Imprisoned for Taking a Picture. North Korea? No. North America.
This Memorial Day, let's remember the countless thousands of Americans who gave their lives in order that a corporate police state could be established in Wyoming. It's bad enough that several states have already passed Ag Gag laws, making it a felony to photograph or document animal abuse inside factory farms; or the State of North Carolina making it a felony to reveal which chemicals are being used for fracking.
But now a new low has been reached. The skanky prostitutes of Wyoming (formerly known as the governor and state legislature) have passed a “trespassing to collect data” law. The purpose of this law is to protect cattle ranchers — whose unsanitary practices are polluting the local drinking water — from any of them treehugging environmentalists who might try to photograph and report evidence of pollution.
I would've thought enforcing anti-pollution and clean water laws would be a higher priority, but what do I know?
The title of the linked article, “Taking a photograph of Old Faithful could land you in jail,” is NOT an exaggeration.
Susan Kraham, an attorney, said:
“A Yellowstone tourist who goes for a hike with the intention of photographing the natural resources in Yellowstone is in violation of this law because they are entering into open land for the purpose of collecting what falls under the definition of resource data.”
From the linked article:
“Under the law's broad framework, anyone who enters 'open land' defined as 'land outside the exterior boundaries of any incorporated city, town, subdivision' with the intent to collect data without explicit permission to do so, could face up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.”
A proponent of the “trespassing to collect data” law insisted that such a far-fetched scenario would never happen — to which a local ACLU attorney replied: “A promise is wonderful but the law allows for prosecution.”
A law professor said:
“What is unique and highly problematic is that it is clearly intended to apply to public land. It essentially makes a party guilty of trespass if they engage in what would otherwise be lawful activity on federal public land.”
In other words, if you visit Yellowstone this summer, leave your camera at home.
Better yet — Boycott Wyoming. Until the voters of Wyoming can boost their IQs up into the double digits and stop electing these corporate prostitutes disguised as “legislators” — hit 'em in the pocketbook.