Quote Originally Posted by arigram
So, let me get this straight:
As long as you are polite, smile a lot and look like a harmless european tourist you are ok, but if you carry a big camera, wear "suspicious" clothing, are grumpy and look middle eastern or muslim you are in trouble?

you do not need to look like anything. Remember we have had our own share of domestic terrorism. (Oklahoma City, Unibomber etc). Coupled with 9-11 anything can be considered suspicious. Couple with that a growing concern in the US over loss of privacy makes things difficult. Couple of years ago I interogated (well talked to) someone photographing homes in are area. He was just a real estate agent making a record of homes in the area to show the neighborhood to clients regarding a nearby listing.

With private property concerns I have always found it to be best policy to talk to a property owner before even getting the gear out.