PhotographersAreNotTerrorists: Fear of terrorism is an excuse for stupidity.

A security guard at the Fareham Shopping Centre in the UK accused a middle-aged couple of terrorism and banned them for life when they took out a camera to take a picture of their grandchildren. After the press jumped on the story, the manager of the mall said that they weren’t terrorists, but that taking pictures of their grandchildren in the mall did pose a “security risk” and that they could come back provided they didn’t take any pictures.

(Full story: BoingBoing)

Stories like this really hack me off because they tend to occur because of one over-eager, under-paid, under-trained security guard – or, more likely, because of the edicts from their over-eager, under-paid, under-trained bosses.

The sad irony is that if you enter a shopping mall (especially here in the UK) you’re likely to be captured on camera without your authorisation or permission hundreds of times as you walk their corridors. These same pictures of you, your family and your children are entirely beyond your control. That stinks, bigtime.

What’s more, if attacks (terrorist or otherwise) occur, the police always call for witnesses and ask the public to help. I remember after the 7/7 bombings in London the police were asking people to send in shots from their cameraphones of just before the explosions. More freedom to photograph would seriously hamper the efforts of the terrorists, murderers and other lowlife of the world.

Photography should be seen as a force for good in the world, not something that should be banned. If you want to ban anything, ban guns.

Shoot pictures, not people.

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