Attack of the SF Muni Fare Inspectors

by Volker Weber

Steve Malik asks:

Have we again reached a point in our history where fear is so strong that it overrides justice and common sense? Have we arrived at a place where the phrase “for security reasons” trumps logic? Where it trumps justice, fairness and liberty? Are we so paranoid that we’re willing to give up our basic freedoms in pursuit of elusive security?

I would say: Yes. This case of paranoia is not an isolated incidence. We have been threatened for taking this picture.


Just look at the security measures taken for Bush's visit to Germany. Mainz and Wiesbaden, two rather large cities, are basically shut down. Public schools will stay closed, garbage won't be picked up, trains will be halted. Bundeswehr jets will patrol the skies.

Joerg Richter, 2005-02-15

No photographs in an airport waiting area? Ridiculous. What did they say to you?

I've been told not to take photos at airports before....but it was in MOSCOW. Sigh.

Ed Brill, 2005-02-15

Jörg, Mr. Bush does not only have to be shielded in Germany. It is common practice to shield him from his own population just the same way. I once had to wait for half an hour before our plane was cleared for landing because of "presidential movement" in the New Orleans area. They also shut down the highway to move the vicepresident.

But that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about very basic civil liberties that you can take no longer for granted in the land of the "free".

Volker Weber, 2005-02-15

Several years ago ( the early 90's ), I was in a train station in the financial district of London. I was taking video of the inside of the train station when I was approached by a police officer and asked to stop. Being young, and a tourist in the UK, I immediately stopped. The police officer was nice and polite, but it was still intimidating to have him tap you on the shoulder when you're not expecting it.

I never understood why I was asked to stop. He simply said they allowed no pictures to be taken inside of railway stations.

Ken Porter, 2005-02-15

The doors to Nottingham East Midlands Aiport state that no photo- or videography is allowed inside the building at all. Seems we are indeed paranoid.

Kitty Fothringham, 2005-02-15

Yeah, "Homeland security reasons" is now the new excuse for everything that doesn't go as planned or scheduled. It's even used as an excuse to do away with common sense and common courtesy.

Case in point: A while ago we had a situation in a New Jersey airport where my parapalegic mother in law was not loaded first into the plane as part of the pre-board as she should have been.

The reason given - "homeland security". Ludicrous. The real reason - the idiots behind the counter forgot she was there, and forgot to call a pre-board. Once the general boarding started, it was too late. I'm sure the whole plane felt a little safer as they sat and watched an elderly woman being carried in over all the other passsengers after the plane was full.

Airline and airport staff, and staff at other public transport means for that matter, used to have to be much more creative with their bullshit excuses, or tell the truth. Now they can just invoke "homeland security" and we're supposed to accept it.

All I can say is that I'm glad I don't travel so much these days....

Brian Benz, 2005-02-15


Re: your comment: I am talking about very basic civil liberties that you can take no longer for granted in the land of the "free".

Unfortunately, that is the result of freedom that has been misused. To counter abuses of the system, our 'rights' have to be infringed on sometimes to protect the rights of our government officials(to live, safely travel and safely govern the US) even in the land of the free.

The paradox of freedom ...

Dan Soares, 2005-02-15

Don't you think something is going wrong here ? Imposed regulations are all very well and good, but they need to be sensible. All I can see here are petty officials that are reigning over their very little own domains, using the laws and fear to terrorism to intimidate people.

Do you really want the US governement to control the life of every American citizen down to what they can and cannot do all the time ?
Do you still call that Free ? To me freedom means that you can choose your own way in life, as long as you don't harm other people.

What is funny to me is that there are lots and lots of people in America defending their freedom.... to wear guns.

Alex Boschmans, 2005-02-15

In the summer of 2002, I've been asked to stop taking pictures of the Chicago skyline. I was standing all the way out on the shore in front of the planetarium, I should add. That's how far from the next building actually in the picture? Two miles? Three? Very much a security threat, indeed...

Ragnar Schierholz, 2005-02-16

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