Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I saw this picture; it's titled "Oh Yeah!" It reminds me of some of the spirited discussion I have seen in the Yahoo Groups and in some of the emails I have seen lately.

I've seen some animated wrangling about taking pictures at York, design and build of standard gauge modules and on and on....

It's good to see the discussion. Let me weigh in and then I'll be quiet.

I think cameras and the like should be allowed at York. Check this out:

Amendment I - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Being that I write a blog, as do a whole bunch of other people, not being able to take pictures of amazing toys and trains inhibits my 4th ammendment right to freedom of the press. There's also this nagging First Ammendment, something about "freedom of expression" and the fact that our congress can not stop or inhibit freedom of expression. If the Congress of the United States can't stop me from freedom of expression, who is anyone else to tell me different?

One more thing; whenever I have shown pictures of train shows on my blog, the hits go up substantially. Not everyone has the funds, time or physical health to always travel. Some people just enjoy seeing the trains (hence my blog). Maybe it's the reason everyone in our hobby NOT taking pictures at York is over 50 years old.

By the way, I understand the rationale for the no-fly zone for digital cams and the like; pictures can be taken out of context and I'd rather not have yet another fight with my wife with photographic evidence to back it up.

However, First and Fourth ammendments notwithstanding, we lose part of our history by not having a reasonable photographic journal of what we love and why we love it. Just some food for thought; losing history is far worse than a few short term hassles. We should be capturing our history before eBay and time takes a dump on the camraderie and insight our hobby offers.

The mild skirmish going on in the SGMA reminds me of the above picture. I'll bet these guys grew up to be better men because they stood their ground or at least had the chance to get in each others faces. Sometimes friends and colleagues should be able to yell, stomp and still express themselves and be respected for it. Eventually the organization grows up, has important meetings and has nice carpeting on big layouts with lots of trains.

Choo choo.



Anonymous said...

Yea, but the little guy on the right looks a bit banged up to me!

Jim Kelly

Standard Gauge Blogger said...

It's usually the little guys you have to look out for!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the first and fourth amendments only apply to the government, not a private organization like TCA. Don't get me wrong, it seems like the York uproar is the result of a bunch of petty bureaucrats throwing their muscle around. It just seems that your argument kind of misses the mark.

Anonymous said...

I see your point. I guess my idea was that if it applies to the government, that's elected by the people, it should apply to the democratic organizations we belong to, like the TCA. Or they should at least attempt to honor the spirit of probably the strongest governing document in the history of man.

So I see your point and hopefully with some clarification you see mine.

Interestingly enough I spend a ton of time going to see customers in Manhattan. This is a daily ocurrence for me. I am searched at every major company and building I walk into. Even one's where I was invited. Again, the government can't perform unnecessary searches and seizures yet some jack-off doorman with less than a 5th grade reading level can take out my laptop and x-ray my bag. Same with airports; now I have to take off my shoes everytime I want to go get on a plane when I have to fly somewhere? Why? So we can feel only slightly safer flying the friendly skies eventhough it has been clearly proven we are only slightly and I mean very slightly safer. The above has little to do with security and a whole lot to do with liability. See, a rent a cop with a 5th grade education searching my bag absolves a corporation of liability and does not stop some insane asshole from flying a plane into a building.

Why do some old men in the TCA mandate where I can and cannot take a picture? Matter of national security? No. More often than not it smells like ass covering. Why should anyone give a damn whether someone took pictures of a standard gauge module near York during a TCA meet? "The spirit of our no-pictures rule was violated." Give me a break. I have yet to see anyone strongly defend why the no pictures rule is even there. I've heard why it was originally put in place but I'll save that for another post.

We aren't talking about an organization that needs to be secretive or has an upfront agreement for secrecy like the Masons. It's friggin train collectors for crying out loud. But when an organization makes rules that don't jibe with our country's long standing traditions of freedom of thought and expression (and I would say showing benchwork at a gathering of fellow enthusiasts falls under freedom of expression) than something doesn't smell right.

Let's face one other fact, when the TCA was formed and this rule was created, there wasn't anything like the technology there is today. So if someone had a yen to do it, they could one of a hundred or so small pen-sized cams to York and photograph and video tape everything. A full investigation would be launched by a whole bunch of old guys in Sansabelt Polyester Pants and they would find exactly what everyone else in a similar situation finds out; you can't do diddly without expensive and very stringent security measures.

By the way, did no cameras stop people and dealers at York from getting ripped off? Or would a couple of hundred cameras capture soemthing nefarious? There's that liability thing again....