What's happening out there? Shootings in the inner cities. Then more
violence because there was violence. Ferguson, Baltimore... where else?
The police have come under fire; I guess it's because people don't
think they're doing good enough job enforcing the law.
What should we do? One suggestion is requiring the police to wear cameras.
The idea is that these "body cameras" will take the controversy
out of police shootings and other uses of force because “what really
happened” will be captured on video for all to see.
If that's a really good idea (and I'm not saying it is), where
else could we use such cameras? As a lawyer, I could discuss all kinds
of legal theories which might be applicable (right to privacy, anti-recording
laws, etc.) but for now, let's forget all of that. Let's just
focus on other areas of our society where it is important to learn "what
One place that comes to mind is in the hospitals.
The New York Times recently reported each year between 98,000 and 440,000 people die as a
preventable errors in hospitals. That's a lot more deaths than we're seeing in the inner cities
from gun violence—why not put cameras there? It's been said
that the "long blue line" of police officers will lie to support
fellow officers. Will doctors and nurses do likewise? Will cameras show
us what really happened?
This leads me to wonder if we need the same camera system in Congress and
our State Houses. A recent
Salt Lake City Tribune article reported that just 7% of every donation to legislative campaigns
came from average citizens. Lobbyists, corporations, political action
committees, advocacy groups and business leaders donate 82%. That gives
them access. Well, what do they do and say during that access? Would cameras
tell us? Maybe, although we'd have to require them not just
in Congress and our State Houses but also at the nearby posh restaurants,
or other meeting places, and, now that I think about it, almost everywhere!
Let's get to the bottom of this. Why DO our government officials so
often retire to lives of luxury? Or do they?
Of course, all these cameras would cost a lot of money. But what else can
we do? After all, the reason they are in such demand is that they have
to replace something else that we can't buy, and is so rare: honesty.
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