Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Fine For Thee But Not For Me

Sunday's Commercial Appeal had a story on Germantown's experiment with traffic cameras that I've already commented on (see down below). I already pointed out some practical objections.

Today's Commercial Appeal editorial is on that story. It always takes a couple of days for the paper to catch up like this. The demands of the editorial process and the slowness of print media, dontcha know.

It's sad to see the CA blandly agree with a blithe dismissal of the very important issues at hand. Privacy concerns? Well, they've already been washed away in a sea of previous violations, so what's your worry? Problems with incorrect identification or no identification of violating autos? Eh, "imperfect." Extra cost to the City in an era of sqeaky-tight budgets? Not to worry -- it's "a small price to pay."

If that's the case, let's offer this idea, which I overlooked in my post below. How about we hire a whole lot more officers and flood the streets with them? Would that still be a "small price to pay?" The problem we have now is that cops turn a blind eye to minor violations because they must focus their time on the big crimes. Drivers know that. If we have more officers on the streets so that we can focus on all violations, that changes the environment. It also has the distinct side-effect of reducing overall crime, because more officers will be out on any given shift. That's an idea we can try now, without the need for study and with a high likelihood of immediate benefits. It's the Giuliani "quality of life" approach and it works.

Speaking of giving up rights, let's ask the Commercial Appeal if they would mind a few, minor, limitations to their rights. Nothing big. How about, all editorials must come signed, so we know for sure who wrote them? That's no big deal. And why not print corrections in the same section and on the same page as the original error, so it bears equal weight and notice to the mistake? That's just a tiny thing. Do you think the Commercial Appeal would have a problem with that?

I thought so.

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