We don’t exactly live in a “1984” world, but it’s hard to imagine George Orwell getting too comfortable in today’s society.
That’s because cameras are everywhere. In our businesses. On our streets. In our homes. At our offices. Even in our cars.
Big Brother isn’t necessarily some impressive government, but instead all of us, as we keep a close eye on each other, even when we can’t physically be there to do it ourselves.
We’ve become heavily depending on cameras in recent years, to the point where we don’t even notice them anymore. Just a few decades ago, cameras were large, out in the open, with big flashing red lights. Today, we just assume they’re there, because it’s rare to find any inch of the city where something isn’t being recorded by someone.
Local government has used cameras with mixed success. Keeping an eye on troublesome streets from a remote location has been a godsend for the New York Police Department. But red light cameras have been nothing more than a money grab by municipalities, while doing nothing to actually stop accidents caused by red-light runners.
Speed cameras in school zones, however, is a success story. Whether they’re actually turned on or not, the mere fact that drivers on busy streets in front of schools know they’re there has done wonders to protect our children in those schools. And we’ve been able to do it without having to divert much-needed police power from fighting crime, to handling traffic duty.
Red-light cameras don’t work because they assume accidents are caused by someone who just misses a red light, when in reality, it’s someone who runs the light so long after it’s turned red, cross-traffic is already in the intersection.
But speed is speed. And a well-tuned radar gun can target speeder after speeder after speeder.
Each year, some 100 children are killed and another 25,000 injured, according to a past report from the Transportation Research Board.
No, speeders can’t be blamed for all of it, but driving a slow and safe speed near children will give you time to react in case they do something unexpected like dart into the street — and we all know, kids like to do unexpected things.
The state senate has the power to not only keep this program going, but to expand it. There are thousands of school zones, but just hundreds of cameras. Let’s make this available everywhere.
Sure, it might cost a little money. But the lives of our children? They’re priceless.