Here in the Washington area the fascism is so blatant and pervasive that hardly a day goes by without our hearing of some fresh outrage against the very idea of personal liberty. The official mentality trickles down to infect nearly everyone. One of the reasons I photograph at the cathedrals and the monastery so much is that an artist can feel welcomed in those places. I'm treated like a criminal in most public places as soon as I set up a tripod.
One thing I've noticed: the one piece of equipment most likely to set them off is the tripod. I don't get hassled much at all when I'm using my Hasselblad handheld.