It's been fascinating to watch the role of photography—particularly, personal photography by citizens—in the affair of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. A marathon participant from Florida, David Green, snapped this picture of the aftermath before going to try to help victims. Later, after he put his picture on his Facebook page, many of his friends realized that he had inadvertently taken a picture of one of the suspects the FBI had asked for help in identifying. When David sent the picture to the FBI, it turned out that for a short time it was one of the clearest pictures they had of suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev.
Meanwhile, here in Milwaukee a couple of guys are making and selling "BOSTON STRONG" T-shirts; $15 out of every $20 sale will be donated to the bombing victims' fund. They started out trying to sell 110 of them. More than 12,000 have been ordered as of this writing.
Closest to home
We had our own terror scare around here this week. On Tuesday, a man with a gun caused the local college to go on lockdown. More than 30 squad cars converged, choppers circled overhead, police with dogs searched.
Eventually, Michael Weidemann was arrested at his house.
"It was a dumb mistake on my dumb part and I'll never do it again," said a contrite Weidemann. A local dumpster-diver, he had found an airsoft gun in the trash and had been carrying it around hoping to sell it to someone for $5 or $10. "I walked past some college girls and I must have scared them half to death."
Once the story of what really happened got around, students at Carroll University (as they call it...it's really a college) used social media to collect enough money to pay Weidemann's fine for him.
So, student John Heavey said, "this is really a tale of understanding and sympathy."
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Featured Comments from:
Al Patterson: "This amuses me. Many times I have been hassled by police for taking pictures, now they want our pictures? Can't have it both ways folks. Choose wisely...."
Dennis Mook: "The irony is that this same Boston Police Department, who have in the past arrested citizen photographers for taking photographs of them and others in public, now utilized those same citizen photographers to help solve this heinous crime. Thank goodness for citizen photographers. Boston PD should welcome them with open arms in the future.
"As a retired chief of police, I find the conduct of police officers around the country who harass and arrest citizens exercising their First Amendment rights in taking photographs in public places shameful and inexcusable. They should be welcoming citizen photographers as, in Boston, they proved to be a key to solving a terrorist act. Photographic crowd-sourcing could be put to work in every community to assist in identifying criminal suspects and assisting in removing them from the streets.
"I'll close with a heartfelt congratulations to all the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies who worked extra hard to solve this crime. Additionally, I would be remiss if I did not mention that my heart goes out to the families of the slain and injured citizens as well as the murdered and wounded police officers."