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Location: California, United States

I am a neolibertarian minded individual who feels that freedom and individual rights take precedence over the wants of government. I believe government exists to serve the people and not to protect us from ourselves. I am an advocate for private firearms ownership, smaller government, reduced taxes and freedom to live your life however you choose, providing you do not directly hurt others.

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A Feast For Crows
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Monday, February 20, 2006

Houston PD Wants to Use Spy Cameras

From the Houston Chronicle:

Facing a shortage of police officers, Police Chief Harold Hurtt called Wednesday for a new type of patrol: surveillance cameras on downtown streets, apartment complexes and shopping malls — and in extreme situations, private homes.

"If you're not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?" Hurtt told reporters.

Anyone in law enforcement who uses the argument "If you're not doing anything wrong, why should you worry" should be summarily banned from law enforcement and public office. When justifying a new encroachment on our privacy, they must convince us, the people, why it is "necessary", how it will "help", and what will be done to "prevent" abuse. It should NEVER be necessary for the law abiding public to have to defend their reasons for "worrying about it" when a new invasion of privacy or reduction of rights is being considered by law enforcement. The burden of justification is entirely upon the law enforcement/government. Every time you see the old "what do you have to hide?" argument, it is a sign that law enforcement/government is trying to cover their lack of justification by wrongly putting concerned citizens on the defensive.

Remember: Government cannot do anything without our consent so it is THEIR duty to convince us to support their idea. Letting government put us on the defensive on such issues would be like allowing a door to door salesman MAKE you explain why you shouldn't have to buy his product. Just tell firmly tell them no and send them on their way.

This sort of massive camera surveillance system has already been implemented in London, New Orleans (prior to the flooding) and other cities, so don't assume that decency will prevail if you ignore it. According to the article, Houston Mayor Bill White must approve this plan before the cameras can be installed. Thus, send him your thoughts on this issue,even if you don't live in Houston. If he gets thousands of email messages and hundreds of phone calls and letters saying that this is a horrible and invasive misuse of public funds, he probably won't approve it for fear of a voter backlash. Every time something like this passes, other cities see that this is possible and are more tempted to try it too. Stopping it in Houston will help prevent it from coming to your town.

Mayor Bill White
City of Houston
P.O. Box 1562
Houston, TX 77251

PHONE: 713.247.2200

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