Freedom Lost or maybe not?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by dr bob, Aug 25, 2004.

  1. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    Thinking of our loss of photographic freedom in the wake of 911, was brought into very sharp focus this weekend when a “suspicious-looking” pair were reported making photographs of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (in my vision at this very moment). When authorities stopped them, they attempted to hide the camera stating they were returning from the beach where they were making pictures. It has turned out that one of the pair was on FBI’s terrorist list and the confiscated camera (film?) showed details of bridge construction but no beach images. Hummm. Why didn’t they just ask me? I have several images of the bridge but no close-ups of toggles or gussets. Never in the right place et c.
     
  2. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

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    Glad to hear this Dr. Bob. Despite the rants to the contrary, this extra amount of diligence does pay off. I have yet to anything but friendly encounters with anyone asking about what I am up to. Maybe it helps being fiftyish, having an unusually large camera, a US Veteran tag on the truck, and above all, thanking the officers for doing their job.
     
  3. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    Dr. Bob I 'm glad you brought this up, I meant to and forgot . I know the few times I've been harrassed they've been well intentioned and have had only one incident where a little brain had to much power. The truth is the extra dilligence is comforting I have no problem moving on. Aggies experience was an anomally which should not have happened but there are those who are plotting indiscriminate distruction and the extra effort and awareness of these people on patrol as is evidenced by the capture of this terrorist on reconnaisance proves their necessity. And our need to be accomidating.
     
  4. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes it is freedom lost.

    By your own account the images exist and by the accounts of many others the enforcement is uneven.

    Making the law superfluous and at best haphazard.

    When, in the next few weeks, months or years we are attacked again what will we do?

    I suspect we will broaden and add more restrictive laws.

    This is a tired debate.

    Freedom comes with risks. You may be happy to allow your freedoms to be traded for security, I am not.

    Hopefully in the next few election cycles those who feel that security trumps freedom will win some decisive victories. Then the rest us can move on.
     
  5. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I haven't seen this detail mentioned in reports of the story, but I will bet you dollars to doughnuts that they weren't using a large format camera mounted on a heavy tripod.
     
  6. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I agree with Mr. Callow.

    "Liberty is a boisterous sea. Timid men prefer the calm of despotism."

    - Thomas Jefferson
     
  7. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    1) That point is moot, since we're not achieving any greater security. The greatest security lies with the greatest freedom. We're just losing our freedoms and gaining in return....nothing.

    2) Since I believe that things economic and social are about to get much, much worse, I have to hope as you seem to that GeeDubya wins this time so that he and the neocons can be left holding the political bag in four years after the bear really has his way with the economy. My fear about that, however, is that four more years will allow them to consolidate power to the point that fair elections will be a thing of the past. Here comes the United Banana Republic of America.
     
  8. jovo

    jovo Membership Council

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    This coming week in NYC may be a bizarre one. The security for the RNC convention will be...well....awesome - well beyond what anyone will be able to openly observe in its' depth and breadth. I suspect, as well, that those who plan to be disruptive will not ask for a permit to hold a demonstration, but will do as they will and invite confrontation which will lead to press coverage and so on. Enter the hapless tourist (or convention goer) who does what most tourists like to do....take 'snaps' of the city's landmarks and attractions. NOT the best idea this coming week perhaps, but inevitable. Those who make photographs for the purpose of surveilling for 'terrorist' outcomes have cameraphones and utterly unobtrusive devises available. Will those charged with securing the safety of the city be able to discriminate one from the other? Will the 'right' (at least I thought it was) to photograph freely be yet further curtailed than it's already been? Will police be well trained enough to not be drawn into deliberate confrontations carelessly, but know when to react with force that's appropriate and only when absolutely necessary? Stay tuned, folks. Next week may be a very bumpy ride.

    (Having experienced the late 60's and early 70's political demonstrations in NYC, there is plenty of precedent for things getting totaly out of hand on all sides. Then, there were the TPF-tactical patrol force-who wielded clubs with great enthusiasm...I think things have advanced considerably since then..I sure hope so.)
     
  9. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    :rolleyes: Can you say "paranoid"?

    I, for one, embrace the increase in security. This is a time of war. I believe that we will be attacked again, within the US borders. dr bob's story shows that it works. Sure, there's no way they're going to stop everyone; but if just one life is saved, is it not worth it?

    Nothing?
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    The RNC being just about a block from B&H, I'm sure there will be lots of folks with cameras walking around (he wrote as an army helicopter flew slowly past his window...).
     
  11. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    Can you say political gain via fearmongering?

    I embrace security as well, but not at the expense of freedom.

    Your argument that by saving one life the restrictions have been paid for. Let's extrapolate to an extreme...
    We can make most everyone safe by locking the country down, collecting all the guns and strongly moderating the behaviour of the public. Result: many more are in jail, but far far fewer attacks and deaths. Is it worth it?-- of course not.

    None of us want to be extreme, so where do we draw the line? Who draws the line? We certainly wish to save more than one life don't we?

    I see this as being a very slippery slop. The great irony is I have very serious doubts that it offers any real security.

    Colour me a ranting idiot, but I have always thought what made this country great is its adherence to the ideal that freedom, democracy, equality and justice were the principles we held highest.


    Oh, never mind... I think I'll move to the Peoples Republic of Canada.
     
  12. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    Definitely not a ranting idiot...

    If someone questions me on why I'm photographing what I am, I'll gladly engage them in polite conversation and even, gasp, show them my ID. I don't feel that this is an attack on my freedoms. When/if I feel that any freedom is lost, which I'm confident won't happen, then I may agree with you.

    Loss of freedom, no; small inconvenience, yes.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2004
  13. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Nothing. Actually, less than nothing, since we are less safe now than we were before our congenial frat boy was appointed President.
     
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  15. jovo

    jovo Membership Council

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    When legislation like the 'patriot act', shrewdly and cynically named so that those who oppose it will appear 'unpatriotic', is perpetuated, I, for one, think we are already sliding down the slope......and sharply to the right at that!
     
  16. Joe Symchyshyn

    Joe Symchyshyn Member

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    Along these lines...

    Living in Windsor, Ontario (right across the river from Detroit Michigan) I hear both American and Canadian sides to the current issues...

    Keep them scared and keep them buying seems more the order of the day.

    A slippery slope indeed.

    joe :smile:
     
  17. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Those who fear for our loss of freedoms must try to remember that this country's politics runs on a pendulum.

    For a while, too far right, then for a while too far left.

    During a time of war this country and others always lock down some freedoms. The price you pay for security. The people we are fighting have declared that they are looking for soft targets. That means you and I.

    In a couple of years when this minor glitch in our freedoms is lifted, we will probably swing so far left that, then we'll be bitching about that.

    Just an opinion.


    Michael McBlane
     
  18. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Reuters didn't have this "hiding the camera" part of the story. Care to elaborate with sources? (Gee, if a squad car pulled me over, would I continue to hold up a metal object?)
    Take a look at the developing pattern (reported over and again, on PhotoPermit). The greatest crime one can commit these days without being charged directly is PWME — Photographing While Middle Eastern.
    This "terrorist" is a 57-year-old man travelling with his family. He is indeed on a "Watch list" but that doesn't make him a terrorist, it means that he was part of a group that has been alleged -- not shown, not indictable, but alleged -- to have financial ties to Hamas.

    They were spotted by an off-duty officer who reported seeing a passenger videotaping the five-mile-long bridge from a car window. Jeez, tourists photographing a five-mile-long bridge -- shocking! No video of the beach? Not everyone carries their camera everywhere, least of all to the ocean water and sand. Occam's Razor? Why, that's old-fashioned legal junk. We're out to find terrorists, and we know what they look like.

    My prediction: this family will be torn to pieces and detained indefinitely, only to have one member indicted on some non-terror-related charge like "being sneaky when arrested" or some INS paperwork infraction. In the meantime the Baltimore cops will have a media parade, and the Chicago US Attorney's Office (Chicago???? yes) will use their new material witness warrant as a lockpick to quietly open files on everyone this we-know-he's-really-a-terrorist-cuz-all-those-ay-rabs-wanna-kill-us ever phoned, mailed, or bought groceries from over the past five years, using his "possible ties to foreign terrorist organizations" as a pretext to bypass all legal restrictions and oversight via the PATRIOT act. This has already been done, and will continue to be done.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2004
  19. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Rightly or wrongly, I think that a part of the message is that we want those planning things, to think that the ease at which 9/11 happened, won't happen again.

    The ridiculous screening and body searches at airports of little blond boys and 80 year old women is a testament to this. They want the would be terrorists to see that everyone is being watched. Of course this is also done so that they can pull in every Arab looking person and not have discrimination charges thrown at them.

    Whether of not this is effective or not is debatable but it seems like a part of the strategy.

    Personally, at this time, I don't really mind and I won't be screaming the sky is falling any time soon. My wife flies once a week and if this keeps her safe, it's fine with me.

    As I said, in a while the neocons will be voted out and things will slowly get back to normal, whatever that is.


    Michael McBlane
     
  20. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    I remember after 911 the Gov’rnent was highly criticized by left and right for NOT responding to “we-know-he's-really-a-terrorist-cuz-all-those-ay-rabs-wanna-kill-us” middle eastern stereotypes who trained as airline pilots and generally engaged in “being sneaky” in public. O. K. guys, instead of criticizing present policy, tell us what action SHOULD be taken in light of current events?
     
  21. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    IS IT TIME YET?

    To move this thread to a political discussion arena?
     
  22. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    What should be done?

    First: Secure our borders. It is the right of a free society to monitor, screen and profile in order to protect the population at large. This is not creating a problem for citizens of a country. As a resident of a border state, I continue to see a policy of appeasement with respect to illegals. The Tucson sector alone apprehends between 500,000 and 1,000,000 each year. Many of these people are from countries which are openly hostile to the U.S. The troops coming home from Germany, Korea, etc. should have a mission to secure the borders.

    Second: Put some teeth in the law to place the burden on illegals. Anyone caught here without a proper visa should be finger printed, voice printed and identified so that they are never eligible for citizenship when they are deported.

    Third: Once the borders are secured, start to deport those who are apprehended and not here legally.

    Fourth: Implement profiling of those people who come from countries which have nests of terrorists. Put more resources into screening procedures to allow for a more intensive scrutiny of individuals who fit the "profile".

    Fifth: None of this will work because the courts in the U.S. only allow for profiling to implement affirmative action.

    Please flame away!

    P.S. "I voted for the 87 billion dollars for Iraq before I voted against it." Kerry
     
  23. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Recently I have been going around my home town reproducing photographs of a hundred years ago by shooting from as near as possible the same spot as those guys did all those years ago, a sort of 'Then and Now' project purely for my own pleasure.
    Everyone I've met whilst doing this has been curious and helpful. I have even been able to photograph on old Ministry of Defence land without hindrance.
    However on visiting our little railway station I was told 'Oi! You can't do that!' On enquiring why I was informed 'It's security! You could be a terrorist!'
    Now, I understand the world has changed since 9/11 and people have to be more careful etc.
    Surely if I was a terrorist I would have used some tiny digicam the size of a booger and got the photographs I required surrepticiously? I would not have turned up carrying a tripod, a camera, a camera bag, or asked permission to photograph on the platform!
    It was a non busy time of day on a sunday morning and I showed them examples of work already completed and also the photograph of the station I wished to reproduce. Yet I was still refused permission to photograph by the 'Person' on the gate.
    Feeling a touch miffed I emailed the rail company enquiring if it was now policy for them to confiscate tourists cameras, to refuse rail enthusiasts permission to photograph trains, to refuse trainspotters access to the platforms?
    I got a reply stating it was ok to photograph on any station so long as the passage of customers was not impeded and so long as I did not use a tripod.

    It seems to me that 9/11 security has been a gift to all the little 'jobsworths' out there to hassle people and gain themselves a little authority.
     
  24. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    my spelling is smelling

    We should take a long view of our Foreign policies.
    Stop supporting dictators because they are geographically or commercially beneficial.

    We need to actual live up to not play lip service to what we claim is our greatness.

    We need to realize that biggest, strongest, richest does not equal greatest. That there is a time to lead and a time to join or follow.

    We have earned the hatred of many (this is not to say we deserve to be terrorized) and we need to be honest with ourselves and take a critical look at our part in this play.

    We need in short to grow up and learn to play nice.

    We should make the intellectual and financial investments necessary to minimize our dependance and the worlds' dependence on fossil fuels.

    We didn't get into this mess overnight and won't exit overnight.

    We need to begin to get ourselves out of it as well as declaw those who wish to do us harm. We need to get Osama, before we venture into any other diversions.

    We can't kill everyone who hates us but we can cut off their funds.

    By suspending the bill of rights for what ever reasons sends the wrong message (especialy to our enemies) and costs us far too much for far too little.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2004
  25. mark

    mark Member

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    It started with a Photo slant. Might have been able to stay that way but the problem with politics is it never stays on track.
     
  26. jovo

    jovo Membership Council

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    I was made aware, by students of my own, that a girls hockey team from an exceedingly wealthy Connecticut public high school actually said (and fully believed) to girls on an opposing team from a much less affluent school district, "We're richer than you are, so we're better than you are." Wow....I wonder how much of that came from the dinner table at home.