Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In the crosshairs: Gun Control

While walking through the Mass Media and Technology Hall at Western Kentucky University this afternoon a large 4 screen television bank broadcasting CNN caught my attention. There in the unintentional crosshairs formed by the 4 flat screen samsung TV's was the author of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and her apparent foil Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association. Shot with an iPhone 5.


Monday, January 28, 2013

The 57th Inauguration

The big day started with a 4am wake up call. Because I was assigned to be in the White House travel pool on Inauguration Day, I got to sleep in. My co-workers at the New York Times had to be at the U.S. Capitol by four, thus dictating an even earlier wake up call. This was my first inauguration "inside the bubble," but not my first altogether. In 2008 I road-tripped from Western Kentucky with friends and classmates from my photojournalism classes to cover President Barack Obama's first inauguration. We awoke long before the crack of dawn and stuffed ourselves into overloaded subway cars like sardines. By the time we got to the National Mall we couldn't get any closer to the Capitol than the Washington Monument. 

Fearing another challenging commute into downtown, I hurriedly dressed, slung my gear over my shoulder, and set off for the nearest Metro stop inside the Beltway. Upon descending underground into the Metro system I was surprised to see a nearly completely empty Metro train pull into the station. Metro was running trains every two minutes, but because of a much smaller than expected turnout, they were largely empty. It was a stark contrast compared to four years ago when millions descended on the Washington area, stretching its infrastructure to the breaking point.

I arrived downtown in less time than the same commute requires at rush hour. My next goal was to navigate a number of security checkpoints that ringed the White House in concentric circles. With a lanyard ladened with a sickening number of credentials, I passed through what seemed like countless concrete barriers, road blocks, security checkpoints manned by city cops and Secret Service agents. After an EOD sweep and one last trip through the magnetometers, I was finally where I needed to be to cover the days festivities. 

Busses blocked access to streets around the White House, this one at the intersection of 17th and I, on the morning of the 57th Inaugural on Sunday, January 20, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Luke Sharrett for The New York Times.