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scary street experience
Old 07-12-2017   #1
fenixv8
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scary street experience

So, i guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. On my way to work, lunch time and sometime on my way home from work I like to do a bit of street photography. Very rarely do I ever approach my subjects for permission but sometimes I do. If I ever get noticed I just smile and wave.

Last week I was taking a shot of a businessman in the financial district when a shirtless skater guy rolled through the frame kinda ruining my shot. I took the camera away from my face and smiled and wave because he was looking at me. He then proceeded to yell and start swearing and threatening me if I didn't delete the photo. I told him it wasn't a problem and started to walk away. He then started to follow me. I decided to reason with him and explain that one it was a film camera and 2 it is perfectly legal to shoot in public spaces in Toronto. He then said he was going to hunt me down and kill me so I quickly put my camera in my bag because I expected there to be a scuffle. I'm not a big guy 5'8'' 160 lbs but I'm sure I could have protected myself. In the end he just walked away.

Later when I got on the subway I realized how much my hands were shaking. I guess the adrenaline and fear. I'm not going to stop shooting as I find the street stuff helps me with my other work. But I will try and by more aware of my surroundings.
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Old 07-12-2017   #2
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People so used to being able to say outrageous things on the internet with no consequences + people watching so much violence on tv and the movies that it is normalized + the occasional psychoactive substance for some people = they start acting that way in real life.
Unfortunate but predictable.
Sorry about your encounter with shirtless skater guy; yours is likely not the only day he has ruined recently. I wish his type was less common than it is, but I've been wishing that for several years now and it doesn't seem to help.
Hang in there.
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Old 07-12-2017   #3
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I hope you've discussed this with the police. I'm willing to bet this skateboarder is a problem for other people, too.
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Old 07-12-2017   #4
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fenixv8,

The saddest thing about this is contained in your first sentence: "I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later." The new societal reality, and our acceptance of it, that's the sad part. In the not-so-distant past it would not have occurred to anyone that being chased down and threatened with death by a perfect stranger for engaging in an innocent hobby "was bound to happen".
But, that was then, this is now.
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Old 07-12-2017   #5
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Toronto is the place where sooner or later you will be challenged by mentally challenged person. Every year police involved by taking care of it, because OHIP is the total failure on mental issues.
So, with or without camera, it will happen eventually. It is Toronto. It is the only place in Canada where I have seen knife taken out in the middle of the day at the major street and near by full bus stop. Winos from nearby shelter.

We were visiting Mount Sinai Hospital weekly while my wife was pregnant. One day we were walking behind USA consulate and speak in Russian. Mentally challenged guy heard this conversation and started to yell anti-immigrant slurs. The challenged was equipped with off-leash German Sheppard.
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Old 07-12-2017   #6
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One of the advantages of most film cameras is that they are heavier and more robust than most digital cameras. Swung by their strap they can become a formidable weapon for self defense.

I knew of it happening the last time I was in Korea. A man (presumably a soldier also) accosted a soldier and demanded his camera. He obligingly removed it from his shoulder and swung it by the strap into the accoster's head. Since it was an Olympus OM1, it wasn't as heavy as say a Nikon F, but it caused the first person to run unsteadily away, holding his head.

As a tribute to Maitani, the camera continued to work.
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Old 07-12-2017   #7
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The guy was in the financial district, not parkdale!

Were you shooting with a Leica? Was it black paint or black chrome? If not then that explains why you were spotted. Black Leica's are stealth.

Joking aside, don't let it bother you. I don't smile. I just shoot and walk on. You have to exhibit a confidence that when you are spotted people see you working not being a voyeur or a creep.
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Old 07-12-2017   #8
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You just met an angry person. It didn't have to be photography... if you had bumped into him on accident he would have been the same.
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Old 07-12-2017   #9
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I ve been meeting those characters every weekend since i've gone solo (minus john). Everything from "you was looking at my mamas ass (I wasn't)" to "you can't take my picture". Never been threatened with death though. Just keep doing what you're doing. There are crazy people everywhere. Don't let it stop you from doing what you love
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Old 07-12-2017   #10
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Maybe it's just where I was raised but,

That punk would be the one running from me and if he pulled a stunt like that in front of my family or girlfriend he would get laid out quickly after without need for discussion.

You just don't mess with strangers.


Had a similar experience in Chicago when a panhandler wouldn't leave the girlfriend and I alone, after seeing me taking photos, he was persistent in getting a handout. I put my camera away gave my bag to the girlfriend and made it clear to this guy he had two options piss off or get hurt. We enjoyed the rest of Chinatown in peace and had some really great food!
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Old 07-12-2017   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
You just met an angry person. It didn't have to be photography... if you had bumped into him on accident he would have been the same.
I tend to agree...but there is the fact that you can't upload a "bump" to your Flickr feed.
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Old 07-12-2017   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLKRCAT View Post
The guy was in the financial district, not parkdale!
...

Joking aside, don't let it bother you. I don't smile. I just shoot and walk on. You have to exhibit a confidence that when you are spotted people see you working not being a voyeur or a creep.
Completely agree with last statement. Unfortunately, people often mistake kindest and education as a sign of weakness. I don't usually do street photography, but when I do, I put on a business like attitude, like you belong there and they not. That often discourage people.

I think you did the right decision to walk away. No use to risk yourself over some photo that you can take another time.

Next time, don't walk directly to your house head over to a public (coffee shop, burger stand, whatever) and wait till that person disappear. Better safe than sorry.

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Old 07-12-2017   #13
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Maybe addressing violence with return violence works in Chicago. But not in Toronto.


https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news...rticle1080460/

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news...ticle32786328/
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Old 07-12-2017   #14
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Happens often enough. Not fun, but I figure as long as I don't get a weapon pulled on me, it's a win.. dealt with this most of my life without a camera anyway..
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Old 07-12-2017   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oftheherd View Post
One of the advantages of most film cameras is that they are heavier and more robust than most digital cameras. Swung by their strap they can become a formidable weapon for self defense.

I knew of it happening the last time I was in Korea. A man (presumably a soldier also) accosted a soldier and demanded his camera. He obligingly removed it from his shoulder and swung it by the strap into the accoster's head. Since it was an Olympus OM1, it wasn't as heavy as say a Nikon F, but it caused the first person to run unsteadily away, holding his head.

As a tribute to Maitani, the camera continued to work.
I am still young and dumb and I would have reactted similar to the soldier. I would have taunted the boarder to make the skater strike first...then F2'd him right in the face...eyelevel finder point as the spear head. Then I would call the police. Canada...no guns just watch for the blade.
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Old 07-12-2017   #16
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This is the exact same reason I stopped taking the cam out on the street and gave up the Leica stuff..
Too many crazies out there...w/guns..knives..whatever..I don't want to know anymore..
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Old 07-12-2017   #17
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Its the new norm that should not be accepted at all! You have every right to photograph on a public street... Be it scary as it was this dude was not going to do anything to you he was all talk that sounded bad... Absolutely use your camera as a weapon if need be... I remember one time I was on the EL in the Chicago to was sitting there I had my Ricoh GR in my hand it wasn't even on it was in the palm of my hand... Never ever turned it on... This girl accused me of photographing her... I was in complete dismay... I even turned the camera on and showed her the images... none of her to be found... She did not believe it... That's the type of paranoia we live in today... its nuts
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Old 07-12-2017   #18
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This is why I carry a Nikon F2 in Philly and especially in NYC. In Philly it is legal to carry a concealed firearm, providing one has a permit but it is illegal to carry so much as a penknife. I just learned this not-often enforced law carries a penalty of no less than 90 days in jail with a hefty fine. So here in one of the more violent cities in the nation, it is illegal to carry a tool to sharpen a big pencil for sketching but perfectly legal to carry a firearm concealed.
As for NYC, only the police and criminals have means of protecting themselves. Yes, pepper spray is legal but there is a great amount of gray area in the enforcement of that law. If NYPD wants to harass a person with pepper spray, they have all the legal tools they need to do so.
That is why I have my trusty Nikon F2 bludgeon hanging from a shoulder with a sturdy strap. No one would question that harmless camera. I wouldn't do this with a Leica, the strap lugs are already prone to loosening under normal use.

And yes, the "bound to happen" part is the saddest portion of the post. The world is just getting too polarized and too knee-jerk.

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Old 07-12-2017   #19
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I do not typically condone violence but you won't see me playing the role of a victim.

I maintain my personal space by whatever means appropriate for the situation. No one has a right to invade that space but I do however have a right to protect that invisible bubble.

To each their own!
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Old 07-12-2017   #20
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Lets keep this OT. Weapons and Violence will only get the thread closed.
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Old 07-12-2017   #21
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Whatever you feel in Michigan is irrelevant to Toronto. The only relevant and real part of the deal is if you are ready to deal with knife or gun pointed at you or deal with multiple people instead of what it seems to be just one at beginning.

Guys/Girls, I know, who are really ready to deal with it, and not just on keyboard, are usually under the oath not to do it.
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Old 07-12-2017   #22
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Bottom line is..photographic rights or no..how much trouble do you need..and how long do you want to live..
I decided a few years ago to alter my storefront retail profession for good..and make it by appointment only..after a gun incident..and this year..business is mostly by internet only..and things are better this way..in these times..
Why make yourself a target..
This has been coming for years now in the states..
Used to be able to walk the streets at night ..but no longer..and even during the day..risk of problems..
I still would shoot in artsy friendly areas or places like NYC..but in certain areas..its just to problematical..for me at least..
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Old 07-12-2017   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emile de Leon View Post
Bottom line is..photographic rights or no..how much trouble do you need..and how long do you want to live..
I decided a few years ago to alter my storefront retail profession for good..and make it by appointment only..after a gun incident..and this year..business is mostly by internet only..and things are better this way..in these times..
Why make yourself a target..
This has been coming for years now in the states..
Used to be able to walk the streets at night ..but no longer..and even during the day..risk of problems..
I still would shoot in artsy friendly areas or places like NYC..but in certain areas..its just to problematical..for me at least..
Agree with you Emile. If you do photography for either business or hobby, I don't think it worth the risk to face an unnecessary danger.

Be sensible and don't take chances.

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Old 07-12-2017   #24
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Keep a length of heavy chain in your camera bag in case you need it to wack these idiots on the head with, it might open up some sense in them.
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Old 07-12-2017   #25
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Photographing in public carries some level of risk. Face it, as legal as it is for you to photograph others in public, it is just as legal for them to harass you for doing it. Some people are more aggressive in harassing you, just like some photographers are more aggressive in taking photos. You accept the trade off if you are working the street or you quit doing it. Neither response is the wrong one.

Violence however is the wrong response, no matter which side you are on. In my area, once violence becomes part of the equation both sides get hauled in by the police and the courts will sort it out. To me that really is not a great ending to a nice afternoon photographing people on the street.

If you read up a bit on your photographic history, this was a big, big issue back when Kodak came out with the Brownie. People were running around taking pictures of anyone and everything. Most people didn't like it and there were serious attempts to pass laws that prevented public photography in the United States.

It seems that what goes around comes around and there really is nothing new under the sun.
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Old 07-12-2017   #26
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I've had a similar experience happen to me recently on a trip to LA, I was out shooting some street photos after dinner and happen upon a skateboarder passing by, i thought it would have been an interesting shot with movement (af not fast enough in low light).

He saw that I was taking a photo and suddenly stopped and doubled back to accost me.

First he was saying things like "Hey man, its illegal to take someones photo like that" and even tried to show me on his phone a google search about the law (which turned up nothing in his favor), then claimed that he was upset and that he was a model and kept hounding me.

I eventually got his gist that he wanted to be "compensated" and cough up a few bucks to get him to leave me alone. I was pretty shaken up due to his aggressive behavior and kinda killed my day after shooting other skaters at venice beach earlier in the day.

Just another learning experience and bad luck i guess.
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Old 07-12-2017   #27
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Quote:
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I've had a similar experience happen to me recently on a trip to LA, I was out shooting some street photos after dinner and happen upon a skateboarder passing by, i thought it would have been an interesting shot with movement (af not fast enough in low light).

He saw that I was taking a photo and suddenly stopped and doubled back to accost me.

First he was saying things like "Hey man, its illegal to take someones photo like that" and even tried to show me on his phone a google search about the law (which turned up nothing in his favor), then claimed that he was upset and that he was a model and kept hounding me.

I eventually got his gist that he wanted to be "compensated" and cough up a few bucks to get him to leave me alone. I was pretty shaken up due to his aggressive behavior and kinda killed my day after shooting other skaters at venice beach earlier in the day.

Just another learning experience and bad luck i guess.
Of course it came up in your favor no question... You did nothing wrong, I would never given this dude any money..I understand why you did, I would have offered him a print... You tell him your an artist not a journalist and not making money with your photos..
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Old 07-12-2017   #28
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Protecting yourself is relevant anywhere you are, Toronto or Detroit, geography has no relevance.

Be safe guys! A can of pepper spray can be found for 10$ at any big box store.
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Old 07-12-2017   #29
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Big city life. Call the cops in their face, dude threatened to kill. He'd be charged.
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Old 07-12-2017   #30
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I tend to agree...but there is the fact that you can't upload a "bump" to your Flickr feed.
True, that IS an added element...
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Old 07-12-2017   #31
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What a shame we have to meet people like that and feel that way sometimes... I've had "problems" maybe 4 or 5 times (in 20 years, in Europe always, by the way), and what's absurd is most of those times they were people who believed, by mistake, I was photographing them... Well, I remembered the exact feeling when I read your words... It's not during the moment, it's after everything passed and you're alone and you discovered you're not OK... It affects a lot... I was shaking too... Once I even got hit in the face by a prostitute in Las Ramblas (Barcelona) and near police officers took her away immediately in a patrol and explained me she was a problematic and well known junky in the zone... I think I talked about it here on RFF back then some years ago... I seriously think it's hard to avoid if you shoot all the time, because as someone just said before, it's up to them... I'm glad you´ll keep photographing bravely.
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Old 07-12-2017   #32
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Originally Posted by Emile de Leon View Post
This is the exact same reason I stopped taking the cam out on the street and gave up the Leica stuff..
You think the street is bad? Try the ocean. The tuna get mad. It's why I now use a green Nikonos instead of the orange one. More discreet.

For land use, I recommend this Zenit. No-one bothers you when you use it.
Apart from maybe a SWAT team.

http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Zenit_Photosniper
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Old 07-12-2017   #33
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Thank you guys for all the comments and posts. I know its selfish but its kind of comforting knowing other people have been in situations and hearing how they handled or would have handled it. I wish none of us had to deal with stuff like this. Didnt think there would be so many responses to my post.

It was my beat up Chrome M3 DS btw I had just come from a dealer where I had just purchased a used 50 lux.
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Old 07-12-2017   #34
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jeeburz, i run into this almost every day.

response these days is 'meh' and if i have the interest, a shrug.
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Old 07-12-2017   #35
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I had a similar experience here in Montreal, but it sort of turned me off from street shooting - I don't do it much anymore. The rules for publishing a photo here in Qc are different from the rest of Canada though, I guess that would extend to posting on the internet too (but I haven't checked into that really).

Cheers
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Old 07-12-2017   #36
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Quote:
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...
It was my beat up Chrome M3 DS btw I had just come from a dealer where I had just purchased a used 50 lux.

See, now you could say what Lux was tested in tough conditions!

It is also nice to know what I'm not the only one who used M3 for Toronto street photography.
Wait for colder and darker days, M3 and Lux will shine under low light.
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Old 07-12-2017   #37
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I've been shooting on Manhattan street for a few months now. I don't usually put people in my frame. I actually tried to avoid them. I am shy and I don't want a confrontation, or even a look back toward me will make me uncomfortable.

However, even so I've been challenged several times. For example, a store owner running out to stop me after I took a picture of his bodega's front (I quickly walked away); a construction worker, who happened to walk into my frame and noticed my camera, throwing his shovel in front of me and swearing at me (I didn't look at him and just walked away quickly).

Sometimes I talked to people when they confronted me. I explained I'm just a curious amateur photographer. Eventually I realized that some of them were suspicious of being ticketed or reported to city officials for whatever reason (like immigrants running news stands, store owners, construction workers who left some material lying on the ground not looking so tidy). A few times they let me take a photo of them after my explanation.

Still, when the first time I was challenged I was a little bit shaken.
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Old 07-12-2017   #38
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Quote:
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You think the street is bad? Try the ocean. The tuna get mad. It's why I now use a green Nikonos instead of the orange one. More discreet.

For land use, I recommend this Zenit. No-one bothers you when you use it.
Apart from maybe a SWAT team.

http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Zenit_Photosniper
Hahaha... That was great.
That's what happens when someone thinks in the design team the right person isn't Tom A. but Bruce Gilden.
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Old 07-12-2017   #39
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I get asked a lot if I'm working for the county.

But I found that hanging a metal monopod from one of my wrists like a baton can deter some folks from even thinking about harassing me.

PF
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Old 07-12-2017   #40
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i never get hassled...i think i just look mean.
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