Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Camera Really is the New Gun

Judge Andrew Napolitano likes to say that the camera is the new gun. He is more right than even he may know. Cameras in the hands of ordinary citizens are something that most bureaucrats have a deathly fear of. They are more afraid of a common man with a camera than they are of giant hairy spiders. To a bureaucrat, a common man with a camera is more frightening than a million zombies converging on them. More seriously, they are likely more afraid of one common man with a camera than they are of a man with a gun. Government types are terrified of several common folk armed with cameras, perhaps more so than they are of an entire constitutional militia. One who is inclined to thoughtful reflection might wonder why this should be.

Government, by its very nature, is a violent organization. They need to use force, intimidation and coercion in order to exist. They have, in fact, claimed a monopoly on the use of force. If you were to try to try to do the same things these people do everyday you'd be arrested in a heartbeat. For instance, if you were to go to a local business and demand money, under the threat of imprisonment, for protection against extremist terrorists, you'd be quickly arrested and charged with extortion. Even if you had hired a group of men and planned on shipping them off to a far distant land to root out the terrorist demons, you'd still be arrested and charged with criminal offenses. You can't threaten people and force them to pay you money for services they don't want, at least not with impunity, but the government can. When you do it it's called a crime, when the government does it it's called taxation.

But the government doesn't want you to think about them in this way. They want you to think of them as benevolent. They don't want you to think of them as thieves, they want you to think of them as charitable angels saving the under privileged. They don't want you to think of them in terms of generating revenue for their own self interests, they want you to think of them in terms of providing public safety. They don't want you thinking of them as cheaters who won't follow their own rules, they want you to think of them as more knowledgeable than you, superior to you, and better able to determine what is best for you. And one way or another you'll pay them to do so. They don't want you to think of them as violent thugs violating the rights of innocent humans which they supposedly took an oath to protect, they want you to think of them as super humans who never make a mistake, never arrest an innocent, and instinctively know when someone has victimized another human being. They want you to believe that their good intentions make the wrongs they do okay.

They want you to believe these things so much that they start teaching them to you at a very young age. Of course, they are a little more subtle about it. They may do it under the guise of public education, but what they are really doing is forcing the vast majority of the populace to spend a large portion of their day at federally funded government indoctrination centers. They then teach us that this is the greatest nation in the world due to government rather than due to lack of government, faith in the free markets and the ability for the people to control their own destinies. They force children to recite a pledge that was written by a socialist flag salesman, Francis Bellamy, instilling a sense of necessity to defend government even when its actions may be questionable or indefensible. They teach obedience to authority rather than the axiom to question authority and to hold them accountable for their lies, misrepresentations and lack of respect for the laws they swear an oath to uphold. We are taught to memorize the facts they want us to memorize. We are taught their version of events, their version of the facts. We are never taught to explore other versions, other points of view and to evaluate them to determine which version is the closest to actuality or how the different versions could mesh to create another version even more likely to have occurred.

This type of learning can make it difficult to point out problems the system might be suffering. It makes it difficult to convince some people of the reality of an event or situation. If it isn't seen, or isn't reported on, then it must not be true, particularly if it goes against the dogma of great governance that the populace has been brainwashed to believe in since childhood. This is when the camera can be so important. The camera's eye doesn't lie. When it records the violence that the state engages in, those who continue to sing the praises of the state and believe in an innate goodness of government that isn't there do so at their own peril. Those who wish to believe these examples don't occur that often, that they are the exception instead of the norm, will find it harder and harder to maintain that stance as more and more occurrences are videoed.

Government agents are far more frightened of video cameras than they are of guns. They know how to handle guns. Common folks threatening violence against statist criminals may find it difficult to succeed in their efforts. The only thing the state knows is violence. It only knows enforcement. It wouldn't surprise me to find many of the tax bottom feeders chomping at the bit to get a chance to exercise that which they know best. Common folk armed only with cameras, however, that's another story. The statist criminals are going to find it very difficult to beat such efforts, as all options should eventually lead to their demise.

Cameras are something these people have been using against the general public for years. We have red light cameras, speeding cameras, public security cameras, all kinds of cameras in different areas set up to make sure we don't break a myriad of victimless laws they've created for revenue generation. When anyone complains about it, about the lack of privacy or violating rights, their standard reply is “if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” Well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Why are they so afraid of cameras if they're doing nothing wrong? Why would they have laws against operating video in courtrooms and other venues where they supposedly work for us? If they are doing nothing wrong, what do they have to hide? Think about that the next time you hear about mindless police automatons asking legitimate protestors and political activists to put away their cameras on public property. Don't believe the security excuse. The only security they're worried about is their own. They do have secrets to keep and things to hide, and they don't want the general public to find out, mostly because they are doing something wrong, and likely they know it.

The camera can expose all this. It can provide proof of wrongdoing. It can provide a tool to help hold accountable those who break their own rules, and the rules they expect the common folk to obey. Most of all, it can help change the way people think about our government servants and how they behave. It can help create an overwhelming righteous indignation toward arrogant government agents who feel they are better than the common man and above the law. The camera may, in effect, be a weapon far superior to the gun, for it is a weapon that helps win the hearts and minds without causing significant blowback. When one is not physically harming another, revenge is less likely to be sought.

Government agents are afraid of the camera, and with good reason. After all, one of the hardest thing for a human to do is to confront the monster in the mirror. Documenting the rise of the police state on video, exposing the cheating and corruption, publicizing the violations of human rights by government agents, etc., holds a mirror to society and forces us to ask if this is the road we wish to take. It can also help the individuals involved evaluate their own behavior. The camera is the new gun not because it is a weapon that kills, but because it is an effective weapon that defends human rights and has the potential to heal. We should all be armed and ready to use it wherever we see wrongs being committed, and we should be allowed to carry one whenever we have to deal with our government servants, including and especially in courtrooms, if only for our own protection and the protection of all involved in such a situation.

No comments: