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Big Brother is Watching

Posted by Rick · August 14th, 2003 · No Comments

Well, Big Brother is arriving and he comes running at a full-tilt.

Americans have decided that they no longer need a Constitution, because it doesn’t make them feel safe anymore. But cameras in every hallway and classroom in the Biloxi, Mississippi school district does.

I realize I’m fighting a losing battle here when people step right up and say, “I feel safer knowing low-level government employees are watching my every move.” I suppose the trend towards “all government-all the time” is pretty much irreversible and I suspect it will remain so even when abuses eventually are brought to light.

The reality of it is that cameras in every classroom do not make us safer. Think about it: The number one threat to schoolchildren today may be violence in the schools. (Well, actually, the number one threat to schoolchildren today is the level of education they receive, but that’s a threat to our entire society; it’s the very reason we develop into mobs who appreciate being watched 24/7 by low-level government employees like school principals or enlisted solders.) Cameras may record the carnage when and if it occurs; they will not stop one bent on killing.

And realistically, when was the last time you sent your child to school and she came home shot full of holes? Our collective fear of the boogie man is like my irrational fear of sharks, which sometimes keeps me from enjoying a late night swim in a chlorinated pool in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley in Central California.

Well, okay, not quite. Once in a while—and probably less often than actual shark attacks—someone does get shot in school. When it happens, it has the same horrific impact as a shark attack.

But folks, sharks are no reason to stay out of the water. And the irrational fear of school shootings is no reason to put ourselves perpetually under the ogling eye of low-level government officials. Motor vehicle accidents cause more deaths among kids aged 10-24 than do just about anything else they ever experience, while all murders account for 20% of deaths in that age group™all murders, the majority of which occur outside schools.

School violence not leading to death may be a problem. I don’t doubt that it is. But the solution to such societal issues is a not constant surveillance. Using the $2 million that Biloxi spent on cameras to educate children would probably have more impact. (How ironic that we cannot increase spending to schools for more and better teachers or educational programs, but have no problem with installing surveillance equipment, much of which isn’t even monitored and, hence, can at best document crimes after the damage is already done.)

We could start with teaching Americans why the Founding Fathers bothered to write so many words limiting the powers of government. We could start by teaching them to respect and honor the Constitution.

Only in such a society will we be able to respect and honor one another and make ourselves truly safe.

Categories: The Decline of America


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