Saturday, January 27, 2007

Whatever Happened to Privacy???

(This Post first Ran
In April of 2005!)

What Ever happened to Privacy in this Country?

Whatever happened to privacy? You remember, the condition human beings used to crave... just to be let alone, not prejudged, to take care of their own business without the interference of others, or the intrusions of others.

The simply fact is… we gave it away. In the name of security, we gave it away. One of the most precious possessions we had, privacy, we gave away. We gave it to the government. We gave it away to the retailers, insurance companies, the Internal Revenue Service, the Census Bureau, and even the gas station. (Next time you fill-up look overhead. Chances are you will see a mini-camera pointed in your direction. Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!)

I’m from the old school. I believe that what is mine… is mine… and that includes my business. If I want you in I will invite you. Else wise, stay the hell out!

It really bugs me, no end, to have my picture taken without my knowledge or permission. I have left a number of stores with merchandise still in the checkout lane, or on the checkout counter, because they were going to take my photograph as I wrote them a check, or used my credit card. I consider that an insult of the highest order. It pre-supposes that I am a criminal bent on stealing something or writing them a bad check (which is the same thing.). It is demeaning, and belittling, and I think, frankly, (as the kids say): “It sucks!”

Not long ago, I stood in a parking lot of the local “Big Box Super Store” and counted 22 cameras aimed at the parking lot. No movement in that parking lot would go unnoticed, or unrecorded. I have no idea how many cameras there are in the store. They take some pain in concealing them, but they are in there by the dozens. I can only wonder how many are in the restrooms!

Now, to really make it worse, to twist the knife, so to speak, are the stores which have the sign on the front door telling you the store uses “cameras for your protection”. You’ve seen them, I’m sure. Look, they have just lied to you before you even enter the store … and you still want to go in there and give them your hard earned money??? Are you sick?

Don’t even get me started on Red Light Cameras! Well, now that you have, I’ll go ahead and vent. I hate ‘em! Used to, we had to contend with cops sitting behind billboards and ambushing speedsters. That was about as dishonorable as it gets, here in the Southland. Even the cops hated it. So they came out from behind those billboards and the city’s revenue dropped. The answer? Install cameras at intersections to snap pictures of unsuspecting motorists as they breeze through red lights. The take is split with the municipality. The owners of the cameras get the largest portion.

Anyway you slice it... red light cameras are a dishonorable way to earn money for municipality. It is an electronic ambush. The honorable solution … put traffic cops back on the beat.

You know, the South fought a war in this country because we wanted to be “let alone”! You can tell we lost.



Anonymous said...

I find it interesting, almost funny, that you are complaining about a loss of privacy in PUBLIC. There has never been a right to privacy in public and therefore, there has been nothing lost. Privacy is a very specific legal term (see Bill of Rights) and there is no right to privacy in public. Cameras in public can't take away what you never had. Do you support parking tickets? You know: the act of ticketing a vehicle, without regard to the drivers, without the presumption of innocence, for breaking a civil law. Red light camera tickets are different how?

Longstreet said...

Now that you ask... No, I do not support parking tickets. I have already paid for that street, the sidewalk, and the maintenace of same, with my city taxes! Now the city wants to charge me for parking on the street I have already paid for???

A fellow I know here, in NC, managed to have all the parking meters in this city removed some years ago when he refused to pay tickets and the city took him to court. He was able to prove that parking meters were illegal, in NC, because they were in violation of a multiple coin law, of some sort. (That law has since been changed and parking meters are back in a number of cities in this state. but NOT in this city!)

In my opinion, red light cameras are just flat dishonorable! I'd have more respect for a a guy who sticks a gun in my back and says: "Hand over your wallet!"

What I am talking about is common decency. Respect. We have had so little of both, for so long, that it behoves me to have to explain what it actually is these days. Says a lot about our
society,doesn't it?

Best regards,


Anonymous said...

I agree - common decency and respect are key. Common decency says that you don't put me and my family at risk because you are too busy or important to stop when the light turns red. Respect says you abide by the laws of this land, or work to change them through the channels that those same laws provide. As far as I am concerned if you want to break the law then I am fine with any legal measure to penalize you for that action, especially when that selfish action puts me at risk.

Longstreet said...

I understand your point of view. But, as a former police officer, myself, I have to tell you that some things are just outside the realm of common decency and verge on entrapment. In my opinion, those red light cameras are entrapment. They do nothing to prevent the infraction but rake in money for the owners and the municipalities that employ them. It stinks to high heaven.

Anonymous said...

Entrapment: A person is 'entrapped' when he is induced or persuaded by law enforcement officers or their agents to commit a crime that he had no previous intent to commit.

How does the existence of the camera induce you to run a red light that you previously wouldn't have ran?

I have 5 cameras within 2 miles of my home and I can tell you without a doubt that people's driving habits have changed unbelievably.

Longstreet said...

Of course their driving habits change! "Big Brother is Watching"!

I'm not referring to the legality of red light cameras. altho some cities in NC have outlawed them. I'm talking about the DISHONOR of the things! That is a concept folks seem to have a problem with these days, unlike our Southern ancestors!

God day to you, sir! This conversation is ended!


Frank said...

Longstreet I agree completely with what you are saying. We have a town here near me that uses a "Speeding Camera" it's hooked to a radar gun. It tickets the car, not the driver. It is about cash not safety. they were ordered for a time to cease using it by the state. Local businesses lost money because people stopped going to the small businesses in the town because "God forbid" you miss the point where the speedlimit on the main drag drops from 45 to 25, yeah that's right 45 to 25, if that doesn't sound lie a trap. Another point to show that it is for cash is when the stopped using it the judge had to lay off half of his family members and these tickets don't count against your license, if you don't pay it gets turned into a collection agency. I also don't like the fact that if you go to the library and check out "Catcher in the Rye" or "Anarchist's Cookbook" you get put on some FBI watchlist either. Go to the grocery store and buy a "Truck load" of bleach and amonia with a credit card and see who shows up at your door......