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Man Physically Assaulted At McDonald's For Wearing Digital Eye Glasses 1198

RockoW writes "Steve Mann, a long-time researcher of computer vision systems, (i.e. Augmented reality, Digital Eyeglass) had an incident at a McDonald's in Paris, France. He was assaulted by three men during his visit to get food with his family. They had a problem with his digital eye glasses and tried to take them off his head. 'The eyeglass is permanently attached and does not come off my skull without special tools.' The men also tore up Mann's documentation and a letter from his doctor explaining the device's use. Fortunately, the rough treatment of the device caused it to keep recent images in its memory, instead of quickly overwriting them, so Dr. Mann has pictures of the men who assaulted him."
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Man Physically Assaulted At McDonald's For Wearing Digital Eye Glasses

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  • by phloe ( 264566 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:37AM (#40670975) Homepage

    Two quotes:

    "... in order to give our children the opportunity to learn true Parisian French..."
    " wife and children and I went to McDonalds..."

    he had it coming :/

  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:37AM (#40670977)
    "Upon ordering, McDonaldâ(TM)s employees at 140, Avenue Champs Elysees, Paris accosted Mann and tried to tear the glasses out of his head"

    It does not sound like a random attack but employee action. Which brings me to think there was a prior history we were not told, for example he telling them it is a camera, them asking him to remove it, and not believing him when he refuses to switch it off or remove it. It does not excuse employee behavior if they assaulted him really, or manhandled him, but OTOH he cannot film random passerby or customer in a premise at will. And I am willing to bet that it was the bone the employee had. OTOH it could be simply dumb people doing dumb things, but I am always very very warry when somebody tell employee attacked them without reason. Random thug attack without reason. Employee not so much. (again i am not saying those reason were not valid, but that we hear only one side here).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @05:58AM (#40671123)

    Why is facebook blocking this link for being spammy? Seems really weird seeing all the other junk that is postable there.

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:06AM (#40671177) Homepage Journal

    The conclusion from the reddit thread on this incident was that the attackers were McDonalds employees, and were reacting against community oposition to a McDonalds in that location. Apparently there are issues with local people using cameras to collect evidence and the McDonalds have a hair trigger response to that activity.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:10AM (#40671207)

    I am not French, but I have lived there for 2 years. And if you lived there you would know what I mean.

    For example, I have lived in London for 1 year, and there the problem are not arabs or blacks, the violent and problematic people are skinheads and chavs. Just to prove you that I am not racist. But there in America you think that saying that is racist, but it is not, as it is nothing related to the color of the sking but the culture I guess.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:22AM (#40671265) Homepage

    Wow. Useful information. I was quite curious as to what the motivation might have been behind the behavior and I was less concerned about "who" or what "types" of who did the assault and property damage.

    And now I see what was behind it. These guys were ALL seemingly of middle-eastern origins but that's NOT the issue. I think the more important issue was that they were defending something. I find it quite likely that these men had some stake in the success of their business and felt they were defending it in some way. Ethnicity or origins are not quite relevant to the story unless you are interested in painting a picture suggesting that "X people are violent" which is true... X people are violent... hell *I* am violent... or I have been until I learned to chill a bit more. The issue is what motivates violence.

    And the motivation becomes more clear. They saw this guy as an assault on their unofficial camera ban and wanted the camera removed. Let's not go into the stpudity of trying to conceal truth as revealed by photons bouncing off of objects.

  • by tbird81 ( 946205 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:43AM (#40671441)

    Maybe he's not an elitist douchebag? (Although that crap he said about learning "Parisian French" sort of destroys that argument.)

  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @06:56AM (#40671519)

    There is definitely a huge race problem in France, largely perpetuated by the minorities themselves, but this was McDonalds employees assaulting him. They should all do jail time and McDonalds should be forced to pay him a large settlement.

    In principle, the French speak with people they don't know on the street because the French are a moderately sociable people. Anglophones are actually pathologically anti-social.

    There is however an Arabic street culture that goes way beyond simply being sociable and quickly become harassment, usually harassment of women. France has this problem worse than most European countries because they took Arabic immigrants in large groups and confined them in ghettos.

    You'll witness a tiny amount of harassment in Turkey or maybe Greece, namely the cabs obnoxiously honk at you, scary but no big deal. In Morocco, I've been followed for hours by a scary guy asking to be our guid.

    In France, these Arab guys mostly just harass women on the street. You'll never even notice them if you're male and don't leave a bar with a woman. I've occasionally witnessed French Arabs trying to pick fights with non-Arab men, but overall they're probably less violent that Brits or Americans from Boston. Bostonians and Brits are by far the most violent men I've seen anyplace.

  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:06AM (#40671579)

    Have you ever been to France? They basically confined their Arabic minorities in ghettos for a generation, which prevented those minorities from acquiring French culture and turned their native north african street-harasment-of-women culture into something really nasty. It's still less nasty than Boston or England's bar fight culture, but it's still nasty.

    I know about 10 people non-French who say they became racist by living in France. I've repeatedly explained that it really isn't race, but that does nothing once you've lived with rampant street harassment for six months.

    In fact, the French themselves largely understand this isn't a racial issue, but an accident of history. That's why they pass laws like banning headscarfs in schools to try to force the immigrants they kept apart for a generation to integrate now.

  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @07:29AM (#40671761)

    Yes, race is irrelevant here. These were McDonalds employees trying to protect their McDonalds from journalists. They should be put in prison, their McDonalds should be closed, and McDonalds should pay the guy a lot of money.

    It's true the Arabic neighborhoods are considered the most dangerous in Paris, but they aren't nearly as dangerous as an American or British city though.

    France has a reputation for "turning foreigners racist" because many North African / Arabic French harass women on the street rather nastily.

    This is really really obnoxious if you're either female or go out with women, but I've never seen a fight or stabbing in France. I feel more safe in a French ghetto than outside a bar in England or Boston.

  • Re:is it real (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LordKronos ( 470910 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @08:22AM (#40672247)

    You know, I hear this crap all the time. I spent a week in Paris and never met a single person who was anything less than polite. We even went to one small restaraunt where they didn't have any English menus, and the owner sat down at our table and went over the menu with us, translating about 30 different items into English the best he could. Time and again, we were helped by person after person who were nothing but polite. I suspect that if there is a problem, it is instigated by cocky foreigners who make no attempt to show respect and fit in. When I went, I don't speak french, but I learned 15-20 common words and phrases so that I could communicate basic needs with people who only speak french. It turned out that was almost entirely unnecessary, but I used them when I could anyway. I suspect it went a long way towards showing them some respect and that I wasn't just some cocky American there to be catered to while making jokes about the french.

  • by thereitis ( 2355426 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @09:02AM (#40672653) Journal
    I'm not condoning physical violence, but I think wearable recording devices _should_ be resisted by the general public. I would have sided with the victim except for the fact that he has presented these (crystal clear) images that he saved onto the device. His defense is that the device is for improved vision, yet improved vision does not require images to be retained. Retaining images is the part I am against. Of course, with a wearable device like that nobody can tell whether you're "saving for later" or not, so an outright ban isn't out of the question.
  • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @09:14AM (#40672753) Homepage

    Most British people understand "Asian" to mean Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi/thereabouts. We would normally refer to Chinese/Korean/Japanese/etc. as "Oriental". I appreciate that in the US "Oriental" isn't PC. That is not the case in Britain.

    I'm not sure whether the 26.1% covers both Indian and Chinese people - but realistically, the East Asian population would be a statistical blip compared to the Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi population.

    22.1% of the census population (included in that 26.1%) was "British Asian", suggesting that 4% were 1st generation immigrants.

  • by jittles ( 1613415 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @09:17AM (#40672777)
    Actually, I do love when Mexicans speak Spanish to me. I love to practice my Spanish skills. In my experience, the immigrants HATE it when I speak Spanish to them. I have literally been excluded from conversations as someone explains directions to the one English speaker in the group, and I try to have a conversation with them. They act like it is racist for me to assume that they don't speak English, and try and converse in their native tongue. So after that experience, I have asked people politely if they mind talking to me in Spanish. I've had at least a dozen of them say no, and try to talk to me in English. While I admire their desire to practice English, in those cases, it is quite sad that no matter what you do, they seem to take it the wrong way.
  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @09:22AM (#40672811)
    The things is, it was indeed a historical issue : those gettho as you call them were not really arab gettho. They were place (mostly bar buildings) with very low rent (HLM=habitation à loyer modéré=Housing with limited rent). Those became inhabited with a high proportion of north african and central african people, but there is a lot (and initally a majority) of non-african people in them. But due to the fact that most immigrant at least initally had low pay job, there was a concentration which happened. So it was NOT that arabic minority were confined intentionally, it just happened that they went to the lowest rent. Heck, my mother told me when those HLM were started , she went in with my father, arab was a minorities. When they moved onn 20 years later Arabic/central african were the majority in the particular building. But then again which gettho is initially intended ? probably not many.
  • by Phoenix666 ( 184391 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @10:00AM (#40673185)

    I agree with the other person who replied to you: it must be highly variable. I speak passable French and Parisians have always been jerks to me. On the other hand people elsewhere in France are normal. If anyone else out there has had the same experience with Paris we have and needs a rec for a place where people are friendly, I vote for Turkey. Kindest. People. On. Earth.

  • Re:is it real (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Arthur B. ( 806360 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @10:15AM (#40673339)

    Also based on my experience as a French citizen, I want to share that France is deeply culturally conservative. It is extremely frowned upon to deviate from the norm. To give you an idea, I once wore, for fun, a Fedora at my high-school in Paris. I had rocks thrown at me for that.

  • by deadweight ( 681827 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @11:26AM (#40674213)
    People in the rest of France think Parisians are a-holes too ;) On vacation trying to read a bulletin about a dive trip, I say excusez-moi to the French speaking girl in the way. She turns at me quite angry WHAT DID YOU SAY TO ME WHAT ARE YOU SAYING. My friend says "Are you from Paris" and she about loses it YOU SPY ON ME HOW YOU KNOW I LIVE PARIS
  • by wrook ( 134116 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @12:28PM (#40674927) Homepage

    I have mentioned this before, but not only is it easy to fall into a cultural ghetto, it's hard to get out. I'm also an expat in Japan. I used to hang out with other expats, but then slowly drifted over to hanging out with Japanese people. The expat community is kind of difficult sometimes because people come and go all the time. As my Japanese got better, I naturally spent more and more time with people who were going to be there for the long haul. Several people were angry with me and accused me of being a "Japan-o-phile" (wtf?) or of being someone I'm not (presumably Japanese...) When I finally got married to a Japanese woman, several of my expat "friends" dropped me for good.

    It's sounds bizarre saying it so plainly because when you live through it it's not really obvious what's going on. But communities like this are often quite hostile to the native population and get really upset if you don't agree with their stance. If you "go native", it's like you are betraying your own kind. It's completely insane, but it exists and you have to deal with it. Eventually I just walked out. I don't hang out with a single non-Japanese person on a regular basis any more. Not everybody is able to do that, and so the ghetto grows.

  • by NotSanguine ( 1917456 ) on Tuesday July 17, 2012 @01:37PM (#40675871) Journal

    I would disagree. You're citing testosterone driven, aggressive behavior which knows no geographic or ethnic bounds. Violence is the choice of idiots.

    Actually, it's "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." --Salvor Hardin

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