Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stand and deliver

I came across a somewhat distressing story today:

It seems as if residents in one village have been so put out by cars speeding through they have decided to take action. The plan is for a volunteer crew to be positioned near speed cameras, monitor cars whose speeds are excessive and then pass their tag numbers along to the police who would send a threatening letter to the offending driver.

To be sure, one can see the danger of cars speeding through a village. I, like many others, have been shocked to see nutters far exceed the speed limit near where I live. Those who have been injured or have lost loved ones to such motorists know how dangerous such behaviour can be.

However is the answer really to have an army of big brothers watching for every misstep? Do we really want to create a culture of informing on one's neighbor? Britian already has almost every step we take monitored by CCTV, do we need more eyes on the job? Should we move to the habits that used to be common in communist countries? People who report to police on the going-ons in a block of flats? Or perhaps students who can pass on to police information overheard from other students about late night shennanigins? Both of these measures could possibly help to keep crime rates low but how much would we lose? Not just of our liberty but perhaps also of our humanity.

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