Climate of Fear

Young Boy in Skateboard Park

I have always thought of America as a wonderful unique country. Others sometimes see us as boorish, aggressive, avaricious and crass. That’s fine with me because we sometimes some of us are, and as usual, most of us are not. But things are slowly changing—for the worse. We are slowly transforming ourselves into something far worse than that for which we are known—something far scarier. We are slowly becoming a nation of schmucks— fearful, politically correct, petty schmucks. Its not the commies, or the Nazis, or international Jewish conspiracy that is doing us in. No, its far worse than that. Its the lawyers who make money telling us how to behave, the fundamentalists who think they know how we should behave,  and the rest of us who are quite content being told how to behave. Since those who appoint themselves as the “leaders” are essentially hipocrites, it a pretty bad situation all around.

The picture above is of a young kid in a skateboard park in West Palm Beach. I was hanging around looking for pictures to take in the park  but except for a bunch of hispanics playing soccer there was not much happening. I walked by the skateboard park and this kid yells out

“Hey mister, take my picture.”

So I do. In a few moments his buddies all show up and are posing for me behind the chain link fence that separates them from the world. I thought it might be a good idea and enter the skateboard park and take more pictures without the chain link fence so I tell them:

“Hang on kids, I’m coming in.”

I walk through the building/entrance and a young girl says to me.

“Excuse me sir. Where are you going?”

“Inside to take some pictures.” I say

“You are not allowed”

” Why”

“Only parents can take pictures of their kids. Strangers are not permitted to, because some of the parents might object.”

“How do you know this?”

“Its city policy” (This is a code word for lawyers fucking things up.)

” I just want to take their picture for christ’s sake. I don’t want to murder them.”

” Please leave.”

And that was that. Another public place closed to photographers. My list of “verboten” places which includes stores, malls, museums, and gambling casinos has now branched out to kids in parks. We have to protect them from perverts. The problem is when dealing with these legal schmucks is that they are always looking under the wrong rock. My new neighbor, a few doors away is an ex-congressman who had to resign because he was allegedly chasing the page boys in Congress. They would have let him in to “scout out the territory—right? If I had a bible in my hand instead of a camera and I wanted to save the poor kid’s soul  (but in truth, was up to no good) they would have helped me through the gate. But a photographer, naw he is a fucking pervert!

Years ago when I was a twelve-year old I was “molested”. It happened in downtown Montreal. Sometimes I would take the 3A streetcar downtown and hang out, check out the goods at Dapper Dan, and sometimes if I had any change I would go to the Woolworth counter on Ste. Catherine street and have a hamburger and coke. One day as I left the counter an old man in a grey suit rubs up against me and sticks a folded newspaper in my crotch. I look up at him and he smiles at me and shoves the newspaper further up my crotch.

“Fuck off.” I say

He walks away and my ‘dark secret” is imbedded in me forever. I never thought that I needed counseling (although my ex-wife did) and I really don’t think I was scarred for life. It was just part of growing up. My parents had told me to avoid strangers and I followed their advice. A simple fuck off would always suffice. I am not saying that there is no evil in this world—their certainly is. Some people are pure rotten filth and they have always been there. But no amount of laws, policies, lawyers, political bullshit etc. will ever reduce that. All they do is target the wrong people. Its no different than airline security personal selecting 85 year old widows for increased security because they have this stupid policy about profiling.

There is no substitute for common sense.

On the other hand, perhaps I should switch to landscape photography. But then again some lawyer will find a reason to forbid it.

1 Comment

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  1. You’d find just as much trouble photographing landscapes as anything else these days. Even the iconic photographers like Ken Duncan are having issues. I’d post a link to the articles.. but they don’t show up at all.

    – paul


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