Monday, November 15, 2004

 

Way too much security!

Both my spousal unit and I have observed security guards in D.C. (the Capital of the Free World) hassling tourists who want to take photographs in front of government buildings. The scenario generally runs something like this:

Mr. Cleaver (waspy looking tourist father, undoubtedly from Appleton, WI, home of Harry Houdini and Sen. Joe McCarthy): "Dear, why don't you and the kids stand over there next to that stylish Jersey barricade in front of the Bureau of Obfuscation and Pork Barrels, so that I can get a snap for the folks back home".
Security Guard: "Sir, its illegal to take pictures of that building. Stop or I'll have to confiscate your camera."
Mr. Cleaver: "But I was just taking pictures of June and the kids!"
Security Guard: "It's a matter of national security, sir. Please move on!"
Mr. Cleaver: Okay, c'mon kids, we don't want to be the cause of another 9/11.

What the hell is going on?

Who gave these rent-a-cops the idea that they could prohibit Americans from photographing non-descript government buildings that were paid for with their tax money? I could understand if the tourists were photographing the control panel of a nuclear power plant or the blueprints of our nifty new anti-ballistic missile system, but pictures of the boxy exteriors of the Department of Transportation or the Department of Education do not seem to pose any immediate danger of anything. I suppose in a James Bond novel, swarthy Middle Eastern types would go to Acme Rent-a-Wasp, pick out a family of apple-cheeked, red state Americans and dispatch them to photograph the one weak concrete panel which when pushed by a terrorist Samson would bring the entire edifice down. Why aren't these fearsome sentinels guarding the chlorine tank cars which pass through downtown D.C. almost every day on their way to the Blue Plains water treatment plant? Or perhaps this says something about departmental budgets being increased for post 9/11 security.

In a related item, the Secret Service, relying on reliable tips from sharp-eared radio talk show listeners swooped down on a Colorado high school to investigate a possible threat against the president. It seems that some high school students were going to read Bob Dylan's 40 year old anti-war screed "Masters of War". Since the song ends with the words "I hope that you'll die and your death will come soon", these super sleuths investigated whether the performance by high school kid would pose an actual death threat against our chief executive.
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_3323602,00.html Whoever authorized this insanity should be hung out to dry. Perhaps if these agents don't have enough to do, they could be assigned to help with chemical plant or port security. Nah! that's not exciting enough...


Comments:
Since you've included me in this blog, I want to set the record straight ! The picture takers I've seen were not cleaveresque! But shame on us for depriving foreign tourists; yes, complete with the asian, far or middle eastern, european, whatever, version of Wally and the Beav; from taking home memories of their lovely trip to Washington DC --in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Jesus, they usually are taking pictures of each other in front of buildings that no terrorists in their right mind would want as a target! No one told me I couldn't take pictures of Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, etc., etc. Yes we are being a little too paranoid!
 
No, they pick on the Cleaveresque tourists as well (don't want to be guilty of racial profiling).
 
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