First Amendment? Never heard of it.
November 15, 2004 3:08 PM   Subscribe

It hasn't been a good day for the Bill of Rights. In addition to this and this, it's now apparently a breach of security to take pictures of the White House from a public street. And to resell diaries of historical importance. [reg may be required.]
posted by keswick (33 comments total)
But I think it's still legal to set yourself ablaze outside the White House.
posted by adamms222 at 3:21 PM on November 15, 2004

...which raises an interesting conundrum: if someone sets himself on fire on the street in front of the White House, can you take pictures of that?
posted by scody at 3:24 PM on November 15, 2004

I'm glad you guys find all this so amusing.
posted by keswick at 3:27 PM on November 15, 2004

"I'm glad you guys find all this so amusing."

In many ways the country we loved is gone. Some days you cry. Some days laughter is the only thing that will get you through.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:31 PM on November 15, 2004

I don't find it amusing at all, keswick, I find it pretty horrifying. AND I can still make a joke about it. Amazing how two things can exist at the same time, huh?
posted by scody at 3:35 PM on November 15, 2004

Wow. Bill's a friend of mine. That's crazy.

I highly recommend spending some time flipping through his site. He's a wonderful photographer. His pictures tell stories, so 20 minutes on his site is really 20 minutes of stories.
posted by waldo at 3:35 PM on November 15, 2004

set yourself ablaze

To be so (upset/angry/disturbed/hurting) that you would set yourself on fire as a public act.

After Nov 2nd I had said to another 'wonder how long till someone sets them selfs on fire'. Less than 2 weeks.

Wonder if the broadcast media will carry his political statement, and where said statement will show up on the Internet.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:39 PM on November 15, 2004

In many ways the country we loved is gone.

You people are so funny.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:43 PM on November 15, 2004

I've got to say the story is either unlucky or made up. Why? Because this past Friday night I walked over to the White House (I work just about a block away) and stood on the newly opened Pennsylvania Avenue and took several pictures of the White House on my new camera. A lone, dark skinned male taking pictures of the White House while wearing a backpack.

Nobody bothered me.

I'm just saying.
posted by owillis at 3:45 PM on November 15, 2004

It very likely may be an aberration, but what bothers me as a photographer, citizen, and patriot is that the climate is such that these abuses of power are becoming more and more common. That and the people who are trusted with authority are rarely, if ever, punished for their transgressions. If you want more horror stories, check out
posted by keswick at 3:50 PM on November 15, 2004

After Nov 2nd I had said to another 'wonder how long till someone sets them selfs on fire'. Less than 2 weeks.

It wasn't fire, but someone beat this guy to it....cobain-style.

His name was Andrew Veal.
Andrew Veal's body was found Saturday morning inside the off-limits area of the former World Trade Center site, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

A shotgun was found nearby, but no suicide note was found, Coleman said.

Veal's mother said her son was upset about the result of the presidential election and had driven to New York, Gus Danese, president of the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, told The New York Times in Sunday's editions.

"I'm absolutely sure it's a protest," Mary Anne Mauney, Veal's supervisor at the lab, told The Daily News. "I don't know what made him commit suicide, but where he did it was symbolic."
/not a joke.

posted by wah at 3:56 PM on November 15, 2004

I've got to say the story is either unlucky or made up.

I have to agree with this. I walk and jog by the White House regularly, and there are almost always lots of people clicking away. I suspect there's a little more to the story than this.

If you want to find abuses of police power in DC, though, there are plenty.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:59 PM on November 15, 2004

You people are so funny.

Well, you know that you people have an unusual sense of humor, so it's not strange that you consider shameful things to be funny!
posted by matteo at 4:02 PM on November 15, 2004

Keswilck -- RE: the last link... I escaped Redding 19 years ago and vowed to never read the wretched flashlight again. The last thing I want to do is register for it. Is there another link?
posted by birdherder at 4:06 PM on November 15, 2004

[oh, and apologies for adding the 'l' to your name].
posted by birdherder at 4:19 PM on November 15, 2004

I've got to say the story is either unlucky or made up.

I'd put my money on unlucky. I take pictures of all sorts of things all the time, and am often approached for security for it.

I've had the cops called on me for taking pictures of the maintenance shed at a state park in suburban New Jersey. I even showed the pictures to the park worker who confronted me about it.

Was it unlucky? Yes. Out-of-the-ordinary? Yes.

But it's troubling that he felt compelled to call the police on the basis of a couple pictures taken on public property that I was more than happy to share with him.

And it's all the more troubling when it happens at a tourist hotspot, and when the accoster is armed personnel, who needlessly makes the poor guy destroy his film, even after explaining himself.

If a terrorist/assassin/character-of-ill-repute wanted to get pictures of the White House, believe me, they could. Camera phone. Pen cam. Hide camera in jacket. Disposable camera. Just use Google, for chrissakes.

If there really is a valid, potential security threat to allowing photography (I don't think that there is), by all means, put up "No photography" signs, and increase security presence.

Intimidation tactics against ordinary people, though, are not an acceptable response.
posted by rafter at 4:19 PM on November 15, 2004

"Escaped Redding, eh?" Fine with me, it's getting too crowded anyway.

Federal agency wary of dam saboteurs

Fearing security breach, Bureau of Reclamation confiscates construction diaries

By Christina Lucarotti, Record Searchlight
November 15, 2004

An online auction of a pair of 61-year-old journals containing information about the construction of the Shasta and Keswick dams prompted a surprise visit earlier this month by a federal agent to a Redding thrift store.

"She walked through the door and flashed a badge," Jon Austin said of Anna Sandoval-Ryan, a regional special agent for the Bureau of Reclamation, part of the U.S. Department of Interior.

Austin, a volunteer at Second Time Around Thrift Store on North Market Street, was shocked an eBay auction of two 1943 volumes about dam construction projects was seen by the government as a terrorism risk.

"I didn't see anything marked 'sensitive, secret -- don't let this in the wrong hands,'" Austin said.

Store Manager Kathy Lockhart, who voluntarily handed over the project histories, said she'd never want to stand in the way of national security. But she admitted she was at first taken aback.

"We just had sour grapes that day because it was the only thing selling," Lockhart said.

Reclamation spokesman Jeff McCracken said that after spotting the items on eBay, department officials decided they'd feel more comfortable if the documents were kept out of public circulation.

"It's part of an effort by our agency that information we feel needs to be protected is protected," he said, adding that the agent offered to pay for the documents.

The construction diaries contain original black and white photographs, diagrams, charts and maps -- a treasure for a historian or engineer, according to Austin.

Billed as "rare" and "priceless" on eBay, the starting bid for the two-volume set was $29.95 and rose to $31 before the government intervened and the auction was cancelled. Not long afterward, a potential buyer -- a librarian -- contacted the store to say he would have paid much more, Lockhart said.

She didn't want to know how much. Not that the profit would have benefited her. Proceeds from the Second Time Around Thrift Store, where everything is donated, go to Northern Valley Catholic Social Service.

Lockhart doesn't know who donated the diaries.

Her best guess is they were an estate item, probably kept in someone's basement or attic for years.

McCracken said they most likely belonged to a person who worked on the dams, anyone from a federal employee to a construction worker.

One was titled "Project History Kenneth Division," the other "Annual History, Region Two, California, 1943, Vol. 8, Part 3 of 4."

It is impossible to say if more exist, McCracken said.

Despite the agent's visit -- no one, except Austin perhaps, wanted to call it a raid -- McCracken said the Bureau of Reclamation is not in the habit of tracking down these sorts of items.

"We generally don't have people sit around looking for things," McCracken said.

posted by keswick at 4:23 PM on November 15, 2004

And, in other news, the Secretary of State who should have had the balls to stand up to the bullshit the Bush Administration was shoveling is stepping down, to be replaced by the WORST NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR EVAR.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:31 PM on November 15, 2004

The last thing I want to do is register for it. Is there another link?
posted by mrgrimm at 4:54 PM on November 15, 2004

Actually, Andrew Veal didn't kill himself because of the election...

At least his suicide note didn't mention anything to that effect.

At first, his friends believed he killed himself over the outcome of the election, but his written musings never mention it.

None the less still a tradgedy.
posted by da5id at 5:19 PM on November 15, 2004

Sorry for the Redding hate speech. I had some good times there. Go EHS Hornets!
posted by birdherder at 6:13 PM on November 15, 2004

"It very likely may be an aberration" my ass.

Just saying.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 7:50 PM on November 15, 2004

You people are so funny.

What's funny Steve? That we care about this country and its future? Does that make us different from you? That we care about the constitution and the freedom that it grants us? Does that make us different from you? That we zealously keep watch to make sure those liberties promised by the founding fathers are not curtailed by those forces in America who would have us trade our freedom for an empty promise of temporary safety? Does that make us different from you?

Somehow, Steve, I think that you might not find it so funny if a man with a badge were denying you your right to carry a firearm, instead of a camera.

It doesn't bother you at all, Steve, that those rights and liberties that generations of young American men fought and died to protect are being chipped away at, little by little? C'mon Steve, be a patriot. Stand up for the rights of your fellow citizens, don't mock them when they justly and rightfully point out that our rights, our liberties, "The American Way of Life" that men are fighting and dying to protect right now is being diminished.

I'm very surprised at you, Steve. I would have thought that a patriotic, all-American Flag waiving guy like yourself would uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States of America at all costs, not snigger as it was disemboweled.
posted by anastasiav at 9:22 PM on November 15, 2004

His guys are disemboweling it, so it's OK. Typical partisan bullshit. There is no right and wrong anymore, just democrat and republican.
posted by Eekacat at 10:11 PM on November 15, 2004

...and wonderchicken.

*cue dramatic music*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:31 PM on November 15, 2004

*dances lasciviously to dramatic music*
posted by The God Complex at 10:56 PM on November 15, 2004

Steve is programmed to believe he is not programmed. While many of us are wondering how thoroughly we already are. . .

All that time you're spending wondering about that kind of shit, you could have been "preparing", like Steve.
posted by crasspastor at 11:04 PM on November 15, 2004

Know what a police state is, Steve? Do you feel excited with the way it sounds (p-o-l-i-c-e s-t-a-t-e, wow!). Have you always dressed in uniforms at parties when little? If yes, then let the fuckers call you whatever they want. YOU ARE A REAL PATRIOT!
posted by acrobat at 7:32 AM on November 16, 2004

My family and I have known Bill Emory for years. I wouldn't doubt for a second that the story is precisely as he tells it.
posted by waldo at 8:41 AM on November 16, 2004

I had no desire to test the judiciary of the boot-heel, to discover first hand what Kafkaesque definition of “escalation” would be applied to me. I have immediate responsibilities and a life I dearly love


Lay off the shrooms. Or grow a spine. If there is ever a police state in the USA, it will come because too many people just bend over for dick-head rent-a-cops.
posted by Ayn Marx at 11:53 AM on November 16, 2004

I believe that's his point, Ayn Marx.
posted by waldo at 1:25 PM on November 16, 2004

audio of the encounter is now up.

i really dread the day something like this happens to me because i don't respond well to authority, especially when its' trying to deprive me of my godgiven rights.
posted by keswick at 10:35 PM on November 19, 2004

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