mirrodie
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Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Tue Sep 30, 2003 11:20 am

Two weeks ago, I sent the following note to many local political figures as well as to the District Attorney, Police Commissioner, US Senators Clinton, Schumer and I also hand delivered a copy directly to the police office where I was detained on July 4. Below is the final copy that went out.

This week, I got some replies back, most of them saying they do not handle this type of situation BUT that my letter would be forwarded to other people, such as congressmen, and airport directors. I am keeping my hope alive.

I am showing you guys what is going on here in the US. It is my hope that we can one day be embraced by local enforcment and not harassed as we are now.

I urge you all to read through this. If you have found yourself in a similar situation I urge you please to write.
regards, Mirrodie
_________________________________________________________________
Dear Officer,

I am writing to you so that you are aware of my disgust at the events that took place on July 4, 2003. It was my day off from seeing patients and I decided to get my camera out and engage in the hobby of aviation photography.

On the morning of July 4 2003, I left my home, joined a friend and proceeded to MacArthur Islip airport to take aviation photos. We arrived there around 2:05 PM.

We pulled into a public parking lot right near an airport fence. At the time, there were no signs stating that we could not park there. Furthermore, we were not trespassing. Within 10 minutes of standing there, 2 police cars pulled up, demanding my license, registration and insurance. I gave nothing but 100% compliance. One man claiming to work for the FAA was also with them. They asked what we were doing, why we were doing it and told us there was some FAA rule stating we were not allowed within 10 feet of an airport fence.
They then began to ransack and search my car, our backpacks and my friend's video camera. While I did not see this as overkill, they then began to read through my personal journal.

Soon afterwards, an unmarked car arrived with 2 detectives. We were frisked and told, NOT ASKED, to accompany them to the Police station in the airport. We were not handcuffed but detained and taken in separate cars. Once in the station, we were put in separate rooms and questioned by a total of 4 detectives. Many of the questions were legitimate, such as when was I last out of the country (April 2003, to fly on Concorde, simply because I wanted to), where did we meet (on a website called airliners.net, world known for aviation photography), and what schooling I had been through.

My friend was asked many of the same questions. However he noted that a young male detective repetitively asked if he was gay. I was not asked this question once. Perhaps they saw no need to, as they read in my journal that I was recently engaged. I have yet to figure out WHAT his sexuality had to do with the situation. Perhaps the detective was interested for unrelated reasons?

We were finally released at 5:20PM, without any charges or straight answers as to what laws we broke. One of my rolls of film was taken, as was a video of my friend's. One week later, I received a call from a detective, who returned our belongings. The police developed my film into 8x10's to find photos of planes, my godchild and my cat.

I would not be upset had 2 or 3 policemen questioned us, rightfully so, and then stated WHAT LAW we breached.

The truth is NO law was broken and our rights were violated. Six officers, 4 detectives and 1 FAA representative wasted 3 hours questioning a pair of full-blooded 100% cooperative Americans.

This is not Homeland Security. It is violating legitimate people unnecessarily whilst using disproportionate law enforcement resources that I pay for.

Compare that incident to the following two:
-On September 6, 2003, my colleague and I were doing photography in a park across from LaGuardia airport called “Planeview Park.” Within 10 minutes, 2 NYPD officers questioned us, checked our ID, ran us through their system and then finally left us to our business. They came to the same conclusion that the SCPD did but did so within 10 minutes and with two officers.

-On September 9, 2003, a fellow aviation photographer was near MacArthur Islip airport and pulled over on the road. Three SCPD cars detained him and IMPOUNDED his car, telling him it was illegal to park on a road near the airport. Furthermore, he was told by an officer, “People like you are the reason 9/11 took place. People like you only aid the terrorists. You can’t take photos of planes. Go find another hobby.” Wasn't it President Bush who stated that Americans conduct their lives in a normal fashion and enjoy life?

9/11 was due to terrorists, not aviation enthusiasts. For your information, we are not the problem. We are part of the solution. Furthermore, if we employ the above quote, that means I can’t take photos of planes from my front yard too.

We are a nation at war. Our police should be embracing “People like you”, the aviation lovers and photographers, as a resource! It is WE who would be the FIRST to report suspicious activity!

In other major airports, enforcement agents are actively working WITH aviation hobbyists to address the threat of terrorism rather than wasting precious resources detaining innocent people.
I have one cohort in Florida who was approached by a Special Agent of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, Dept of Homeland Security. After being asked a few questions, my colleague was told to contact the agent if he saw anything out of ordinary.

Since SCPD treated me like a bloody terrorist on MY country’s Independence Day, perhaps I should merely contact that Special Agent if I see any problems near the rails, buses and airports? If our police are going to harass the local aviation enthusiasts, you are losing out on the most vigilant set of eyes and ears, who by the way, take PHOTOS! In other words, EVIDENCE!

The anniversary of 9/11 is upon us. We are making headway in Iraq and yet, I feel the terrorists have won! When is our police force going to realize that we have civil liberties AND we are a resource against terrorism?

This situation is a total outrage and completely goes against my civil liberties. This is not an isolated incident at Islip. I've been in contact with other aviation enthusiasts who had similar stories of these verbal strong-arm tactics by airport area police.

Now, let’s be realistic. I know nothing about being a cop. I respect, appreciate and applaud what you do for my community. However I am a doctor who employs logic and feasibility everyday towards solutions to my patient’s problems. Better solutions need to be employed in these scenarios.

For instance, now that the SCPD has verified, over the course of 3 hours, who I am, why not employ me as a set of eyes and ears around the airport instead of chasing me off? Shouldn’t a log of “Clean Aviation Enthusiasts” be kept: people that Police know are not a threat and are simply trying to engage in their American freedom? These would include people that have been verified as safe and can be near the airport.

As a proud American taxpayer, I hope that you will see to it that my rights are protected and my dollars used wisely. I ask that this be looked into and apology from Suffolk County Police and Islip Airport Police be extended to me. More importantly, I ask that the airport area police begin to realize the added asset of vigilance that they are harassing.

I have always been a law abiding respectful citizen of this state.
I hope to continue to follow our Commander-in-Chief’s suggestion that Americans conduct their lives in a normal fashion and enjoy life.

Regards,
_________________________________________________________________
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
BN747
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak

Tue Sep 30, 2003 11:57 am

Gosh!...I don't get it...all the cops had to do was ask jetBLUE about you and they would had all the info they needed! That woulda saved mucho bucks on manpower!

But seriously, I hear ya'...someone needs to 'wise up' the appropriate agencies on how to 'augment' their security efforts! But on this scale...grassroots efforts won't do it...it's gonna take an aviation enthusiast of John Travolta's weight to get 'security honchos' to take notice! Anything short of this..is gonna wind up in a drawer of a stockroom inside a giant warehouse. Sorry to sound like a sourpuss...but that's bureaucracy at it's...well that's where all gov't agencies are born. And end.

BN747
"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
 
jhooper
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Tue Sep 30, 2003 12:34 pm

That's an excellent letter. I would have had it notarized though; the cops would then take you a little more seriously, I think.
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
 
mirrodie
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Tue Sep 30, 2003 12:57 pm

Really? What would notarizing it have done?
Please let me know.

I thought that fact that so many people were getting the letter would have also given it gravity.

I forgot to add the final page in the one letter that I wrote to the police only. As a taxpayer, I hope they continue to do their jobs in the best possible way without further unnecessary cost to me in terms of lawsuits:
_________________________________________________________________
NOTA BENE:

One of the elements of my job is to do no harm. I have always thought that the mantra of the police is “to protect and serve.” However, I see that the SCPD website includes the following in its mission statement:
Every employee of the Department acknowledges his or her obligation to provide professional services in the communities we serve by rendering aid to those in need, providing an environment free from fear, bringing to justice those who violate the law, and protecting all persons and property in accordance with legal, moral and ethical standards.

Oddly enough, on July 4 as my car was searched, I was ordered by one officer in particular to stand up against the fence (that I supposedly was not allowed up against in the first place) and face him only.

After I stood there silently for ~7 minutes, he ordered me to remove my sunglasses for no reason at all. There I stood for another ~20 minutes until detectives arrived. I’ll speculate this was done to show me who was in control, but then again, as we were 100% compliant, I didn’t see the reason. It is not as if he did this to check my eye color to my license or anything. He just did it.

I did NOT awake with Solar Keratitis the next morning. However, from a medical standpoint, I must caution you. This action of removing sunglasses on a blistering sunny day puts one at increased acute risk of photophobia and keratitis. Surely you can carry out your jobs without putting someone in this risk.

My point is we both have jobs to do. Mine is patient care. You know yours. I respect and appreciate this. In all jobs, there is always room for improvement. Why put someone in harms way unnecessarily? There is simply no reason for it. I would like to know why this action was done.

Should this officer be reprimanded for putting me at an unnecessary increased risk of eye health problems? No, as he probably did not know any better. Please review this with your officers.

Perhaps the boldface italic type above should be reviewed.

Sincere regards,
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
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Aloha717200
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Tue Sep 30, 2003 1:20 pm

An excellent letter, Mirrodie.

I've written similar letters abotu airport security to both of my state congressmen, and both of my senators as well.


Both congressmen wrote back with letters that thanked me for writing, but that their concern was mostly with issues that related to our state specifically. One sentator wrote back and said essentially the same thing. But finally, I got a letter back from the second senator, and I was told that he himself cares a great deal about aviation matters pertaining to the state and to the nation, and that he would take my letter into account and promise me that he would fight as much as he could to protect the rights of all citizens, spotters or not, in washington. This letter was mostly a complaint over the closure of Meigs field, but it contained a very lengthy explanation from me about the non-risk of small GA aircraft, and a further complaint about how we, the spotters, are now seen as terrorist threats. What Richard Daley did, should have woke the entire nation up as to the ridiculousness of some security measures, and it didn't. I can't believe that it didnt.

Whatever the case, at least one of the senators paid attention to my letter. But he is only one man in our senate. It's going to take alot of us to convince the other 100 in the senate, and however many in the house, that things definitely need to change. Because nothing will ever happen unless 2/3 of both houses can agree with US.
 
redngold
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Tue Sep 30, 2003 2:04 pm

Mirrodie,

Please let us know what, if any, response you receive. There are some people here in Cleveland trying to stand up for spotters' rights as well.

redngold
Up, up and away!
 
jhooper
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Tue Sep 30, 2003 2:16 pm

Really? What would notarizing it have done?
Please let me know.


It just makes it more official. According to some legal references on the net, they are more likely to take it seriously. In fact, here in Texas a complaint against an officer is required by law to be sworn to and notarized.
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
 
CALMSP
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Tue Sep 30, 2003 2:47 pm

couldn't agree with you more. The problem with the country now is that "security" personnel are taking things too far. I'd like to know why they look in my trunk every time I go to park in the employee lot here in MSP, but at the same time, any Joe Blow can drive right up next to the terminal to pretend to "drop" something off and no one stops him, so why are they searching my car? Same thing with TSA, they always would search employees going through the check points when we are working. Why? Finally a directive was passed where we dont have to be pinpointed out for additional screening. TSA and other airport personnel have taken things too far in this topic, they need to think about things first before acting. Why dont they realize Americans had nothing to do about this, except for the gov't actually having some knowledge, why harass Americans, b/c someone on the other side has to feel important and that they are the savior's of the airline industry.l
 
Jkw777
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Tue Sep 30, 2003 8:13 pm

Mirrodie,

I find that beyond outrage that you and your friend were treated in that way. I really hope something is done. It sounds to me as if those officers were off on a power trip.

To hear this:

"People like you are the reason 9/11 took place. People like you only aid the terrorists. You can’t take photos of planes. Go find another hobby."

'People like you'... how damn right rude, so we are the root cause now?

'You can’t take photos of planes'... Says who?

'Go find another hobby'... What like putting the doughnut shop in profit?

I am absolutely disgusted,

Best Regards,

JKW.

jkw6210@btopenworld.com or +447751242989
 
teva
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Tue Sep 30, 2003 8:46 pm

Maybe it is the good time for a refresher here that can be added to next letters:
If our hobby is so developped, and especially in the UK, it is not only because planes are beautiful. It is also an heritage from WWII, when spotting has been developped and encouraged by the Brittish government as part of the defense activities.
Teva
Ecoute les orgues, Elles jouent pour toi...C'est le requiem pour un con
 
BR715-A1-30
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Tue Sep 30, 2003 8:51 pm

::Applause:: Three Cheers for Mirrodie. Wonderful letter. I doubt that you will get any action, but for you to even attempt this letter goes beyond it all.
Puhdiddle
 
NoUFO
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak

Tue Sep 30, 2003 9:12 pm

It's pretty weird. You and your friend got detained for hours and they didn't even tell you what law you breached. A ten minutes check of your ID would be appropriate - but being detained and questioned about sexuality certainly is not.

As for your letter: It's well written, but I would refrain from using capital or bold characters. Furthermore, I would not have mentioned minor details like your flight on the Concorde. Otherwise: Nice letter.

BTW: Reading press releases is good a practice for writing letters to governmental authorities.
I support the right to arm bears
 
jmets18
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Tue Sep 30, 2003 9:29 pm

couldn't agree with you more Mirrodie! howver, I do have a question. Is it illegal to take pictures on airport property? Say from an outdoor parking garage like in ATL? This is the best spot I have found to take pictures. From the top of the south terminal parking garage. What's the consensus?
 
Guest

RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Tue Sep 30, 2003 9:51 pm

You all want to whine about this. Things have changed, so you'll have to get over it. Why not just call the airport manager and ask permission? Then you won't get hassled.

Oh, that's right... You have a right. Never mind. But think about this. If you showed up at my back fence and started taking pictures, how long do you think it would last?

Not very long. Ask permission. It's that simple. If they say no, then they have a reason for it and you'll just have to get over it.
 
teva
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Tue Sep 30, 2003 10:37 pm

BoingGoingGone
Do you know the name or all the airport managers?
Do you think they will even read this letter?
In addition to that , if your are not on an airport property, but next to an airport, what is the validity of this authorisation?
A public parking is a public parking. As far as I know, I can stay as long as I want on a public place.
If there is no sign telling you not to take pictures, you can take pictures.
Teva
Ecoute les orgues, Elles jouent pour toi...C'est le requiem pour un con
 
UTA_flyinghigh
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Tue Sep 30, 2003 11:17 pm

Well said Teva, I'll even go one better, if it's on public land, even a sign isn't worth s##t as there is no law to back it up.
BTW, r u still around ? got the big bird from last WE accepted  Big thumbs up :

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © William Ronciere


Will
Fly to live, live to fly - Air France/KLM Flying Blue Platinum, BMI Diamond Club Gold, Emirates Skywards
 
Guest

RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 2:00 am

Do you know the name or all the airport managers?

Actually yes. I have a directory from AAAE.

Do you think they will even read this letter?

If you send it to them with a simple request rather than whinning, yes. And they will respond.

In addition to that , if your are not on an airport property, but next to an airport, what is the validity of this authorisation?

It's not where you are that is the problem, it's what you are doing and how that can be misconstrued in todays world. Furthermore, did you get permission from the airline to take a picture and display it globally, using their trademark??? Don't get me wrong, I love this site, but the airlines could have a field day with this site if they wanted to crack down on terms of use and sale of images.

A public parking is a public parking. As far as I know, I can stay as long as I want on a public place.

Public parking simply means the public can park there. Not that they can set up camp and do what they choose. If it's a parking lot, you can be sure someone (private or government) owns it and has the right to enforce their own policies.

If there is no sign telling you not to take pictures, you can take pictures.

Not necessarily true. There's no sign on my backyard fence, but you can bet that if you're taking snap shots into my yard without my permission and I see you doing it, I'm going to do something about it. It's that simple. Your logic says that because my fence doesn't have a sign that says "Don't take pictures of my home" means that you can slap on a zoom lense and see what you can find.
 
Jkw777
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 2:02 am

UTA_flyinghigh:

Nice shot Big grin
jkw6210@btopenworld.com or +447751242989
 
CitationX
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 2:32 am

About a year ago, in a knee-jerk reaction to the terrorist attempt to shoot down a 757 in Africa, the local authorities in Orlando decided to close a popular spotting area near MCO, just north of the Bee Line Expressway off of Frontage Road. Not only did spotters get run off, but several roadside vendors lost access to a profitable location. The excuse for closing the area was fear that terrorists would use the (very public) spot to fire shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles at landing aircraft.

Having been in aerospace anti-aircraft missile development, I had to laugh at this premise.

First, a terrorist would have a hard time setting up to fire one of these weapons in such a public place (which had regular police patrols, by the way).

Second, being so close to the airport, it would be very difficult to lock onto low-flying airliners. The closer to the ground (and other heat sources), the more "clutter", making the missile go ballistic for a few seconds, then fly into the ground (as happened in African incident). The missile's seeker is designed to look for the hotter exhaust gas temperatures of high performance military aircraft, hence their ineffectiveness against "stealthy" aircraft such as the F-117 and Apache. Higher bypass airliner engines run much cooler than military jets and make for weak target signatures.

As the saying goes (credited to Ben Franklin), "Those who give up freedom in exchange for security will have neither freedom or security."
 
727LOVER
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 2:43 am

I miss that MCO spot.  Sad It was there for over 30 years.
I feel woozy....what did you put in that Pudding Pop?
 
BeltwayBandit
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 2:56 am

Nobody can fault law enforcement for being zealous. But obviously, they have to learn how to apply that zeal effectively. Ironically, this kind of impingement on your liberty and privacy would actually be reduced if we were willing to give up a smaller bit of our privacy. A national ID-card system or the infamous CAPPS II system could verify your good standing would eliminate this sort of detention. Are we willing to give up a little liberty to gain some security?

Keep in mind, though, that the behavior of an aircraft photography enthusiast is unfortunately very similar to that of someone with ill intent. It's just a reality, and you will simply have to live with it. It's like someone who just likes to dress up slutty and hang around on street corners. You're going to draw police attention!
 
BN747
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak

Wed Oct 01, 2003 3:13 am

BoingGoingGone wrote:

'In addition to that , if your are not on an airport property, but next to an airport, what is the validity of this authorisation?'

"It's not where you are that is the problem, it's what you are doing and how that can be misconstrued in todays world. Furthermore, did you get permission from the airline to take a picture and display it globally, using their trademark??? Don't get me wrong, I love this site, but the airlines could have a field day with this site if they wanted to crack down on terms of use and sale of images."

*Sorry BGG, wrong! Yes people are jittery about photographers at airports today..they're also jittery of guys wearing turbans anywhere! Secondly, the airport is 'public' property...the airline's ship there makes it a fair target for photography..it (the plane) does not have individual rights. It's aircraft are like a celebrity, fair game when sitting -in a private restaurant- on a patio having lunch, you can photograph all day long and publish it. Because that 'celebrity' is of interest to the public and that is to be expected.*

'A public parking is a public parking. As far as I know, I can stay as long as I want on a public place.'

"Public parking simply means the public can park there. Not that they can set up camp and do what they choose. If it's a parking lot, you can be sure someone (private or government) owns it and has the right to enforce their own policies."

*This is no different than parking (publicly) at a marina and watching yachts and boating activity and eating lunch. So now you have a camera..big deal..no one's setting up a tent and making campfires. Parking at a 'public park' and lounging all day....with a camera instead of a picnic basket.*

'If there is no sign telling you not to take pictures, you can take pictures.'

"Not necessarily true. There's no sign on my backyard fence, but you can bet that if you're taking snap shots into my yard without my permission and I see you doing it, I'm going to do something about it. It's that simple. Your logic says that because my fence doesn't have a sign that says "Don't take pictures of my home" means that you can slap on a zoom lense and see what you can find."


*Your backyard is NOT public property..so yes that would be an intrusion. But if someone locks on a telephoto from across the way....then it's up to you to close the curtains..or build a higher fence. So as for taking pictures at an public airport...it's like taking pictures of your local city skyline, freeways, libraries and any other public turf. Totally Legal*


BN747
"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
 
VC-10
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 3:27 am

In contrast to the US experience, I have just come back from the end of 28L at LHR where there were about 70 cars and about 200 people to watch one of the final Concorde departures. Not one Airport Security official or police patrol were seen.
 
Guest

RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 3:39 am

In the US, there is no public parking that is not controlled by the City or other agency. Public parking is a place for the public to park. Period. End of story. That City or other agency has the right to tell you what to do on that property. Bumbs sleep in a public park, yet are removed by the Police. Why? Because the City has authority to control the property and enforce ordinances. The same is true of a public parking area at a Marina, Airport or Park or even on the street for that matter. If you are at that Marina, and drunk and disorderly, the Police have the right to remove you. Get it?

Sorry BGG, wrong! Yes people are jittery about photographers at airports today..they're also jittery of guys wearing turbans anywhere! Secondly, the airport is 'public' property...the airline's ship there makes it a fair target for photography..it (the plane) does not have individual rights. It's aircraft are like a celebrity, fair game when sitting -in a private restaurant- on a patio having lunch, you can photograph all day long and publish it. Because that 'celebrity' is of interest to the public and that is to be expected.

Is that why when an airport takes a picture of an aircraft it has to ask permission from the airline? Hmmmm.... A corporate entity has rights that they "choose" not to enforce, see Napster.

[Edited 2003-09-30 20:43:26]
 
kaitak
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Unfocused Security

Wed Oct 01, 2003 4:03 am

I think what you need to do is to show
(a) that logically, aviation enthusiasts pose no threat to aviation and indeed, can assist in security,
(b) that suppressing an interest in aviation will never work; people will always be passionate about it and victimising those who do or discouraging an interest in aviation is not in the US's long term interests
(c) that attempting to harass aviation enthusiasts is proof that security at that airport is unfocused; that is, by all means ask, but attempting to confiscate film or arrest people is not just heavy handed, but suggests that there isn't a sufficient focus on what actually poses a threat to security. There will always be limited resources devoted to security and it's vitally important that they are directed in the right way. The fight against terrorism needs to be intellectual and if it were seen at that level, lashing out at what people regard as "unusual" or harassing people just to show something is being done DOES NOT WASH.

The TSA needs to be appraised of the realities; work with us, but don't try to work against us; we're there and we want to co-operate, BUT YOU WILL NOT SUPPRESS AN INTEREST IN AVIATION.

I suggest a letter that could be included in the form of a survey, which people could sign up to. With some publicity, it could get some consideration. The TSA has never said photography is illegal (which you think it would do if it REALLY saw it as a threat!), but it's always tried to leave it in a legal limbo; it needs to be forced to say, one way or another, what it's position is, but a fundamental aspect of a free society is that "frowned on" is not a legal term and should not empower security thugs to harass enthusiasts.
 
GSPSPOT
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 4:11 am

Here's the OBVIOUS and SIMPLE solution..... American airports should build (and charge admission for) proper observation decks and spotting areas that are under constant video surveillance. They still have open decks in major European airports, and I would think the possibility of terrorism is just as great there.

In Frankfurt back in 1996, we went through tight security to gain access to the observation areas--were searched by obviously armed military types, not police. Why can't we do that here in the US????
Finally made it to an airline mecca!
 
neilalp
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 5:02 am

Most airports don't have spotting areas or observation decks. But you could say I pay to park in the parking deck at DTW isn't that my admission, so therefore can't I watch the planes. FYI i've never had problems a DTW while spotting.
 
BN747
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak

Wed Oct 01, 2003 5:12 am

BoingGoingGone wrote:

'If you are at that Marina, and drunk and disorderly, the Police have the right to remove you. Get it?'

*Ahhh...No I don't....I've never seen a drunken Photographer/Spotter at the airport...have you?*

"Is that why when an airport takes a picture of an aircraft it has to ask permission from the airline? Hmmmm.... A corporate entity has rights that they "choose" not to enforce, see Napster."

*Wrong again...the Airport is also an entity and not the same as a person, the airport's usage of the picture may be for official reasons...yours and mine are not.*

BN747
"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
 
Guest

RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 5:16 am

It was a great letter, brilliantly worded, clear, to the point. Sadly though with security being the priority common sense seems to be failing our public officials. One letter is not going to make much difference to anyone's congressman but if we all write similar letters it may lead to something. Maybe the local police are looking into the incident, maybe not. If it were my local police I know the letter would probably just end up in the trash can under some low level donut stuffing lackeys desk. I still say its going to require a situation like this to actually go to court before change comes about. Currently there is no law or legal precedent on the matter and until there is one it is a grey area. Yes it is a violation of pretty much all the high points of our bill of rights but the justice department is finding ways to side step this in other cases simply by using the guise of homeland security. These next few years are going to be instrumental in what becomes of our country in the next 100 years with respect to civil rights, interstate and international trade and many other things too numerous to name.
 
BeltwayBandit
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 5:20 am

The TSA needs to be appraised of the realities; work with us, but don't try to work against us; we're there and we want to co-operate, BUT YOU WILL NOT SUPPRESS AN INTEREST IN AVIATION.

I do not think that TSA has any desire to suppress an interest in aviation; and telling them (even in ALL CAPS) will not change their behavior. They are tasked with making air travel terrorist-proof; and if they conclude that they cannot do their job without impinging on spotters' rights, then they will impinge on spotters' rights unless there is a legal or compelling social basis to do otherwise.

Let's not forget (ever) that 2 years ago, four US commercial flights were hijacked and plowed into strategic (and one not-so-strategic) locations killing 3,000 innocent people. Terrorists are capable of extraordinary things. I see no reason to think that the risk has subsided.

A more productive approach is one used by industry trade associations. Rather than sit back and absorb undesirable regulation, be sympathetic to the oppressors and get out in front by self-regulating. The National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) has used its membership power to gain access and privileges for members by addressing security concerns head on.

So, would it be feasible for some association to get out front and develop a credential system for spotters? Perhaps individual airports could develop their own way to "clear" aircraft spotters so that the local law enforcement folks (or TSA) could just call for a reference and then let you go. Frankly, I do not think there are enough spotters to justify such an effort; and the airports have no incentive to cooperate. (So I guess I made a proposal, and then scuttled it.)
 
Guest

RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 6:24 am

BN747... You're missing the point.

If you are in a public parking area, the city or agency responsible for that area has every right to ask you to leave. Drunk or not. In answer to your question about a drunk photographer, they answer is yes I have seen one. He fell off the hood of his truck where he stood to take a photo over a fence.

An individual taking pictures of an airline, and then selling them on the internet is making himself/herself a business entity, therefore subject to trade infringement.

[Edited 2003-09-30 23:26:48]
 
standby87
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 6:30 am

Mirrodie, cancel your engagement, find a Swiss woman, marry her, leave your shoes at the security checkpoint in the US and emigrate to Switzerland.

Then you can spot all the planes you like at Zürich with hundreds of others in freedom and if you're asked for your papers by the police, assuming everything's in order, you'll be treated with respect and allowed to proceed with your hobby in peace.

I can't help you find a wife, but good luck with your letters, I hope it works out.
 
BN747
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak

Wed Oct 01, 2003 6:53 am

BoingGoingGone wrote:

"If you are in a public parking area, the city or agency responsible for that area has every right to ask you to leave. Drunk or not. In answer to your question about a drunk photographer, they answer is yes I have seen one. He fell off the hood of his truck where he stood to take a photo over a fence."

Well..that drunk (and a drunk anywhere) presents a litany of problems, negligence, liabilty issues and public safety. Now I'm curious, I want to meet the drunk photographer...plus see his photos, they've gotta be good!
As for the 'public parking area' or any public area...you have the right to be there if it's 'public' and open during those hours. They just can't pull an excuse outta their ass and say 'leave!' You have to be in some violation for them to do that. Sure if a cop says 'move it'..most out of fear...move on..but if you know the law (and that's the key...ignorance of laws) you can get that same demanding cop to rethink his position and make him wonder..'Is this gonna be worth the paperwork?' and
even bigger deterent is 'if the perceived perp or violator' is not only armed with knowledge but has a big wallet to back it up. Now cost and time become part of the equation. And we all know...they hate doing paperwork worse than day old donuts!

"An individual taking pictures of an airline, and then selling them on the internet is making himself/herself a business entity, therefore subject to trade infringement."

Hmmm....now how will Northwest or any other carrier look in court taking on every photographer on A.net and other aviation site. And What would their legal bill be just to fire up the engines on that lawsuit. Ferrari, yacht makers and other exotic craft makers should consider their infringements too. Photos are a version of expression. The courts are not about to open up their case loads for everyone bitching about their pictures being taking, or their aircraft, boats, military aircraft,naval aircraft carriers..it ain't worth it. Maybe it is wrong...but that's your opinion, courts have indicated that it isn't...or show me the case where they say it is....


BN747

"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
 
usairways85
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 7:46 am

This whole issue is becoming rediculas. As time goes on our rights are being taken away from us. The TSA is looking for potential terrorist activity around airports, fine. But when they start attacking aviation buffs it's a waist of their time. They think they are actually helping keep us safe when they are basically doing nothing. Sorry to say, but potential Terrorists can and will take pictures of whatever there target is using whatever means. Whether it be taking pictures inside the plane using a hightech cell phone or smuggling in a Stinger missle into the US and firing it at any airplane. These are potential threats(godforbid any of them happen) that the TSA should be focusing on. Not trying to ban all hobbies involving aviation because it's a threat to our safety. It's like saying i can't take pictures of cars because i could potentially rig it with a car bomb.

Luckily the past couple times i've been to the airport i have not had many problems but i know of people who were actually arrested at the same airport for simply taking pictures and asking what law they broke.

How about the TSA cut down on the weekly Security screw-ups forcing terminals to be shut down rather than trying to ban all aviation photography.
 
futureualpilot
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 8:06 am

Excellent letter, Im 100% begind spotters rights, and its amazing security personnel cant tell the diff. between a camera and a bazooka! Oh well, wonderful job!
Life is better when you surf.
 
jeffrey1970
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 8:35 am

Futureualpilot,

I too am 100% behind spotter's rights. However, someone on here said the TSA needs to work with spotters and not against them. I think that is kind of a two way street. I don't think it is that they can't tell the difference between a camera, and a bazooka. I think that they are worried that one of those people with a camera may be doing survailance for a terrorist group. Also, I feel that if people want to take pictures of there airplane before or after there flight, it might be best to ask permission first. However, I do feel something needs to be worked out so that spotters can be able to spot planes and take pictures without any problems.

God bless through Jesus,

Jeff
God bless through Jesus, Jeff
 
BN747
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak

Wed Oct 01, 2003 11:24 am

Hmmm..I wonder if O.J. can sue because news cameras, without his permission, broadcast 'his 'private' Ford Bronco on a 'public freeway'..to television sets around the globe. And they made money on it....so did the newspapers!

BN747
"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
 
mirrodie
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 12:20 pm

Standby87, Hmmm, I never checked out swiss women bofore but fell in love with Geneva, so Zurich is sounding promising!  Big thumbs up

GoingBoeing, to say, "You all want to whine about this. Things have changed, so you'll have to get over it," is somewhat myopic, rude and insulting. First off, who is whining? Whining means endlessly bitching and not doing a thing about. I'm getting off my butt to make a difference.

Furthermore, I know of situations where the airport manager HAD given permission for people to go there and STILL the authorites gave problems. So what is the use in asking? As far as I know, MCO is ahead of the game.
The letter goes beyond spotting at airports.

Let's be realistic, shall we? Terrorism is not about flying planes into buildings. The whole security issue is nonsense. We waited for a guy with a bomb in his shoes to start checking shoes.
What if that guy was a gal and had an UNDERWIRE bra bomb. Yeah, I am being serious! Then what? Tell all ladies to have a bra check? I mean, c'mon!

So, GoingBoeing, if the answer is so simple, then tell me, where do you draw the line? If I LIVED across the steet from the airport, on my own property, are you telling me I cannot take photos there either? Of course, I can. So what is the point? For all intent and purpose, I could buy a piece of cheap land across the steet from an airport and charge people a nominal fee to come and watch planes from my property. It's my right, isn't it?

-So a terrorist walks into a subway and his necktie is a bomb...hundreds die. What next?, no wearing neckties? ban them from the streets?

-SO a terrorist goes fishing and "fishes, but in turn poisons the water supply. What next, outlaw fishing?

-I see you studied at Erau? A terrorist student goes into a 1000 seat lecture with his bookbag full of explosives. He levels the building and 1300 are killed? DO we ban all bookbags now?
-So a terrorist goes to the World Poker tournament in Vegas and switches ALL the chips to ones made of plastic explosives. It's sayonara to the Strip? Then what? Outlaw gambling chips?
THat is the mentaility we are dealing with out here. Asking for permission is fruitless.

Are these incredulous scenarios? Let's hope so. But the point is that terrorism drove the attention to harassing aviation enthusiasts. The "security paradigm" that seems to reign supreme is to ignore all else until something else happens.

Sorry Going. But if you really believe what you say, then yes, perhaps those terrorists are winning.
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Aloha717200
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 1:20 pm

Well, I've done my part, I sent a letter to my state senators and congressmen.


Now if all of you who are speaking passionately on this thread, can write a letter and pursue that letter with the same passion, and send it off not only to your local authorities, but to your state congressmen and senators, maybe, just maybe, our small voice will begin to get louder.


We've had a ton of replies on this thread. Now lets turn those replies into letters to send to our elected officials. You will have to word things a bit carefully, but if all of us pitch in, we can try to make a difference. Let your voice be heard!


Believe me, I don't like to rock the boat. At all. I try to keep to myself. And even I was able to send a very long, long, long letter off to the government about this. And one, just one, senator listened to me. It'll take alot of us to convince the others, but if you all try hard enough, maybe you can.

Remember this nation was built on popular sovereignty, the will of the people. The majority of the people in this country are not spotters. But those of us who are can try and make a difference. And the more of us who BELIEVE in our hobby and want to protect it, who stand up for it, the more likely someone will listen.



So please, turn all these passionate replies into their most productive and widest-reaching form. Send a letter to Washington. Send a letter to your local and state government. Send a letter to your local police stations. Send a letter to everyone you can. Send the copies of the same original letter to all of them, if you like, but for heaven's sake, don't sit back and stay quiet. Make yourself heard. Uncle Sam can't hear you unless you speak up, and remember, old Sam is hard of hearing these days, you gotta speak a little louder to be heard.  Smile

I hope everyone, every single on of you, will at least try. I did, Mirrodie did, please, at least try. The worst thing that can happen is that you get a letter back saying that your congressman doesn't care. I got three, I found success with one. You'll have setbacks too, but it's the effort that counts the most. Continue the effort despite the setbacks, and eventually change will come. It has to come if enough people speak loud enough. Right now, we're only a whisper.

Help to make that change.  Smile

[Edited 2003-10-01 06:22:05]
 
IMissPiedmont
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 1:40 pm

I too have been harassed at an airport, in my case TUS. The officer and I went to the airport manager together where I explained the truth. I have been an almost daily visitor for near 30 years and hide nothing. It is painfully obvious what I'm doing as I make sure that my camera is always in view. I then pointed out that there are no persons better able to see something wrong than spotters, we know who belongs, what gates are open and unattended on the backside and just plain when something is wrong.

I won that one and have remained unmolested for the past 10 years.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.
 
BN747
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak

Wed Oct 01, 2003 3:46 pm

I'm steamed about this 'all are terrorist-until proven otherwise' security mentality too...But on a serious note, I want to share that similar and broader efforts are underway to get airport officials at LAX to understand and make use of our presence as well. It's still in the works and has been going on for past year. I believe some progress has been made..but if something official comes into play, I'll be one of the 1st to blab the news.

BN747
"Home of the Brave, made by the Slaves..Land of the Free, if you look like me.." T. Jefferson
 
jhooper
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 4:21 pm

Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
 
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Aloha717200
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 4:32 pm

I'll be the first to sign up for a "Friendly spotters of SLC" roster, if it'll keep me from being harrassed.  Smile
 
Skymonster
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 7:26 pm

A few observations about photographing airplanes:

the airlines could have a field day with this site if they wanted to crack down on terms of use and sale of images

Nope, wrong. Photographing airplanes, and even selling those photographs, has been proven in court not to infringe trademark. There is an issue about making money using just the airline logo, or selling pictures trading as [say] "American Airlines Photography", but generally taking and selling pictures showing whole airplanes are not a problem. Napster is entirely different - there's a world of difference between trademarks, and copyright. Using your argument, Boeing could take photographers to court too, for selling pictures of their copyright design of a 777. I say again, its been proven in court to the benefit of the photographer. airliners.net specifically excludes pictures of just airline logos as much as is possible, for this very reason.

An individual taking pictures of an airline, and then selling them on the internet is making himself/herself a business entity, therefore subject to trade infringement.

No, wrong again. Maybe people selling pictures does make them a business entity, but providing the selling does not capitalise on a specific trademark, then nothing legally is wrong.

Is that why when an airport takes a picture of an aircraft it has to ask permission from the airline? Hmmmm.... A corporate entity has rights that they "choose" not to enforce

Not in this case. If an airport wants to use pictures of a specific airline's airplanes as part of its PR and advertising, effectively saying things like "hey, this is a great airport because American Airlines fly here", then yes they need permission. If I set myself up as a commercial photographer and advertise my services saying "hey buy from me because I take great pictures of American Airlines airplanes" then I run into the same problems. If, however, I sell pictures of airplanes and some of them just happen to be of American Airlines airplanes, there's nothing they can do about it and that's been proven in court. Trademarks such as airline logos are in the public domain and are therefore fair game for photographs, providing that the photographer doesn't make mileage specifically out of that trademark.

====

All that aside, those who claim photographing airplanes could have repercussions with the airlines, and all this talk about photographing back yards, are merely diverting attention from the real issue here. The real issue is that Mirrodie was treated unjustly, not because an airline wasn't happy about having their airplanes photographed, not because airplane photography is illegal (it isn't), but because some law enforcement officer decided he didn't like Mirrodie going about is lawful hobby of taking photographs. Until this problem is solved one way or another, either by making airplane photography illegal, or by law enforcement coming to their senses, these problems will continue. Sadly, even with the best will in the world, I fear its going to take a long time and a lot of pain to achieve the latter result, but in the mean time we mustn't give up.

Andy
There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots
 
HlywdCatft
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Wed Oct 01, 2003 10:55 pm

I tell you what, I think you have a court case against those cops.

First of all they did an unlawful search of your vehicle. Did they have a warrant or Probable cause to search your vehicle. Probable cause meaning that they saw some kind of weapon in it by looking through the window or some kind of terrorist material. They can't search a car on reasonable suspicion and they didn't even have that.

Maybe you should tell the court that you are gay even though you aren't, then you can press charges against the cops for harassment and hate crimes.

You know, reading this makes me mad. I haven't been able to spot at DTW long before 9-11. It seems like when DTW closed Checkpoint 6 (at the approach to what is now 22L) they kicked spotters out of everywhere else. Even though Checkpoint 6 wasn't a designated spotting area, people were allowed there and it was ALWAYS full- with either spotters, or grandparents taking their children. The cops would come around on Friday night looking for alcohol and booze or people smoking blunt.

There would be other occassions around DTW where I would watch airplanes at night on the southwest side of the airport like where Wayne Road used to be before 22R was built at the approach to what is now 4R. We'd be parked on the shoulder and the cops would just come to see if we had any alcohol then they would leave us alone and tell us to enjoy as we continued watching planes.

But after Checkpoint 6 closed we were not allowed to watch anywhere else around the airport and this was around 1996-97.

Its a harmless activity and no reason to stereotype spotters. Not once has a spotter committed a terrorist attack.

Land of the Free? This is getting more like a police state all of the time.
 
mirrodie
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Thu Oct 02, 2003 1:00 am

I am not a lawyer so I do not know.

Things at the fence occurred so quickly, with 3 cop cars surrounding us, that we did say, YES, look through the car. WE did give verbal consent. Honestly, I have NO problem with that.

THe gay thing,....well, that detective ought to be spoken to.

The excessive waste of MY tax dollars.....another clear point.

And thanks Andy for getting back to the main issue. It's not about copyright, it's about the freedoms we were granted and are currently being trampled.
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
mirrodie
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Thu Oct 02, 2003 1:05 am

OH, and one more thing.

I got another letter back today from the office of the airport Security. An investigation is being made. I just got off the phone with them.

The problem is that no clear boundaries are made as to whose jurisdiction that airport is under. I was apparently handled by 2 sets of police departments.

He says that as of right now, there are signs on order for the airport which will tell people where not to park.

So....as I startedto my response to goingboeing, what are my rights if I buy a piece of land across the street?

Yeah, we'll see about that.
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
Skymonster
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Thu Oct 02, 2003 1:21 am

what are my rights if I buy a piece of land across the street?

Way things are going some places, if you do that some a**-hole in enforcement will probably decide you're running an Al Queda terrorist training camp and cart you off to Guantanamo Bay Big grin

Andy
There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old bold pilots
 
mirrodie
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Thu Oct 02, 2003 1:25 am

Guan bay, eh?? LOL

WEll, let's put it this way... if I buy that land and law enforcement shows up once and sees I am clean, that is A-OK.

If it happens twice, well my friends, I will make a proper visit to a strong lawyer.
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
mirrodie
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RE: Aviation Lovers- We Are Not Terrorists. Speak Out!

Sat Oct 04, 2003 12:06 pm

Got a call from my Legislator's office today and hte matter is under investigation.


I also got a call from Sen. Hilary Clinton's office this morning. Her aide said she empathized with me. Then she said, "These are the times." That kind of annoyed me. I hope those words do not haunt me come election time.

I told told Ashcroft would now be getting a copy of the letter. I am writing to him directly.

Just an update.
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