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Archive 2012 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...
  
 
RustyBug
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


Yes, I thought @ Kent in SD ... but since he lights them at night, he is typically at a distance that is off RR property (hypothesis). I have been meaning to contact him to see if he has any insight / contacts / recommendations in dealing with the RR photographically.

According to the Sheriff dept. Captain ... the number of train incidents in our county has risen in the last couple years ... so they may have a heightened sensitivity to the issue. Of course, this still doesn't have anything to do with "terrorism" and the officer went down the wrong path with the "terrorist" speak ... but sometimes we resort to "wrong" tactics (still needs to be corrected) for the "right" reason.

My scenario was very different from a safety standpoint ... IT WAS DANGEROUS ... no two ways about it. I was operating within a 2 second margin of losing my gear. Had I slipped in the process of retrieving it, death & dismemberment would have been very real possibilties ... no hype, no drama, reality check ... my gear was ON THE TRACKS where I had set up for the shot. (See WA for details.)
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1093796

Personally, I hope I never have a train accident/incident ... 'cause my wife will "shoot me dead" for being such a "DUMB*SS". Of course, then it won't matter what database or list I'm on, except for the obit's. So ... I don't mind too much @ the officer trying to "get in my head" (given the circumstances) ... it was the whole "MUST PUT YOU ON THE TERRORIST WATCH LIST" that rattled my cage ... and yes, I "pushed" back ... albeit miniscule in the grand magnitude our post 9-11 world. The "DSP" STIC is still gonna be there.

Personally, I'm inclined to think that many (not all) of the issues we have with LEO are usually rooted in the politicians that write the laws (ambiguous / conflicting / frivolous / etc.) that LEO are to uphold. EiIther poor laws, or poorly written laws ... both can cause more problems than need be. That's not to say that 100% of LEO is perfect ... but until you put that vest (not the one with all your lenses in it) on as a way of life ... jus' sayin' ... a little lattitude & consideration isn't the end of the world.

As to the trespassing laws @ RR property ... they are there for VERY, VERY GOOD REASONS !!!







Mar 13, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Bearmann
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


Nice photo, Rustybug!

I'd say it was worth it



Mar 13, 2012 at 10:04 PM
RustyBug
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


Thanks. It needs much better processing, but I've been a little pre-occupied to put a good effort toward it just yet. I just thought it would help give some perspective to the issues involved.


Mar 13, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Ruahrc
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


RustyBug wrote:
not quite correct ... he may have "mislead" me to THINK he is putting me on a list of potential terrorists.

He has the ability to put people on a "suspicious persons" (i.e. NOT TERRORIST) list in Illinois. I get that nobody likes what the officer said, and he was clearly wrong in what he said (or I heard him to say) ... but, if we are going to expect LEO to be fair with us, we should likewise be fair with our LEO.


This "STIC" list sounds like "well those hotshot feds can have a secret list, I want to have one too!" mentality. There seems absolutely no basis or criteria for being added to the list. I could be added for picking my nose, because there could be a bomb up there.

To be honest, the LEO in question went around and intimidated civilians whilst quoting nonexistent and totally falsified law. Probably still does. He did not mis-speak about the requirement that he has to report you, he told you that you had to stay 550 ft from the tracks due to some completely arbitrary and nonexistent law he made up on the spot (post-911 TSA security law) and then threatened to report you as a "terrorist" in order to secure your compliance. How can that kind of behavior be allowed?

I do want to treat LEO fairly, and think that the majority of them do act with honesty and integrity. But when they have the ability to enforce behavior under the rule of law, I think it only fair that they at least be able to a) cite laws that actually exist, and b) cite them correctly, when forcing me to act in accordance with said laws. Is that really too much to ask?

And honestly, I interpret your discussion with the police captain as being told "you caught us red-handed (with regards to the STIC) because one of our officers screwed up, so we'll let you off the hook..... this time".

If the officer was truly concerned about your safety on the tracks, he could/should have just said so. Even cited clear existing regulations regarding trespassing on railroad property. That he opened up with terrorist threats seems like his concern was elsewhere. And that he got lucky with his justification when a train happened to come by.

I think the ACLU would love to know about the existence of this "STIC" list.

Norman



Mar 14, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Micky Bill
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


STIC type lists are nothing new, in the 40s-70s the Michigan State Police had a red squad to sniff out commies, and other "suspicious characters"...a thing with modern STIC lists is that it's not like the old days where each department had a file cabinet with their own local potential terrorists, commies, socialists, neo-nazi biker gangs, outside agitators, militia groups, peaceniks, unabombers, etc. Maybe the lists overlapped with nearby counties or adjacent states. Today the databases are accessible by different departments at all levels and added to other lists. How else do you think the terror watch list got to be over 1,000,000?

Maybe Rusty Bugs trespassing in Mt. Vernon, will get him the SSSS on his boarding pass for the next year or two. Won;t know until it happens....or not



Mar 14, 2012 at 10:19 PM
RustyBug
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


Ruahrc wrote:
If the officer was truly concerned about your safety on the tracks, he could/should have just said so. Even cited clear existing regulations regarding trespassing on railroad property. That he opened up with terrorist threats seems like his concern was elsewhere.
Norman


The officer did NOT "open up" with terrorist. Our initial dialoge was RR property & safety ...the rest was at the end as an "add-on". I did try to flush him out @ 550 ... challenging @ people taking pics of airplanes @ airports, etc. I figured the 550 had been arbitrary, but since laws do change from time to time ... I didn't want to challenge/argue with him too much, since I knew I did NOT know anything @ 550.

I tried to "call his bluff", but he "checked down". It just happened to be that it was the end of my light anyway (EV 10-ish), so I had nothing to gain/lose at that moment in time ... i.e. pick your battles ... or at least pick the right time / place for fighting them.

All in all, I feel pretty good @ the outcome & what I've learned via TSA / FBI / HS relative to the issue, including STIC.


+1 @ "time will tell" ... but, I'm fairly confident that this one has "blown over" and a few people have learned something along the way. I'm good with having the ability to "push back" and be vindicated through correction. Philosophically, I don't always expect 100% perfection (utopian fantasy), but I do expect proper correction ... I think "correction" has occurred.



Mar 15, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Csae
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


RustyBug wrote:
So far ... I've talked with "first observer" org, TSA & FBI ... none of which have heard of such a thing. Waiting on a callback from Homeland Security.

The FBI agent commented "If everyone that took a picture of the railroad tracks were placed on the watch list, it would be a pretty useless thing."

Hopefully I can get a callback this morning from Homeland Security before I get over to the Sheriff's Office to address this with them.


Rusty, you're asking too many questions.

That'll get you on their list for sure



Mar 16, 2012 at 02:18 PM
RustyBug
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


Yeah ... I should just put more effort in building my invisibility molecular cloaking device. I'll let you know when I get it finished.


Mar 16, 2012 at 03:29 PM
cineski
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


The government will probably have a ban in place for those for civilian use!


Mar 16, 2012 at 06:03 PM
fastw
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


As I said before (and been deleted), talk to your senator about stopping sending money and weapons to Israel. That's a start. Now delete it again.

WK.



Mar 18, 2012 at 04:01 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



alohadave
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


fastw wrote:
As I said before (and been deleted), talk to your senator about stopping sending money and weapons to Israel. That's a start. Now delete it again.

WK.


That's not called for, and not really appropriate.



Mar 18, 2012 at 04:54 AM
Doug C
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


I say send MORE weapons to Israel. They don't mess around like we do.


Mar 18, 2012 at 08:12 AM
fastw
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


Guys, learn about the world and you won't be asking such questions.

You don't want terrorism, don't mess with other countries, that's the only way they can fight back.



Mar 18, 2012 at 09:23 AM
garydavidjones
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


Bravo!


Mar 18, 2012 at 09:37 AM
RustyBug
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


At the risk of turning the thread into something it should not be ... but being the OP ... my commentary goes like this (Fred, stand by with the "lock" button if this thing derails into political rhetoric ... which this isn't the place for) that I'll try to frame in the context of photography:

Cause & effect are in play ... and without belaboring that which the world already knows @ 9-11 etc. There is an aspect of it that is "plant the seed, let it grow" as it pertains to our own "self-inflicting" fear generation.

We teach our kids to be aware of the dangers of a "hot stove" or "strangers" or a myriad of other things that can be hazardous. Sometimes people use logical, rationale & objective methods vonveying the significance of the hazard. Other times people use irrationale methods in an attempt to convey the same. Some people respond well to rational/objective ... others aren't able to "connect the dots" and things get "tweaked" by well-intending persons, so they "get it".

This was definitely a scenario where some "tweaking" had been done ... and I respond much better to rational & objective than "tweaking". I'm still not condoning the wrong that was undertaken by the "tweaking". But, we must not let our irrational fears be preyed upon by the irrational attempts to inflict, or perpetually self-inflict from the seeds that were planted by the actual deeds of terrorism. The ripple effect of self-inflicting, fear generation can be likewise crippling mentally rather than physically by actual deeds.

I came to FM'ers with this because I knew that I had gotten my head a little loosened by this ... and that FM'ers as a group are typically rational minded persons rooted in objectivity (highly opinionated at times ) that would be able to help me tighten things up a bit. In that manner, if we are to continue to "do our thing" in a post 9-11, cyber fearing world that is paranoid of photographers ... WE have to keep our heads on straight, lest we "self-inflict" and/or "perpetuate" the justification of those irrational fears that the world has regarding us.

This has been a VERY ENLIGHTENING experience for me, and I hope that I have shared some things that others can benefit from. I'm not advocating a bashing of our LEO, nor am I advocating a "roll over & die" ... but I am advocating the plight for remaining rooted in objectivity as a bulwark against the advancement of irrational fears against photographers that sadly exists more than should ever be.

As a discussion at what we can do as photographers (practical) to contend with these issues is one thing ... but, there is a bit of a line where we depart into political rhetoric rather than a practical and pragmatic photographic realm @ dealing with the world in which we live and photograph. Anyway, I hope this thread has helped others, as much as it has helped me.

Thanks again, to all ... and thanks Fred for FM.

FM ROCKS !!!



Mar 18, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Two23
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


colinm wrote:
Call your local ACLU office. They should know what, if anything, actually applies in your particular situation.



ACLU won't do jack unless you're a pedophile. Claim you're a pedophile who was down by the tracks trolling for 10 yr. old boys and the ACLU will be falling all over themselves helping you. I'm a hard core railfan, and take choo-choo photos virtually evey day. I've had a few run ins, nothing recent. The most serious was a rent-a-cop who waved an automatic rifle at me and began screaming. I simply called the sherrif, who set him straight. I stand my ground when I'm challenged, if I'm on public property anyway. You were right to call the sherrif's office and tell them your story. As for being on railroad property, very slim chance you'll get official permission to be on it. The train you photo'd was a Norfolk Southern, and they in particular seem to be very vigilant about trespassers. Be VERY careful on train tracks. The new trains and welded rails are very quiet and trains are on top of you before you know it. There are some "watch lists", and I heard the director of the FBI talk about them on NPR one day. He said the problem is it's being flooded by this kind of spurious crap and is rapidly becomming not very useful because of it. Micheal Chertoff, the homeland security director under President Bush did pass word down to stop hassling people who are just taking photos and concentrate only on serious threats, but the current director Janet Napolitano has reversed this and is on record saying photographers can be suspicious.
http://nppa.org/news_and_events/news/2010/09/poster.html


Kent in SD



Mar 19, 2012 at 02:37 AM
RustyBug
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


Hey Kent,

Good to hear from you on this. I knew you'd appreciate the nuances of it.

Thanks for the input @ how quiet the trains are. The ones coming from the opposite direction that I was shooting were virtually silent until they rounded the bend, leaving me with about 10 seconds warning. DANG !!! it was so weird being "snuck up on" by a locomotive ... who'da thunk it ... but you are very correct. The hazards are incredibly real. I faced the "short side" and watched for "my shot" in the rear view mirror.

The FBI gave me some insight to what I might try to gain some permission to be on railroad property, but it is mostly a stab in the dark. The FBI agent was telling me the difficulty even they have whenever they travel by rail ... service weapons / always on duty / etc.




Mar 19, 2012 at 03:51 AM
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


Hi I'm new to this forum but felt I had to add to this.

We photgraphers have got to stand up to the increasing paranoia surrounding our innocent past time. It's crazy and the authorities should have more important things to do than harrassing us! here's my experience -

I live in the UK and enjoy taking pictures in the city where I work during my lunch break. Mostly it's "street photography" that I get up to.

Recently after a 5 am start at work I took a picture in a busy public shopping street of a woman walking away down the street. Immediately afterwards I was physically stopped by 2 plain clothed "community support officers" who accused me of being a pervert. These officers are not fully trained police but low paid support staff with no power of arrest. They are supposed to wear uniform and be a "reassuring pressence" to the public.

They stopped the woman who until then did not know I had photographed her.

She proceeded to call me a f******ing pervert in a loud voice. I offered to show the pics on my digital camera to reassure everyone in what was a situation getting out of control. Instead of letting me do this an officer forcefully grabbed my arm and held it straight up in the air. I have a bad back and this was very uncomfortable. He refused to let me go for around ten minutes. Several store detectives had by now arrived on the scene and surrounded us and the woman. Members of th public were staring at what they thought was a "pervert" who had been caught.

I was held like this feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable for 10 to 15 minutes until a "real" police officer arrived. He told me he was about to arrest me for "acting in public in a way that is likely to cause offence". Only after he looked at pictures on my camera that included shots of me hill walking with my wife and daughter, landscapes and other street pics I had taken earlier did he let me go. No real apology and they would not let me explain to the lady that nothing dodgy had taken place because she was "too angry".

In the 2 frames I took you can see the plain clothed officers moving in to stop me. They had obviously been following me for simply taking pictures in a public place.

They made me give them my name and address, place of birth etc.

The only people who broke UK law were the police. I've been advised by the legal director of a large organisation that I could take action for unlawful detention and assault and win damages.

We photographers need to put pressure on the authorities to train their staff to understand the law they are meant to uphold.

They have better things to do than waste their time harrassing photographers.




Mar 19, 2012 at 09:35 AM
RustyBug
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


Sorry to hear @ such an ordeal.

Despite my multiple encounters with inquiries, I've never experienced anyone getting physical with me like that.

I think your story illustrates the fact that the issue is incredibaly beyond the LEO and infested into the minds of people everywhere to a varying degree. The issue pales in contrast to the "Witch Hunts" or "McCarthy" era's ... but the point here is that people (way more than just LEO) have developed an irrational fear, which is perpetuating the actions of LEO and people in general with such erroneous attitudes about who we are and what we are up to.

There was a day when people looked at my photographic endeavors with curiosity and respect. These days ... suspicion of criminal, terroristic or perversion are more prevalently formed in their minds than one of artistry or historical perspectives.

I'm glad to hear that your LEO did (finally) come to realize your benign activity. For the rest, I'm saddened by it. I must admit, I have essentially abandoned such street photography due to the public's paranoia and the subesequent fallout. I'm always a bit amazed by others who succeed at street photography. A "run in" with a locomotive may ruin my gear, injur or even kill me, but it never attacks my character nor casts my craft into such negative light as criminal, terroristic or perverse ... only people do that.

Sadly, the combination of the internet horror stories and the post 9-11 era fears that have been exacerbated by so many other perpetuating such myths @ the potential hazard to society we impose are a reality that we live among an irrational society. I would love to change that irrational fear into one of curiosity and respect again, but I don't anticipate that ever being restored anytime soon. Of course, the likes of the campaign poster (Kent's link) contribute to fostering the irrational fears of others.

I don't have an answer @ how to change the hearts & minds @ others away from their irrational fear of our endeavors. Such is beyond my control, recognizing that I still must contend with (not condone or accept as proper) it as part of the world. I'd love to be able to "change the world" for myself and for all of us, but until that happens, I'd like to hear @ strategies for contending with it.

My dialogue with the FBI was suggestive that I place a placard in my truck, and or wear some form of identifying clothing @ photography. The agent's experience was that when LEO and (people in general) see something else that is "suggestive" of propriety, it helps keep their 'creative minds' and irrational fears from connecting with each other.

I'm not overly enthused at the prospect of "advertising" my photography with "steal me stickers" ... but, I do understand what the agent was referring to from a psychological basis @ others. Of course, a rational mind already knows that a "bad guy" can put up a sign or wear photographic clothing just as easily as a "good guy" can. However, it isn't the logic and rationality involved @ being able to deduce which one is more likely to be using such tactics.

Logical deduction requires rationality, and irrational fears do not afford such deduction. I guess that's why "bad guy" disguises work, they provide a seemingly logical explanation for a person's whereabouts, activities and endeavors. This in turn mitigates or retards the onset of (rational) fear. Similarly, the strategy to provide a logical explanation to the mindset of others, BEFORE their minds connect between the dots from creative to irrational would be a preemptive one.

The notion of needing to "identify myself" (as if a "bad guy" could never present himself the same way) goes against my sense of objectivity ... but the irrationality of the public does not carry the same sense of objectivity that we do.

Anyway, some of our world has come to a place where irrational fear is part of it. I try to remain objective at the world around me (recognizing its irrationalities) without becoming irrational in reciprocity @ LEO, public, politicians, etc. Some days that's a bit easier said than done.



Mar 19, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Gehjl
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · Anti-Terrorist Watch List ...


That's a crazy store Pilspics and that's one of the reasons I rarely try street photography. I would only try it if I was using a 135mm or my 400mm lol. But the way they handled it was definitely uncalled for. I'm not sure how the laws in the UK are, but I would look into what you can do about it.

I'm glad you got this sorted out Kent, sounds like it was a real hassle, but at least you know your name is in the clear. I haven't gotten any real hassle from any LEOs yet and I was taking pictures of airliners landing with my 400mm while standing next to a railroad. Even had a sherrif drive by without even stopping. Sometimes I really think they have nothing better to do and decide to find the smallest possible issue and stop.



Mar 19, 2012 at 02:01 PM
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