9/11 Freedom Photography – Part 2 of 5

by Jim on 2011/09/24

[It’s a beautiful morning; Jimbaux thinks he’ll go outside for awhile, with a smile.]

Welcome to Part 2 of 5 of Jimbaux’s 9/11 photo project.  In case you don’t know about it, this project was inspired by the assaults on civil liberties that have happened in the wake of 9/11, particularly inspired by the deprivation of Constitutional rights and the bullying that Jimbaux received at the hands of the New Orleans Police Department in 2008, which, as others have noted, is not an isolated incident.

Previously, On Jimbaux’s Journal

At the end of Part 1, Jimbaux had been stopped by Amtrak police, federal law enforcement agents, outside the depot in Slidell, Louisiana, after he was legally, harmlessly, and safely taking pictures of the northbound Crescent from public property.  After an encounter that did not remotely display any unprofessionalism, Special Agent Bell returned to his vehicle and let Jimbaux on his merry way, at which point Jimbaux decided to return the professionalism by letting Bell know that he’d be at Broad Street (the scene of the April 2008 incident with the NOPD) later that afternoon, so that if he got a call about someone taking pictures, he could expect that it was I.

As was written at the end of Part 1, this triggered a memory in Agent Bell’s mind.  We discussed the 2008 incident for a good 15 minutes.  I was now starting to remember him that day and his role, how he had briefly arrived on the scene, sent one of his agents to talk more to me, and left the scene.  I also remember that he seemed to totally understand the harmless nature of what I was doing there.  I wrote last time that his use of the word “rescued” somewhat bothered me; I didn’t quite know right away what he meant by that.

As it eventuated, Agent Bell not only thought that the undercover NOPD officers who harassed me were way out-of-line, but he also thought that had he not intervened, a worse fate, like being taken to jail and having my photography equipment and my pictures confiscated, would have befallen me!

He mentioned the “JTT” plenty in his discussions.  He and some members of the NOPD are members of the Joint Terrorism Taskforce, as I understood it, and that’s why he was called on the scene that day after the NOPD detained me.

Racial Profiling Indeed

Remember how in the story in which I first wrote about this that I mentioned that a black friend from New Orleans with a background in law enforcement told me that had it been he who was on that bridge that the (white) undercover NOPD officers probably wouldn’t have messed with him?  Well, as it eventuated, he may have been more right than I realized!  Agent Bell said that the NOPD officers thought to themselves “What’s this white guy doing standing on this bridge with a camera?”

Maybe, He’s Taking Pictures!

The lack of imagination – and, therefore, the presumption of guilt and of nefarious motives –  that maybe this is merely a case of “it is what it is” isn’t unique to these officers.  See what a “Jason” posted in the comments section of this article in July.

So, yes, I was probably racially profiled, and as I wrote a few weeks ago, especially after talking to some black colleagues about this, I do now have a new appreciation for the whole “driving while black” phenomenon, how black people essentially go their whole lives as being suspects, which makes it unsurprising that many of them don’t trust law enforcement and don’t generally trust authority.

Soviet Union

Agent Bell laughed at my story about the Soviet Army buttons and agreed that there was indeed a good chance the undercover NOPD officer did not even know what the Soviet Union was.  I don’t think that I’m betraying Agent Bell by publicizing any of this; nobody at Amtrak should criticize him for saying any of this.  It’s the truth!  We are a people so scared of the truth that we’ve been incentivized en masse to lie to each other.  The New Orleans Police Department is known for corruption and denial of rights of people, but until it happened to me – and from what Agent Bell told me, had he not intervened, it would have been worse for me – it was a distant issue to me.

The Existence Of Other Railroad Enthusiast Photographers Does Not Validate Me (Nor You)

S. A. Bell told me that one of the things he told the NOPD officers is that, even though they did not seem to realize it or understand it, what I was doing on top of that bridge, and the love of trains and photography that inspired it, was actually a fairly common thing across the United States and Canada.  Bell is a railroad special agent, meaning that he’s probably accustomed to foamers, unlike the NOPD guys.  It’s actually for this reason that I, like many other foamers, carry with me in my vehicle evidence of railroad enthusiasm beyond myself as well as evidence that I have had my work published (usually, the Kansas City Southern Railway’s company calendar.)

I know that Agent Bell had good intentions when he told that to the NOPD officers, and I am grateful to him for that, but there actually is a problem that I have with it.  The fact that other people take pictures of trains really should not matter.  That fact (like the fact that someone might do it for ill purposes, and the fact that these NOPD officers could not imagine a non-nefarious reason for taking pictures) has nothing to do with me taking pictures of trains.  I could be the first foamer on Earth, and I have a right to be up there taking those pictures.  Even if nobody else does it, it’s safe, legal, and harmless.  I don’t watch, chase, and photograph trains because other people do it too; I watch, chase, and photograph trains because I like to do that.  I’ve liked trains as long as I could remember, and it wasn’t until I was transitioning into adulthood (if I ever even did that at all) that I met other people who liked trains too.

I know that many of you who are reading this are railroad enthusiasts yourselves.  The fact that you like trains too does not validate my activity any more than my liking of trains validates yours.

I Love John Adams

I’ve gained a new respect for the true patriot who was the Founding Father, John Adams.  Two decades before he was President of the United States, John Adams was a Massachusetts attorney who took up the unpopular task of defending the British soldiers who were put on trial for their role in the Boston Massacre.  Unfortunately, this great heroism didn’t stop him from putting his signature on the very unconstitutional Alien & Sedition Acts later on, acts of which Magnolia wrote in her comment on my article on my harassment at the hands of the NOPD.

Anyway, Adams’s actions were very patriotic.  It doesn’t matter if it had been Mohammed Atta standing atop that bridge taking pictures.  Plotting a terrorist attack and executing a terrorist attack are both crimes, but I was doing neither of those that day (nor any day.)  Thanks, Mr. Adams.

After about 15 more minutes of bantering, Agent Bell finally bid me farewell a second time, and both of us departed the parking lot of the Slidell depot.

Starbucks?

That 20-minute diversion with the Amtrak special agents caused me to forget that I had planned the unpleasant task of returning to the Starbucks by the track in Slidell, meaning that I will have to face that some other time.  Stopping there was a tradition of mine when chasing the Crescent to Slidell, something I did this morning for the first time since May 2010.

By the time I remembered that I had planned to go to that Starbucks (for the first time since July 2010), I was already several blocks south of the depot, right as Agent Bell and his companion were turning into a convenience store parking lot, presumably to get fuel for their truck, but I didn’t stick around to find out.  My momentum was already moving me southward; an object in motion should stay in motion, and I allowed this object to stay in motion.  As it eventuated, this was a very good decision, for if I had gone to the Starbucks, I’d have likely missed the subject of most of the photos today in part 2.

Barge Time!

As I drove south on the US 11 Bridge, something that I last did in late July 2010 in a very different frame of mind, I saw something that I had never seen in any of my times of driving across this bridge.

Well, check that out!  Apparently, there’s some barge coming, and I am first in line to see it!

Remember that caption information for any picture is found in the filename, which can be read by placing your mouse over the picture.

New And Old

In the background of the below picture, the new, post-Katrina, elevated spans of the I-10 bridges over Lake Ponchartrain can be seen, as well as parts of the old bridge that still remain.

I was actually hesitant to get out and take these pictures because I feared unwanted attention, but then I realized why I got out this far this morning at all to take pictures, and I did my patriotic duty, got out of my truck, and took these pictures at risk of harassment.

Afterall, I had already had an encounter with police a few minutes before for photographing a different mode of transportation, and I’m not a seasoned barge photographer.  Contrary to what some “Todd” wrote in the comments section of the last post, I wasn’t seeking a confrontation.

Alas, not only was I not seeking a confrontation for taking these photos, but I didn’t get one either.  I hope that you are enjoying these pictures taken of transportation things on September 11, pictures I would not have taken had I been scared (for good reason) of harassment, bullying, and deprivation of rights.

Other cars arrived behind me as we were stopped on this bridge with nowhere to go as the drawbridge was still opened.

I think that I made the most of my time being stuck on that bridge, don’t you?

On this day, I’d climb five different overpasses in the city of New Orleans to take pictures (you’ve only seen one so far) of trains, and here I was taking pictures of barge action on the lake from the US 11 bridge.

Seen below is the Norfolk Southern bridge, where Hurricane Katrina washed the track away in 2005.

Let’s have one more view of the barge before we get back in the truck now that the bridge is closing, this shot with a very low aspect ratio.

Well, did you enjoy that pleasant little diversion?  I enjoyed taking the pictures!

Danziger Bridge

Back in the city of New Orleans, here’s a shot from the front seat as we are about to cross the US 90 bridge over the Industrial Canal.

Bridges are cool, aren’t they?  I think so.

Back To The Track And The Trains, Ya Hurd May?

I really wanted to get a shot of an eastbound train on the CSX at Alvar Street, but the railroads weren’t cooperating.  So, the first thing that I could get was a shot of this NS yard job shoving into NS Oliver Yard from the north.

You see Oliver Tower in the background?

Bayou Saint John

Now it’s time to head east to see what’s happening on the NS Back Belt; not much, except something else to which I should have given more attention than the attention I gave to trains:

Yeah, there are two trains parked on the Back Belt in this picture.

Terminal Junction

Somehow, the QLINSB (a Union Pacific train from Livonia, La., to the NS with a Birmingham block, hence the “B” suffix) arrived at Terminal Junction where a yard crew was grabbing a cut from the Freight Lead next to it.

I can’t remember if the van in the below picture was pulling the UP crew off or bringing the NS 314 crew, but it’s probably the latter, as that crew was on this train soon enough.

You can see the track arrangement for Terminal Junction in the above picture.  The track at right is the “horn” leading past Oliver Junction to the NO&NE (New Orleans & Northeastern) mainline out of town.  The track at left is the “horn” track leading to the yard from the Back Belt.  The track at the far right in the distance is the Southbound Mainline of the NS Back Belt.  The 314 (previously, the QLINSB) is on the Northbound Mainline of the NS Back Belt, which ends at this location, the 7.6.  The yard job is on the Freight Lead track.

CSX On The NS Back Belt

We will end Part 2 with a shot of the CSX transfer to CN on its way back to the CSX on NS trackage at the London Avenue Canal.

This train was stopped because the QLINSB was still ahead of him, blocking his path to CSX trackage.  I had never shot in the above location until this day.

That’s enough pictures for this post.

Thanks

I’m eager to get this 9/11 project done, and I want to thank those of you who have read and participated.  I wrote a few days ago about site statistics and traffic.  Since then, we’ve set new traffic records, with one day of more than 800 page impressions and another day of more than 700; we’ve had 2,200 page impressions since Tuesday, meaning that we are, as I type this, 50 page impressions shy of setting a new monthly record, meaning that by the time all but a handful of you read this we’ll have set a new monthly record with almost a whole week left of September.  It also means that at this rate, with four more 9/11 posts (including this one) to go, we might even surpass the 10,000 impression mark for one month!  This, like I said, probably won’t last, because I plan on decreasing the amount of time I spend on the site once the 9/11 project is done.

Until this project gets done, my e-mail backlog may get ever bigger than it already is for you readers who have written to me about the site.  I don’t want to discourage anyone from writing, but it may be October before I can reply to anything!

Until next time, and until I can address my e-mail backlog, think about what S. A. Bell told me, how had he not intervened, there was a good chance I’d have been hauled off to jail and had my stuff confiscated by the NOPD; think about what it means for you and the people you know and love.

Thanks for helping make Jimbaux’s Journal a success.

Merci,

Jimbaux

{ 15 comments }

1 Bill Cummings September 25, 2011 at 11:04

Hey Jim! (Just to play the Devil’s Advocate) I looked, but didn’t see taking pictures as a constitutionally protected right. Under the general theory of law, you have a right to do anything that is legal. Next time you come to Savannah, stand at the west end of Eisenhower Drive and take pictures of the aircraft coming and going at Hunter Army Airfield. See how long it takes before the MPs slap you in the glasshouse.

In addition, you were standing on a bridge. I don’t know about that particular bridge, but for the majority of bridges it is unlawful to stop or stand on the bridge. Many bridges allow pedestrians, but many prohibit them. And, as an experienced foamer, you are well aware that stepping onto a railway right-of-way constitutes trespassing. Allowed at designated areas for all, but prohibited without permission elsewhere. And, for the protection of over-zealous law enforcement agents, better to get the permission in writing. Heck, if you ask nicely they might even issue you a photo-ID card!

Now, I am quite familiar with NOLA “Law” enforcement and its reputation. But just because your buddy says he would not have been questioned doesn’t make his statement true, nor is it evidence of racial profiling. I mean, after all, who ever heard of a NOLA cop stopping a Black man for no reason!?! Do you think it totally impossible that they were just doing their job? Checking out suspicious activity? I know, not a common thing for NO, but isn’t it possible?

2 EDITOR - Jimbaux September 25, 2011 at 11:43

Hey there, Bison Bill! Thanks for checking in here this morning.
As I’ve written before, pedestrians are allowed on this particular bridge. Furthermore, in the hour-and-15-minutes of police questioning-harassment-interrogation-bullying, the legality of a pedestrian being on the bridge was never a subject of anything told to me.

Yes, of course stepping onto a railroad right-of-way is trespassing. That’s not an issue here.

Getting permission in writing and getting a photo ID card? Don’t you get the point I was trying to make that the existence of other railroad enthusiasts photographers doesn’t validate my actions? If I get a photo-ID-card or permission in writing, I’m doing a disservice to everyone else, because now someone else will get hassled and hounded because he does not have such and ID card.

As it happened, and this right here right now is the first time I’ve publicly stated this, but I was actually at the KCS yard the night before the big incident, and I had permission from the person in charge of the KCS business train to be there, taking my night photos, especially after I had already had KCS purchase some of my pictures. Why don’t I mention this now? Why didn’t I mention this to the police then? Because it doesn’t matter! That stuff doesn’t validate my presence on that bridge!

Much similarly, I have a friend who is in management at one of the “Big 7” Railroads. One day on his off time, he was out taking pictures on his own railroad when he was accosted and harassed by an overzealous crew-hauler. The crew-hauler had spent several minutes threatening and questioning my friend by the time he asked my friend what he did for a living. When the crew-hauler got the answer that he received, his demeanor completely changed. My friend had been waiting for him to ask, “well, why didn’t you tell me that?” The answer, as I’ve said above, is that it should not matter. He wasn’t there because he was working for that railroad; he was doing that because he liked trains, something he’s liked long before he actually worked for a railroad.

As for racial profiling, remember that Agent Bell himself said that I was racially profiled.

3 Auggie September 25, 2011 at 17:36

“Much similarly, I have a friend who is in management at one of the “Big 7″ Railroads. One day on his off time, he was out taking pictures on his own railroad when he was accosted and harassed by an overzealous crew-hauler. The crew-hauler had spent several minutes threatening and questioning my friend by the time he asked my friend what he did for a living. When the crew-hauler got the answer that he received, his demeanor completely changed. My friend had been waiting for him to ask, “well, why didn’t you tell me that?” The answer, as I’ve said above, is that it should not matter. He wasn’t there because he was working for that railroad; he was doing that because he liked trains, something he’s liked long before he actually worked for a railroad.”

^^^ THIS, Jimbaux, THIS!!

For this very reason, I and many others who work for the railroad don’t generally announce that “we work on the railroad”, or for whom we work to anyone. Not just in a security sense, because as you said, it’s really immaterial to our reason(s) for partaking in photography of trains, but because my employment has nothing do with my off-duty excursions. I’ve gotten my share of ribbing on the job, and after a few months of that, you just learn to isolate the two activities. Kind of like asking an engineer who likes NASCAR is he is prone to speeding, the two have nothing to do with one another.

Moreso, it’s actually kind of fun to watch some foamers spout off about operating practices & why so-and-so does this-or-that, when in fact that haven’t the slightest clue about the inner-goings on of a railroad. I remember years ago trying to explain to our ‘Sunday morning breakfast club’ (a local group of foam that with whom I met each weekend) the purpose of a marker (i.e. EOTD, FRED).

4 EDITOR - Jimbaux September 25, 2011 at 20:50

My friend could have taken the easy way out and just told the crew-hauler from the outset that he worked for the same company, but he didn’t do that because that would have been cowardly, as it would have made life even more difficult for folks like me who don’t work for that railroad. I know several people who would have indeed done that, who would have just told the guy, “hey, I actually am a trainmaster for X railroad.” Nope.

Even though the crew-hauler went on with my friend about all the neat places he should check out (once he found out he worked for the company), my friend left the experience unable to respect the crew-hauler, who referred to himself to my friend as a “homeland security officer.” My friend replied, “uhh, yeah.”

5 Terry LaFrance September 26, 2011 at 16:49

MPs? Hardly. MP’s have no jurisdiction off post. And you have just as much to photograph there as anywhere. If they want that area restricted it would have to be INSIDE the post boundary.

6 Bill Cummings September 26, 2011 at 17:27

Terry, guess again. The runway approaches are under military jurisdiction, and photogaphing on those approaches can get you arrested. You can ask the photographer who was recently arrested for taking pictures of EP3s shooting landings. Or, you can ask my son. Jimbeaux met him. Ex 459th Combat Military Police, attached to 2ID, Hunter Army Airfield. MP’s mission is to protect military assets. Anywhere, any time, any threat.

7 Terry LaFrance October 8, 2011 at 20:37

Posse comitatus says other wise (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act). The approaches may be under DOD control but the MPs have no legal authority off a DOD installation. If the approaches are under DOD jurisdiction they should be posted as such. The exceptions are martial law (including the Warner Defense Act) and under certain agreements when local agencies have special agreements when they can request support from MPs but the LEOs have the lead. The MPs can not just wander off post and do anything they want. Though it doesn’t surprise me that your son might think that he can, that’s typical of my experience with MPs as a company commander. Also, I think you mean 3rd ID, not 2nd. Just for fun I think I’ll contact my counterpart at Ft. Stewart/Hunter AAF PAO, see what I can get. A quick look at the post website says nothing about restricting photography but does encourage a hunting photo contest.

8 Bill Cummings September 26, 2011 at 20:46

Oh, and Jimbaux…where was it you said that Agent Bell said you were racially profiled? I did see where you said he was a mind-reader (Agent Bell said that the NOPD officers thought to themselves “What’s this white guy doing standing on this bridge with a camera?”). And just to keep up the “Devil’s Advocate” pose for a few more minutes, it seems to me that there was a white guy taking pictures of the Murrah Building in OKC a short time before it came down. Who is to know who the “innocent” photogs are without asking?

I reiterate, you have the right to do anything that is lawful…and the police have the responsibility to investigate anything they think suspicious! I would say that foamers are a harmless group enjoying a great hobby. But the guys in Madrid weren’t foamers, were they? Exactly how, apart from Agent Bell’s clairevoyance, does one know the difference?

The weather is great, here…getting some much needed rain. Cloudy days are also presenting some great lighting for photography! When you get some time, come give our railroad agents a hard time!!!

9 Auggie October 22, 2011 at 12:01

Bill,

Investigate, yes. Detain, no. They can do all of their questioning from the site of the alleged violation. And while they can ENFORCE the existing laws, they can’t create new ones.

Often portraying the devil’s advocate myself, I’ve pushed boundries that would make you cry, including asking a LEO where said code or law is in writing before complying with an edict to vacate public property. There is no law(s) against asking questions. A simple directive made with the sole reason of refusing one’s right to take photos from public property is not against the law. OTOH, making up laws as we go, in an effort to make the “plebs” (that is, those of us in society who don’t have a badge) comply is both heinous & uncalled for.

Upon driving around Westlake, LA a month ago, I was amused by this sign:
http://fotaugrafee.net/misc/Westlake%20Polymers%20no%20photo.jpg

Defiant? Yes, even if mildly. This was taken from the passenger window of my car, from a public road, just for shits & giggles. Location is Westlake Polymers in Westlake, LA.

Now mind you, it’s not the first time I’ve seen or photographed such a sign (Marathon Oil – Robinson, IL; and Valero – Paulsboro, NJ come to mind), but the irony is what authority this company (and many others) thinks they have outside their perimeter that stuns me. As Jimbaux and I argued a few weeks back, sometimes the way I handle situations is more callous than others, but it’s generally quite distant from illegal. Then again, I’m the kind who invites the confrontation just to see what the other party “thinks” they know, and this little experiment often proves amusing, much like the sign linked above.

10 david Griffin September 27, 2011 at 11:56

Photography on military property is under jurisdiction of the base commander. Base boundaries are not always that obvious (ask those who got pulled over by WPAFB SP on SR444 in Fairborn OH–it’s actually on WPAFB property, though it’s not fenced off–base land just happens to go to the center of the route). However, sensitive areas (e.g., approach lights) are almost always marked as such, and any “no photography” areas will be marked as such. At WPAFB we have an area on the north end of the main runway that used to be popular for photography. This used to be a B-52 base, so you can imagine the sensitivity there (nukes)! If you were on non-base property, they could not prohibit photography. In fact, over in England (Mendinhall (sp)), it’s a big hobby for the local folks. You just live with it. It doesn’t mean you have to make it easy–we cut down some shade “trees” (really just bushes–you don’t want real trees on approach!) nearby and just made it difficult. Other bases actually encourage it, with viewing areas. Really, there’s not much info you’re going to get from somebody taking pictures of your plane. Most of the “Good Stuff” is on the inside, and the bad guys already have good pictures of the outside. Yeah, there’s the timing info, but your average everyday spy is going to get that anyway from a much more private location.

If somebody at Hunter (or anywhere else) got arrested, they must have been on base property. If they weren’t, they could take it up with the base IG (or contact your congressman’s office and get them to file a complaint–we really hated dealing with those!! ) and cause all sorts of problems for the base leadership. They may (& maybe a case can be made for “should”) come out and ask what you’re doing, but they can not legally arrest you for taking pictures from non-base land. Now if you’re actually on the approach lights, that’s the equivalent of climbing a signal mast–and you should be locked up. It’s hard enough landing a plane at night w/o some idiot monkeying with the lights! However lighting and other such items are usually fenced off pretty obviously.

Maj David R Griffin, USAF (ret)
Formerly with the WPAFB IG and Readiness office

11 Bill Cummings September 27, 2011 at 19:36

Nice to have some input from an AF Major. Wright-Patterson is a nice base…great museum! I’m sure you took into consideration that many of the flights going in and out of HAAF are combat troop movements. Perhaps it’s just Hunter and its commander, but they get picky about that. (I don’t know the current garrison commander, but a former HAAF garrison commander is a good friend of mine.) Typically, the MPs will detain a photographer (on the approaches), take them in, review the pictures, and either give them back to the photographer or delete them, then hand the equipment back. Arrests are rare, but they do happen.

A few years back the G-8 meeting was held on near-by St. Simon’s Island, and several photographers were detained for up to 48 hours after photographing planes carrying foreign officials. Included the British PM and the Russian Pres., as well as W, on AF1. I know they let people take pics of AF1 on the ground, but they are a bit more touchy about folks directly on the glide path 500 yards out.

When my (MP) son was about 9 years old, we went to an airshow at HAAF which happened to have a B-52 on static display. I have a picture (somewhere) of him sitting in the left-hand seat in the cockpit. The only person who asked me not to take pictures was the electronic warfare officer. So, I suppose it depends on who is present when taking pictures.

12 Bill Cummings September 27, 2011 at 19:39

And there was a typo in one of my previous posts. Ft. Stewart/HAAF is home to 3ID, not 2ID. My son was with 2ID in Korea, 3ID in Baghdad.

13 Ryan S September 29, 2011 at 09:43

What “typically happens” doesn’t mean that it’s supposed to be that way.

If you’re not on .mil property, you can take pictures of whatever you please. Full stop. If you can see it from public property, you can take a picture of it.

The garrison commander can get as picky as they want, but detention and deletion of pictures is out of bounds. The whole point of this series of posts is to highlight that fact and educate people as to the rights of photographers like Jimbaux and I.

14 EDITOR - Jimbaux October 4, 2011 at 22:38

This game of ambiguity needs to end. If a certain place is out of bounds for photography, that fact should be made clear to anyone tempted to take out a camera before he takes out the camera, as in the form of conspicuous signs. What we see above in the discussion is proof of the unfortunate and destructive ambiguity on the matter.

When I was a little kid, my father (and maybe uncle) would occasionally take me to the air shows at the Belle Chase Naval Air Station just south of New Orleans. I remember seeing the stealth fighter there, and I think it was relatively new at the time. There was a police barricade surrounding it, with about 100′-200′ of empty space all around it. Inside that empty space were soldiers armed with machine guns. I don’t know about photography (it was an airshow, afterall), but the message was clear and unambiguous that nobody was allowed to get any closer to the aircraft than he already was (if he was at the barricade.)

Why, Bill, does the same courtesy not seem to exist in Savannah? And what top secret aircraft are flying out of Savannah that can’t be photographed anyway? Something is not right here. Detaining people for 48 hours for taking those pictures of those planes is absolutely horrendous! What harm was done by taking the pictures? Those photographers hopefully sued for false arrest. That’s just downright wrong!

On another note, Bill wrote, “Oh, and Jimbaux…where was it you said that Agent Bell said you were racially profiled? I did see where you said he was a mind-reader (Agent Bell said that the NOPD officers thought to themselves “What’s this white guy doing standing on this bridge with a camera?”). ”

He doesn’t need to use the words “racial profiling” to say that I was racially profiled. What he said happened to me is indeed the definition of racial profiling, even if not the words. Like I wrote in Part 4, however, that’s not really much of a source of my indignation. I’m indignant about what they did about it.

As Ryan said so well in his last two paragraphs above, those whose jobs it is to protect us – police or military – need to understand the rights that they are sworn to protect, and some people are indeed missing the point, most unfortunately. As Ryan said, my reasons for going out that day – and the fears that I had about going out that day – were so that harassment and detention would not become what “typically happens.”

15 Bill Cummings October 8, 2011 at 11:43

You don’t need to post ths if you wish to end the discussion, you can have the last word publicly. But to answer your question, it’s not the top secret planes that are at HAAF; as the Major said, the secret stuff is on the inside. It is the fact the troop deployments often are highly classified. In addition to 3ID and the multitude of units attached to it, HAAF is home to, shall we say, more than one Spec Ops unit.

As far as holding someone for 48h hours, that is clearly allowed under existing laws, laws that were around long before the Patriot Act. While I agree with you that law enforcement should diligent protect our rights, their primary mission is to protect our safety. There is a delicate balance between those two obligations. Timothy McVeigh had a legal right to park his van where he did.

If we were to follow your argument to its logical end, law enforcement would not be allowed to conduct any preventive measures…invasion of privacy. That would produce utter chaos. Too many people in this country confuse the meaning of “rights” and “liberty” with that of “license.” The idea that police must stand by and do nothing until someone actually blows something up is beyond my understanding. And while you or I are not the psychopaths that would do such a thing, it alsways seem like the “he was such a nice person” types who do.

I will agree that law enforcement needs to be much better trained in risk detection. But when, as you already know, my wife went throught he gamut of questioning and searches when she flew to Fargo, I find it difficult to use terms like “racial profiling.” More like “lack of common sense.” As for NOPD, they just need a DA who will clean up the overtly corrupt sustem. But, then again, the DA’s office is just as corrupt.

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