But I’ve been known to let things slide, including copyright violations of my photos by a certain blogger who probably wouldn’t be stuck in traffic if he knew how to stand up for his rights.
This post is for you, Rick, in the hopes that you realize that dissent is sometimes the purest form of patriotism.
Not that you’ll be surprised, but this was not the first time I’ve been called an arrogant prick. And it won’t be the last. Hell, my own friends have called me that only for me to take it as a compliment.
The truth is, I get annoyed when people try to squash my First Amendment rights, something that has happened with way too much frequency over the years since “9/11 changed everything.”
I get irritated when cops and federal agents tell me I am not allowed to photograph buildings as I am standing on a county-funded bridge.
I get confrontational with security guards who tell me I am not allowed to photograph buildings from a public sidewalk.
And I get snippy when police officers order me to walk away from a crime scene because I happen to have a camera.
I spent too many years writing and shooting for daily newspapers, mostly covering law enforcement on the New Mexican/Mexican border as well as in San Bernardino and Phoenix — three areas with significant crime issues — to not know how to photograph a police investigation without interfering.
Do I piss off cops? At times, but not intentionally.
I am a very aggressive photojournalist who seeks the truest picture. I get as close as I can to my subject without crossing the line. If I arrive at a scene before the yellow ribbon is up, I get close enough without interfering. I allow the cops to do their job and hope they allow me to do my job.
Of course, that is not always the case.
I’m sure all those security guards, police officers and federal agents who have tried to squash my First Amendment rights over the years viewed me as “an arrogant prick” when I stood up for my rights, including that one uniformed bimbo from Homeland Security who tried to tell me that it’s illegal to photograph federal agents.
So you’re in good company, Rick.
But this is not to say that all police officers are this way. Most officers, especially those with a few years of experience under their belt, are fully aware of photographers’ rights (unfortunately not as much down here as in other parts of the country). They have no issue of being photographed because they have nothing to hide.
Maybe someday I’ll scan and post my photo collection of Border Patrol Agents searching cars along the Mexican border. Those federal agents didn’t seem to have a problem understanding the First Amendment. Then again, they had more pressing issues to deal with than with a curious photojournalist.
Funny thing is, Rick, when I first discovered your blog after reading your post on my arrest, I figured you were another right-wing fascist blogger from Miami. Another Parallel to the Ricky Ricardo cyber brigade.
But as I read more, I realized you were not one of the ignorant 30 percenters who still insist that the shrub is doing a heck of a job. You are, in fact, quite progressive.
So it’s a little confusing how you failed to see the dangers of a society that allow police to arrest people for photographing them against their wishes. Perhaps you were one of the 70 percenters who supported the war four years; a mainstream follower of mediocre masters.
The bottom line is, if there are no yellow ribbons at a crime scene, there are very little restrictions for a photographer. If that weren’t the case, I can assure you this would not have been the first time I was arrested for photographing police officers or otherwise restrictive areas.