City Paper is not for tourists
Fisher today provides a nice zoom lens on the problems folks—including NPR reporters—are having when they decide to snap a few pictures at Union Station. He writes:
The harassment of people who take pictures in front of public buildings is second only to the bizarre fixation we have with the meaningless ritual of checking ID cards at building entrances in the catalogue of security silliness that we have permitted since 9/11. Every single major public building in Washington is exhaustively detailed in art, journalism and official photography available to anyone in books, magazines and all over this here web. Many transit systems, including Metro, provide extensive collections of photographs of their facilities right on their own sites.
If having lots of rent-a-cops wandering around makes people feel better protected against terrorists, fine, let the mall managers and federal bureaucrats waste their money on hiring up. But leave the photographers alone—having their eyes watching over public places is surely a more effective means of prevention than any number of bored security guards.
On the flipside, I witnessed a Union Station rent-a-cop take a man’s picture after he urinated on a wall by the closed food court. He didn’t arrest the man for his drunken stupidity. So why take his picture?