Cameras Might Do Some Good But How Much “Training” Do We Need?


Today on News Radio 780 WBBM in Chicago came a story about the CTA putting new cameras in their subway cars.

Well and good that they might be of better resolution and there will be more of them and they will have a 360 view… fine. But a camera, no matter costly and how much great and high technology equipment comes with it, cannot take the place of the solutions to the behaviors they are out to capture.

A camera is an inanimate object, a piece of equipment meant to take pictures, store and reproduce images in various creative formats. You can use film, digital, memory cards, all types of lenses. You can use them to spy on people or take photos of scenery and animals. You can use them for all kinds of projects. You can use them for security surveillance.

Of course when you talk of installing cameras somewhere it is usually put in a negative perspective. We do not mean them to record happy events or good news; putting a camera on or in a building or in a subway car or on a city bus is meant for the purpose of recording bad behavior and serious incidents such as molestation, shootings, gang incidents, and minor infractions such as soliciting.

Only people can take personal responsibility for solving those behaviors. A camera can only record and preserve the evidence; only we can get to the business of solving the issues that cause or contribute to the bad behavior. Precautions can be taken to reduce the likelihood of theft or of being knocked over, such as hiding or not even using these little electronic pads and pods and tablets. Doing so reduces your attention on what is going on around you, and that can be very dangerous. Criminals are always looking for vulnerable people, and when you are in your little world of the music tablet or device you are not paying attention, but someone is paying attention to you, just waiting for the moment to snatch the phone, the pad and the pod and knock you down without another thought or a care to how you are going to feel, and take off into the crowd with the stolen article.

Just remember that the stolen article contains personal information, account numbers, phone numbers for home and work and family, passwords and the like. The thieves know that and they are looking for the right moment to get that data and use it for identity theft. That can be very costly indeed and can land you in a lot of hassle and trouble.

In the book Silent Spring by Rachel Carson is brought up the subject of insects, sprays to control them, the natural world and the effect of pesticides on people, plants, animals and the food we eat and the buildings in which we live. Dr. Carson also makes mention of the importance of realizing that because of these products we have so many more cancers and other diseases that we are now trying to find cures for.

Find “CURES” for, eh? Well, she goes on to say that the logical way to get above that issue is to eliminate the carcinogens from the natural stream. But then we have to go against the makers of the chemicals and the big corporations, where the CEO insists that the chemicals are safe to use. The scientsts we should pay attention to do not work for the chemical corporations. We need to pay close attention to issues such as these and “bug to death” the people who control the chemical makers, who support them, and who work for them without understanding or having a care to the effects of these toxins.

In the same way the hot national issue of gun control meets the same obstacle course: we face opposition from the “powerful” (my foot) NRA, stubborn Congress personnel who own guns and who might be NRA members, and from gun manufacturers. Despite the problems we face with “gun violence” we let minor issues cloud the big picture.

So what if you spend millions on new cameras to survey the trains and subway system. Maybe at the same time you can put money into trying to solve the problems you are intending to record with those cameras. Put money into youth organizations, put money into sports clubs to keep people out of trouble, or organize more community service days where people come out to clean up vacant lots, to rake, to bag trash, to get rid of graffiti, to paint houses, to replace fences, to repair walls, to sweep and dust and do so many things that would make our city and state look so much better.

It is the same with any issue: you can talk till the cows come home and hades freezes over, but big talk, lots of talk and corporate vague babbling will do no good at all, not in the least or slightest or iota until action is put with that talk. Until the pundits and politicians get off their big behinds and get to work on making the solutions real, all they will be is talk in a big fancy room or words on a page, or some official saying to the mass media that they are going to “look into” it and “report on it”.

Big deal. Stop talking and start working.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.


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