law enforcement for profit

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Wed May 03 2000 - 22:56:46 MDT

Im interested in how the cryonics crowd will see this red light camera
business. If one is young, healthy, and has no dangerous habits, the
most likely cause of death (seems to me anyway) is being T-boned
in an intersection by some crazed yahoo burning the red light. Yes I have
heard the argument that those who would trade freedom for security
lose both, but in this particular case, I dont see how that applies.

Nowthen, Lockheed Martin is setting up cameras in intersections
to catch red light runners, and in return, they get a cut of the proceeds.
Seems only natural that LM should have a say in *where* their cameras
are aimed. Law enforcement agencies have their goals, Lockheed
Martin has theirs: profit. LM gives not a damn who is trading drugs
on the streetcorner, or who is getting mugged, they want PROFIT!

This puts an entirely new spin on the law enforcement vs. privacy
issue: if there is money to be made, privacy issues get run over like
daisies before the steam roller, and this time the motive is at least
one we fully understand and perhaps agree with. {8-|

Heres an article you might enjoy: spike

RED LIGHT CAMERAS: A lot of people are upset at Virginia Gov. James S.
Gilmore III because he declared April "Confederate History Month." The state
NAACP has even threatened an economic boycott along with protests and
rallies. I'm not crazy about Confederate History Month, either. But I can
live with it. Harder to take is the ominous increase in traffic surveillance
systems--red-light cameras, as they are called--and Jim Gilmore, God bless
him, has been one of the few leaders in our area to oppose them. I'd rather
see African Americans support Gilmore in his defense of privacy than to
cripple him with boycotts for celebrating ghosts from a lost war. The truth be
Robert E. Lee can't hurt us anymore. On the other hand, a technology-driven
law enforcement apparatus, in service to a citizenry that is weary from a
perception of high crime rates, can do serious harm--especially to African
Americans, who are still widely perceived as a major cause of our national
discontent. "Using cameras in open streets raises a serious concern
regarding our individual freedom," Gilmore said last week. Disappointingly, the

strongest proponents of this move toward "friendly fascism" appear to be
including some relatively liberal and likable ones such as D.C. Mayor
Anthony A. Williams. Williams has said he favors the cameras because they cut
on red-light runners. But you have to wonder if that's the only reason the
District's former chief financial officer is so turned on. His 2001 budget, for

instance, estimates that the city's red-light program will increase traffic
revenue by $16 million this year, and $14.5 million in future years. The most
voices on this matter have been Republicans, including D.C. Council member
Carol Schwartz. In a recent letter to Mayor Williams, she asked for a review
of all red-light camera operations "to judge whether or not cameras are truly
in place to deter red-light running, or to be a revenue maker." "I would also
like to know if Lockheed Martin has input into the locations of red-light
she wrote. "If they do, I think they should be taken out of that business, as
our law enforcement officers are more than capable of identifying high-risk
intersections." By all accounts, Lockheed Martin, the defense contractor
hired to install and maintain the cameras, has played a huge role in
where to put them. The corporation now stands to rake in $28 million over
the next three years for its efforts. As insensitive as Gilmore's support of
Confederate History Month may seem, his opposition to such surveillance
shows that he has a deep understanding of the real threats to our liberty.
"The slippery slope we travel down when we pass laws that allow the government
record our actions is the gradual loss of our freedom as citizens to conduct
our lives without looking over our shoulder," Gilmore said after the veto. "We
should not require our citizens to become accustomed to being watched by
government authorities through electronic means." (Courtland Milloy column,
Washington Post)

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