Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/07/10

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Subject: [Leica] OT - another horror story about photos and the Patriot Act
From: abridge at (Adam Bridge)
Date: Sat Jul 10 12:36:55 2004
References: <>

Ah the joys of adolescent angst! It's sad that he didn't seem to even
THINK about the times in which he's living. In the United States since
9/11 we're on a war footing as far as security is concerned. For most
students this isn't obvious, but to police and those required to
protect vital infrastructure, it's very real and takes a LOT of

If this student had (1) been thoughtful and (2) not waited to the last
minute he would have realized that he was photographing in what is the
equivalent of a WW II mentality with regard to sabotage.

So what's the right thing to do? Well telling people what you want to
do, introducing yourself to law enforcement, and actually asking for
permission for your project.

Case in point: I want to sit at the end of the runway at Sacramento
International Airport and take photographs down the runway (from
outside the fence of course) of the aircraft as they rotate and lift
off. You don't even have to be SMART to realize that this will attract
the attention of security personnel. A long lens looks awfully like a
weapon and I'd expect someone to be interested in what I'm doing.

Critical infrastructure is being guarded. That's real. It's a fact.
Needlessly putting yourself in a position where you are in conflict
with the local authorities can create these situations. Now I don't
know the precise location of the locks in question. BUT...if they were
connected to a passage route for nuclear material from say the
shipyard at Bremerton to Hanford or were involved in the route for the
shipment of other sensitive materials, then I'd assume that local law
enforcement would be edgy, especially around the time of transport.

There are not many photographers on this list who were practicing
during WW II. I wonder what responses the taking of photos with a
tripod would have elicited from them? Probably not too friendly.

The same photographer would have had just as nasty a reception if he
had been taking photos inside a rock concert venue. Try it and see.

I am not saying that law enforcement is not over-reacting. I believe
they are. But they are being told by the Dept of Homeland Security (a
title that belongs more to Nazi Germany than anything American, in my
opinion) that we're in a state of war and they have to protect our
infrastructure from terrorists. That's why a little thoughtfulness,
and a little less concern about issues of control, would do a lot.

Adam Bridge

On Sat, 10 Jul 2004 14:11:34 -0500 (GMT-05:00), Frank Farmer
<> wrote:
> See Ian Spiers' account of his interation with several local and federal 
> law enforcement
> agents while trying to complete his 'motion' assignment for his 
> photography class.  Scary
> disgusting.

Replies: Reply from philippe.orlent at (Philippe Orlent) ([Leica] OT - another horror story about photos and the Patriot Act)
Reply from timatherton at (Tim Atherton) ([Leica] OT - another horror story about photos and the Patriot Act)
In reply to: Message from frankandaubrey at (Frank Farmer) ([Leica] OT - another horror story about photos and the Patriot Act)