A random look at the life and times of Jim Rising recovering radio addict and newspaper columnist.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Calling George Orwell

Big brother is watching you.
And soon in downtown Wilkes-Barre he will have over 500 eyes. The Mayor has decided that a system of security cameras is a fine idea.
Mayor Tom Leighton says: "If you're not doing anything wrong, you shouldn't be worried about being watched.”
It was put another way to me by the Sisters of the Perpetual Agony. “God is watching you” the nuns would say. And they didn’t mean it in the general sense. They meant the Supreme Being had his eyes on me. It was a heavy thought for a six year old.
Catholic guilt aside most everyone probably has no objection to the idea of surveillance in downtown Wilkes-Barre. When he was a city councilman Jim McCarthy described some of the night time denizens as “creepy-crawlies” and looking at the police blotter you can’t really argue that some folks would be better off caged.
The city has been boasting about its state of the art monitoring system for some time now. 10 wide screen monitors connected to an unknown number of cameras in undisclosed loacations are watched 24/7 by a policeman. How do you get that job? I am guessing that if they expand to more than 500 cameras that a few more eyeballs will have to be assigned to the task.
It brings up a whole bunch of questions. Like who does get to watch?
Why shouldn’t the cameras be put on a public access TV Channel so the taxpayers who foot the bill can get some entertainment for their money? Or at the very least post them on a web-site. Gosh some of the results could even make it to you-tube!
The “Creepy Crawler” show could be the next “Big Brother” if we handle this right. See real life drama in the city. See creatures of the night doing unspeakable acts under the cloak of darkness. See actual crime as it is actually being committed. And all from the comfort and safety of your own home.
I remember years ago when commercial radio scanners were all the rage. You could listen in to Police and Fire department radio communications. Every kitchen had one and all the blue hair set knew all the police and fire codes by heart. It was a form of entertainment for them and it made them feel as though they had some insight into what was happening down the block and around the corner.
I can’t see any real difference in putting the camera’s on public view. What did you say? Invasion of privacy? Come on! That ship sailed long ago.


Jim Rising said...

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Jim Rising said...

we've been prepped as a police / nanny state for decades now.

with the number of powers that Bush has given to the administrative branch, and the number of freedoms he has taken from the people over the last 7 years...

with the number of foolish judges who have been appointed, unwilling to defend the constitution... consistently making unconstitutional judgements against the people and in favor of other countries, the state and corporate interests...

with the fact that the majority of the legislation that is passed has not even been read (or written) by congress... the very people who we elect and pay to act on our behalf...

and now our 2008 election has been propped up in front of us with 3 bafoons as 'choices' of leaders. one who admittedly has little economic capabilities and will allow the Federal reserve to continue to plunge us into debt while he maintains a 100 year war in Iraq. (McCain)

another who has ties to Soros and wants to give the UN $845bil of our money to do with as they wish (supposedly to fight poverty, and on top of what we already contribute as a nation)... the only way to support that would be via a 'Global tax'. If you think you're taxed heavy by your state and federal government, wait until this guy winds up in office, and gives the UN the ability to tax us. (Obama)

and yet another who wants to make everyone pay for healthcare, as though we're not already paying enough for a failing medicade / medicare and social security program. (Clinton)

and yet it seems that there are a bunch of people all 'rah rah rah' cheerleading for 'Team Amerika'...

'so this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause'

Ubiquitous said...

Every other city that has done this has run into the same problem...the cameras are used to look at bewbies and butts.

Humans are humans, you give anyone a bunch of tv's and access to watch unsuspecting people and there are only a few directions it can go.

Well...i for one welcome our new spy cam overlords

/not really

Jim Rising said...

they have these things in europe all over the place. some of them even have microphones and speakers installed so that the scopophiliac can actually talk with the object of their affections.

we're just now getting around to installing traffic cameras here in my city, but we're nowhere near as *cough* progressive *cough* as NEPA.