After reading a bunch of posts from a former TSA agent (Taking Sense Away, hosted at WordPress.com), I’m finally convinced to opt–out every time I fly. Why? If he and other TSA agents call people who opt–out “smart passengers”, that’s good enough for me.
Bob Hope Airport in Burbank obviously isn’t as busy as LAX, so it was a good opportunity to see how this would go.
I spoke with nice TSA screeners. I voiced my anxiety about my stuff going through the x-ray machine, then the screener — let’s call him “John” — who was about to pat me down eased my fears and we walked over to it to gather my things.
John explained the process thoroughly, and asked me if I wanted a private screening before proceeding. I politely declined while gazing forward at other passengers, noticing that nobody else opted out. All while a stranger felt around me with latex-covered hands.
I’m relieved John didn’t linger on any areas. He also asked about my right foot since I was limping, and hoped that I felt better soon.
The only awkwardness I can remember is John exhaling/grunting every few seconds during the pat down. His breathing was somewhat labored. (He was a bit heavyset, so I hope it’s nothing serious.) The entire process seemed to take about five more minutes than if I went through the millimeter wave scanner.
I’d like to think he earned his paycheck, and I’m glad to stop putting my health into technology that hasn’t been thoroughly tested.
Thanks to Hal Bergman, there’s video of the encounter with the security team at the US Bank Tower. Shawn (Discarted) edited the video and just blogged about it this morning. Consider it part two, which include the put downs, plus an attempt to teach one of the security guards by Angelo [of Hollywood].
Update 1/21/2009 3:35pm — Thanks to Thomas Hawk for blogging about this!
Update 1/21/2009 3:50pm — Thanks to blogdowntown for blogging about this, too. See “Photographers’ Rights Protest Makes For Good Theatre.”
Update 1/23/2009 2:55pm — Thanks for LAist and Jeremy Brooks for picking this up (and also putting it on Digg).
After getting harassed at the US Bank Tower last Thursday, Shawn helped organize an impromptu protest for Sunday.
From Pershing Square, we walked up 5th Street toward the US Bank Tower. At this point, I was with Shawn Nee, David Sommars and Angelo Pacella.
Summary and transcription at the Gas Company Tower
Our first confrontation was almost immediate, occurring in front of the Gas Company Tower (Google Maps). The first SG was a older man with a New York accent. What follows is my transcription of the confrontation, along with an audio recording (download here).
Continue reading Encounters at the Photographers’ Rights Protest in LA
Following up my getting harassed at the US Bank building in Downtown Los Angeles, Discarted sent an email to several other photographers and posted on Flickr that we would protest.
This Sunday (1/18/2009) at 2pm, we’re going to meet at Pershing Square and walk to the US Bank building to protest, take photos and educate people. Of course, there are many buildings around the area that we’ll photograph and most likely get harassed.
In addition to your camera, bring video cameras or audio recorders (if you have any) to document any confrontation(s).
Mentally prepare yourself. Understand and stand up for your rights. Photography is not a crime.
Update 1/21/2009 4:15pm: I shouldn’t have worded my post this way. I’d like to clarify that our primary goal was to take photos. If we got harassed, then we’d have the necessary tools needed to document the incident.
View on Flickr
January 15th, 2009 at 5:27pm, we were harassed by the security of the US Bank building for about five minutes.
I haven’t been harassed about taking photos in awhile, but when Maxwell wanted to go photowalking in the area around Civic Center and Pershing Square, I knew it’d happen.
For the record, the building(s) are incredibly visible in Google Maps using Street View.
A minute after Maxwell was up the stairs, as predicted, a security guard (Robert) came outside to confront us. The usual spiel spewed forth.
Continue reading Harassed at the US Bank building in Los Angeles