Which would you choose? Big Brother security and safety, or freedom from cameras, background checks, drones overhead, etc., but increased potential dangers? Or is it all like the airport scanners — security theater — since the billions already spent didn’t stop the bombers, school shooters, etc. Or does that imply we need more?

Americans hate Big Brother — until moments like this.

Police state paranoia has long stoked angst and outrage, until an incident like the Boston Marathon bombings takes place and the nation heaves a sigh of relief that security cameras gazed unblinkingly upon Beantown’s streets and sidewalks. Eyes in the sky — cameras that keep tabs on possible red-light runners, peer out at ATM users and stand sentry for commercial businesses — provided investigators key intelligence that led to identifying suspects in the attack. A department store camera held the much-viewed footage released by the FBI.

The developments have once again pitted personal rights against public safety. Politicians at every level — from the sheriff in Tampa to members of Congress — are urging the deployment of more surveillance and law enforcement access to captured material. Civil libertarians and privacy advocates, just as predictably, are preaching restraint.

“There is going to be more of a push to have more cameras on the streets, and it will be difficult to resist that push,” said Neil Richards, a privacy advocate and law professor at Washington University in St. Louis. He authored a Harvard Law Review paper last month titled “The Dangers of Surveillance,” where he wrote that the amount of observation these days “should give us pause.”

“The difficult balance is to have them [cameras] there for extraordinary efforts such as what we’ve seen this week but not for us to live in an emergency situation all the time,” he said.

  1. Uncle Patso says:

    I like that some of the best video of “the suspects” was from a department store camera, rather than one owned by government or police.

    This offers a good balance between security and privacy — let private institutions have all the cameras they want, but require law enforcement to get a court order to look at the recordings.

    • bobbo, putting the extacy in Existential says:

      Silly dichotomy you propose.

      What is it you are trying to protect and in what context?

      Cartoon images and ideas for four color print process.

      Explorer the Rainbow!!!!!

      PS–no body gives a shit what you do in public. You just aren’t that interesting.

      • bobbo, putting the extacy in Existential says:

        …. and by you I do mean all of us. ♫ As you are me, and I am you, and we are all together.

        I assume YOU know that….. but too ambiguous none the less.

  2. Taxed Enough Already Dude says:

    The blog argues a false dilemma, cameras a totalitarian state doesn’t make. If the state is good, cameras will help it accomplish good, if it is evil, then cameras will be turned to evil.

    If Obama has his heart’s desire, then he will install his own cameras…where they are presently lacking…so whether any serve good now, as in aiding the identification of the Boston bombers…is irrelevant to what the coming Dictator will do with them. If none are installed now, you can be sure he will embark on a major install then.

  3. Taxed Enough Already Dude says:

    Lest the intellectually escape realizing how absurd the premise of this blog is, does anyone really believe not installing cameras now will stop a Dictator from installing them under his regime?

    If so, then perhaps this blog makes sense to you…

    But to any critical thinker, its absurd cameras installed today somehow enables dictatorship tomorrow…the technology will still be available to the dictator regardless what we do today.

    But meanwhile it certainly would help public security as seen by our ability to identify the bombers quickly unlike in the past, before cameras existed.

    • noname says:

      Most cell phones have cameras and most people carry cell phones.

      As you noted, a plethora of images helped capture the bomber and more so eye witness…. so why exactly do we need more cameras?

      Do we need more stop light, speeding, jaywalking, smoking, license plate, facial recognition, IR, gun sensing cameras, microphones, gps trackers, RFID trackers, DNA databases….

      When does it end? Obviously you will never feel secure, as typical of Repuke chicken hawks!

      For a Repuke who thinks you can never have enough guns because of an imagined needed; you are again imagining an unnecessary need for more cameras!

      Get some courage and do the country good, instead of just another taker!

      • Taxed Enough Already Dude says:

        The evils you cite aren’t caused by cameras, its the liberal progressives (control freaks) who make life hell.

        Being a low information voter you fail to see the parallels to the Nazi regime, you don’t know Nazi = National Socialism (leftist), and its programs of abortion and health care (which require control) lead to tyranny.

        Being a low information voter, you don’t know leftism, even when granted absolute power as under Stalin or Castro, never fails to enslave and impoverish the people.

        You just march on misdirecting, pushing the very thing you actually hate, because you think leftist ideas are good, when in fact they will enslave you.

        And if there aren’t enough cameras functioning then, they will simply put up more.

        Real freedom is enshrined in our constitution, the document you mistakenly hate because the left told you to.

        • noname says:

          Funny “Taxed Enough Already Dude” you are trying to promote the very evils you decry for yourself!

          What does that make you (left/right/evil/all the above)?

          “Taxed Enough Already Dude” writes:
          “But to any critical thinker, its absurd cameras installed today somehow enables dictatorship tomorrow…the technology will still be available to the dictator regardless what we do today.”

          • Taxed Enough Already Dude says:

            That statement didn’t promote anything, read it again.

          • noname says:


            Then you fully agree no additional cameras and no additional monies need be spending on your beloved Gestapo like national security apparatus!

            They need to just correctly do their jobs with the already immensive resources at their disposal.

            If they can’t manage what they have now, why should we give them more!

            That was easy!

          • Taxed Enough Already Dude says:

            Nobrain—didn’t promote or agree to anything, read it again.

            Cameras are analogous to having more cops on the beat, which in high crime areas…is a good thing for law abiding citizens.

            With the right safeguards, nothing evil about cameras.

            When liberal demoncrats have a super majority, the statists manifest Stalinist tendencies, control freaks that they are.

            So the fix is not less cameras, its less demoncrats.

          • noname says:

            You have no interest in safeguards!

            Where are your safeguards in regards to background checks for guns! You and your Evil Repuke NRA brethren are people who don’t believe in reasonable intelligent safeguards! In fact, your ilk believe gun shot victims are just props!

            There are more than enough cameras out there. The FBI has more than enough access to cameras.

            And no, cameras are not another cop on the “beating”/a>!….

            Go to Russia, if you want more cameras and their incompetent police who don’t know how to effectively use their over abundant physical and legal (and illegal) resources!

  4. Mextli says:

    Surveillance state no answer to terror

  5. deowll says:

    Personally I’m not sure I’d feel safer being videoed while being blow up than just being blow up without the video.

    Each to their own I guess.

  6. bobbo, Jr Culture/psychiatric/ethnic/social/art critic and general bonvivant says:

    MPod coming so close to the nut of Existentialism says:

    “Well, now you can still do whatever the Hell you want, but know that there’ll be consequences.” /// And thats exactly what living under Nazi Occupation was. Consequences over life/death decisions. Go to the store for milk, or hide a Jew in the Attic==life and death. Free—as in making “real” decisions.

    I prefer a drab humdrum life without freedom so defined.

    Most of us do.

    • noname says:

      “I prefer a drab humdrum life without freedom so defined.

      Most of us do.”

      bobbo “the psychotic” you want a “drab humdrum life without freedom so defined” then go to Russia!

      Only a coward can say something like that and not a “red blooded American”!

      You obviously have never taken an oath to defend “the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”! Do you even know what that means?

      What has a coward like you done with his “drab humdrum life without freedom”?

      • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

        Your reading and contextual skills really are deficient. Read it again for what kind of freedom I am referring to. Hint: “life and death” decisions.

        Maybe you should re-enlist?

        • noname says:

          Maybe you should know what America’s constitution is!

          And yes, maybe I should accept a commission! Obviously our constitution needs defending from idiots like you!

          • bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas says:

            nogame==you seem to be upset?

            No reason, no good reason, for that.

            Consider conversation to be like a chess match. Each round you lose, you become a better player====IF you pay attention rather than lose the opportunity in self defeating emotionalism.

            I don’t see what the Constitution has to say about that?….Hmmm…other than you are free to be as you wish?

          • noname says:

            bobbo not upset, it’s just you projecting again.

            bobbo so simplistically childish and quaint, “Consider a conversation a chess match”!

            Yes, bobbo go right ahead and play your chess conversation games; while we Adults discuss what matters at hand!

  7. Glenn E. says:

    What the politicians always fail to point out, because they want to exploit the moment too. Is that these terrorists and bombers aren’t actually killing human beings and destroying trash cans, because that’s their true target. What the terrorists are really taking aim at, and blowing up, are the citizens’ freedoms and rights. Because what they’re after is to destroy a nation’s democracy, by causing it to sting itself to death. As it keeps tightening up it’s “security weaknesses”. Weaknesses which use to be the trust granted the average citizens, to go about their lives, without having to prove they’re not criminals or terrorists.

    And as soon as these “weaknesses” are tightened up. The terrorists simply find another one, left unchecked. Yes, some day we might be terrorists and bomber free. But we won’t be free in any other sense. So we’ve got to telling out politicians not to cave into these security experts, delusions. Far more people die every year from auto accidents, than terrorist acts. So why aren’t they going nuts over arresting those drunk and distracted drivers? And keeping them off the streets?


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