Friday, January 14

CRIME AND ITS RIPPLE EFFECTS ON OUR LIBERTIES

Soon in southern California you won't have to be a direct victim of crime to be impacted by the ripple effects of its encroachment on your life and that of your family, friends, neighbors, business associates and fellow law-abiding citizens. Seems law enforcement has little choice but to continue its march toward Orwellian surveillance."Big Brother is watching!" is about to become all too real in the Southland in order for law enforcement to have a fighting chance at dealing effectively with the burgeoning crime element.

Read this and imagine your reaction if you knew a remote-controlled portable airplane no larger than a car's trunk was flying overhead pointing a camera at you and your activities. We know there's a tremendous burden on each of us -- emotionally and financially -- separate and apart from any direct victimization we may experience, God forbid. The fear of becoming a crime victim, the anxiety owing to intimidation, the concern over our children's possible exposure to drugs and vice: these emotions are palpable and place an enormous burden on our psyches, making life far less enjoyable than it could otherwise be. And the financial impact of crime abounds: in the higher retail mark-up because of shop-lifting; in the tremendous tax burden for maintaining police forces, criminal justice systems, and drug interdiction and rehabilitation programs that strap our personal budgets; in the growing requirements for security when people gather at concerts, stadiums and convocations; and so forth and so on. Even the blight of gang graffiti can announce to city dwellers that the neighborhood is theirs no more and is instead controlled by a rabble or some dark society of thieves.

But, that said, when crime prevention goes beyond the beat cop or the patrol car, and policing moves into the skies above us to add yet another set of eyes to the growing ubiquity of well-placed, well-hidden video cameras, then we all become victimized in the process and despite the big assist such surveillance gives law enforcement. Good people -- law-abiding people -- in a free society shouldn't be the objects of random surveillance; but, regrettably, crime so permeates our society and the new threat of terrorism so compounds the risks to us all, that we're fast becoming a society in which most every move and every sound will be recorded, as the tentacles of technology reach out to encircle us and abridge our liberties.

So when you watch those Bad Boys, Bad Boys on television, from the comfort of your family rooms, do understand that the lawless are having a far bigger impact on the law-abiding than any of us might truly comprehend. Misdemeanors and felonies alike are putting spy drones overhead and that's the advent of a whole other world.