I was listening to some radio show yesterday and got a bit irritated. I can’t even name the show right now, but the subject was safety related to surveillance. The assumption of the discussion is that we are all monitored every time we do anything – like paying a toll, and as such should have no problem with excessive surveillance by the government as that is to keep us safe. Let me start with the initial assumption of this premise – the government is charged with keeping us safe. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” What was a “well regulated militia at the time of this writing? How about every able bodied male? How about everyone who could physically move in concert with neighbors and fellow citizens against a common foe. Each was charged with defense of their own. After all, when danger is seconds away, police will respond in minutes. The police are not responsible for your safety. They are only charged with assessing the damage and applying charges appropriately.

Warren v. District of Columbia is one of the leading cases of this type. Two women were upstairs in a townhouse when they heard their roommate, a third woman, being attacked downstairs by intruders. They phoned the police several times and were assured that officers were on the way. After about 30 minutes, when their roommate’s screams had stopped, they assumed the police had finally arrived. When the two women went downstairs they saw that in fact the police never came, but the intruders were still there. As the Warren court graphically states in the opinion: “For the next fourteen hours the women were held captive, raped, robbed, beaten, forced to commit sexual acts upon each other, and made to submit to the sexual demands of their attackers.”

The three women sued the District of Columbia for failing to protect them, but D.C.’s highest court exonerated the District and its police, saying that it is a “fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen.”

From here.
It is clear in the courts that the police cannot be held responsible for safety of the public. It is not their job, therefore logic would suggest it is the job of the individual. That is the portion of the amendment “shall not be infringed.” Since we were ascribed the responsibility, we have been given the tools to accomplish the task. This is another reason I am blessed to live in Texas. At least we have an appreciation of the second amendment here. Close editorial quote.
Information is power. The more one knows about something, the better that person can interact with that item and elicit a desired outcome. I am in the process of finding a software to operate the lights for my Samson project. At the beginning, I knew nothing. Now, I’m just shy of being able to squeak out my first syllable. Given time and more reading, and appropriate equipment, I fully expect to have this computer running my lights at the appropriate intervals, at the appropriate locations, all at my direction.
When you walk into a BigBox store, note on the ceiling the covered video cameras all through the store. One may assume that these are for the purpose of keeping track of inventory and ensuring the police may later apprehend and appropriately charge a thief. The may have that ancillary use, but their primary goal is to monitor customers’ movements through the store and provide data to analyze and show a better pattern of stock placement that may stimulate more buying. The small items stocked at the register are not there as a convenient location for their placement. They are there for people who are standing in line to grab something else for which they were not planning. This placement was tried and now utilized nationwide as being effective in selling “stuff.”
Knowing the way people behave and what stimulates attention allows marketers to better sell their items. The information gained produced better sales.
Government wants information as well. The marketing scheme is the same as those cameras in the ceiling. “We are doing this for your safety,” when no charge of safety exists. What is missing is acknowledgment of what they are really planning to do with the information. Just as the knowledge of behavior and color schemes tells the marketer what sets of stimuli produce the best sales, knowing what the population of a particular town prefers as activity gives politicians power to manipulate those preferences.
Realize what power information gives. Take one’s two year old who likes to play with blocks. The parent wants this two year old to start going to the toilet and has the knowledge of the child liking blocks. The parent may use this like as a tool to get the child on the toilet. Two ways come to mind with this illustration: either remove them if the child fails the desired action, or provide them incrementally after the desired action has been attempted and later more blocks with better success. Listen to the language of our top officials and note the child directed language towards us, their voters. We are viewed as children to them, and as such, I can see no limits to the behavior they will try to regulate. Example: How about telling a kid in North Carolina that the turkey sandwich her mom made was not good enough. “Here take these processed, pressed, breaded chicken nuggets. We are the government and know better what is good for you than your own mom.” What may be going through that child’s mind next time her mom makes a turkey sandwich? If the government will go that far, is there any limit to what they would do? How much knowledge should they be allowed to obtain knowing how that knowledge will be, and has already been used.