RANGER AGAINST WAR: J'Accuse! <

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

J'Accuse!


I am a camera with its shutter open,
quite passive, recording, not thinking

--I am a Camera
, Christopher Isherwood

I am the eye in the sky

Looking at you

I can read your mind

I am the maker of rules

Dealing with fools

I can cheat you blind

--Eye in the Sky
, Alan Parsons Project

Nobody naw give ya no Break,

0Police naw give you no break,

Soldier man naw give you no break,

Not even you idren naw give you no break

--Bad Boys
, Bob Marley

It is a crime to exploit patriotism
in the service of hatred, and it is, finally,
a crime to ensconce the sword as the modern god,
whereas all science is toiling to achieve
the coming era of truth and justice
--J'Accuse!
, Emile Zola

________________


We in the U.S. have the right to face our accusers. (That is, if you head isn't in a sandbag and you are not in the Charleston Naval Yard Brig.) That right is the bedrock of our judicial system. But that right has been compromised with today's secret court scenarios, and we all seem to acquiesce since it is them and not us getting bested by the legal system.


But let us shift this denial of rights closer to home, to something each of us may have to confront one day. We now have cameras on our stop lights, and Ranger wonders how a camera may be challenged in court.
Is a camera a person? How far away are from from the conferral of such rights upon our scanning technology? Will the human operator merge with his scanner into an inviolable voice of right?

Reader choloazul recently noted:

With a camera on every corner, and interlinked databases, I'd be more worried by the fact that there are around 3 private security employees for every sworn officer, and they are increasingly being given tactical equipment, and a heavy dose of 'us vs. them' indoctrination... inside the US of A.

This is a valid concern. Along with the warrantless and widespread wiretapping of the citizenry, this is new potential violation of our civil rights. If the courts confer personhood on a camera, do we automatically presume that the camera is correct -- especially in today's Photoshopped world?

As in The Terminator, humans are accepting the intrusion of electronic surveillance into all areas of our lives. As the economy worsens and crimes perpetrated by the desperate and criminal increase, we are happy for the guards and cameras stationed at the gates to our communities. But that same oversight can be turned on the watched for nefarious purposes.

The cameras at the stop lights are acting as proxies for the newly militarized police. The oddity of the system is that it adds to the municipality's coffers while it also allows for the reduction in the actual police force, adding to the numbers of the unemployed. But who knows -- the slack in sworn officers may be taken up by furtive eyes in some remote system room monitoring behavior.

Another great example of freedom that the troops are ostensibly fighting for in the alleys of sandbox nations.

Do we think about this stuff while watching Dancing With the Stars?

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Grant said...

The Keynesian worry that laying off unneeded police officers is going to add to the ranks of the unemployed is simply wrong, and Bastiat's writings on the fallacy of the broken window should fully address your concerns there.

As for challenging a camera in court: The pictures are the evidence, your accuser is still a person (or a group of people, like "the State of Ohio" or "The County of Franklin). It's like if someone is raped. The victim is the accuser, DNA samples recovered from her are the evidence of her claim.

Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 10:56:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Labrys said...

I don't watch "Dancing With the Stars." And why can the cops film us in public via traffic and other cameras, but it is illegal to videotape them when they beat the crap out of someone...also in public?

I actually think traffic cams are not the worst idea of modern life; I live in a state where half the drivers treat red lights as mere suggestions.

But turn about is fair play. They film me, I can use my phone camera if one of them is kicking the shit out of someone.

Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 1:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greetings all,

Labrys: Turn about is fair play in the real world, but in court? Perhaps if your lawyer is really good.

I really do wish the following was comic relief: "The only person doing any harassing here is Mr. Allison, who was harassing our public officials with his tape recorder," Wiseman says. "They may have problems with some bad police officers in some of your urban areas. But we don’t have those problems around here. All of our cops around here are good cops. This is a small town. Everyone knows everyone. If we had a bad police officer here, we’d know about it, I’d know about it, and he’d be out. There’s just no reason for anyone to feel they need to record police officers in Crawford County."

http://reason.com/archives/2010/08/09/police-officers-dont-check-the

See also: http://carlosmiller.com/

Grey

Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 5:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous RangerHazen said...

Modern Technology is not under the control of anyone in fact Millions of Cell Phones with Cameras and the Ubiquity of Video Recorders make impossible for Skynet to take out without a fight even in a dictatorship like Iran. The Green Revolution was documented on Cell Phones and that tiny device almost toppled the regime and ignited a movement.

Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 7:00:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Ranger H,
Strangely after Abu G there has been NO GREEN REVOLUTION in our PWOT.
If what you say is true then why no release of photos showing the truth of our secret prisons to include GITMO?
Are the Iranians more in tune than our new professional , soulless military?
We still founder in secrecy and denial. This was bad under GWB but is ok under BHO.?! Or is it?
jim

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 7:34:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Labrys,
I accept your cmts, but my point is that we are being adjudicated on t evidence of a pic from a spy camera, which is what a red light camera happens to be.
I agree that we need to bust ass on people busting lights. I'm actually afraid to sit at a light on my motorcycle.People are such ass holes, but that's not the point.
I cannot accept that a camera can be a witness to which a judge can thenconvict me. I will not accept this as being in compliance with my right to face my accuser. An accuser is a person and not a thing.
Where is the alcu in this matter?
jim

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 7:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Grant,
The pics are evidence that can easily be photo shopped.
A camera is not a witness. It's a think.
A thingo. friendo.
jim

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 7:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Grant,
The pics are evidence that can easily be photo shopped.
A camera is not a witness. It's a think.
A thingo. friendo.
jim

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 7:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Grant said...

"Grant,
The pics are evidence that can easily be photo shopped.
jim"

All evidence can be tampered with. Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. Cops can make things up, people can be bribed, mistakes can be made.

If you really reject one man's right to deprive him of life, liberty, and property over such arbitrary things, come over to the dark side and be a libertarian ;)

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 2:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Grant,

Bastiat is indeed good reading, and proof that things don't ever change. "Same shit, different century."

Jim,

Here in the People's Police State of Arizona, the remote speed cameras have been pulled. Most people just ignored their tickets, so the damn things turned out to be money losers. And money is always the most important consideration to the state.

Dave

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 7:22:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous RangerHazen said...

Ranger H,
Strangely after Abu G there has been NO GREEN REVOLUTION in our "PWOT.
If what you say is true then why no release of photos showing the truth of our secret prisons to include GITMO?
Are the Iranians more in tune than our new professional , soulless military?
We still founder in secrecy and denial. This was bad under GWB but is ok under BHO.?! Or is it?
jim"

Ever heard of Wikileaks? :)

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 10:32:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Komodo said...

We don't need to worry about stoplight cameras and photoshopping, we have stanchions of justice like Judge Canary (MS) to guard our political rights along with all of the graduates of legal institutions such as Liberty University and Patrick Henry and the Center for American Law and Justice seeded in our judicial system.

Monday, August 16, 2010 at 9:02:00 AM GMT-5  

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