Hey, do you like trains, do you like to watch trains, do you like to find out everything you can about trains? Are you a railroad buff, a so-called “railfan”?
Well, then you are under arrest. Well, not quite under arrest. Although some have been threatened with arrest. But you may be approached and interrogated and told don’t do it again. Even a police officer who trainspots as a hobby was given the shake-down by other police officers. They took Richard Whitenight’s notebook and grilled him about every scribble. They searched his car and took photos of it. And then he had to sign a written agreement never to return to that particular location.
Other railfans have reported similar treatment. All this started happening because of the usual vague terrorist warnings, this time about railroads. But don’t we get new alerts every few weeks about something or other being targeted? Maybe? Possibly?
A while back the word went out about apartment complexes. I don’t know about you, but when I’m thinking about moving into a place, I go there, look around, take a few notes. I could understand somebody coming up to me and saying, Hey, I don’t think I know you, can I help you? But threatening me with interrogation and arrest is something else again.
Railfans are well-known to the railroads. What we want to be on the lookout for is suspicious behavior. If we must be on the lookout, let’s look for suspicious activity that is suspicious activity. Not the kinds of things people always do . . . when they are free.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.