On 29 July 2003, I became a casualty in John Ashcroff's politically convenient “War on Everyday Activites Which Some Terrorist May Also Have Done.” I carried a camera onto the public hiking trails surrounding West Hartford (CT) Reservoir. It's a pretty little reservoir, inviting locals to partake in biking, hiking and other healthy activities on the miles of natural and manmade coastline.
No signs said that cameras were not allowed. The police officer was reminding me that I “am not in any trouble,” but that I had to surrender official state identification and car registration anyway. Numerous other shutterbugs are catalogued each day, just in case a “pattern” might somehow develop.
It's a picture of a rusty plate, eye bolt and one rusty chain link.
the British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. yet where does this anarchy exist? where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusets? and can history produce an instance of a rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it's motives. they were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. god forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. the people cannot be all, & always, well informed. the past which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive; if they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. we have had 13. states independant 11. years. there has been one rebellion. that comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. what country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? let them take arms. the remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. what signify a few lives lost in a century or two? the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. it is it's natural manure.
Thomas Jefferson, 1787
Keep up the good work, Ashcroft! Who knows? In another year or so we might have to get all Jeffersonian on you and stage that 20 year revolution he so elequently talked about …