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Your article on verboten photography at the site of some of the District’s federal buildings (“Don’t Shoot,” 10/15) was quite amusing and even more frightening. The costumes and fake mustaches were a nice touch, adding a well-needed sense of whimsy and ridicule to what was otherwise a disturbing journey through the police state that D.C. has become.

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We’re supposed to be the freest nation in the world, but it’s illegal to take pictures of concrete barriers and flower boxes? The behavior on the part of the “special police” outside of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is especially revolting: “It means we can shoot you and it wouldn’t matter.”

This is not democracy, people! I understand the desire to keep people safe, but in this post-9/11 world, the “rules” have been atrociously increased and intensified. Furthermore, as the article’s writers discovered, these “rules” have been concealed from the public, so there is no opportunity to challenge their validity, except for during that frenzied moment when a person is informed that she has, in fact, broken one. But at that point, the police are either already there or on their way to the scene, and so ends the dialogue.

And confiscating reporters’ cameras amounts to nothing more than censorship of the media, as well as suppressing ordinary citizens’ ability to become media-makers themselves.

You know it’s gotten bad when it’s not just the local alternative weekly’s writer in the Vulcan costume who’s getting harassed, but also the tourists, whose pre$ence has always been so welcomed in this town.

Thanks for pointing out just another instance in which our civil liberties have been threatened, as well as the blatant absurdity of it all.

Georgetown