Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Sunday, June 16

Gapers Block

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A lex, x, x / July 30, 2003 10:58 AM

As long as there is no Junior Anti-Sex League around the bend, I am O.K. with added "safety" on the streets.

Naz "Watching you" H. / July 30, 2003 10:58 AM

I saw a show on TLC (cable) a few months ago about a small town in England who had installed surveillance cameras in certain areas of the downtown that were dodgy. Response times obviously were upped and perps could nolonger easily deny that it was them after videographic evidence was produced.

One has to question why do it and also what appropriate areas to do it in. In some respects, we're already being videotapes, as in groeceries, department stores, but now they're taking the same (lack of) liberties to the streets. Whether this proves effective and will downhill into Orwell's "1984", only time will tell.

I'm feeling apocalyptic this morning, can you tell?

brian / July 30, 2003 11:00 AM

Scary. I think the idea of cameras breaks down trust, and thus breaks down communities.

It would be a good time to read about the ideas of the Panopticon.

Craig / July 30, 2003 11:32 AM

Suspicion Breeds Confidence

lacey, the paranoid / July 30, 2003 12:20 PM

Hidden cameras are a serious fear of mine (respectively). Years ago I saw some stuff on Donahue (yeah I know) that terrified me for life. Cameras in peepholes, cameras the size of pencil erasers, cameras and mics all over the place. For most of college, I was certain that the dorms had been bugged for someone's sick amusement.

Marc / July 30, 2003 12:29 PM

I was in a large bar/street/chip shop brawl a few years ago on a Christmas visit to England. Every time it flared up again the police were on the scene within minutes - thanks to CCTV cameras.

Part of me wants to say, "If you're not doing anything wrong, then this shouldn't bother you." The other part of me is going to check to make sure my fly is done up before leaving the house from now on.

Wendy / July 30, 2003 12:52 PM

I blame all the pop-up ads for those goddamn X10 cameras.

Ian / July 30, 2003 2:19 PM

I've often heard WLS' Jim Johnson report that if you live and work in the city, you’ve probably been captured on tape around 15 times on a regular day.

Paul / July 30, 2003 4:47 PM

I don't like them one bit. I understand that stores have the right to videotape people; it's private property, they care about loss prevention, etc. But was the public safety in such jeopardy that cameras were needed?

By no means am I saying that Chicago is a perfect, clean, crimeless city - far from it - but this is just a first step into getting everyone on TV.

And, besides, reality shows are doing that just fine.

Phineas / July 31, 2003 11:09 AM

"Part of me wants to say, 'If you're not doing anything wrong, then this shouldn't bother you.'"

Yes, the innocent have nothing to hide. This, of course, is just how people like John Ashcroft want us to think. Even if cameras in public places aren't a direct contravention of constitutional rights, it's certainly edging in that direction. We are not guilty until proven innocent and we shouldn't happily assent to being a nation of suspects.

Honestly, how much would you trust that this (or any other) government would hesitate even briefly to abuse such "evidence" when it suited them?

Of course, there never does seem to be a public referrendum on how much we're each going to be scrutinized by the authorities in a given day. They just do it. But that doesn't mean there aren't ways to talk back.

Leigh Hanlon / July 31, 2003 1:05 PM

What's especially annoying to me is that while the CTA is increasing video surveillance up both our yingyangs and wazoos, it's easily the most photographer-unfriendly entity I've ever encountered.

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