Apr 27, 2009

Hibiscus does fairly well here, except that they have to be protected in the winter. This plant is a bit bedraggled. It seems to me that long before our brains became capable of philosophy, we understood that certain behaviors advance us as a species. As our thinking became even more sophisticated, we learned to codify those things for our mutual benefit. No point in having everyone killing everyone with impunity. Codification also begets enforcement and enforcement begets even more enforcement. Among humanity, there is an insatiable appetite to make the other guy do what he is supposed to do. This urge among us to enforce compliance is aided and abetted by a bunch of smart people figuring out how to more carefully scrutinize our obedience to the rules. I'm thinking of speed-enforcement cameras. They are all the rage these days here in Arizona. However, once you count the cops and the state officials, the list of people who like the cameras is pretty short. Many people assume that cameras are only a problem for those who cannot obey the law. Don't speed and it is no sweat. Besides, speed kills, doesn't it? But that is flawed thinking. Actually, there is very little evidence that a flow of traffic at 75 is more dangerous than a flow at 55. A couple of yahoos doing 55 while the flow speeds past them is another matter. The practical incentive for government to monitor speed with cameras is that it brings in way more money than human policing can. Safety is the honey they feed us while picking our pockets. If we accept government monitoring on that basis, there is a host of logical extensions that we should also accept. Perhaps onboard computers to monitor speed or blood alcohol levels would be reasonable. After all, drinking and driving kills, too. Anyway, the rebellious souls of Arizona have taken to putting Post-It notes over camera's lens or shooting them with Silly String. One less inventive guy used a pick ax to bash one to pieces. But as the saying goes, "It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt". Last week a crazy man in Phoenix pulled his car along side a mobile camera van operated by a vendor for the police and shot the operator to death. That didn't advance the debate one bit and made us camera opponents look like homicidal maniacs. This entire camera brouhaha could have been avoided if our former Governor, Janet Napolitano, hadn't thought it such a cleaver idea. Luckily, she is off making a fool of herself as Secretary of Homeland Security. So the next time she issues a memo warning that returning veterans might be terrorists or that the 9/11 hijackers came in through Canada, remember who gave her to the greater good. Anyway, here in the dusty corner of the country, the camera debate rages on in the papers and in the halls of our legislature. As for me, I don't speed or drive the freeways, so I'm unlikely to get caught on film. But I still hate the whole idea of the government watching me. And charging for it. Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky

9 comments:

tut-tut said...

Yes, we have those cameras all over the place. There is a movement afoot to add seconds to the duration of the yellow lights, opening up the probability for more accidents as more people try to beat the red light.

Squirrel said...

Ireland has cameras on their dual carriageways 4 lane roads--and in black spot areas (where fatal accidents have occurred) sometimes too. But I drive pretty much with the flow (unless it's too fast) or in the slow lane, so the cameras mean nothing to me. I heard cities like Glasgow have public cameras -- they have been used to ID rapists and violent criminals in Ireland and Scotland, so most people don't mind them.
Recently 6 pubic cameras in Yonkers, NY caught from start to finish a violent crime, a cop running after the offender and the cop later being gunned down by other police officers who thought he was the offender.

Barbara said...

I just know I dread coming home to these 6 words from my husband: "You were on CANDID CAMERA again."

I definitely slow down where I know there are cameras. The debate goes on as to whether they actually improve safety or whether they are just another way to pay for fixing the potholes.

Megan said...

So far, I haven't been caught...

Megan said...

Hope I didn't just jinx it...

R.L. Bourges said...

ah...Safe, Protected and Fleeced. Way to go. (Over here, one guy has made a habit of burning the automatic radar machines - at twenty thousand euro a pop, he's in for a good time when they catch him.)

And now, back to dealing with my miniature version of the All Seing Eye deleting my blog.

Kurt said...

I don't have a car anymore, but I only ever got one ticket, for going 43 in a 25 zone.

Reya Mellicker said...

We're all such a bunch of control freaks. It does get out of hand, doesn't it?

As for looking bedraggled - oh yeah, I know the feeling!

Steve said...

I love the Silly String idea! Peaceful resistance!

It really is all about money, as you said, Merle.