Mob Rule & Shooting In Public - A Horror Story +1

BackdoorArts

Senior Member
I've been scarce for some time here, but I needed to drop in if only to post this incredibly disturbing story. Controversy over out of state photographers in McDowell Co. - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

It angers me more than normal for very personal reasons. You see, two and a half weeks ago I went out for a morning walk, taking photos of the foggy morning as I walked the 2 mile "block" I live on. At one point, as I was taking a photo a school bus pulled up next to me and stopped. I squeezed off a single photo of the front of the bus thinking it was a perfect "stock photo"...

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I continued walking and shooting for the next 20-30 minutes. I was less than a 1/4 mile from home when a police car slowed behind me after I'd crossed the road. I waved, thinking he was going to caution me for crossing the way I did, but he then pulled across the road, blocking me and pointing for me to take a step off the road. He exited the vehicle and asked what I was doing. I told him I was taking photos of the foggy morning. He asked if I had taken photos of any children. The school bus registered in my head and I told him, "I took a photo of the front of a school bus, but that's it. I know enough not to be taking photos of children." His response? "Do you watch Channel 69? You know there have been child abductions." Holy crap, here we go.

Within minutes I had 4 township cops questioning me because a kid on the bus told the bus driver "a man is taking pictures of kids getting on the bus!!", and the bus driver (doing their job) told the school principal who told both the police and the kids' mom. Nothing I did was illegal, and frankly it wasn't even inadvisable since I made sure I never once aimed the camera towards anyone on the bus. I was held against my will for 20 minutes within site of my house because of one fearful kid and lack of ID (who carries their wallet on a morning walk?!). I cooperated fully because it involved children, I showed my entire set of photographs to 3 different cops but still wasn't allowed to leave until one of them took an iPhone photo of my school bus photo that they could share with the mother (apparently my offer 10 minutes before that to have them take me to my house around the corner where I offered them a dump of my memory card wasn't sufficient).

I've been pissed every since, and a little concerned as I've yet to be able to ascertain if my name is listed on any report where a suspicious and angry parent can read it. With that said, after reading this I'm quite thankful that it was 4 cops that showed up and not the husband/boyfriend of a freaked out woman. This country has gone to sh*t, and it's not showing any sign of changing. We're all one pissed off, gun toting, stand your ground dumbass away from a dirt nap, and for a guy that always has a camera with him that's unbelievably scary. I hope some major civil rights attorney gets with this couple and sues the living hell out of those backward idiots and the cop who was ready to haul in the folks that don't look like they belong. Look, I get the desire to protect your kids, but this isn't how you do it.

And since when did a middle-aged man with a camera become the stereotypical pedophile?!
 

mikew_RIP

Senior Member
Welcome to the stupid politically correct world we have in the UK,we have even got to the point where one commercial entertainment park has banned single males with cameras,this park has many children's entertainment items but it also has a bird of prey demonstration,which the guy that was refused admission had gone to photograph.

These same parents will put the most private details on face book along with family pictures,ime stopping now cos you have wound me up :D

Ps

Are you stopping long enough to give me your opinion on the so called improvements of the D7200 over the D7100
 

BackdoorArts

Senior Member
Welcome to the stupid politically correct world we have in the UK,we have even got to the point where one commercial entertainment park has banned single males with cameras,this park has many children's entertainment items but it also has a bird of prey demonstration,which the guy that was refused admission had gone to photograph.

These same parents will put the most private details on face book along with family pictures,ime stopping now cos you have wound me up :D

Ps

Are you stopping long enough to give me your opinion on the so called improvements of the D7200 over the D7100

That's beyond ridiculous, Mike. It has me thinking about putting the cameras down and picking up the golf clubs again.

As for the D7200, truth is that I've only done some cursory reading. Would have liked to have seen a tilt-screen ala the D750, but that would have gutted the D5xxx line. They fixed the woefully inadequate buffer and improved the sensor and focus systems, so it's all good in my book. I'm not paying to upgrade just yet. Perhaps when refurbs become available at a decent price ... or a D400 becomes a reality. The better ISO performance would be nice, but I can live with what I've got.
 

mikew_RIP

Senior Member
That's beyond ridiculous, Mike. It has me thinking about putting the cameras down and picking up the golf clubs again.

As for the D7200, truth is that I've only done some cursory reading. Would have liked to have seen a tilt-screen ala the D750, but that would have gutted the D5xxx line. They fixed the woefully inadequate buffer and improved the sensor and focus systems, so it's all good in my book. I'm not paying to upgrade just yet. Perhaps when refurbs become available at a decent price ... or a D400 becomes a reality. The better ISO performance would be nice, but I can live with what I've got.

Thanks Jake i will add that to my points in favor :D
 

mauckcg

Senior Member
I just saw the story on PetaPixel and it knocked something loose in the ole noggin.

If you've ever seen the movie October Sky or read the Rocket Boys books, that's Mcdowell County. Old coal mining country that frankly doesn't have much coal mining anymore. It was also one of the poorest counties in WV when it did have the coal mines running way back when. So something like this isn't that much of a surprise. There are tons of other places in West Virginia more suitable to what they were trying to do.
 

mauckcg

Senior Member
And since when did a middle-aged man with a camera become the stereotypical pedophile?!

Honestly, the two types I keep hearing about is the female teacher getting inapopriate with kids or a middle aged man usually with a camera of some sort. The way the news reports it makes it sound so prevalent it plays into the fears of the idiots of the world and there's your overreaction. Toss in added outside scrutiny and common sense reason tends to go out the window really fast.

Have you camped out at the police station yet? It might not hurt to be a might bit unreasonable about getting an answer in writing.
 

BackdoorArts

Senior Member
Have you camped out at the police station yet? It might not hurt to be a might bit unreasonable about getting an answer in writing.

Our next door neighbor's son in-law is a township cop and is usually there a couple times a week, so my wife was hoping I would speak with him before heading to the municipal building. Today's the first day where the weather might be reasonable enough that I'll be outside to catch him. If I don't I plan on making a trip down tomorrow. If my name is actually on record anywhere (God knows what happens now when something is reported thru a school) I may need to enlist a lawyer's help to get it expunged. Freakin' nanny state.
 

Marcel

Happily retired
Staff member
Our next door neighbor's son in-law is a township cop and is usually there a couple times a week, so my wife was hoping I would speak with him before heading to the municipal building. Today's the first day where the weather might be reasonable enough that I'll be outside to catch him. If I don't I plan on making a trip down tomorrow. If my name is actually on record anywhere (God knows what happens now when something is reported thru a school) I may need to enlist a lawyer's help to get it expunged. Freakin' nanny state.
Thanks for sharing Jake. I feel sad about this state of fear culture we seem to be going through. Too bad that governments and lawyers have taken all common sense out of the application of laws. It's getting ridiculously stupid to have to prove your innocence whenever someone thinks you can have bad intentions. Reminds me of the witch burning episode that happened in Salem a century or two ago.
Human stupidity has no limit.
 

J-see

Senior Member
Honestly, the two types I keep hearing about is the female teacher getting inapopriate with kids or a middle aged man usually with a camera of some sort.

That might explain why I got stopped by the cops last weekend. When they asked if I was taking photos I first wanted to respond that I just like to carry weight while walking but decided being a wise-ass doesn't help.

They asked my papers which I didn't have on me but let me go with a "next time make sure..."

The cops here have become a bit more humane throughout the years.
 

480sparky

Senior Member
Dammit, I wish the paranoid public would get it straight!

I'm not an old fart with a camera who is a pedophile. I'm an old fart with a camera taking recon images for Al Quida.
 

Rick M

Senior Member
Sorry to hear of your situation Jake! This really is a shame, our society is falling apart. Unfortunately rights and social mentality are not in alignment. I hope it gets cleared up for you. I shoot my son's yearly school picture and turn away neighbors and his friends parents when they ask me to shoot their kids for this very reason. It's such a shame the way this is all going. You're guilty until proven innocent with this kind of stuff. I blame society, not the police, they are forced to follow-up "just in case". Good luck!
 

Carroll

Senior Member
On a short road trip to a State Park nearby, I entered a section off of a main highway, that dead-ended. It was about a half-mile of paved road. The Ranger's office and parking area was just off the highway at the beginning.

It was cold, and I would stop my pickup, turn the engine off, and take a shot or two, and then move on. A few times, I left the pickup to walk to get what I thought was a good vantage point for the photo.

I have a habit of always looking in my rear view, to stay out of anyone's way when shooting. I noticed when I was about halfway down the Park road, that a vehicle had parked on the highest hill behind me, some distance away. This vehicle and mine were the *only* ones in that section of the park.

I reached the turn-around at the end of the road, and parked in a little parking area, (still in view of the parked vehicle on the hill), and proceeded to take a short walk for some images.

The parked vehicle had not moved, and curious, I used my zoom lens to see what/who it was. As you have guessed, it was the Park Ranger.

My pickup, with a large work cap on the bed, ladder rack with ladder, and my name, address, and contact info plastered all over both sides *and* the back, must have seemed like the perfect "stealth" vehicle! I have to add it is an almost new truck, custom cap...not a junky looking affair.

I continued to get the shots I wanted, and started back down the road, past the Park Ranger, at about 5 MPH, which is my "scouting for shots" speed. lol

He/she remained in their truck as I went by, and I stopped about 40-50 feet, and took some more shots.

The Ranger backed out into the road, and proceeded in the direction I had just came from. I am sure he/she was just doing their job. It made me feel very uncomfortable, however.

What does this have to do with your post?

The minority have made the rest of us "Guilty until proven Innocent", *not* the other way around, as it used to be.

Especially, it seems to me, Photographers.

Your incident (if you can call it that) was a result of that mind-set. Sad. Outrageous. Over-the-top.

I am sorry you had this experience. I have never met you, nor will I. However, from your posts, images, tutorials, and genuine willingness to help another photographer grow in their hobby, I know this incident was a travesty, that happened to a good guy.

Sadly, I do not know what to do to change things. I wish I did.
 

slowpoke

Senior Member
Jake,you might have taken a photo of a child.Crop your bus photo and in the rear view mirror,is that not a child sitting in the white seat? Just asking? With all the sh*t that's going on in the world we can't really blame the cops and their reactions.If I'm ever stopped by the cops,I want them to know that I'll do everything in my power to help them, help me.
 

Eyelight

Senior Member
Trying to imagine Jake's encounter from the eyes and ears of the kids, the driver, school people, parents, community in general and I'm relieved to find out it was just Jake out for a foggy picture walk.

I'm happy a kid was paying attention, a driver responded, a community did something to protect a child. There are far too many that are not protected.

There is a price to freedom. Sometimes it's a young soldiers life, or sometimes it's taking your shoes off and sometimes it's just answering questions.

Some may not see this, but one of the prices we pay for the freedom we have is lack of protection, both for the child and the and the middle-aged guy with the camera.
 

J-see

Senior Member
Some may not see this, but one of the prices we pay for the freedom we have is lack of protection, both for the child and the and the middle-aged guy with the camera.

The problem is that protection is an illusion. There's only damage control and the price paid to maintain this illusion is done by those none needs protection from. Those that are the problem don't care about it at all.

Our societies will devour themselves by their own fear.

The middle-age man with the bag of candy is one of those stereotypes that scares people but the reality is that they should be afraid of the next door neighbor, or uncle Bob, or Pete who they're friends with since childhood. In most abuse cases, it's friends and relatives. Who can protect us from them?
 
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