Monday, October 18, 2010

Somebody's watching me

A local news story tells of a guy who stole a school bus and led police on a chase. Pursuers, in the interests of public safety, called off the chase fearing someone would get killed. The thief crashed the bus and got away. All cops have is this picture, which they're sharing with the public.

Our pictures are being taken more than we think. Walking into your local grocery store, convenience mart or department store, or getting out of your car in a parking lot, chances are there is a camera looking at you. Many places use cameras in intersections to catch stoplight runners, or on the road to catch speeders, then issue robotickets.

When it concerns public safety we're all for these cameras until we get caught by one of them.

I like the idea that if someone robs a bank or a store there will be pictures of the robber. Besides helping to catch the crook, there's a secondary benefit. Seeing pictures on TV news of identifiable robbers may discourage other would-be robbers. But I don't like pictures being taken of me without my knowledge. I think about it sometimes when I'm shopping. I don't do anything that would look suspicious, but sometimes I get a kind of tingly feeling in the back of my neck, like Somebody's Watching Me. To someone who already thinks like a paranoid it can be creepy.

I'm all for security people watching bad guys. I'm all for security not watching me. Too bad there's no camera that can see intentions. It'd make me feel a lot less paranoid if I knew as soon as a camera saw me it would say, "look away; this man is on legitimate business."

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