Are we really still in this state of paranoia, such that Middle Easterners can’t take photos in the United States without arousing suspicion? Sadly, the answer is “yes,” for at least one police officer in Athens, Georgia. Per the Athens Banner-Herald:
An Athens-Clarke police officer questioned four Middle Eastern men he saw taking photos of the downtown police station about 6 p.m. Friday, but the men had valid visas and said they were tourists, so he didn’t detain them.
Whew. That was a close one, no? No.
The men, all from Cairo, Egypt, and in their 40s or 50s, were standing back to back in a square at the corner of Lumpkin and Washington streets, capturing a panoramic view of the area with their cell phone cameras, the officer wrote in his report. Two men also specifically took a photo of the nearby police station, the officer wrote.
When the men saw the officer, they walked away but stopped at a Clayton Street clothing store, where the officer asked why they were taking photos of the police station.
The men said they were on their way to a conference in Alabama and were just taking snapshots of Athens while they were here, but couldn’t relay much more information because of a language barrier, the officer wrote.
Hmm. The old “no hablo ingles.” Interesting.