Given the length of this one I am going to bury this under a “read more” link
Some of you are familiar with my photography habit and some of you are not, but this kind of blind “anti-terrorism” should seethe anyone.
A short anecdote”
I spent about 18 months terrorizing Eugene with my camera, sometimes with Jen sometimes with Elizabeth sometimes with both but never alone. I figured that no one would hassle a family guy. I was never hassled. Once an overweight woman put an end to my photography of a fun kickball game by making the participants stop when she saw me taking photos. Fair enough, she got her photograph on the web and I called attention t her “photo-blocking”
But I’ve never been stopped by someone in any kind of official capacity (even when I took photos of a crash scene).
Well last week here in Los Angeles, I was waiting to board the redline (subway) and snapped a picture with my cell phone camera. Not the best picture in the world, but I was just putzing around, waiting for the train, holding a quizno’s to-go bag. Almost immediately, a vest wearing man with METRO emblazoned on his back who had been mopping the area nearby rushed up to me and the exchange went something like this:
Him: Hey! It’s against the 9-11 Law to take pictures down hear man!
Me: You mean the Patriot Act?
Him: No pictures.
Me: Could you explain? What law do you mean?
Him: You are lawyer?
Him: No pictures. You could be a terrorist. Very strict!
Me: How about I take a picture of you?
Him: F**k you…(I couldn’t believe it either)
He then proceeded to huddle in the corner and speak into his radio. Next thing I knew, a booming female voice very loudly announced over the loudspeaker “Attention to the gentleman in the plaid shirt: You are not allowed to take photographs in the Subway. You will be arrested if you continue to take photos and harrass the metro worker.”
I was incensed/surprised/embarrassed/horrified/bewildered. People started staring.
Then the voice continued: “The gentleman in the plaid shirt: You must approach the callbox near the escalators and speak to the sheriff.” I didn’t budge. So she said it again, this time louder…
“Okay” I thought, I’ll play along…I went up to the callbox and pushed the button. A new voice this time, this one male, boomed out and said, “Why are you taking photographs sir?”
Me: “What law am I breaking?”
Voice: “You can’t take pictures sir, we don’t know why you are taking pictures.”
Me: “Well what about the commercials I’ve seen filming down here?”
Voice:” They have permits sir”
Me: “Well maybe I should get a permit, but I really don’t think I need one for taking a cell phone picture…”
Voice (now mockingly): Well maybe you should go and get a permit sir.”
Me: “What law am I breaking, why can’t you tell me? It’s is NOT illegal to take a picture down here.”
Voice: “It is in this station.” Then silence. He hung up.