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  Popular Wireless Magazine Personal Wireless BBS
  Anything Else Goes Here
  Any railfans here? (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Any railfans here?
Bob Yannes
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posted December 03, 2002 01:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob Yannes     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm not suggesting there *is* a "gestapo like police force" confiscating anything--but that is where we are headed if we decide that illusionary security is preferable to our constitutional rights...

The term "gestapo like" would be meaninigless if a gestapo hadn't actually existed, so don't think it can't happen. all it takes is people letting it happen.

If you had your radios illegally confiscated and weren't outraged, I don't know what to say about that. If a thief had taken them would you have been upset? Why doesn't it bother you if someone in a uniform illegally takes your property?

If he was trespassing, he should have been detained. In the abscence of facts, why do you assume he was trespassing? So he's guilty until proven innocent? That's pretty scarey...

I don't follow the logic at all of why he must have been trespassing if he was willing to sign a statement saying that he wouldn't return. If he *was* trespassing, he was already breaking the law. Why would he have to sign an agreement not to break the law? If he trespasses again, he would be breaking the law regardless of whether he signed anything or not. Sounds more like he agreed to refrain from doing something that *wasn't* against the law so that they *could* nail him if he did it again.

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Joe Montierth
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Posts: 2393
From: Safford, AZ USA
Registered: May 99

posted December 03, 2002 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Montierth   Click Here to Email Joe Montierth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why would anyone sign anything they didn't have to? Police officers especially would know this. He signed it to get out of some kind of trouble, like trespassing. That is the agreement the RR does with some people- we catch you, and instead of prosecuting you, we have you sign a statement saying you won't come back here. If you do, then they throw the book at you. This man was a PO, so he didn't want his rep ruined with a "record" for something as stupid as this.

There is no other explanation for what happened. Police can't detain you without some kind of probable cause- that being trespassing in this case. Take a look at the map I provided. Tower 55 is clearly well on RR property, to be anywhere near it you would be trespassing. How can you sign a paper saying you won't return to tower 55 if you haven't been near it? If you were 2 blocks away on the street, thats not "tower 55".

Maybe this is just so obvious to me, having worked for (probably) this very RR company. There is no gestapo here, just hardline enforcement like the RR is famous for.

Joe

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markee73
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Posts: 830
From: parsippany,nj,usa
Registered: Dec 2000

posted December 03, 2002 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for markee73     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
i agree with joe here 100 percent, how could anyone be coerced into signing an agreement to stay off public property? you can be assured this guy was trespassing on railroad property, otherwise it would have been pointed out in that article.

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Bob Yannes
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posted December 03, 2002 04:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob Yannes     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK, if you are saying that rather than face prosecution for trespassing he signed the statement, that I *can* believe.

I *still* don't see the point of it. If he *was* trespassing and he comes back, whether he signed an agreement or not, he's still trespassing. you can still prosecute him whether he signed an agreement or not. Seems pretty silly to me.

You are *probably* right about the trespassing, but I would still point out that you are jumping to conclusions without any facts.

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Joe Montierth
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From: Safford, AZ USA
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posted December 03, 2002 09:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Montierth   Click Here to Email Joe Montierth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It makes prosecution a lot easier to have a signed paper. This shows previous action, and that the person definitely knows better. You won't easily get off in this type of situation.

I wonder if this guy had been told to leave before, at some other time- that seems to be the way things are handled.

First time: Tell them to get off the RR property and stay off.

Second time: Sign a paper saying you will stay off, or face prosecution.

Third time: Full prosecution.

That seems to be the way I remember things, but with increased alertness, step 1 might be eliminated.

SIDE STORY- VERY GRAPHIC- DO NOT READ IF BLOOD BOTHERS YOU

When I worked at the RR yard in PHX about 12 years ago, an incident occurred that illustrates the danger of the RR operations. A "gondola" car carrying several tons of "I" beam iron was being switched in the yard, about 100 yards from my office. These I beams were about 1 foot by 1 foot and about 40 feet long, many were laying in this car that was about 50 ft long, leaving an area of about 10 ft that was empty at one end of the car.

Two illegal aliens had occupied the empty spot for a free ride from PHX to where-ever. As they were switching the cars, they pushed this gondola a little fast and it rolled into the parked set of cars that they were building into a train. The forceful coupling of the car caused the load to shift, and the I beams moved for the open space.

About an hour later, as a switchman was checking couplings on the newly formed train, he heard screaming from inside the gondola. When he looked in, he saw one man trapped under this shifted iron, but basically unhurt. The other man was above him, an I beam having cut off half of his head; and blood, grey matter, and bone shards were everywhere, especially on the lower man who could only look in the direction of his friend. It took over another hour to free him, and the RR police officer that did the report (a jaded man by any account) told me it was the awfulest thing he had ever seen (and then he told me some other things he had seen that didn't measure up- cars hit by trains, pedestrians, and a suicide by a man that just layed his neck on the RR track).

Joe

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John H. Guetherman
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Posts: 440
From: Peoria, Az., USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted December 04, 2002 03:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John H. Guetherman   Click Here to Email John H. Guetherman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I sent an email to the author of the WashPost article. Hopefully, he will respond and clear up the trespass issue.

John

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markee73
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Posts: 830
From: parsippany,nj,usa
Registered: Dec 2000

posted December 04, 2002 06:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for markee73     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
joe, here's a site that may interest you:
www.deadtrainbums.com

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John H. Guetherman
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Posts: 440
From: Peoria, Az., USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted December 04, 2002 06:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for John H. Guetherman   Click Here to Email John H. Guetherman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My email to Mr. Phillips, the author of the article:

Mr. Phillips,

In regards to your article, "Wronged Side of the Tracks? 'Railfans' Complain of Police Scrutiny in Terror Era" on Friday, November 15, 2002.

There is a discussion about it on the PopularWireless BBS located at:

http://www.popularwireless.com/ubb/Forum19/HTML/000408.html

There seems to be some confusion as to whether Mr. Whitenight was or was not trespassing on RR company property. Could you clear this up for us? Was he, or was he not, trespassing on RR company property?

If not, where was he actually located at? And why did he agree to sign a form saying he would never return to Tower 55 if he was not?

Here is a map of the Tower 55 area:

http://www.trains.com/Content/Dynamic/Articles/000/000/002/755jryms.asp

Thank you for your time on this. I hope to be able to clear up the confusion on the trespass issue.

Sincerely,

John H. Guetherman
Peoria, AZ.

The reply:

Thanks for the link. Interesting. Yes he was trespassing. I think he was in the parking lot next to the old tower. This is an area used by many railfans for many years, and the folks at Omaha hq told me they basically
looked the other way for years because no one saw any harm in it. So the railfans were basically blindsided with no warning. But technically, yes, they were trespassing.

I might also add that the other two incidents mentioned in the article did
not involve trespassing, nor did a number of others I could have used or have heard about since.

Don

(Don did read this thread, btw.)

So...#1 he was trespassing, and many other railfans over the years were also trespassing at that location, without any problems with the railroad.

#2, without any public warning, the unofficial policy of the railroad to let the railfans park in a parking lot on railroad property was rescinded, resulting in the 'interogation' of Mr. Whitenight by local police and the FBI.

#3, in my opinion, (and my opinion only), a public notice should have gone out to let railfans and the general public know that that area was to be officially off-limits to them from now on. Barring that, the local police could have handled this incident with a whole lot more tact and diplomacy than they apparently did. A couple minutes of questioning, and then giving him verbal notice that the area was now off-limits should have sufficed.

#4, as I stated earlier, you will find differing results depending on locality and railroad company policy (and the attitude's of company employees). You could find yourself ignored, given a once-over to determine your intentions, be asked to be the 'eyes and ears' of the FRA, be asked to leave the property (politely or otherwise), be questioned at length by law enforcement at any level, or even arrested. It just depends on numerous factors at that time and place.

John.

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markee73
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Posts: 830
From: parsippany,nj,usa
Registered: Dec 2000

posted December 05, 2002 08:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for markee73     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
what the heck do you mean "without any public warning?" it's been ALL over the radio and TV that rail facilities could be possible targets of terrorists, do you and these individuals live in la-la land? c'mon john, get real. it's bad enough that you wish to ignore the context to 9/11. so what really happened, these people were questioned and released, they were not arrested, jailed and none of their belongings were confiscated, no one's rights were violated. the authorities DO have the powers to investigate, much to your dislike. there are many laws against public loitering, would police have probable cause to stop and question someone loitering outside or near a liquor store near closing time? i presume you would answer "no".

[This message has been edited by markee73 (edited December 05, 2002).]

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markee73
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From: parsippany,nj,usa
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posted December 05, 2002 10:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for markee73     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"I suspect it is a stock photo."

that could be, but the caption seems to suggest increased railroad security has deprived railfans the opportunity to ride the UP Challenger #3985 excursion train, a link here suggests otherwise. http://www.upsteam.com/schedule.html

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John H. Guetherman
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Posts: 440
From: Peoria, Az., USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted December 07, 2002 09:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John H. Guetherman   Click Here to Email John H. Guetherman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If it's been all over the radio and tv, I must have missed it. The article is the first I had heard of it. I had heard of the danger to commercial aircraft from shoulder-fired missiles recently, but not of any threat to our railroads, or that I could be seen as a terrorist threat by watching trains roll by.

And Mr. Whitenight is a police officer himself. Cops have the same hobbies when off-duty as we do. Did his department not get the notice to check out people watching our transportation infrastructure? If he didn't know, do you expect the average citizen to know? Or did the railroads plan to keep this to themselves?

Some public notice would have been nice, markee.

If you had been allowed to do something for years that was technically not supposed to be allowed (such as watching trains from RR property in this case), and suddenly the police detain you for detailed questioning, and you had no idea you couldn't do it anymore, wouldn't you have preferred an advance warning to avoid the whole mess?

And Mr. Whitenight's notebook was confiscated from him, according to an email from Mr. Phillips, the author of the article. Maybe it's 'just a notebook' to you, since you've had radios confiscated from you and you don't seem to mind, but I don't think it's a trivial matter.

John

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Joe Montierth
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From: Safford, AZ USA
Registered: May 99

posted December 07, 2002 09:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Montierth   Click Here to Email Joe Montierth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here are a few links to the warning about terrorist attacks to RR:

http://chblue.com/artman/publish/printer_863.shtml
http://www.news-journalonline.com/2002/Oct/26/STAT8.htm
http://www.azstarnet.com/attack/21025NTERROR-ALERT-NYT.html
http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/news/WABC_102502_trains.html
http://www.utu.org/worksite/detail_news.cfm?ArticleID=4137

Some of the articles state that Al Quaeda operations would be done with people that have a "western" look to them.

Link to discussions about incident:

http://www.trainorders.com/stories/2002/11/03/467.php

At the bottom has link to discussion board.

Joe

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markee73
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Posts: 830
From: parsippany,nj,usa
Registered: Dec 2000

posted December 08, 2002 08:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for markee73     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
once again, the liberal media rears it's ugly head. mr. philips wrote an editorial here, NOT a news story. if he feels railfans were "blindsided" that's his opinion, BUT the facts just don't support it. don't you find it suspicious whitenight's trespassing was intentionally left out of the piece? obviously, the author has some politcal motivation or bias here and that's fine with me, BUT please don't disguise this story as an honest statement of the facts. if other incidents exist where trespassing was NOT involved, why not write about them? joe's got it right, whitenight probably gave RR police some lip about being a cop in a nearby jurisdiction, i'm glad they treated no differently than anyone else. UP X3985 "closed to the public"? the link i posted previously seems to indicate otherwise, ignore that also if you wish, just like the trespassing issue and 9/11 context. mr. philips couldn't grab headlines with a complete listing of known facts, no-he was compelled to omit vital pieces of the incident so that the story would support his bias. this story is a fraud, it's one of the sloppiest attempts at reporting the facts that i have ever read. defend it at risk to your personal integrity and better judgement.

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markee73
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From: parsippany,nj,usa
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posted December 08, 2002 10:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for markee73     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"since you've had radios confiscated from you and you don't seem to mind...."

john, don't put words in my mouth, i never posted here to that effect. the event i described happened many, many years ago and, i was pissed (extremely!) to say the least. however, i did get it back.

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John H. Guetherman
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From: Peoria, Az., USA
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posted December 08, 2002 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for John H. Guetherman   Click Here to Email John H. Guetherman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Someone else asked earlier if you got them back markee, and you never answered. All you stated was that they were taken from you, and that you accept that it happened. You did not state that you got them back, nor did you state that you were angry at the time. Thank you for your clarification.

As for your opinion about Mr. Phillips and his reporting, I'll let him answer that if he wishes to do so. He was reading this thread.

The article didn't state whether it was the UP police or Ft. Worth police or the Texas Rangers, just the police and then the FBI, nor did it state Mr. Whitenight's 'attitude' towards them. It only stated that he identified himself.

The article also did not state specifically the date this occured on. Just a "Sunday afternoon late last month" (Oct. 20th? 27th?), with the article dated Nov. 14th. The news articles that Joe linked to above, are dated Oct. 25 and 26. Was Mr. Whitenight actually aware of any information that the unofficial policy to allow railfans to park in a parking lot on railroad property to observe trains over the course of a couple of years had been changed?

Would it be smart to do this now? No. We have the information now. Did anyone other than the railroad have that information then? That is my point here. A long standing policy was suddenly changed with no or little notice. I was simply giving a head's up to any railfans on the BBS here that they may now be seen as a potential security threat. I hadn't been aware of it myself untill I saw the article, a couple of weeks after the threat notice.

And as I stated earlier, this will vary by locality and RR employee attitudes. A response from a railfan in Idaho who is well-known by the RR there, stated that they still have access to the yard area(s) that they've had for years, and are even acting as the eyes and ears for the RR police up there reporting suspicious activity to them.

I didn't come here to argue markee. Just to give a head's-up.

John.

[This message has been edited by John H. Guetherman (edited December 08, 2002).]

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markee73
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From: parsippany,nj,usa
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posted December 08, 2002 12:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for markee73     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
on first day whitenight ever trespassed onto RR property this same incident could have occured. after 9/11 traincrews were specifically instructed to report people near rail facilities, being good union guys they do as told. i find it extremely hard to believe ANYONE could be ignorant of the warnings broadcast on tv, radio and internet websites. i think whitenight knew and, in spite of these warnings he continued to trespass, believing his employment as a police officer would get him out of a jam. i think joe nailed it squarely, joe was a RR cop, he oughta know. the initiative was on the railfans, not the RR. did it ever occur to you that they could have submitted a request to the RR asking permission to use tower 55 for train spotting? i'm sorry, squatter's rights don't apply to the RR and especially not in this case. i routinely drive above the speed limit on the same stretch of interstate, daily. does that mean if i'm caught my defense is that because i got away with it in the past i should be able to continue to do so? events at ruby ridge and waco better illustrate the possible move towards a police state, this incident is about a beligerant cop that was embarassed to be shown as the fool he is. he put himself in the position to be made an example. john, we agree to disagree and that's okay, i'm glad you posted the topic.

[This message has been edited by markee73 (edited December 08, 2002).]

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Jules Archer
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From: Palatine, IL USA
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posted December 08, 2002 10:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jules Archer   Click Here to Email Jules Archer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind
has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."

­Julius Caesar

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Critter
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From: Schenectady NY USA
Registered: Feb 2000

posted December 10, 2002 05:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Critter   Click Here to Email Critter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just took a moment to compare the definitions of Patriotism and Nationalism. They are, naturally, extremely similar.

I wonder, however, if, in the American context, we need to allow the subtleties of these two words' differences to manifest more strongly. With that in mind, I consider myself a patriot, in that I love my country, but not a nationalist, in that I do not follow the government blindly, and, for that matter, am not a big fan of any of the past four or five administrations....

I know that rambles a bit, but that is the best answer I can come up with to the question of patriotism. Keep in mind, you don't have to agree with a person to love them; similarly, you don't have to agree with a country to love it.

There is a lot to love about this country. There is also a lot to hate about it. I suggest that all patriots need to focus their love of country into changing those things that we hate about it, thus giving us even more reason to love it here.

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Joe Montierth
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From: Safford, AZ USA
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posted December 10, 2002 08:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Montierth   Click Here to Email Joe Montierth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

>>Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war...

Apparently, this is neither a quote from Caesar or from the Bard, but something whipped up after 9/11 to "arm" the anti-war types with a good quote.

It shows up all over the internet on anti-war, anti-administration, and pro-leftist sites; the fact that it is not true is of little consequence to these broad thinkers.(Well, it makes sense, so it SHOULD be true.)

People need to check this BS out before they publish it as fact, this is my biggest pet peeve- if you don't check it, I WILL.

With all the search engines available, and previous research on many topics, it only takes a couple of minutes to verify this crap rather than being embarrassed by it.

http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl-caesar-quote.htm

http://www.drudgereport.com/strei2.htm

http://www.shakespeare.com/queries/display.php?id=3264

http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_faqcaesarsayit.htm

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/news/entertainment/100202_ent_streisand_shakespeare.html

http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/Pf/0,1527,10622,00.html

http://www.snopes.com/quotes/caesar.htm

Joe

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markee73
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From: parsippany,nj,usa
Registered: Dec 2000

posted December 10, 2002 08:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for markee73     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
if the "blame america first" crowd, authors and readers of revisionist history wish to hold themselves and their ancestors accountable for pearl harbor and 9/11 they have every right to do so. but please don't include me in that catagory, i refuse to participate in any expressions of nationalistic guilt.

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Critter
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From: Schenectady NY USA
Registered: Feb 2000

posted December 10, 2002 09:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Critter   Click Here to Email Critter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by markee73:
if the "blame america first" crowd, authors and readers of revisionist history wish to hold themselves and their ancestors accountable for pearl harbor and 9/11 they have every right to do so. but please don't include me in that catagory, i refuse to participate in any expressions of nationalistic guilt.

...choosing instead nationalistic hubris, I see.

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