Friday, May 10, 2013

Today's walk report: 051013

I was just minding my own business walking the final stretch of the college campus with my camera over my shoulder, hanging down at my hip, lens cap on, camera turned off and I hear a WHOOP! from the Los Angeles County Sheriff driving up the hill I'm on. So I take off my headphones and ask what's up. He asked me what my business was on the campus. I explained, "I'm going for a walk, just like I've done here almost everyday for the past 2 years. Why, is there a problem?" I already knew what he was going to say because this is the second time this has happened in two years. He says, "you can't take pictures here." I sort of played dumb at 1st so I could hear his explanation, except he didn't really have one... simply, you can't take pictures here without a permit. I questioned the campus being a public place and how was this so. Again, he tries to impress upon me that it's a matter of a fact. So then I explain that two years ago the very same thing happened. When I got home that time I called the Sheriff's station on campus, thinking that the officer who harassed me that time was some rookie and somehow skipped school the day he was taught about the 1st amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Except the officer answering concurred! He said, all you need to do is go to the Student Services office and let them know. About a week later I did just that, mostly out of curiosity. I had already checked long and hard for something on this in the school's website---this is a Los Angeles Community College, folks--this isn't some outpost of tyranny. We're not talking North Korea here. Anyway, the office knew nothing about it. So I told this guy, "yeah, when I went to the office someone there said, 'that's a violation of your 1st amendment rights' and I said to the officer, "this is exactly what I thought." He basically skirted over everything I said, including my going back to his alleged "permit" because, of course, there is no permit. They don't require permits for things which are within your constitutional rights. He also skirted my question as to what ordinance was he trying to enforce. Remember, at this point all I was doing was walking with a camera strapped over my shoulder. Now, I wasn't going to go at it with the guy. I even offered him my driver's license, in fact I sort of insisted. Despite him violating my civil rights, I don't feel like having to deal with this again. Here's what the ACLU has to say regarding this issue...

When in public spaces where you are lawfully present you have the right to photograph anything that is in plain view. That includes pictures of federal buildings, transportation facilities, and police. Such photography is a form of public oversight over the government and is important in a free society.

You can read more here. He continued with a whole song and dance about all of the terrible problems in the world and the stuff that has happened on college campuses, that "we just need to know the intentions..." Total bullshit. I didn't even get into with an enrollment of 21,000, how many students have cell phones and how many cell phones have cameras... I mentioned some other stuff though. I tried to pose a question or two in order to point out just how ludicrous his premise was but again I wasn't going to hammer on the guy and put him in the corner he needs to be put into--along with the rest of them.

On to the walk...

He thought he was perfectly camouflaged.
Red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) I have no idea what he was eating but he seemed to enjoy it.
Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) and
Kangaroo paw.
Help! There's a terrorist taking my picture!!!
Some straw flowers in the Australian section of the garden.

For sure no one will have a camera at the car show on the weekend not to mention all of the children's soccer events which take place all the time or the gymnastics classes, swimming classes, just regular students going to school and having fun at lunch or whatever... no iPhones or other mobile devices taking any pictures of that! 

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