We Don't Need More Security Cameras

Timothy Carney argues that more surveillance isn't the answer
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2013 1:34 PM CDT
We Don't Need More Security Cameras
An investigator inspects the area near a surveillance camera on the roof of the Lord & Taylor store, which proved crucial in the Boston bombing investigation, April 18, 2013, in Boston.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, many are calling for more security cameras and surveillance, which is pretty predictable, because every terrorist attack has Americans scrambling to sacrifice civil liberties on the altar of public safety, observes Timothy Carney at the Washington Examiner. "But the story of the Boston bombers—the details of their crime and their capture—makes the opposite argument," he writes. "We don't need more government surveillance. We need to maintain robust civil society."

"It turns out we already have plenty of cameras," Carney writes, they're just not government cameras. The Boston bombers were caught using footage from private businesses, and that's a crucial distinction. Unlike, say, London's ever-present camera array, this US system "requires the willing participation of the public." That might slow police down, but it certainly didn't in Boston, and anyway, much of our legal system is devoted to slowing down law enforcement. "The idea that we ought to leave civil order to the police" is downright "un-American." Click for Carney's full column. (More Boston Marathon bombing stories.)

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