DHS = Paranoia

Originally posted to my blogspot blog.

Yesterday, I was trying to take some artsy photos of the rail road tracks near my home, as well as some general autumn/changing leaves/nature shots. A local cop pulled up next to me and asked me about the pictures I was taking, in particular: "What are you taking pictures of?"

I answered, plainly, "Nature photos, the changing leaves, the railroad."

He then told me I looked suspicious. He went on to say that, with the Department of Homeland Security, taking pictures of railroads looks suspicious. He repeatedly used the word "suspicious".

He then asked if he could see the pictures I took. As I started thinking of a polite way to say "not without a warrant", he got paged on his CB radio. He chatted on the CB for a minute or so, then turned to me and gave another quick "it looks suspicious" speech, then drove away.

Overall, it wasn't a big deal. It only took up a few minutes of my time. The cop wasn't a jerk, simply matter-of-fact. I didn't have to give him my information (likewise, he didn't identify himself).

I have nothing against the police officer; he was just doing his job. What bothers me is that, a guy walking around with a camera in broad daylight is now considered "suspicious". Have we become so paranoid that hobbyist photographers are now included in the group of potential enemies?