|Not convinced Eagle River needs ‘security cameras’|
This is an argument that has certainly existed here since the founding of the United States but has become more prominent since 9/11. Since that time, we have lived in a heightened sense of fear that permeates every sector of our society.
Our fearful population has become much more tolerant of government interference in our everyday lives. This interference comes in the compromise of promised security at the expense of civil liberties.
An example at the federal level might be the Patriot Act, which was pushed through both houses of Congress shortly after the 9/11 tragedy. This law not only allows our government much more ac cess to interpersonal private communications, but also gives it the authority to demand records such as library rental and
book purchase histories.
This law was the start of several pieces of legislation which have eroded civil rights to the point that an American citizen can be taken, held indefinitely without being charged, without access to legal counsel, for being considered a threat. This is the price we pay for promised security from terrorists striking us at home again.
This type of fear-filled existence leads people to think they need the government to protect them and provide for them, which in turn leads to dependence and loss of civic involvement in the decisions that affect us all. Many of us have become lazy and uninvolved and are content to let others make the decisions for us. Government steps in and makes those decisions, becoming more authoritarian the whole time, and more involved in the many facets of our lives.
My example of local interest is the proposed installation of several “security cameras” around the city of Eagle River. I do applaud the public openness provided by the city council, with access to public debate on the topic over the course of several months. I wish I would have become involved earlier. I must say that I am disappointed with the decision.
The “security camera” is very misleading in context, and a more appropriate term would be surveillance camera. Security cameras do have a very real function in our society, and in a private setting, such as within your home or business, they can add real security without infringing on the rights of those around you.
Things are very different when you turn the cameras on our public spaces and it lets us slide further down the slippery slope of lost liberties. It is scary in an Orwellian way and makes me not want to go to downtown Eagle River.
I feel sorry for the business owners who will have this extra layer of “security" to help them keep track of their businesses, the comings and goings of their patrons, and all the other things that we need help watching. The eye in the sky has never been more real.
The grass roots answer to real security downtown would be a vigilant neighborhood watch group made up of local, involved, civic-minded individuals. I would rather look out for my neighbor and have him do the same for me than to leave it to the police and government to look out for either of us.
|Tuesday, February 05, 2013 5:30 PM|