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Throw the tourist from the train.
November 8, 2007 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Throw the tourist from the train. Ejected from a train for refusing to stop taking pictures from the train. Well, for not stopping anyway; the refusing part is unclear. The nation is now secure.
posted by Bovine Love (73 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I should say via
posted by Bovine Love at 1:07 PM on November 8, 2007


When train conductors feel authorized to dictate on matters of national security, and police officers obliged to place duty before common sense, it hardly matters what's happening at the top.

Pray this tide ebb soon.
posted by felix betachat at 1:21 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


12/7/41 NEVAR FORGET!
posted by quonsar at 1:26 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


“The conductor asked this man three times to discontinue. We must remove him from the train.”

In a language he did not understand? I know he wasn't being arrested (yet) but would they have mirandized him in english only too?
posted by JaredSeth at 1:32 PM on November 8, 2007


I love the passive outrage in the blog. I can just picture the writer sitting on the train, watching the scene unfold, quietly fuming, thinking to himself about how wrong it is, and how someone should stand up and say something! Won't someone say something? My God, why is everyone remaining silent? Oh, the humanity!

And then he probably whipped out his laptop and began taking notes for his blog post.
posted by fandango_matt at 1:42 PM on November 8, 2007 [16 favorites]


Dude, this could be the coolest flash game ever.
posted by klangklangston at 1:44 PM on November 8, 2007


fandango_matt: the cherry on top is that the writer briefly reminisces about being a student at a university in Japan while he watches as the poor Japanese tourist getting read the riot act.
posted by brain cloud at 1:46 PM on November 8, 2007


You've got to admit, a Japanese tourist taking pictures is pretty suspicious.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:46 PM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


WTF? It's not like US trains are actually of much use for anyhting than as a tourist attraction.
posted by Artw at 1:52 PM on November 8, 2007


Wait a second...

The scene is on a recent Amtrak trip between New York City and Boston

Now the utter fucking dumbness of it makes sense.
posted by Artw at 1:53 PM on November 8, 2007 [12 favorites]


Pray this tide ebb soon.

Pray? We're going to have to do a lot more than that. Like take direct action.
posted by oncogenesis at 2:04 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


They hate our freedoms!
posted by Max Power at 2:05 PM on November 8, 2007


Serves him right! He shouldn't have brought onboard those LiteBriteTM kits he'd bought at F.A.O. Schwarz on 5th. Ave. the evening before.
posted by ericb at 2:05 PM on November 8, 2007


I love the passive outrage in the blog. I can just picture the writer sitting on the train, watching the scene unfold, quietly fuming, thinking to himself about how wrong it is, and how someone should stand up and say something! Won't someone say something? My God, why is everyone remaining silent? Oh, the humanity!

If only someone from metafilter had been there -- oh yes, the conductor and officers would have felt the sting of our snark then!
posted by namespan at 2:06 PM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


fandango, would you risk being carted off the train to stand up for the tourist?
posted by lester's sock puppet at 2:07 PM on November 8, 2007


fandango, would you risk being carted off the train to stand up for the tourist?

Before 9/11, yes. After 9/11, no.

Why? I wouldn't have noticed the whole scene because I would have been too absorbed in my iPod.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:10 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yes. As someone who routinely takes pictures out of the train window, I'd loudly demand to see the law which forbids it.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:11 PM on November 8, 2007


Wait, was the tourist a hipster, and was he taking pictures with his Lomo? That would change everything.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:12 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh -- and the irony of this the other day:

White House Tells Musharraf: Never ‘Restrict Constitutional Freedoms’ To Fight Terrorism .
posted by ericb at 2:13 PM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Exactly. Before you fight terrorism, remove those constitutional freedoms from the constitution first.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:17 PM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


The scene is on a recent Amtrak trip between New York City and Boston

Now the utter fucking dumbness of it makes sense.


Since it was an "early autumn, Saturday morning journey along the New England shoreline," I bet the offending conductor was likely a New Yorker (or from D.C. where many northern-bound Amtrak trains originate in the NE Corridor) who'd be returning home later that afternoon on the return trip.
posted by ericb at 2:17 PM on November 8, 2007


It's infuriating to read about this. It really is outrageous and unacceptable.
posted by nickyskye at 2:18 PM on November 8, 2007


Well, duh. If the terrorists hate us for our freedoms, we should remove those freedoms, so they won't hate us anymore.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:18 PM on November 8, 2007 [6 favorites]


Since it was an "early autumn, Saturday morning journey along the New England shoreline," I bet the offending conductor was likely a New Yorker (or from D.C. where many northern-bound Amtrak trains originate in the NE Corridor) who'd be returning home later that afternoon on the return trip.

Pff. I won't let petty facts get in the way of my campaign to depict the people of Boston as drooling luddite simpletons. If he was a New Yorker then no doubt he moved there from Boston. Retaining the Boston natives primitive fear of LEDs - of which a modern camera might have several - he probably saw some flashing and assumed it was a bomb, or had witch-like bomb-projcting powers which could endanger buildings by the wayside.
posted by Artw at 2:27 PM on November 8, 2007 [5 favorites]


This brings to mind an NPR story from a couple of year's ago:

Photographers Becoming Security Concerns
"Photographers across the country have complained of getting harassed by law enforcement officials citing security concerns since the September 11 terrorist attacks."
In the radio piece:
- Portland, Oregon Attorney Bert P. Krages and his online "The Photographer’s Right -- Your Rights When Stopped or Confronted for Photography"

- PhotoPermit.org.
posted by ericb at 2:29 PM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, the last time I rode Amtrak, halfway across the country, an (unticketed) guy just walked on board at one of those "smoke-break" middle-of-the-night-nearly-ghost-town stops with 10 pounds of pot. He would have gotten away with it if the train hadn't been so severely delayed (by breakdowns, priority freight, and weather) we were switched to buses. Whereupon he was busted at a border control station that had drug sniffing dogs.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:30 PM on November 8, 2007


he probably saw some flashing and assumed it was a bomb

The "he" was actually a "she." ; )
posted by ericb at 2:30 PM on November 8, 2007


It is the stuff of nightmares.

Indeed it is. Not cold-sweat-wake-up-screaming nightmares, but bureaucratic gray nightmares nonetheless. In mine, all of the officials have blank faces.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:36 PM on November 8, 2007


Colour me confused. Wouldn't the very purpose of taking a train from New York to Boston be to see the country, and perhaps take pictures of it. It's as though none of these fucking "officials" had a granule of common sense.

Had these morons just been hatched, fully grown, the day before, they still would have been aware of the concept of tourism, no? "OMG! Japanese tourists are taking pictures! Run for your very lives! "

The sheer stupidity of such a reaction beggars belief.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:37 PM on November 8, 2007


Next we'll hear that the conductor was concerned that the fur'ner was doing photo surveillance of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the U.S. Naval Submarine Base and the General Dynamics/Electric Boat facility which the train passes by in Groton and New London. Or, maybe it was the whaling ships in Mystic!
posted by ericb at 2:40 PM on November 8, 2007


Yes. As someone who routinely takes pictures out of the train window, I'd loudly demand to see the law which forbids it.

But as it is, at the moment, since you only have the opportunity to criticize the source by which you have gained any awareness at all about the incident, you're doing that instead.

Don't get me wrong. I think you're right it would have been much better if all the passengers in earshot had stood up and said something as soon as the conductor went all homeland security on the Japanese guy. Or when the cops showed up -- at which point the only thing they probably could have done is said "We're coming too" because that's almost certainly what would happen.

But it's pretty easy to understand why somebody might freeze up and fail to act in a situation like that, and the guy writing the blog post has already done more than anybody snarking at him on metafilter has done by at least letting the world know about it, even if he didn't do his best Henry David Thoreau imitation before he did it.

In the meanwhile, perhaps a good deal of outrage that's naturally generated by reading the story could be better directed to Amtrak.
posted by namespan at 2:44 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


...passes by in Groton and New London.

Oops. The blog post points out that the passenger was taken off the train earlier in New Haven. But, hey, strike it up to Homeland Security for being prescient! Now what about that "no-fly" list with 750,000 names on it!
posted by ericb at 2:47 PM on November 8, 2007


Yes, I can see your point, ericb. Clearly the man was a security threat. After all, we, can't have just anyone recording the layout of a secure facility such as the U.S. Naval Submarine Base, now can we?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 2:49 PM on November 8, 2007


Amtrak Photo Contest.

A nice piece of irony noted by one of the comments on Schneier's blog.
posted by namespan at 2:50 PM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


And somewhere (probably still on the CIA payroll) Osama bin Laden laughs and laughs.
posted by maxwelton at 2:51 PM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


After all, we, can't have just anyone recording the layout of a secure facility such as the U.S. Naval Submarine Base, now can we?

Exactly!

Maybe the conductor was pissed that the Japanese are planning another whale hunt and was touched by Heroes' actress, Hayden Panettiere's failed attempt at stopping a dolphin hunt in Japan last week. Damn...she had to take her frustration out on someone!
posted by ericb at 2:54 PM on November 8, 2007


The sad part is, if there'd been a sign on the train that said "NO PHOTOGRAPHY", the tourist guy would never have been taking pictures in the first place. But no, that would make too much sense: instead, we have poorly-articulated "policy" selectively enforced by employees with zero patience or common sense. Way to go, America!
posted by vorfeed at 2:54 PM on November 8, 2007


Amtrak Photo Contest.

Bwahaha!!!
posted by ericb at 2:55 PM on November 8, 2007


As a matter of interest, does the story not tweak any questions as to its authenticity? Has the so utterly outrageous become expected? Somehow that strikes me as sad.

I have not idea if it is true or not, just saying is all.
posted by Bovine Love at 2:59 PM on November 8, 2007


*reads article*

*considers*

Are you fucking kidding me? No one stood up for this guy? No one pointed out that the "three warnings" were to someone who didn't understand them? No one told the cops that isn't not illegal to take photos from a train? No one pointed out that there was no signage which prohibited photography?

No one said that doing this is just inconveniencing some poor tourist, and not making the country any fucking safer?

God damn it, I'm getting sick of this petty police-state shit. Sure, this is minor, but it's indicative of a much greater problem.
posted by quin at 3:12 PM on November 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


Note: we are receiving many insightful comments on this article from folks who aren't signing the comments using their real names. We are delighted to have your comments, especially from first-time visitors, but in the interest of transparency and accountability, we do require you to sign your posts with your real name. Thanks. The editors.

I honestly cannot believe I am seeing this, on a website, in 2007.
posted by By The Grace of God at 3:13 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


... it's indicative of a much greater problem.

Every single one of the framers of the Constitution are rolling in their graves.

Non-stop these days, it seems.
posted by bwg at 3:19 PM on November 8, 2007


Pray this tide ebb soon

Nothing fails like prayer.
posted by Mr_Zero at 3:32 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you are in this situation, I’d advise anyone being a bystander to bear witness actively. Oh, standing there taking an obvious interest is nice, solidarity is nicer, but demanding the names of all the particulars involved (badge number? name?) and asking detailed questions (Is there a disturbance? What has he done wrong? What is the policy on this? Who is your supervisor?) would, y’know, actually help.
Instead we have “some conductor” got “some cops” to throw a similarly unnamed tourist off of a train in this general area in midafternoon.
Hey, swell. I’m vaguely outraged. That and $2 will get you a small coffee upgraded to a medium. A redress of grievances? Not so much. What can anyone do about it now? Bitch to Amtrack? Ok. About what? About who? Who’s the tourist? Do we know any particulars to hold anyone to account for their actions?
Odd how much people “love this country” but so often refuse to take ownership for it.
A bit ago I watched a girl confront a guy on the street selling CDs (obviously stolen). Just some girl from the neighborhood outraged that illegal trade was going on in her block. I was involved obviously, but she initiated it and made a stink which got a lot of people’s attention (Loudly: Where did you get these? You found them? You don’t expect me to believe that do you? - etc.).

It’s my world. Stuff like this doesn’t happen in my world.
You don’t like stuff like this going on in your world? Do something about it.
And I’ll tell you, we’re not going to influence Bush’s policies or stop the war or end hunger, but every bit we do individually creates an environment that fosters peace, plenty and justice. And that will shut crap like this down.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:46 PM on November 8, 2007 [11 favorites]


Mr_Zero:

Blogging > Bitching about bloggers > Prayer
posted by Artw at 3:47 PM on November 8, 2007


WHEW! We really dodged a bullet here! Taking photos... from a train? Hell. fucking. no.
THIS IS A HOMELAND SECURITY ISSUE, PEOPLE! WAKE UP! TACKLE HIM AND SNATCH THAT FUCKING CAMERA FROM HIS HANDS!
posted by porn in the woods at 4:06 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


What worries me the most are the posters here who have inferred that posting signs prohibiting photography would somehow have justified the behaviour of these fascist facking thugs.

What the fack is going on down there? What happened to the America that brought down LBJ and Richard Nixon? Can these be the children of the generation that marched for Civil rights and female equality? Has this generation been crushed by the burden of the developing Police State? Are Americans really that willing to simply give up your rights?

To meekly acquiesce with in the face of such glaringly illegal, illogical and arbitrary restrictions is to abandon basic common sense. "Oh wait. I better not take pictures from this tourist conveyance, since I see the sign prohibiting photography".

People need to start actively resisting this shit with all the energy that they can muster. Personally, I would never have mutely sat and watched such a sad spectacle; and yes , I realize that the consequences might have then involved arrest and imprisonment. .
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:11 PM on November 8, 2007


It's about what I expect when we've given these kinds of powers to Amtrak conductors and various other "private security" agencies.

Sadly, had the blogger made a scene, he would probably simply have gotten tasered and hauled away. Because a loud complaint is "threat" these days. And, honestly, had the entire f'ing train full of people gotten off in sympathy; who here imagines Amtrak would care, or that anyone in power would even blink? I hope I would have made a scene or gotten off with him, but hell, it's easy to be brave and good here at home. Beyond expressing that hope, I won't criticize the poassengers until I've been there.

But doubtless these sorts of things will work themselves out as more and more potential visitors realize that the US is no longer a welcoming place to visit, and choose to visit more friendly and free locales.
posted by tyllwin at 4:11 PM on November 8, 2007


WHEW! We really dodged a bullet here! Taking photos... from a train? Hell. fucking. no.

No taking pictures from a boat.
No taking pictures on a goat.
No taking pictures from a car.
No taking pictures from a far.
No taking pictures here or there.
No taking pictures anywhere.
posted by Mr_Zero at 4:12 PM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Dear Amtrak Customer,

Thank you for your inquiry.

Photography is allowed onboard the train, and passengers are permitted to take pictures.

We hope this information will be helpful.

Sincerely,
Kathleen
Customer Service, Amtrak
Amtrak says it's fine and dandy, folks. Which means they're not the hypocrites that others upthread have painted them. It also means that somebody fucked up and thought they knew the law but instead were just making it the fuck up as they went along. That's the kind of fuck-up that pays out.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:26 PM on November 8, 2007


I thought that if you had some kind of uniform these days you got to make the rules up as you went along?
posted by Artw at 4:49 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Woman from China
posted by hortense at 4:52 PM on November 8, 2007


I'm as tired of Security Kabuki as anybody, but this sounds like BS to me.

All Mr Joel L. Merchant would have had to do, to be a good citizen, was to include the date and time of the train on his post. Amtrak would have done the rest.

A poster on Schneider's blog said they'd contacted him to ask for more info. So far, no good.
posted by sacre_bleu at 5:37 PM on November 8, 2007



God damn it, I'm getting sick of this petty police-state shit. Sure, this is minor, but it's indicative of a much greater problem.
posted by quin

Uhh. No it's not minor. It was minor when the retarded conductor made an issue of it. But when the police made an issue of it it ceased to be minor. It moved on to assholery. And don't bother with the business of 'they were obligated' to follow up on her stupidity.
posted by notreally at 5:41 PM on November 8, 2007


That conductor clearly hasn't seen The Spanish Prisoner.
posted by CKmtl at 5:43 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is it time to change the national anthem yet? Somehow "the land of the free and the home of the brave" just doesn't fit any more.
posted by phliar at 5:46 PM on November 8, 2007


Tried to post this on the Episcopal Café site but got a registration required error... no registration option though:
Frank, it absolutely is the fault of the fault of the current political climate that the "rogue" Amtrak employee was able to get away with such transparently false actions. Saner passengers would have laughed her out of the car.

The American people are being conditioned to be told here and there that this right or that right is limited "for security reasons". When the administration tacitly approves such actions instead of issuing a public statement saying "shall not be infringed means just that", let alone encourages it, blame can indeed be laid at their feet.

Don't forget that Amtrak receives federal funds. Until this incident is investigated and, if true, the employee is verifiably disciplined, this is unconstitutional action by the federal government.

It won't help the affected passenger, but everyone should print out and save the photographer's bill of rights pamphlet.
posted by vsync at 5:51 PM on November 8, 2007


Amtrak Photo Contest

By entering this contest, entrant agrees that if he or she is selected as a prizewinner, he or she will assign all rights to the photograph, including copyright, to Amtrak by executing an assignment agreement and Amtrak will own all rights to the photograph and may use it for any purpose.

That photo contest, like almost every photo contest in existence, is a bald-faced rights-grab. A lot of travel companies/airlines/etc. use their "contests" as a way to get free pictures for advertising, brochures, annual reports, and the like. The only thing they have to do is pay the winner some paltry amount or give them some gear (neither of which constitute fair and proper payment for corporate usage) and they get loads of free imagery to do whatever they want with.
posted by msbrauer at 5:57 PM on November 8, 2007


I frequently travel that Amtrak route, from Penn Station to Boston. The story of the horrible treatment of the tourist is especially strange considering that security boarding the train is nonexistent. No one looks at your bags, you don't walk through any detection gadgets -- you show your ticket and you get on the train. They only care that you paid your way.

I have encountered one bullying conductor who frequently works that route, but he is a male bully. When I started reading the link I was sure it would be him. I suppose two bullies does not yet make a bully culture.
posted by egret at 6:00 PM on November 8, 2007


Yes. As someone who routinely takes pictures out of the train window, I'd loudly demand to see the law which forbids it.

Count me as one of those, too. And I take pictures pretty much anywhere else I please. Sadly, though, this situation is far too common. A cop threatened to arrest me on the NYC Subway and wanted me to erase all my pictures. Didn't comply with that, but I got home later than I would have. A couple people on the train asked why I was being taken off the train. This was after MTA decided to nix the proposed picture ban. Got his badge number and filed a report with internal affairs. A few months later I got a call; IA refused to acknowledge that it's not illegal to take pictures on the trains but acknowledged that the cop shouldn't have asked me to delete my pictures. They also said they'd reprimand the cop because I had stated the cop was unnecessarily rude.

I could go on and on with stories like this. In suburban Chicago, I was escorted off of a State Park while covering a local history festival for a newspaper. I've been kicked out of county fairs, parades, political demonstrations, state capitol buildings, construction sites, and plenty of other places, too, all while taking pictures. Reasons are always vague, and no amount of stating my rights seems to work. To be fair, I'm taking these pictures as a journalist, which means that I'm a bit more obtrusive than a tourist standing 15 feet away, and I'm taking a lot more pictures than a tourist, too, but as long as I'm in a public place, that shouldn't matter.
posted by msbrauer at 6:12 PM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


WOuldn't terrorists have better luck with Google Earth?

Oh why does Google hate America?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:17 PM on November 8, 2007


“To be fair, I'm taking these pictures as a journalist,”

Makes it a whole league worse to interfere with you then I think.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:24 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dear Amtrak

I am planning on traveling to the States on business 4 times in the coming 6 months. As these conventions and training sessions are all in the Western U.S., I had intended to use your service to travel to 3 of these destinations. As a Multi-Media systems-integration specialist, I have invested some $20,000 in state of the art video and camera equipment. Part of the motivation for taking the train, as opposed to flying, is that as a photographer I was hoping to capture some images along the way. You can imagine my chagrin then, at reading this article just now.

I am aghast to discover that it is apparently against "security regulations" to take pictures from your trains. Are the facts as stated in this article true? If not, what is being done to discipline your employee who acted in this manner, and will criminal charges be brought against this person? What assurances can you provide tmyself and my 3 co-workers who are traveling to Seattle in January that we won't be the victims of similar arbitrary criminal behaviour?

Coincidentally, it happens that one of these employees has both brown skin, and a turban. Is it safe for this person to travel on your trains? After all, he does look"different", and English isn't his first language. His accent s fairly thick, it seems all too possible that he might be singled out by Amtrak employees, clearly maddened by delusions of grandeur. One would presume that any company conducting business in the travel sector would be sensitive to cultural differences and language barriers, but in this matter such common sense doesn't seem to have been the case.

The hotel rooms for our first trip are already booked; therefore my colleagues and I anticipate your prompt, specific, and germane answer.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:36 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is it time to change the national anthem yet?

My vote: This Land is Your Land. Puts a lump in my throat every time. Not that that's the direction things are going in.
posted by BinGregory at 11:29 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd be interested in knowing if there are any independent confirmations of this besides the one blog.

It's not that I don't believe the story -- it seems entirely too plausible -- but it's too easy to discredit when it's just the one source. It'd be a lot more effective, in terms of getting Amtrak to discipline the employee(s) involved, if there was corroboration.

Not that it excuses it in the slightest, but I wonder if there wasn't something else going on besides the photography (up to and including just being a foreigner) that was the real motivation; the spurious "security concerns" and the photography just being a cover, or a way of getting the cops to come on and actually eject the guy. If the guy was doing something else annoying, that might also explain the utter lack of bystander intervention.

I think that's the way a lot of 'security concerns' are used; it may look on the surface like pedantic and arbitrary enforcement of nonsense rules, but in reality it's the cunningly selective use of nonsense rules against people who can't be discriminated against more directly.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:08 AM on November 9, 2007


A few weeks ago I was in a NJ shopping mall and was taking pictures of my 3 year old on one of those coin operated rides. The mall was empty and my son was the only one on the rides. Within a few minutes, two security guys came over and said "for my own security" I was not allowed to take any photos. I told them I was merely snapping a few shots of my kid on the ride and asked them what the problem was but all they would say was "it was for my own security".

I realize I was on private property and they can make their own rules but it's just getting ridiculous.
posted by gfrobe at 2:02 AM on November 9, 2007


all they would say was "it was for my own security"

It was for your own security. If you didn't stop, they were going to tazer you.
posted by bitmage at 7:10 AM on November 9, 2007


I should say via

You should say Amtrak, not VIA.

</badjokefilter>
posted by oaf at 8:16 AM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love the passive outrage in the blog.

Passive outrage? On something posted to a site called episcopalcafe.com? Unimaginable!

Every single one of the framers of the Constitution are rolling in their graves.
Non-stop these days, it seems.


Perhaps we can use this energy to power the trains.
posted by oaf at 8:22 AM on November 9, 2007


i too was surprised to see the "episcopal cafe" blog's announcement that commenters should use their real names. in an orwellian state, i would assume that the security apparatus is taking down those real names. it amuses me that the episcopal church of my childhood, which i have long since left, is now acting as a judas goat. i use my real name on metafilter and am ever grateful for the various circumstances that make me just a little bit more formidable than a japanese tourist, or an amtrak conductor.
posted by bruce at 9:41 AM on November 9, 2007


Dear Jeffrey Young,

Thank you for contacting us.

We have forwarded your e-mail to our Customer Relations Department. They will contact you as soon as possible in the order that the e-mail is received.

Sincerely,
Mary
Amtrak Customer Service


Will update with any further response.

The fare from Vancouver to Seattle is only $28, and takes 4 hours. That's less than the cost of gas in my Jeep TJ. This is also actually faster than flying, with the 2-3 hour pre-boarding check-in time now required to enter the U.S.. With the Canadian dollar worth more the the U.S. dollar, it's suddenly affordable to travel down to the States again. In fact, I'm thinking of heading down there this weekend. In an ironic twist, it would probably never have occurred to me take the train to Seattle, without having seen this post. I'd love to use their service, but will not do so if this is how they treat their passengers.

As to the veracity of the post ... call me crazy, but the Episcopal Cafe hardly strikes me as a hotbed of left-wing sensationalism
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:40 PM on November 9, 2007


This is outrageous, I am a photographer too and if I would be asked to put down my camera for security reasons I would start thinking that maybe the US governmenet has gone a bit over the top this time, where is this going to stop? Anyway let's not forget this is a topic about photography.
In my opinion taking pictures from a train or a boat couldn't be less harmless because if you are a tourist you will want to at least take a picture or too to show the folks back at home that the world has many countries and many cultures and they say a image talks more than words, so then is what is wrong with little Mr Tourist Noharm taking a photo or too if this wasn't political I bet you nobody in that train even noticed a National Security breach but then again indiference is the answer I will wait to see the day when people stand up again and fight for the rights of the small guy instead of living in apathy.
posted by Adrian M. at 3:56 AM on November 10, 2007


bruce writes "i too was surprised to see the 'episcopal cafe' blog's announcement that commenters should use their real names. in an orwellian state, i would assume that the security apparatus is taking down those real names. it amuses me that the episcopal church of my childhood, which i have long since left, is now acting as a judas goat."

The funny part for me is that my handle is essentially an unique identifier, my real name is about as identifying as John Smith. However the former is verboten and the latter is A-OK.
posted by Mitheral at 9:28 PM on November 10, 2007


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