz1 | November 1, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about the safety of others as long as I can save a few seconds. Laws are are chumps. I'm way smarter than other people.

Posted by: vmax02rider
--------------------------

99.99999% of people who make the above statement either don't drive or have an obnoxious holier-than-thou complex.

Remember the kid in elementary school who would keep tabs on everyone else in the classroom whenever the teacher left the room for a few minutes then tattle on everyone when the teacher got back? They grow up into people who think and talk like the one here.

Posted by: ceefer66 | November 1, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I see that people who think they have a constitutional right to break laws they find inconvenient also think it's okay to commit violent crime. Obeying the law is just for chumps, I guess.

Personally, I'd be a little ashamed of holding such reprehensible views, and not trumpet them.

Posted by: krickey7 | November 1, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised this hadn't already happened. Google vandalized Gatsos and you will find an entire website devoted to destroyed speed cams in Britain.

Posted by: ksu499 | November 1, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Am stunned by the juvenile level of these remarks supporting vandalism of a traffic camera.

People say that they don't want to see our tax dollars wasted -- these cameras are a FAR more efficient use of our taxes than paying a perfectly capable policeman/woman to sit there with a radar gun to physically chase down people who speed rather than being ready to rush to help a victim of violent crime or working to resolve unsolved crimes.

Get your priorities straight folks. This vandal just burned up a bunch of your tax dollars and mine. Don't encourage more stupidity. Just drive closer to the speed limit and be thankful that our tax dollars are being spent wisely.

Posted by: TimeForReason | November 1, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Buy him a beer? Wow, you really mature. Glad to see what this world is coming to. Rewarding for committing a crime. Now our tax dollars are going to pay for this to be re-constructed. Hate them or not, they are here to stay. Save your time and brain power. I hope whoever did this gets the full punishment.

Posted by: homerz | November 1, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Again, how are they unconstitutional? Drivers are in public. You have no expectation of privacy in public.

Posted by: jckdoors | November 1, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

@CalmTruth, Matt_s, etc...

You do realize that money to fix the camera is coming out of tax dollars, right? This was totally irresponsible and vigilante behavior. If you don't want cameras in the city, then at least be responsible citizens and call your state reps.

I for one don't have a problem with traffic cams, so I won't be joining you on that call. (I won't be getting any tickets either, since I'm not going to run a red light anytime soon).

Posted by: Loopla | November 1, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

@CalmTruth, Matt_s, etc...

You do realize that money to fix the camera is coming out of tax dollars, right? This was totally irresponsible and vigilante behavior. If you don't want cameras in the city, then at least be responsible citizens and call your state reps.

I for one don't have a problem with traffic cams, so I won't be joining you on that call. (I won't be getting any tickets either, since I'm not going to run a red light anytime soon).

Posted by: Loopla | November 1, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Somehow I'm sure the Tea Party will show that Obama must be at fault for speed cameras too.

Posted by: YadaYada1 | November 1, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Good job!

Posted by: gm2525 | November 1, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

This is what Thomas Jefferson would do.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | November 1, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Love it! Lets get the red light cameras as well!

Posted by: civilrightist | November 1, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I hope that the vandal that caused this damage is caught and prosecuted. If the person that did this is so opposed to a speed camera, here is one piece of advice - slow down and don't speed and endanger other drivers and pedestrians.

Posted by: RobertM468 | November 1, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I love it when people get mad at cameras, and that's not to say I've never been ticketed, but I was because I broke the law, I sped when the signs told me I shouldn't have been going that fast. That seems pretty fair to me. For all those complaining, here's some advice, try going the speed limit, or even better, if you haven't noticed the cameras are enormous and there are lines painted in the road that show you where the picture is going to be taken, maybe slow down then?

Posted by: packsfan18 | November 1, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The person responsible for this is a hero for fighting against the Power Elite, i.e the crony capitalists whom have taken over our country.

This is just the beginning. Citizens are fed up being abused by leaders that practice "mushroom management" (feeding us sh-t and keeping us in the dark).

It's high time we gave them a sh-t sandwich and told them to smile while they ate it.

Posted by: NyallsStJohnSmytheIV | November 1, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Who did it? perhaps another angry tea partier, LOL. Another proof we are becoming a third world country fast.

Posted by: Jim110 | November 1, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

This is insane! No one likes getting a ticket, but that doesn't give anyone the right to destroy someone else's property! Be an adult and take the appropriate routes to get it changed if you don't like something. This is not how it's done. Just wish the camera could have caught who did this! Now we'll all probably have to pay for the repairs.

Posted by: ChicaInTheDMV | November 1, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

@ChicaInTheDMV : Actually it is the contractor, not the county, who owns the cameras and is responsible for repairs and maintenance. So ACS State & Local Solutions (who gets a cut of every ticket) is the one losing the money.

Oh and two cameras burned, not just one. There was a story on the 'Gaithersburg Patch' website stating that a second camera at 15500 Germantown Rd was burned last night as well.

Posted by: afpre42 | November 1, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Vandalism is wrong. But having said that...
- In the towns of Brentwood and Mount Rainer, speed limits were lowered by 10mph (from 35mph to 25mph) on a major roadway shortly before speed cameras were added. They apparently also have shoddy review processes, as one retired police officer from Anne Arundal County received a ticket from Brentwood for someone else's car... he'd never even visited the city before!
- In Forest Heights, questions were raised about the accuracy of the cameras were raised. Worse yet, citizens who have requested court hearings were not given court dates, instead they were told their registrations would be suspended if they did not pay. Can you say 'presumption of guilt?'
- In Baltimore and PG county, they have been creating vast new school zones solely for the purpose of adding speed cameras. Many are not adjacent to any school. Now 80% of Baltimore is considered a school zone, this was not the case before statewide speed cameras were passed.
- In Montgomery County, the Safe Speed Program arbitrarily had decided that they did not need to perform 'daily self tests' required under state law, leaving the machines under the control of a contractor getting a cut of every ticket.

But no, burning cameras is not the right solution to fighting this FRAUD which our state lawmakers and Governor Martin O'Malley approved. The correct solution is to VOTE THEM OUT: http://sites.google.com/site/mdspeedcameravotes

Posted by: afpre42 | November 1, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Like 'em or hate 'em, these things are in place for safety. And to torch anything is just ridiculous! Hope they get caught.

Posted by: wilson78 | November 1, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

There are other ways to deal with this issue: 12 Gauge, paint-ball, heavy tow chain, etc.

Glad to see that someone is finally fighting this revenue grabbing tactic by greedy pols.

And it's in the American tradition. Rmember king George?

Posted by: MocoMalcontent | November 1, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

This is a very serious issue. In Arizona a vandall fired shots into a parked radar van unaware that operator was on board. The operator was killed.

The perpretators of this crime need to be caught and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Posted by: gordon514 | November 1, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

This is just stupid to me. Cameras are an important part of making sure roads are safe, so why is it funny to damage them? Doing so only hurts drivers, something that the vandals clearly could care less about.

Posted by: DonoMan65 | November 1, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

As disgusted I am by the actions of this person I think I am even more disgusted by the support of the action by the posters on this site. Why is everyone so hell-bent on breaking the law, both with regard to destruction of property and put others safety at risk on the roads?

Posted by: beatduke10 | November 2, 2010 4:05 AM | Report abuse

Aside from dreams of revenue, why do politicians OK the cameras?

1. They think we like the cameras!
Last week a blog exposed Astroturf Lobbying in the photo enforcement Industry. (To read it, Google Rynski and Astroturf.) Astroturf Lobbying is when a PR firm manufactures a fake grassroots movement via comments posted on news articles like this one.

The politicians, sensing strong community support (they read these comment columns too), give the OK for cameras.

2. Politicians - and their extended family - are immune to the tickets.
In California 1.5 million privately-owned cars have plate numbers protected from easy look up, effectively invisible to agencies trying to process photo enforcement violations. Such "protected plate" lists exist in other states, too. (In CA the list includes local politicians, bureaucrats, retired cops, other govt. employees, and their families and ADULT children! Unbelievable? Read Cal. Veh. Code 1808.4.) The Post should check to see who and how many are 'protected' in MD, VA and DC.


Posted by: Henry66 | November 2, 2010 4:09 AM | Report abuse

Who says good news isn't reported often enough? Keep the happy stories coming!

Posted by: LenG1 | November 2, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

WTOP Radio, today, reported that a second camera was torched about a mile away from the first. Police also stated that other cameras have been spray painted.

Looks like the people are rising up against this blatant grab for revenue.

And, for all of you folks who believe that the cameras are there for our safety, ask yourself why the fines are only $40, much less than if you had been ticketed by an officer.

It's all a set-up so few people will take the time to contest the camera fines in court because many will probably be thrown out.

Posted by: MocoMalcontent | November 2, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Big surprise, reckless driver angry at facing the consequences of their dangerous behavior turns out to also be a vandal and arsonist. Just looking at the dregs of humanity here, though it does show that the cameras are getting a response, hopefully those of us who still have a soul will just slow down and obey the traffic laws to avoid having problems with cameras.

Posted by: estuartj | November 2, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Safety my *** Give me a break! To all the holier than thou fools posting on here about breaking the law, these cameras are not and have NEVER been about safety! Please get a clue! $17.2 Million dollars from speed camera tickets in 2010...that camera alone ticketed 900 drivers in one month!! it's about the money! Have any of you morons even driven on Quince Orchard Road? What is the point of these things when everyone slams on the breaks for these cameras then speed back up once they pass it? Park a cop out there once or twice a month and drivers will slow down. Just because you guys voted Democrat (O'Malley) doesn't mean you have to defend every stupid law he put on the books.

Posted by: epmurphy | November 3, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

This is reckless and irresponsible and not the way to express your dislike of cameras. Can't believe people are endorsing this either. It's breaking the law. And guess what, if you're running red lights, you're also breaking the law. Could people just learn a little personal responsibility?

Posted by: whysocereal | November 3, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

This is reckless and irresponsible and not the way to express your dislike of cameras. Can't believe people are endorsing this either. It's breaking the law. And guess what, if you're running red lights, you're also breaking the law. Could people just learn a little personal responsibility?

Posted by: whysocereal | November 3, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Whysocereal, you need to learn the facts of life. The errors of these cameras are well documented. They have even ticketed parked cars.

The most outrageous local error happened when a camera ticketed an elderly couple at 107 mph in rush hour traffic on Wayne Ave. in Silver Spring. Even more outrageous is the fact that they were driving a Toyota Tercel which probably couldn't break 80 going over a cliff in a stiff tailwind. They were so intimidated that they initially paid the ticket. However, later, when they protested and the press began to cover the event, MoCo govt. graciously refunded their $40 with the attitude that mistakes happen.

If you want to feed the county's coffers, please feel free to make all of the donations you want. But for the rest of us, we're tired of the sanctimonious, revenue-grabbing scam being perpetrated upon the public.

At this point, I cheer the camera-flamers. They are our only defense against governments in the act of raping the public.

Posted by: MocoMalcontent | November 3, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Gosh what is up with you guys? Since when do we applaud bad behavior in our nation? Where is the civility? We have a government in place that support civil disobedience unlike many places in the world and we resort to this kind of childish behavior? Obviously we need more cameras in some places....

Posted by: azuresea | November 3, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

funny quote at the end....sounds like its from a movie

Posted by: YumYum1 | November 3, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Azuresea:

When a government installs documented, error-prone devices for the goal of raising revenue which are supplied by firms which get a percentage of the take and, then, ignores the factual protests and questions of the system, no other recourse is left to the public.

And camera sabotage is not just a Gaithersburg thing. Go on-line and see how many cameras have been burned, shot and otherwise destroyed by enraged citizens throughout our country, Europe and Australia.

Then, ask yourself, why they only charge a $40 fine for a violation, far less than if the violation was issued by a live officer? It's obvious that the gov doesn't want to risk a contest in court.

Then, ask yourself, how you would defend yourself, when receiving a ticket in the mail 14-30 days after the fact, when you didn't know that you had violated the law at the time?

I have no problem getting ticketed by a live officer at the time of the alleged incident when I have the opportunity to ask him how he made his decision to issue the citation.

Traffic cams are a revenue-grabbing scam which deny a person the right to a proper defense. But then if citizens were able to mount a defense, the gov would get less revenue.

Get the picture?

Posted by: MocoMalcontent | November 3, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I love his quote and it should reassure everyone that unless you are breaking the law- the cameras are of no consequence to you.

Posted by: mrose1 | November 4, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

A few too many people advocating for arsonists in these comments. I normally wouldn't care, but considering some nutjob in Arizona went out and shot and killed a guy in a speed camera van we should all think through the comments we make in these settings.

Posted by: VAgold | November 4, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

In reviewing the posts on here, it is obvious that some of you are in serious need of a remedial reading course or you are shilling for the traffic camera vendors or the revenue-grabbing governments.

So let me state the case here loudly and clearly:

THE POINT HERE IS NOT TO PROMOTE UNCHECKED SPEEDING ON HIGHWAYS AND ROADS! Our police officers are doing a good job of enforcing the law. We need more of them.

THE POINT IS THAT LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE USING A DOCUMENTED ERROR-PRONE SYSTEM TO ENFORCE THE LAW.

A Google search an hour ago under the heading “Speed Camera Errors” produced over 300,000 listings. Granted a few are advertisements, but the bulk list parked cars being cited, the systems being thrown off by trucks and even sound, a lack of maintenance and calibration plus a host of erroneous citations issued. Please make the effort to use Google to learn the truth.

THE POINT IS ALSO THAT THESE CAMERAS ARE BEING PROMOTED BY COMPANIES WHICH RECEIVE A PERCENTAGE OF THE TAKE TO UNSCRUPULOUS POLITICANS LOOKING FOR EASY REVENUE. This is a system powered by greed which has no interest in public safety or justice. Further, the fines are set at a fraction of the fines imposed with a normal citation to discourage people from contesting them in court which would reduce the government’s take. And no points are assessed as a further inducement to people to quietly fatten the camera vendors’ and governments’ takes.

In the meantime, people are receiving tickets 14-30 days after the alleged offense. And many never knew at the time that the alleged offense occurred that they were being charged. In this manner, people are being denied a fair opportunity to question the citation and mount a proper defense. This is not justice!

Despite massive protests and litigation against these systems, politicians refuse to listen to facts. This is why many people here, in Europe and Australia are sabotaging these cameras. It isn’t my way of fighting this rape of the motorist but I cheer them each time I hear about another camera being torched, shot or painted.

Maybe between the court cases, drivers’ defense systems and the shells of destroyed cameras, this unjust revenue scam will become too costly for the camera companies and greedy pols.

Then we can return to proper law enforcement and true justice instead of a system which promotes disrespect for law, injustice and victims of a greed propelled system.

Posted by: MocoMalcontent | November 4, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Maybe somebody can set Ike's $64,000 potty on fire to send a message up his a**.

Posted by: postisarag | November 5, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

The comments on this thread that are pro camera are obviously an astro turf campaign by the camera maker employees. These machines basically allow them to print money.

People, keep the torches burning. Only 113 cameras to go!

Posted by: NyallsStJohnSmytheIV | November 5, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Headline (at 10:52 a.m.) for this article says "SPEECH Camera..." EDITOR!!!!!

Posted by: FrankIBC | November 5, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

The government that installed these cameras is supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people. Out of 100 people, how many people would be for these cameras? This is not crime, this is civil disobedience. I'd like to see more of this kind of behavior against unpopular government control. Let's take to the streets...

Posted by: RomT | November 5, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

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