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TERROR FILE 1 by halley TERROR FILE 1 by halley
On 29 July 2003, I became a casualty in John Ashcroff's politically convenient War on Everyday Activites Which Some Terrorist May Also Have Done. I carried a camera onto the public hiking trails surrounding West Hartford (CT) Reservoir. It's a pretty little reservoir, inviting locals to partake in biking, hiking and other healthy activities on the miles of natural and manmade coastline.

No signs said that cameras were not allowed. The police officer was reminding me that I "am not in any trouble," but that I had to surrender official state identification and car registration anyway. Numerous other shutterbugs are catalogued each day, just in case a "pattern" might somehow develop.

If I sat next to this piece of critical infrastructure of national security with a palette, a canvas and a tube of Titanium White, depicting sensitive access areas to pumping stations, no such interrogation would have transpired. If I jotted a poem filled with supremely detailed technical jargon relating to weld-points and door hinges, no ranger would presume to approach. Wield a digital camera, and I am numbered and analyzed.

Sure, it's not sensory deprivation torture at Guantanimo Bay, but it's a worthless invasion into my legal and commonplace behaviors. It has a chilling effect on my conduct: should I leave the camera at home before visiting the Sears Tower? The Goodkind Opera House? The Piggly Wiggly? How many terrorist attacks are we likely to catch? What will you give up, just to let grandma feel a little bit safer?

"They that give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety will receive neither." --Benjamin Franklin
foggedreality Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2003
Nice pick and great tale. You're absolutely right.
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Submitted on
August 18, 2003
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