Eyes on the prize

I hope that I am not alone in my supreme discomfort at the casual discussions our City Council is having regarding placing a larger surveillance network of cameras in downtown.

Is this a surveillance network that we will hand operation over to the police, whose department is mired in malfeasance and investigation? Draconian broad surveillance patterns have been a steady feature of policing and government security for some time, definitely since 9/11. Invasions of privacy and civil liberties have become commonplace as our information is exchanged between the security apparatus and private corporations. Past history should reveal, to everyone save our Council, I suppose, that such police and surveillance powers can and will be extended to criminalize speech, deter protest, hassle the homeless, shared with private interests and used to leer at us in the nude when we travel.

Of course some crimes may be ferreted out due to totalitarian security systems, but the question is, do we want to live in a world like that? Increasingly, that is exactly the cloying, prying, spying type of country we’ve become. It used to be the Reds that justified the blanket snooping, then terrorists; now apparently it’s graffiti. Next I’m sure it’ll be our own shadows.

We are to accept a blanket of watchful eyes over our city center in order to protect us from kids with paint markers? This justification cannot possibly fly in the age of categorically out of control “security” and “justice” systems. What a terrified pathetic body politic we’ve become that this notion is even entertained.

— Martin Ramsey
Asheville

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3 thoughts on “Eyes on the prize

  1. Local Worker

    Isn’t National Trash a Security Camera Day coming up soon? I think that precedes National Graffiti Week.

  2. boatrocker

    5:24pm, Feb 27 20014 AD

    No, you are not alone in your dismay at the prospect of cameras eyeballing you while downtown. If only we as a nation had not so easily given up our 4th Amendment rights after W.’s Patriot Act was signed into law.

    I wouldn’t recommend destruction of private property as the above poster mentioned for one reason- you’re on camera- duh.

    First, a question- is it legal to list the location of such cameras downtown? I’ve always wondered myself. If so, post them here.

    Second, being the bridge-builder of goodwill and the premier problem solver, I have compiled a list of things the individual citizen might do in order to voice concern over said downtown cameras. These steps will not result in said cameras being removed, but you’ll feel really good about doing them.

    – do not frequent businesses with cameras on site or in view of said cameras. Speak with your wallet. Encourage others to do the same.

    – point out to others the location of said cameras and encourage them to do the same. Be sure to wave hello.

    – when passing by said cameras, make sure to always arrange two fingers in the backwards V configuration like the Brits do- it’s their version of ‘the bird’ and as far as I know is legal to display in public.

    – For Scorcese fans, display the ‘flick the top of your hand under your chin while acting like Joe Pesci’ sign while in view of the camera. It’s legal to display in public and makes one feel like a real Italian or Sicilian gangster.

    – practice your dance moves in view of said cameras and encourage others to do the same (preferably the “Elaine” dance from Seinfeld). Flash mobs and youtube dance videos are so 2 years ago- surveillance dance cam footage is the new ‘It’ activity now.

    – tired of online dating? Merely stand in view of said cam with a poster that proclaims your love for an under-appreciated but attractive member of the APD. You can always include a love poem on your poster too. Who knows? You might score a date, and who doesn’t like handcuffs now and then?

    – If traveling with small children on foot in view of cameras, point to said cameras and in a firm and resolute tone declare “See that camera? Cameras are BAD! Hear me? BAD!” until said small child begins crying. Once they are sufficiently upset, point to them in view of the camera as if to say “See what you did to my child?”

    – Organize a large group of people in view of a camera to freeze in place- it will appear to whoever is watching footage on the other end that said camera has malfunctioned.

    – seat yourself on the nearest park bench in view of said camera and begin eating something(make it a food item from a local restaurant or food truck of course- support the local economy!). Make sure to chew with your mouth open (remember the childhood game called “show me”?) and spill stuff on your clothing. Appear to thoroughly enjoy your meal.

    – mouth the words to a conversation in view of camera (keep it clean, obviously). Who hasn’t ever wondered if the APD can read lips? It worked for HAL9000 in “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

  3. travelah

    How did leftwing Asheville become so draconian and authoritarian? Oh wait … that is what the left has always been! Isn’t this what you voted for?

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