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Responding To The Complaint
forioscribe




I was lost in thought as I walked in tall grass bordering the creek this morning, when I heard a voice call out. I looked up the slope. It was from two cops standing next to their cruiser stopped on the roadway, about 30 yards away.

“Can we talk to you for a minute?” one of them said.

“Sure,” I replied, and walked over.

“We’ve been getting complaints about, uh, a bald headed old guy who keeps taking pictures of young girls' asses,” the youngest said.






I replied that I have been a professional photojournalist all my life, as well as a fine arts photographer, and I take pictures of whatever I find of interest, and that includes old and young men, old and young women, and everybody and everything in between.

“May I see what you have in the camera?” he said.

“Absolutely.”

“Do you have identification?” the other one said.

“Yes, of course.”

I got out my drivers license, gave it up, and handed the camera to the other one. Showed him how to scroll through the images.

I said I understand there’s a big difference of opinion concerning first amendment/free speech rights on the one hand, and a person’s right to privacy on the other. “But I can see why people get upset when somebody takes their picture in a public place.”

“Yes, that’s all true,” the young one said.

He studied the images. A trash truck driving up and workers emptying bins, a John Deer mowing tractor cutting grass. Also a few running and bike riding shots, an old guy walking onto the covered bridge. Sunlit green leaves above a gray guard rail. A car in the parking lot with an American Flag flying above its door.













Fortunately—and thank God—no young girls' asses!

The older cop said, “Are you still at this address?”

I said yes. He scribbled my information on his pad.

The other one finished his review of my images, handed me the camera.

“People are afraid of girls being kidnapped and raped and murdered and all that,” he said. “So we had to respond to the complaint, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing our jobs. ”

I said, yes, I understood.

“Thanks for your cooperation, we really appreciate it,” he said. “So enjoy the rest of your day.”

I resumed my walk. Good thing I got a lot of images over the past three, four days, I thought. Because I won’t be taking pictures here anymore.
















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I get that too in Vallejo. Mostly it is people confronting me about why I am taking pictures of trees and whatnot. Once someone warned me I shouldn't take pictures around the school. I said, "I wasn't taking pictures of the school, but of this fence - you saw me taking a picture of the fence." He said he knew that, but there were a lot of child molesters around. I said, "But, it's 5:30 and there are no children around. You think I am a child molester?" (He's the one who lives kitty-corner to the school. It's more likely he's the child molester. Why do molesters live near schools? Because that's where the kids are.)

What it is, is that these people don't like it themselves. They don't like anything. (Photographers like everything!) They have no worry about child molesters and probably could care less about kids. They use that to insult me. He said somebody might worry and call the cops and I invited him to go ahead and call them. "I'm on my way to the post office and I'll meet up with them there," I told him. McCarthyites. Fascists.

The key thing is that neither cop told me not to take pictures anymore. I got the sense they thought the guy who complained was making too much of it.

Glad to hear it went in that direction. We only end up hearing the stories about the misinformed and jerk police officers who do things like delete pictures because Zomgturrrsts!(tm) could use the artsyfartsy shot of that pretty bit of architecture to blow up churches and such.

The guy. We know who he was, from the other day. I guess, like you said: ogling is OK, but taking a picture of him ogling is not.

It just occurred to me that proof he was the one complaining is the fact that from my position I could not see the gymnast's ass. But HE could!

I just took another look. Yes, I could see her ass. But he was MUCH closer!

You probably saved her from kidnap and rape. He was moving in before being thwarted by your all seeing glass eye.

Thank god SOMETHING good came of it!

(Deleted comment)
Their first thought, though, may be that you're a guy in drag. Which in their minds would make it even worse!

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