Thursday, March 22, 2012


I recently spent a week in Tucson, AZ and Nogales, Sonora with Borderlinks exploring the issues surrounding the border and the surrounding migration situation. It was a very emotional week, as we heard the stories of undocumented migrants and their struggle to survive in the desert in the hopes of getting to the States and maybe a job, which would help their families, who in many cases were starving. They face horrible odds in surviving the trip and the dangers of being deported. In Arizona the laws permit people to be stopped if they appear to be undocumented, which usually means that anyone with a darker skin, not matter their status can be stopped and questioned. This is profiling in the worst sense. It becomes a racial issue and is the window to abuse of power.

Today on the last leg of my driving home to Ohio from Tucson, I also experienced a case of profiling in Indiana. While my life was not in jeopardy, I was singled out by a State Trooper and felt very threatened. It made me realize how people that appear different as racially profiled on a daily basis. The results of assuming someone who looks different can result in horrible consequences, such as the young man in Florida who was killed recently.

I was approaching Indianapolis on a 4 lane highway when the traffic started to slow down and I looked around to see if I had missed a speed limit change. I then noticed that a State Trooper was behind me and had turned on his flashers so I pulled over to the side of the road and stopped. He came up on the passenger side and asked for my license and registration, which I immediately gave him. He then commented that he was stopping me for traveling too close to the truck in front of me and that in Indianapolis they were concerned about traffic congestion and safety. I commented that I might have been too close and I understood his concern. It did mystify me why I was pulled over, while over people traveling similar to me were not. When the following conversation took place I realized that I had been profiled. I had out of state plates and was driving a BMW and when he realized I was a little scruffy with my beard and do-rag. This is not the first time I have been pulled over as a result of driving a BMW. After the following conversation, which I conducted with respect, did I realize that he did not have the right to be asking me these questions. If had realized by rights I would have declined to answer them by saying “I choose to remain silent”. The end result was a warning about driving too close, but that occurred after he asked me the following.

Trooper: Where are you coming from?
Me: Tucson
Trooper: Why were you in Tucson?
Me: Visiting my Uncle and participating in a Borderlinks week.
Trooper: What is Borderlinks?
Me: I was part of church group that was looking the Border Issues
Trooper: There certainly are issues with the Border. What did you deal with.
Me: The deaths of undocumented migrants
Trooper: Did you stay at a church?
Me: No we stayed in a dormitory.
Trooper: When did I leave home?
Me: Feb 8th on a road trip with my wife through Florida, New Orleans, Texas and Tucson.
Trooper: Where is you wife?
Me: She flew home.
Trooper: Do you have any large sums of money with you?
Me: Thirty-five dollars for food till I get home.
Trooper: Do have any Marijuana in the car?
Me: No.

At this point he went back to his vehicle and eventually came back with a printed warning and said “Have a good day”

I kept my cool, but as the questions went on I really began to wonder about my rights and why he was asking them. Wanting to know where my wife, was completely out of line, as were most of his questions.

I am now very upset with happened and if Indianapolis were not so far away I would follow up with his department on their procedures and the legality of how I was questioned.

I wish I had the information from this website:
before this incident had happened. I then would have answered: “I choose to remain silent”. However I was tired and wanted to get home so I did not question what he was doing!

I also have been stopped in the past for taking pictures of cows and farms from the public highway.

This type of profiling and intimidation needs to be stopped.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


This seems like a good time to reactivate my blogging activity.  2010 was year that was a difficult one from a personal perspective, thus a new year brings renewal and  a commitment to continue this adventure called life!
My motto has always been: "Never grow up and never stop learning!".  So it is time to expand my horizons and continue to find new adventures.
I originally stared this blog as a place for displaying my photos for critiquing in an on-line photo course I was taking.  It served that need very well.  I then continued to post some miscellaneous thoughts after that, but have been dormant since mid 2008.  I am now starting my 4th year of retirement and also my new career as a  photographer.  I have also become very active on Facebook and in the blogging world.  The result is that you will see both my photography and thoughts expressed here and also on Facebook.
I can not promise daily or even weekly posts, but will post when when I feel the need.
Photography has become a very exciting endeavor for me.  I continue my education by participating in workshops and photo-shoot adventures.  The results can be see on my web page at: 3 Oaks Photography.
Feel free to email me or comment about anything that might interest you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Blues!!

Tab Benoit was at Wilbert's in Cleveland last night. I try to get to his concerts whenever possible. He does blues and more, like nobody else. Was by myself last night due to concert being in the middle of the week and Sandy having an early work morning today. Got caught in a traffic jam near downtown Cleveland and wondered what was happening, as Wilbert's only holds a few hundred people, so I knew that all of the cars were not going there. Turns out Celine Dion was performing at the "Q" so I ended up having to pay more for parking than what the cover was at Wilbert's.

Thought I would be late, but I wasn't, in fact I got to chat with Tab at the bar some before the concert and also with his drummer and bass player during the break. Was a fun, happy and drinking crowd , including the band. Lots of Celine Dion jokes and more. I got to meet a couple from Kent that are regulars and New Orleans Jazz Fest and we traded stories and favorite musicians for a while. Really a friendly, relaxed crowd. Music was fantastic as usual. Be sure to put Tab on your must see list.

Enjoy the following clips. He performed both of these songs last night. It felt for a few hours like I was back in N'awlins.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rock Flipping Day - 2008

I discovered Rock Flipping Day a couple of weeks ago as I expanded my search for Birding Blogs and other interesting sites. This year the day was Sunday Sept. 7th. I am behind in my blogging so am several days late in posting my results. For more information on the event and for a listing of people who participated check out:

My results are as follows:

Before FlippingAfterClose-up
As you can see I found a slug and some black muti-segmented crawly thing. This was a really cool thing to do, but I am going to need to brush up on my crawly knowledge before next year.

I thought it might be fun for my neighbors who have twins that just started Kindergarten, so I went up to their house and both of them tried it. We didn't have much success as the rocks were near their house and there wasn't much soil underneath them as the area had been filled with ash/limestone. They had fun I think and I confirmed with them that I was a neat, but strange guy next door.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Pardon My Dust

I am in the process of updating and working on the template for my blog. As a result some of my older posts appear in funny ways and weird formatting. Stay tuned as I hope to have the blog upgraded by next week.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Just for fun!!

This post is just for fun. No pictures, music or birds. Just a strange device, by some unknown engineer!