Are Photographers Really a Threat?

From Bruce Schneier:

What is it with photographers these days? Are they really all terrorists, or does everyone just think they are?

Since 9/11, there has been an increasing war on photography. Photographers have been harrassed, questioned, detained, arrested or worse, and declared to be unwelcome. We’ve been repeatedly told to watch out for photographers, especially suspicious ones. Clearly any terrorist is going to first photograph his target, so vigilance is required.

Except that it’s nonsense. The 9/11 terrorists didn’t photograph anything. Nor did the London transport bombers, the Madrid bombers, or the liquid bombers arrested in 2006. Timothy McVeigh didn’t photograph the Oklahoma City Federal Building. The Unabomber didn’t photograph anything; neither did shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Photographs aren’t being found amongst the papers of Palestinian suicide bombers. The IRA wasn’t known for its photography. Even those manufactured terrorist plots that the US government likes to talk about — the Ft. Dix terrorists, the JFK airport bombers, the Miami 7, the Lackawanna 6 — no photography.

Given that real terrorists, and even wannabe terrorists, don’t seem to photograph anything, why is it such pervasive conventional wisdom that terrorists photograph their targets? Why are our fears so great that we have no choice but to be suspicious of any photographer?

Woman Who Refused to Sell Her Home To Developers Passes Away At 86

From the SeattlePI:

Edith Macefield died at home, just the way she wanted.

The Ballard woman who captured hearts and admirers around the world when she stubbornly turned down $1 million to sell her home to make way for a commercial development died Sunday of pancreatic cancer. She was 86.

“I don’t want to move. I don’t need the money. Money doesn’t mean anything,” she told the Seattle P-I in October.

She continued living in the little old house in the 1400 block of Northwest 46th Street even after concrete walls rose around her, coming within a few feet of her kitchen window. Cranes towered over her roof. Macefield turned up the television or her favorite opera music a little louder and stayed put.

“I went through World War II, the noise doesn’t bother me,” she said in October. “They’ll get it done someday.”

Macefield’s stubbornness was cheered by Ballard residents tired of watching the blue-collar neighborhood disappear under condominiums and trendy restaurants. Her story was picked up by the national news and spread around the world.

(via Waxy)

Teenager From Faith-Healing Family Dies in Oregon

They prayed and prayed but what he really needed was a catheter…. and a family with some common sense:

GLADSTONE, Ore. – Authorities say a teenager from a faith-healing family died from an illness that could have been easily treated, just a few months after a toddler cousin of his died in a case that has led to criminal charges.

Tuesday’s death of 16-year-old Neil Beagley, however, may not be a crime because Oregon law allows minors 14 and older to decide for themselves whether to accept medical treatment.

“All of the interviews from last night are that he did in fact refuse treatment,” police Sgt. Lynne Benton said Wednesday. “Unless we can disprove that, charges probably won’t be filed in this case.”

An autopsy Wednesday showed Beagley died of heart failure caused by a urinary tract blockage.

He likely had a congenital condition that constricted his urinary tract where the bladder empties into the urethra, and the condition of his organs indicates he had multiple blockages during his life, said Dr. Clifford Nelson, deputy state medical examiner for Clackamas County.

“You just build up so much urea in your bloodstream that it begins to poison your organs, and the heart is particularly susceptible,” Nelson said.

Nelson said a catheter would have saved the boy’s life. If the condition had been dealt with earlier, a urologist could easily have removed the blockage and avoided the kidney damage that came with the repeated illnesses, Nelson said.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll

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These robbers and beggars controlled two worlds. The king made laws, the priest made creeds. With bowed backs the people received the burdens of the one, and with wonder’s open mouth the dogmas of the other. If any aspired to be free they were crushed by the king, and every priest was a Herod who slaughtered the children of the brain. The king ruled by force, the priest by fear, and both by both.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “The Great Infidels” (1881)