As civil libertarians, we sometimes like to have our cake and eat it too.

We want to be able to photograph in public without getting harassed, yet we get irritated and scream Big Brother when the State photographs or films us.

But sometimes those cameras serve justice, as in the case of the Broward County teens beating a homeless man to death with baseball bats in 2006.

Unknowing to them at the time, their barbaric actions were caught on video, enabling police to identify and arrest them.

Last week, two of the teens, Thomas Daugherty and Brian Hooks, now 19 and 21, were convicted of second-degree murder and will serve at least 40 years in prison.

But what would have become of this case had it not been for the security camera that caught the teens savagely beating Norris Gaynor to death?

The video was instantly viewed throughout the world on the Internet as well as various news stations. And it generated more than 100 tips in a couple days that eventually lead to the arrest of the teens.

Without the video, the incident would most likely have ended up as another unsolved murder of another homeless person; an ugly trend that is becoming an epidemic throughout the country, especially Florida.

In 2007, there was 142 unprovoked attacks on homeless people throughout the country, including 32 in Florida, according to the New York Times. In most of those cases, the incident was not caught on video and the suspects have not been arrested.

Without the video, Daugherty and Hooks, two middle-class white teens at the time of the attacks, would have probably kept their violent secret to themselves.

Perhaps they would have eventually joined the ranks of the professional class or even joined the police academy, which would not be the first time a sociopathic bully was drawn to law enforcement.

And perhaps they would have eventually married and started families, their sociopathic rage simmering beneath the surface.

As police officers, how long would it have taken them to unleash their rage on a suspect a la Rodney King?

And as a husband and father, how long would it have taken them to unleash their rage on their own family?

It’s difficult to speculate how they would have turned out when we don’t know them personally, but it’s not too hard to imagine after seeing the video.