A double take
To the editor: So the village of Elmore now has state-of-the-art surveillance cameras from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Am I the only one doing a double take here?
Elmore is a sleepy village in Ottawa County whose population at the 2000 census did not quite reach 1,500 residents, yet we are told that it is the only municipality in the state and one of just 26 in the nation to receive the grant, worth $72,000. Just whose idea was this? Did the Department of Homeland Security, hoping it could cast an ever-tighter web of surveillance over American citizens, make it known to every police department in the land that such equipment was available for the asking? And did that request come from an overzealous Elmore police department with too much free time on its hands?
The money, $72,000, may be a pittance in the grand scheme of things, but there are better ways to spend taxpayer money – not to mention the cost of training, including a trip to Washington, D.C. paid for by the manufacturer and Homeland Security – ultimately funded by taxpayers. In a weak attempt to justify the expense, we are told that this equipment can be used to monitor the sewer plant, parks or community events and that it can be set up to monitor the height of the river. One could suggest a very short walk to the riverbank might provide fresh air and a bit of exercise.
What kind of village feels the need to scrutinize the comings and goings of its residents? When general surveillance like this is in place, there is always the possibility of abuse. There is also that other nagging question – “Did anyone ask the people of Elmore?”
Where do we draw the line? Has the fear generated by 9/11 cowed us all into submission to close scrutiny of every detail of our lives? Before you answer that question, rent the award-winning film, “The Lives of Others.” What happened then and there can happen here and now, even more easily with modern technology. Even given the ultimate choice, I think many of us would rather die free than live under surveillance.
Grateful for change
To the editor: Just as I share my complaints when I am unhappy with something, I will also share my joy.
Thank you so very much for the recent increase in the speed limit for a portion of Curtice Road. It really makes a difference. When the speed was 25 miles per hour for a portion and 35 miles per hour for another portion, it was easy to error if you weren’t concentrating on what section of road you were on.
So again, thank you.