Both my Grandmother Grace & grandfather James (whom I am named after) were painters. They established a love in me of the Southwestern landscape through the piles of Arizona Highways magazines that were everywhere around their West Texas home. I grew up admiring the photography of Josef Muench, then his son David and now, grandson Marc. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I capture just a small flavor of an “Arizona Highways” sky.
I don’t get to AZ quite as often as I do New Mexico and I was more than a little concerned and alarmed when I got an email from the National Press Photographers (NPPA) about the New Mexico Dept of Homeland Security (NMDHS) policy that lists photography of Historical Sites, National Monuments and many other locations as “suspicious activity” and that it should be reported to law enforcement.
While the NMDHS has changed their wording, they still consider recording by means of photography (still & video) and drawing or sketching as activities that should be reported to law enforcement. It seems kind of ironic that the very means (photography) that introduced and incited so many tourists to come to “the land of enchantment” is now considered suspicious activity.
Just a portion from the NMDHS website:
Reporting Suspicious Activities
Your assistance is critical to aiding law enforcement and public safety officials who are working to keep New Mexico, your local community and our country safe. No one knows what goes on in your neighborhood better than you. You may see things or hear things that seem out of the ordinary and may indicate suspicious or illegal conduct. Law enforcement officials in New Mexico often rely on the instincts and perceptions of citizens to detect activity that is out of the ordinary.Always remember: your safety comes first. Never attempt to make contact with, pursue, or in any other way interfere with an individual or group of individuals whom you think are acting suspiciously. Call 911 immediately to report situations requiring an immediate response from law enforcement.
DESCRIPTONS OF SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES:
Surveillance – Recording or monitoring activities that may include the use of cameras, note-taking, drawing diagrams or maps.
PLEASE PROVIDE DESCRIPTION OF SUSPICIOUS INDIVIDUALS TO INCLUDE:
- Hair color
- Hair length
- Absence or presence of facial hair, and if present, facial hair color
- Eye color
- Approximate age
- Approximate height
- Approximate weight
- Distinguishing characteristics, such as visible scars, tattoos, piercings or deformities
- Clothing, including pants/shorts/skirt/dress, shirt sleeve length, presence of coat/jacket, wearing/not wearing hat or glasses, color of all articles of clothing
PLEASE PROVIDE DESCRIPTION OF SUSPICIOUS VEHICLES TO INCLUDE:
- License plate number and state
- Vehicle make/model
- Approximate year of vehicle
- Vehicle color
- Number of doors on vehicle
- Any visible bumper stickers or window stickers, including their size, color, placement and content
- Any visible damage to vehicle, such as paint damage, body damage, broken/missing glass, damaged or non-working head or tail light
Details matter. The more you observe, the more helpful your information will be, however all information is important. Even if you do not have complete details, please provide the information you do have.
Where will this madness stop?
Pezful EZ Feelin’ @U ††† en theos ††† jlawrence