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Entering Police State (for your own good)

Submitted by on July 22, 2011 – 5:46 pm EST4 Comments

NoisyRoom
By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

There’s a story out of New York by Taylor Hatmaker, Secret Service raids Apple store artist for snapping 1000 spy photos, that caught my attention the other day. The secondary title was a bit more accurate, “A young digital artist secretly recorded shoppers peering into computers at New York Apple stores.” Too late, I was already looking for James Bond behind every iPad.

The article indicated Kyle McDonald asked for permission to install a computer program of his own design which would secretly take photographs of potential customers as they contemplated purchasing items at the store. McDonald collected the photographs to make a short artistic video which he posted on the internet; a video which is no longer available for viewing.

Who hit the alarm button, the one to alert Homeland Security, Secret Service, the CIA and MI-6 to save us from having our pictures being taken in a public setting? “All units, unauthorized picture taking on 14th Street; seek and destroy. Call out the black ops helicopters and get Maxwell Smart out of retirement! The security of our civilized society is now at Defcom 3.” Somebody took photographs in New York City; oh my heavens, call out the guard!

“The stealthy undertaking resulted in the confiscation of McDonald’s two computers, his iPod, and some other storage devices, but it isn’t yet clear if McDonald was actually in violation of any laws. While the Secret Service warrant cited ‘computer fraud’ as the cause for the raid…”

Did you catch that, “it isn’t yet clear if McDonald was actually in violation of any laws?” The “state” always knows best so it must be for our own good.

I’m sure the Patriot Act extension signed by Obama covers a wide range of terrorist activity via its ambiguous wording, enough for an unnamed federal judge to sign a warrant giving the Secret Service authorization to seize “McDonald’s two computers, his iPod, and some other storage devices.”

So, exactly what laws were violated? Please be specific. We the People want to know the definition of “for our own good.” Not too long ago, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she stands by the report, which lists returning veterans among terrorist risks to the U.S.

Without the rule of law, our foundation cracks and falls apart. If our individual liberties are at the whim of whomever is in power, then our nation is doomed. For what is liberty without a clear understanding of private property rights?

“If the declaration of independence is not obligatory, our intire political fabrick has lost its magna charta, and is without any solid foundation. But if it is the basis of our form of government, it is the true expositor of the principles and terms we have adopted.” (John Taylor 1823)

Where is the line drawn in the sand? The one which identifies tourist activity from terrorist activity? Shouldn’t reason and common sense be used to determine criminal intent or has common sense been thrown out and Zero Tolerance taken its place?

If someone takes pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge while on a trip to New York, could they be arrested for planning its demise based merely on the image stored on the camera’s memory card? What if they took pictures of some of the characters seen at Wal-Mart; not that anyone could be embarrassed with a few “candid camera” shots there.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds wrote an article which explained, “Taking Photos In Public Places Is Not a Crime,” giving generally accepted rules which apply regardless of the fact that too many officials think otherwise.

“Legally, it’s pretty much always okay to take photos in a public place as long as you’re not physically interfering with traffic or police operations. As Bert Krages, an attorney who specializes in photography-related legal problems and wrote Legal Handbook for Photographers, says, “The general rule is that if something is in a public place, you’re entitled to photograph it.” What’s more, though national-security laws are often invoked when quashing photographers, Krages explains that “the Patriot Act does not restrict photography; neither does the Homeland Security Act.” But this doesn’t stop people from interfering with photographers, even in settings that don’t seem much like national-security zones.”

I ask once more, getting back to the original article that got my blood pressure up a notch, where in our laws is it written that the Secret Service can confiscate McDonald’s personal property simply for taking pictures of folks shopping for a computer? Exactly what laws were violated? Please be specific. I know; it must be for our own good.

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C.S. Lewis

This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”

4 Comments »

  • kahki says:

    This is not an isolated incident in the New York area. Apparently it happens regularly that authorities tell photographers they cannot take pictures in public places. It’s happening elsewhere, as well. If people willingly comply, it only emboldens law enforcement to restrict perfectly legal activities. When confronted, the authorities cannot cite a violation of law, but they will detain a person who resists their demands, or sometimes, even dares to question their authority. Even though it’s happening with more and more frequency, most people don’t perceive what I believe is an emerging police state, and generally they don’t know or exercise their rights; they just obey. How else could we possibly justify TSA that treats every traveler as a potential terrorist? These are horrible infringements on our natural rights.

    I still hear Americans say they live in the “freest country on earth.” That’s a complete fallacy! The Index of Economic Freedom from the Heritage Foundation ranks the US number nine of free countries and sadly sinking each year. Other studies show similar findings. The really sad part is that it is ninth only because all but eight other countries (including NZ) are even worse!

    Benjamin Franklin said that those who would trade essential liberty for security, deserve neither and will lose both. We’re losing it! I wish people would wake up, but they seem secure in what they think they know without ever really thinking about it.

  • We are already on the edge of a complete police state; look for an event to happen shortly with the economy and the national debt fight that Obama will use to make the final and complete takeover of the nation; if they need to, they shall manufacture the events to make it happen.

    Never trust the government, never trust Obama or the adminsitration; the HSA under Napoletano has more and more become the secret police of his, seeking to whip up hate and fear, just daring anyone to strike out and make things happen they can use.

    After all, they have stated “Never let a good emergency go to waste.”

    I am expecting a 60/40 chance that we will have martial law and a national emergency of the power grid, the financial markets, and even a ‘terrorist’ incident being fabricated within the next ten days at the most.

    The nation is too distracted over the debt, which is important indeed yet the President is maneuvering too smoothly, and too patiently, so there is need to watch the feint and see the real move coming soon.

    • Greycoat says:

      ” look for an event to happen shortly with the economy and the national debt fight that Obama will use to make the final and complete takeover of the nation”

      One diarist on DailyKos is already calling for Obama to declare martial law and take on the powers of a full dictator. From his comments in the comment section he does not appear to be “jesting”. See http://bit.ly/oD9Iib

  • grumpyt says:

    kahki & William, you both say something like “emerging” or “on the edge of complete” POLICE STATE. Well both of you are right but the police state is HERE. Just watch the police at stop lights (if you can see through their illegal tint) put license plates numbers into the computer in their squad car. Just look around at the police cars that have the “scan cameras” that can record and transmit thousands of tag numbers an hour to the central computer. These are both 4th Amendment violations that courts have allowed.

    Have you seen the vid of the Canton OH “police” officer threaten the citizen who is LEGALLY carrying a pistol?

    Have you watched anything about what they are doing in Quartzite AZ?

    Have you seen what they are doing to the woman who grew FOOD in her OWN FRONT YARD?

    We have lost control of the government that we have put in place and I am looking for a nonviolent way to reign them in.

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