News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2005
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EDITORIAL

People simply don't like Big Brother idea

Video cameras are fast becoming the all-seeing eyes that watch all the time because of 9-11.

Video cameras installed in convenience stores and banks may not deter robberies, but they aid in quick arrests of suspects.

Apartment complexes have strategically placed cameras as extra security for residents.

The FBI installs video cameras to help work crowd control.

Yet, the Alabama Legislature is embroiled in a controversy over using cameras to catch motorists who run red lights.

Red-light camera legislation is pending in the Senate Government Affairs Committee.

Members of our local delegation seem to understand the cameras' value in reducing the number of these violations, but some of them speculate that they might be used to run speed traps.

That's a good point. So is one from Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, who fears photographing the inside of cars might result in racial profiling.

There are ways around misuse and there are excuses to not install cameras from people who think that if no law enforcement is around to see them, they haven't violated the law by running a red light.

Video cameras have potential for spying or for public good. Even with so much surveillance in our society today, legislators shouldn't let the basic human dislike of Big Brother keep them from fully exploring what could be a useful ally in slowing motorists.

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