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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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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Tax Funded Cameras: 1 for Every 30 People

The revealed an interesting story about a small remote town in Alaska. Apparently, someone thought it would be a good idea to use Homeland Security terrorism prevention money to install a lot of surveillance cameras to watch 24,000 people in the middle of nowhere.

Here are some quotes from the story:

By mid-February, more than 60 cameras watched over the town, and the Dillingham Police Department plans to install 20 more — all purchased through a $202,000 Homeland Security grant meant primarily to defend against a terrorist attack.

Now the residents of this far-flung village have become, in one sense, among the most watched people in the land, with — as former Mayor Freeman Roberts puts it — "one camera for every 30 residents."

Some don't mind, but many others are furious and have banded together to force the city to take the cameras down.


It is a working town in the middle of what some might call nowhere, which, according to Police Chief Richard Thompson, is why residents must be vigilant. Terrorists intent on attacking the United States could, he says, "backdoor it" through a nowhere dot on the tundra just like Dillingham.

Thompson, with the blessing of the City Council, applied for the Homeland Security grant last year. He is 51, wiry, with a slightly harried air about him. He has spent 22 years in the Dillingham Police Department, starting as dispatcher and becoming chief a year and a half ago.

It's his department. He and his six officers take the oath to protect very seriously. He bristles at any reference to Big Brother.

This is wrong on so many levels. Unless terrorists are plotting to disrupt our nations Salmon supply, this town doesn't seem to be a high risk target. Thus, even if one can stomach the idea of continuous camera surveillance, why are we throwing away anti-terrorism tax dollars on installing such a system in this city?

Even worse, why are a bunch of peaceable small town residents putting up with this gross invasion of their privacy? I thought this sort of thing was mostly limited to wacky large cities like London, Tokyo and New Orleans where people are desperate to throw away their privacy rights in order to supposedly cut down on rampant crime. To be honest, I'm surprised people in a small fishing town like that aren't simply using their hunting rifles to disable these stupid cameras as fast as they are installed.

This story is proof that no method of encroaching upon your privacy is too asinine to be brought to your home town. Stay vigilant and expel from public office any idiot who tries to spend your tax money on techniques to reduce your privacy and other rights.

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