This is a picture I did not take

of a train conductor who approached me and asked, "are you a terrorist?" and then explained (while keeping his distance) that a few passengers were scared because they'd seen me taking a photograph of the train, and that he "had to check and see" what I was up to. It probably didn't help that my Rolleiflex looks exactly like a dirty bomb and that my Boston Red Sox hat clearly shows that I am depraved enough to waste my time rigging said Rolleiflex with depleted uranium and an explosive disperser. While this may not be a picture of a train conductor who was just doing his job, or of the scared Americans who believe that a man on a train platform with an antique camera and a cable release is a terrorist, it is a picture of the sad, desperate, hate-filled state of my country's paranoia, which, with each televisable missive from that little house on the prarie of Pennsylvania Avenue, is turning its citizens into fear-based automatons that only respond to what's on cable, (as long as it's a station owned by Rupert Murdoch). All hail the message when the message keeps you incurious, complacent, and scared straight out of your little, stupefied minds.