Calling George Orwell

Big brother is watching you.

And soon in downtown Wilkes-Barre he will have over 500 eyes. The Mayor has decided that a system of security cameras is a fine idea.

Mayor Tom Leighton says: “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you shouldn’t be worried about being watched.”

It was put another way to me by the Sisters of the Perpetual Agony. “God is watching you” the nuns would say. And they didn’t mean it in the general sense. They meant the Supreme Being had his eyes on me. It was a heavy thought for a six year old.

Catholic guilt aside most everyone probably has no objection to the idea of surveillance in downtown Wilkes-Barre. When he was a city councilman Jim McCarthy described some of the night time denizens as “creepy-crawlies” and looking at the police blotter you can’t really argue that some folks would be better off caged.

The city has been boasting about its state of the art monitoring system for some time now. 10 wide screen monitors connected to an unknown number of cameras in undisclosed locations are watched 24/7 by a policeman. How do you get that job? I am guessing that if they expand to more than 500 cameras that a few more eyeballs will have to be assigned to the task.

It brings up a whole bunch of questions. Like who does get to watch?

ED NOTE: This was written in 2008-now in 2011 the controversy is who was really watching? It’s alleged that the folks tasked with peeping were sleeping or playing games. Go figger.

Why shouldn’t the cameras be put on a public access TV Channel so the taxpayers who foot the bill can get some entertainment for their money? Or at the very least post them on a web-site. Gosh some of the results could even make it to you-tube!

The “Creepy Crawler” show could be the next “Big Brother” if we handle this right. See real life drama in the city. See creatures of the night doing unspeakable acts under the cloak of darkness. See actual crime as it is actually being committed. And all from the comfort and safety of your own home.

I remember years ago when commercial radio scanners were all the rage. You could listen in to Police and Fire department radio communications. Every kitchen had one and all the blue hair set knew all the police and fire codes by heart. It was a form of entertainment for them and it made them feel as though they had some insight into what was happening down the block and around the corner.

I can’t see any real difference in putting the camera’s on public view. What did you say? Invasion of privacy? Come on! That ship sailed long ago.

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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