“Why you take picture? I kill you!”

This is the short version of a rather unpleasant discussion I had today. No, I wasn’t killed. But I’m not sure how far I was from being beaten up.

This afternoon, I went for a walk through town with my father-in-law, and of course hoped for photographic opportunities. On our way back home, we came past a rather shabby looking garage with lots of broken cars on their yard. Among the huge pile of rubbish they had collected was a Früh Kölsch (a local beer brand) trailer which made for a nice subject. So I lifted my camera to take a shot, but immediately put it down again when I saw three guys on the yard working on a car – I try not to obviously take pictures of scenes with people involved, you never know … When we went past the garage, I heard someone call for us. I turned around, and a small, gutsy guy came towards me, asking why I had taken a picture of their enterprise. I replied that I hadn’t taken any picture, but he didn’t believe me and told me to show him what I had photographed. I said that this was none of his business, and if he didn’t believe me I’d love to have the police sort out the affair. Suddenly three more guys came around the corner, among them the business’s boss, who again asked me why I had taken a picture of his facility. I gave him the same reply, stating that in this country I had the right to take pictures of whatever I liked, but he insisted I couldn’t take a picture of his garage, while the other guy went on about calling the police.

The conversation continued in this style for a few more minutes, until the gutsy guy obviously got fed up with things and told me to stop talking about being in Germany and having rights – he’d have me beaten up, abused and killed before the police were even here, and when they would arrive, he would laugh at me. I believe it didn’t help to the situation that I tried to explain him he’d have nothing at all to laugh if the police were to come and he’d have beaten me up or killed.

Fortunately, one of his co-workes forcibly kept him from doing so. I wouldn’t want to imagine how else this could’ve turned out.

This made me think. I haven’t got the feeling of having been in actual danger – but who knows what these guys would’ve been capable of under different circumstances. Maybe the gutsy guy would’ve stabbed me right away had it not been broad daylight, had I not had someone with me, had the scene not been close to a busy road.

In retrospective, I have no interest whatsoever to go to the police about this incident. I don’t care what they are doing on that yard – but I’ve got the feeling they have something to hide, which they were trying to keep from getting public. But maybe they were just hot-headed retards, who knows. I’m just glad I got out of this without any bones broken – let alone my precious M8 damaged!

So what to make of this? Surely this won’t stop me from taking pictures. I just hope something like this doesn’t happen again – but if it does, I hope the police will be there before I’m dead …

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