Law on the Ground

Getting rights on paper is only the first round of an endless battle.

Here is the experience of a qualified bidder on a local government contract trying to photograph potential job sites which happen to be Miami-Dade Metro stations:

Transit Miami, Wacken-“Nuts”, Reflections on the First Amendment.

At the first station I had no problem doing my work, I took my photographs and moved on. As I walked up to the second station I was greeted by two power-tripping guards that quickly welcomed me into the reality of the horrors of governmental and private company unions and their inane bureaucracies. To be clear, at all times I had in my possession the plans and contract book from Miami-Dade County stating the job description, locations, and purpose. I also identified myself and my intentions at every stop. It was at this stop where the debate and discussion on one’s constitutional right to photograph in public blossomed. I spent about one hour trying to get into the station to photograph the area, which I was not allowed to do.

At subsequent stations I already knew what to expect. Once again, I approached the station and introduced myself and explained myself. This guard appeared to be calm and wise, at least I thought based on his calm, non-emotional, respectful tone of voice. All that changed after he began talking about his “interpretations” on the law.

At this point, I was just so amazed and shocked that I wanted to hear more on his rationale. This guard had some of the best quotes of the day. Some of them are: “Miami-Dade Transit is not Public,” “The Constitution does not apply on Miami-Dade Transit grounds,” “The County Ordinances supersede the Constitution,” and the best justification for those lovers of the expansion of the police state…”9/11,” yes he said, “Now, after 9/11 your constitutional rights are different.” At this point, I was in shock that a Wackenhut Security Guard was stating this was the policy of the county and Wackenhut. He spoke with so much confidence and belief in the absurdities he was uttering that I said to myself, “This country is doomed.”

No, but maybe we need more lawyers?

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3 Responses to Law on the Ground

  1. Nora Bombay says:

    This is why I oppose the hiring of private security firms for full time coverage of public facilities. Because they wind up acting like this, and there is no real clear line of responsibility to correct things.

    Just. Grrr. On the other hand, people with really good grasps of the constitution rarely wind up working for Wackenhut. So I can’t even blame the poor guard that much.

  2. Just me says:

    Ricky makes the big time! An entry on all about Ricky’s incident. This is great. I had the pleasure of knowing Ricky in law school, I am sure he is loving this. I have now seen this story on two of the blogs I regularly follow ( and Carlos Miller’s blog).

    I would love to have been a fly on the wall during Ricky’s attempts to photograph the metro rail.

  3. County ordinances supersede the Constitution? That’s one of the best lines I’ve heard in a long time.

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