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GROUND ZERO PLUS 1195 DAYS,--New York, NY, Monday, December 20, 2004--On the heels of President Bush signing a new 9-11 Intelligence Bill to increase the security of each of America's nearly 300 million citizens, the New York City Mass Transit Authority (MTA) is about to enforce a new regulation designed to penalize potential subway terrorists.

The New York City subway system is about to enforce a new regulation designed to penalize potential subway terrorists

The regulation prohibits taking pictures in the New York City subway system.

Not everyone is in agreement that such a ban is anything more than an attempt to over regulate the rights of citizens, especially the shutter-happy New York tourists who flood and ebb daily into the city.

This past Saturday a group of protestors defied the new regulation by boarding en mass and shooting countless photos in film, digital and video violation of MTA rules.

The irony of the regulation is that the penalty for performing a "potential act of terrorism"--i.e. taking pictures in the subway--carries a stiff penalty of twenty-five dollars.

In the greater scope of individual rights, it would seem that if the city of New York and its 8,643,437 inhabitants were truly at risk of some major terrorist plot as a result of taking a picture in the 722 miles of subway, that a fine of $25 would do little to discourage such action.

Let's assume that Omar The Terrorist wants to take a photo of the 8th Street Subway platform where thousands of people come and go each day to the East Village. Omar is plotting to blow up the station. Will he be worried about a $25 ticket issued by Transit Authority cops?


New York's subway system handles about 3.1 million passengers each day, with 6,500 scheduled trains stopping at 468 stations that allow passengers in and out through 3,200 turnstiles to go here and there.

Could Omar The Terrorist clandestinely take pictures of the trains at any of the 468 MTA stations?

Now, could Omar The Terrorist clandestinely take pictures at any of these stops? More importantly, could he crank up the web and find pictures of about any station taken by someone at some time? I suppose if you can find the formula for making an atomic bomb on the internet, you ought to be able to find pictures of New York subway stations.

The protestors against the MTA fine of $25 may be fighting for far more than just the right to take pictures. If the rights of the citizens is represented by a block of granite, each chip made weakens the whole structure. A chip here and a chip there eventually reduces the monolith to a sliver.

The insanity of fining someone $25 for taking pictures in the subway under the ruse of "terrorism management" is about as far fetched as trying to stop a serious madman from frothing at the mouth.

The "victims" of such a law are the people and the rights they allow to be whittled away through the enactment of such ludicrous regulations as the MTA is proposing.

A subway is a subway is a subway.

It's a hole in the earth with tracks and tunnels, occasioned by turnstiles and stations spotted here and there. The subways in New York aren't different from those in France, Italy, Japan or any other place on the earth that uses underground transportation.\

Even more absurd is the access anyone has to the diagrams and blueprints of the subway system, foiling any idea there is some "secret" to be withheld below the New York earth.

Ultimately, the MTA is overzealous. The injury is to the rights of the citizens.

If there is a Terrorist in this scenario, it is the MTA. By making the taking of pictures in the subway a ticketable offense carrying a feeble fine of $25, the MTA has bitten off its own foot.

Complacency over the MTA's absurd photo ban eats away at the foundation of human rights

The absurdity of its own price tag signals the world the photo ban is nothing more than a vain attempt to mask a potential revenue generator behind Terrorism's clothing.

Only the most foolish person would not bark loudly against such government intrusion. But, Complacency, Terrorism's greatest ally, usually is the great termite that eats away the foundations of human rights.

One of those rights is the right to take a photo in a subway.

Unfortunately, that right is in dire jeopardy.

We should stand up for the rights of future generations to take pictures in the subway

Unless one takes heed to the duty of being a Sentinel of Vigilance. If one stands up for the rights of future generations to take pictures in the subway, one will shout and scream against the regulation.

Silence will be Terrorism's victory.


Go To December 18 Story: "Intelligence Bill Is Signed When Each American Household Should Have Its Own Intelligence 'Czar'


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