It was once a hobby of many – taking photographs of the beautiful trains that crisscross the countryside. There are so many different trains and, judging by the number of model train enthusiasts, a considerable number of people interested in looking at them. Amtrak recently sponsored a contest to take photographs of its own trains. The winner would get a thousand dollars in travel vouchers and get their photo published in Amtrak’s annual calendar.
Instead of entering the contest to win, Duane Kerzic found himself handcuffed in a small holding cell, having been arrested by Amtrak’s own police.
ordeal began Dec. 21 when he took the train from New Jersey into New
York City and debarked at Penn Station. He snapped a photo of the train
speeding away, then walked down the platform where he snapped several
other photos. He continued taking photos as the platform emptied into
Then he casually walked towards the staircase to make his own way into
the city. He stopped before the stairwell to tie his shoe.
When he stood back up, the cops were hovering over him. Two cops and a dog. A black lab with a nose for explosives.
“They asked what I was doing, I said I was taking photos,” he said.
“They said put your bag on the ground and let our dog sniff it.”
is going on here?
Amtrak’s own police arresting a man for participating
in an Amtrak contest?
What exactly did this man do wrong?
doesn’t seem limited to trains, either. Airport police harassed one airline pilot two years ago for just trying to photograph an airplane:
a shiny new airport in Manchester, and I’m there to take pictures as
part of an article I’m working on for that mouthpiece of liberal
fascism, the Boston Globe. I’ve shot about six digital pictures, and
I’m working on the seventh — a nicely framed view of the terminal
façade — when I hear the stern “Excuse me.” A young guy in a navy
windbreaker steps toward me. It says AIRPORT SECURITY in block letters
across his back. “You can’t do that. You need to put the camera away.”
“I do? Why?”
“Pictures aren’t allowed.”
“Sorry what? I don’t think that’s true, actually. I’m pretty sure that it isn’t illegal to take pictures at an airport.”
“You’ll need to talk to a deputy, sir.”
What’s next? No cameras allowed in cell phones? Will all our cameras have a feature with which the police can turn them off so that we can’t use them?
Are the authorities scared of what our cameras see or what our eyes are seeing? Are they afraid of the image in the camera or the everlasting impression in our eye?