Jul 22nd, 2003

National Security Precludes Photos

So there I am, Friday afternoon. I'm leaving the office and I think I look pretty sharp: wearing a silk dress, matte gold sandals and carrying my briefcase. I walk up to the turnstile at the train station and I see that one of the three 'stiles is wrapped in yellow and black police tape. It is clearly out of order. But the spider web of yellow tape is interesting to me, so I slip my pass into the slot, enter the station through another turnstile and then turn my trusty Nikon to the yellow web.

HOLD IT! You can't take pictures here. Put the camera away.

You gotta be kidding me. I look up to see the elite Wackenhut guard looking at me. He repeats his orders. There is no photography allowed on the trains, the Metromovers, the platforms or the stations.

I ask since when? And he gives me a look of pity, as though I am the simplest of the simple and smirks, "Since (and then there is a long pause, as he cannot recall the exact date of what he is about to cite) since 2001, when they had the September Nine One One terrorism."

And taking a photo of a broken turnstile is a security risk? I'M a security risk? Is this a new law, part of the Patriot Act? I ask him.

And he says, that no, it isn't a LAW, it's a POLICY.

Well, fair enough, I say. Where is it posted? Or printed? Or publicly noticed?

And that's when he threatened to call the Metro Dade Police to "explain it" to me better.

Gentle readers, you know me. A challenge like that? To call in the police to do what, arrest me? For violating a policy? I checked my watch. Too late, the husband is already on his way to pick me up from the station and I really don't want to get into it with him: No, honey, don't pick me up at the train, come and spring me from the slammer, I was taking photos of broken turnstiles and it turned into a dangerous breach of national security.

So I let the snaggle toothed Good Ole Boy win that round. But I'm still steamed.