Al Queda's Paparazzi. Not.

wiggumgun1Across the United States, common sense is being replaced by ignorant, institutionalized paranoia, and as a consequence, professional grade morons with guns are empowered (and paid for by the tax payers) to impersonate law enforcement personnel and arrest random people merely for taking pictures in public.Which. Is. Not. Illegal.

Now, it would be one thing if, every time something like this happened, a responsible and appropriately remorseful commanding officer stepped forward and apologized for the incident, and promised to educate his officers on basic things like, say, the 1st and 4th amendments. But what we’re seeing are increasingly arrogant and Orwellian statements being made by sadistic bastards to the effect that a) these arrests are a prized a feature of, not a bug in, the system; and that b) this somehow makes us all much safer. Case in point, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker, who claims it is a deputy’s “duty to ask questions”:

“Should we really ignore suspicious activity?” Parker asked. “We have an obligation to the public to answer questions and we are going to ask people why are you taking that picture. It is our duty to protect the public.”

Thanks, Capt’n, thanks so very, very much for swooping in and protecting us from ourselves. Don’t you just wish your precinct had some Iraqi vets you could shoot in the head right about now?

As a photographer it’s disconcerting to realize that, in addition to the challenges of what to shoot, where to shoot, who to shoot, and how to shoot it, there’s the added nuisance of wondering “which incarnation of Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz from the local fail brigade is going to have an issue with my shooting this?” Pain. In. The. Ass. I’ve been arrested for taking picture before, I’ve been shot at for taking pictures before, but that’s been in places like Lebanon and the Occupied West Bank. I’d have thought I wouldn’t have to worry about it in the Land of the Free…