Drones scrapped, but Seattle Police surveillance camera project continues; ‘borderline problematic,’ says Burgess

February 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm | In Seattle Police surveillance cameras, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 49 Comments


(Click image for full zoomable PDF version of new map)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

While Mayor McGinn has just announced that Seattle Police‘s Homeland Security-funded drone program has been scrapped (see his statement here), the work continues on the 30-camera network first reported by WSB a week and a half ago.

And one of his challengers in this fall’s election describes the system as “borderline problematic.”

More on that shortly.

First – We’re continuing to research the new fixed cameras that could be in operation as soon as next month in West Seattle and other areas of the city. This week, we have a new, clearer map of the 30 cameras’ planned locations – 12 of them in the West Seattle vicinity. The new map makes it easier to see where the ones not already in place are planned; for example, comparing a labeled map with this one, you’ll note one location is the Admiral Way Viewpoint, by SW Olga. We checked the site – no camera, but the southeast pole has loops of cable; in our interview last Friday with SPD Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh, who as Special Operations Bureau commander is in charge of this, he said that “about 9″ of the 30 had been installed as of the time of our conversation.

As noted in our second report on January 31st, the $5 million grant that paid for the cameras was approved by the City Council in May of last year. A network of cameras was mentioned in passing during the briefing given pre-vote to the Public Safety, Technology, and Civil Rights Committee, but locations were not discussed, and it was described only as “port security,” with no mention that cameras would be installed in recreational/residential zones.

When we spoke with Assistant Chief McDonagh, he explained that a “steering committee” has yet to make the decisions about who will operate the cameras and which agencies will have access to their 24-hour video streams. He did say that in retrospect, he thought telling the commmunity in advance might not have been a bad idea; as we first reported on January 29th, the cameras were first noticed by WSB readers the preceding weekend, and we learned their purpose through two days of inquiring with various city agencies.

We have asked for comment from Mayor McGinn, and renewed the inquiry this afternoon following the no-drones announcement, but mayoral spokesperson Aaron Pickus e-mailed back, “We don’t have anything to add to what SPD has already discussed with you.”

Last night, we spoke with another mayoral candidate, Councilmember Tim Burgess – a former Seattle Police officer and former chair of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee – when he came to West Seattle to speak with the Southwest District Council.

“I think it’s borderline problematic,” Councilmember Burgess told us, saying that the original explanation of the cameras was that they were for port security and would be installed around Elliott Bay and port facilities, but now it’s been disclosed they have been installed “from Fauntleroy to Golden Gardens,” which he considers “not appropriate.”

He added that he thinks “the council should play a larger role here … maybe (it) should set stronger rules about the use of surveillance and technology that goes beyond what the original intent was.”

Assistant Chief McDonagh told us on Friday that he expected the Council would be briefed again; no date has yet been announced. There’s a target date of March 31st for activation of the camera system, but the aforementioned “steering committee” – whose membership list we have requested from SPD but not yet received – will make the final decision, he said.

ADDED 6:30 PM: Toward the end of The Stranger‘s coverage of the mayor’s no-drones decision today, the ACLU’s Doug Honig is quoted as saying they think the city needs to re-examine this camera system next.

49 Comments

  1. I wouldn’t have a problem with the surveillance cameras IF we all had access to the feed via the internet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Transparent_Society

    Comment by Ken — 4:42 pm February 7, 2013 #

  2. Point the cameras at gangsta-bangsta alleys.

    I’m hip to that, dude.

    Comment by Cameras on Thugs — 5:08 pm February 7, 2013 #

  3. I do not agree with the surveillance cameras. Period. Fear, and the false sense that somehow we can be 100% safe, convinces many people to give up their privacy and civil rights.

    How much ‘safer’ are we really? At what cost? The government just keeps picking away at our rights.

    I for one, continue to push back. My efforts may or may not make a difference, however, I still speak up and out.

    Comment by Teri Ensley — 5:12 pm February 7, 2013 #

  4. I testified yesterday in front of the Seattle City Council saying ban the drones. These cameras also need to be banned.

    It is a slippery slope when we believe a “few” cameras are okay. It is dangerous when the citizens do not speak out for protection of our civil liberties.

    Comment by Karen Pooley — 5:36 pm February 7, 2013 #

  5. Thank you, Teri. Well said and I’m in complete agreement. I’m just thrilled that WSB has had a large role in bringing this into the light of day and that there is already some push back (though likely just political jockeying…) by people in a position to do something about it. I don’t know a thing about Councilmember Burgess, but he’s already got my attention should he run against our biking riding blow-hard.

    Comment by Chuck and Sally's Van Man — 5:37 pm February 7, 2013 #

  6. C & S, he IS officially running. You can track the list of candidates who have filed by watching the right sidebar on this page:
    .
    http://www2.seattle.gov/ethics/elpub/el_home.asp
    .
    Interestingly for this issue, in addition to Burgess, mayoral candidates also include Councilmember Bruce Harrell, who chairs the Public Safety/Technology/Civil Rights committee that has jurisdiction on these things (and vetted the camera/wireless grant last year). Other candidates per the latest on that page: David Ishii, Kate Martin, Mayor McGinn himself, State Sen. Ed Murray, Charlie Staadecker, former councilmember Peter Steinbrueck.
    The incumbents for City Council positions 2, 4, 6, 8 have all filed for re-election; no challengers so far. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 5:47 pm February 7, 2013 #

  7. “he explained that a ‘steering committee’ has yet to make the decisions about who will operate the cameras and which agencies will have access to their 24-hour video streams.”

    So, without knowing who would control the cameras or where the video feed would go, or for what purpose, they installed them? Isn’t that like cutting someone open without knowing exactly what they need surgery for or if they’re even in need of an operation? Great management of a $5 million grant.

    Comment by Rebecca — 5:54 pm February 7, 2013 #

  8. Nothing but misleading info or should I say lies on this project from Assistant Chief McDonagh and the SPD, along with some of our City Council members. Our Mayor McGinn has no comment ? And they want us to trust them ? what a joke. McDonagh and others flat out mislead the people about this project on camera and in meetings and looks to continue doing so. People like this need to be fired if the city of Seattle wants to regain trust from the people.

    Comment by wetone — 5:55 pm February 7, 2013 #

  9. Although I appreciate people’s concerns (I always try to see both sides of an issue), I don’t see how cameras photographing public places are violating either privacy or civil rights.

    Comment by Twobottles — 6:11 pm February 7, 2013 #

  10. Eighteen camera shots of West Seattle and proximity, TR. I don’t know…some people probably won’t like it…ya think?

    Comment by Citizen — 6:34 pm February 7, 2013 #

  11. Awesome news about the drones. May the same fate await those infernal spy cameras. ~z

    Comment by zephyr — 6:39 pm February 7, 2013 #

  12. I’m glad to see the push-back. Just because you have nothing to hide doesn’t mean you want to be watched.

    Comment by herongrrrl — 6:47 pm February 7, 2013 #

  13. Our age of hysteria is progressing. The Coast Guard sails near the WSF’s, drones are purchased (secretly), and the cameras (are installed and we are told AFTER the fact)? Homeland security, bah, humbug. The 9/11 excuse has become long in the tooth. Is all this a mis-directed attempt sooth and protect us or is it a well devised long-term strategy for militaristic control and an end to our freedom? Pay attention, see what is happening.

    Comment by Gary Snyder — 6:48 pm February 7, 2013 #

  14. I was surprised to see that the Fauntleroy camera was on the land side of the pole it is mounted on. It has no view towards the ferry terminal or dock area. So not at all there for seaport security. It is (as has been stated here by WSB) that it is directly over one of the new RapidRide stops and points at the other. It will have a full view to watch all vehicles and pedestrians that go through that area on Fauntleroy Way. I too would be fine if the live stream is available to all through the internet. To limit its use to the police for essentially a search without a warrant is really heading down the wrong path. Just short of chipping us all and tracking us 24×7.

    Comment by Jordan — 6:49 pm February 7, 2013 #

  15. I do not agree with the surveillance cameras. Period. Fear, and the false sense that somehow we can be 100% safe, convinces many people to give up their privacy and civil rights.

    -Teri

    Comment by Citizen — 7:13 pm February 7, 2013 #

  16. Twobottles:
    -
    Cameras are a 1) retroactive — responding to crime rather than preventing it. 2)We have no idea what the cameras will photograph. Will they be physically prevented from peering into your house and catching you doing something illegal or even legal? Or will the prevention of photographing private places consist of a software workaround that deletes certain areas unless they really want to see them. Or will it just avoid homes, leaving yards open to view?
    -
    Who gets to see/record/decide if there is a crime? The cameras are zoomable (presumably, thereby rendering a physical barrier to photography unlikely in my opinion)
    -
    Who is running/paying for the cameras? The capital cost is covered, but as many can attest to the cost for O&M is a b—-. Especially when it is not clear what crimes these cameras *prevent*.
    -
    If they were pointed to Port facilities and approaches to Elliott Bay great and could not focus above the horizon in the appropriate direction is one thing. But these cameras are not designed that way — Heck, the people installing them don’t know which way they should point. Why should we?
    -
    So no one was told what the cameras were for.
    They were installed before we knew who was operating them.
    No one who has anything to do with these cameras knows what they will record, or why, or when.
    We have no idea if they will/are/could record “private” spaces.
    -
    Do you still not see the reason for concern?

    Comment by JayDee — 7:19 pm February 7, 2013 #

  17. Thank you, Teri!

    Comment by Chris W — 7:32 pm February 7, 2013 #

  18. I believe the cameras are Canon VB-M40. That is how they are labeled.
    http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/security_video_solutions/network_cameras/vb_m40

    Comment by me — 8:41 pm February 7, 2013 #

  19. I like Ken’s idea. Make the camera feeds public. They’re in public places, so there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy. But if the camera feeds are readily available and legally established as public records, that goes a long way toward bridging SPD’s credibility issues.

    Comment by KBear — 8:45 pm February 7, 2013 #

  20. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967): There is no reasonable expectation of privacy for conduct/things in plain view, i.e. in the public.

    I has been settled law of the United States for close to 50 years that there is no privacy interest invaded for pubic conduct; hence there is no reasonable argument that these cameras are violating anyone’s rights to the extent they are capturing images of public areas. If they were filming into person’s homes, that’s another thing, but really, is it reasonable to think that the cops are using fixed position cameras to spy on random citizens because they have nothing better to do? I think some persons have an inflated opinion of how interesting they are.

    Comment by Greg — 9:09 pm February 7, 2013 #

  21. Good news for the bad guys.

    Comment by Dan Wingle — 9:14 pm February 7, 2013 #

  22. I agree wth you, Twobottles.
    Also, the slippery-slope concerns have some merit to a point, but the security concerns do as well. The very fact of their existence in public places is not enough reason to ban them. Being on camera while in public or private (shopping malls, stores, your home and property, gas stations etc.)is allowed, and I really have no problem with that. Our rights may be wholly intact with the addition of cameras where needed in Public, as they are now. And yes, I value all of my freedoms.

    Comment by M. — 9:20 pm February 7, 2013 #

  23. Thank you Teri for continuing to pursue this. What would west Seattle do without you.

    Comment by Karen r — 10:14 pm February 7, 2013 #

  24. So…
    It is “ok” to use cameras to try to catch criminals in the Admiral District ala-

    http://westseattleblog.com/2013/02/west-seattle-estate-sale-robbery-followup-getaway-car-on-cam

    But these waterfront cameras are “Big Brother” ??

    You can’t have it both ways.
    And – Don’t expect Privacy in Public.

    Comment by JMHC — 10:15 pm February 7, 2013 #

  25. 12 this year. 50 next year. 1000 by 2020. Wait til you get your ticket in the mail for doing two miles over the speed limit. They’ll turn them into revenue generators…….oh excuse me…..safety tools.
    CAMERAS GOTTA GO!

    Comment by J — 4:41 am February 8, 2013 #

  26. While most of the American public is asleep at the wheel, our country is being turned into a police state. You think I’m a paranoid nut? Then somebody please explain to me why police forces all over the US are being militarized and equipped with drones, Seattle’s expansion of video cameras in public places, and the fact that really has me wondering, the purchase of 1.7 billion rounds of 40 caliber hollow points by the Dept. of Homeland Security. This morning I read that they have placed another order of 21.6 million rounds and for 7000 AR-!5s, which DHS refers to as “self defense rifles.” You say I’m nuts? Google it and see for yourself!

    Comment by phil dirt — 8:01 am February 8, 2013 #

  27. Greg, are you really that easily going to relinquish your right to privacy? You may not think your life interesting enough to peer into, but soemone else might. Whether legal or not, is that something you want to run the risk of? I applaud the citizens’ outrage and WSB’s spectacular reportage of this issue. I’m not a tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy nut, and I do think that overall, government is a good think (I like roads, clean water, safe food, etc.). However, I also like to know that I’m free to move about my town without knowing I’m being tracked, recorded and noted. What am I hiding? Nothing. But my nothing could very well be someone else’s something…

    Comment by Tony S — 8:32 am February 8, 2013 #

  28. We have a bunch of dumb people out there.

    If we made the camera feeds public, then all I would need to do is get on my smart phone and see where they are pointed and then move to a different spot in the area to do my criminal activity.

    These cameras are not there to look into your house and if you have something to hide in your house then maybe you deserve to have them look.

    Comment by S — 8:54 am February 8, 2013 #

  29. I’m not one for giving up all my privacy, but I thought, once you’re out in public you’re fair game. I mean, whenever I go to some West Seattle event, (parade, junction festival, outdoor concert, Halloween parade etc) I always duck and hide behind someone when I see a WSB staffer headed my way, camera in hand. WSB takes pictures of you out in public all the time, and it shows up here….but i don’t see anyone complaining about that. maybe it’s due to the reality TV era and eveyone wants their 15 minutes……? I am glad however, that they got rid of the drones, that was too sneaky. now when I am at Alki, I know I’ll be on camera, just as I am at Target, Nordstrom, the bank, the West Seattle Blog……

    Comment by sam-c — 9:00 am February 8, 2013 #

  30. Spd has found ways to abuse or miss use eveerything else
    Why would cams be any diff?
    Plus they LIED ABOUT THE WHOLE STORY OF THEM GOIN IN
    I DONT LIKE POLICE STATE WSEATTLE

    Comment by Jeff platt — 10:30 am February 8, 2013 #

  31. Protecting the port and roadway is one thing. However, these cameras have 360 degree view that goes right into the windows of residents along Alki. This isn’t just “troubling” it IS an invasion of privacy. Period.

    These high tech cameras can read a license plate from a half-mile away at minimum and take a clear picture. I’ve seen them in operation.

    Take that camera in the hands of an operator on the swing or graveyard shift with time on their hands, you now have a unvited guest or peeping Tom at your dinner table or living room right across the street. From 50 feet away the camera can see the individual hairs of your eye lashes!

    For Pete sake, only people asleep at the City Council and Mayor’s Office could have approved this invasion. It’s time to stop this nonsense.

    Unless those cameras have a shield on the poles where they are hanging or inside the protective cover to block the shot to prevent viewing into people homes, they should NOT become operational until that protection it built in–not left in the hands of an operator guided by a paper manual who has idle time on their hands.

    With those camera, you simply no longer have the private enjoyment of your residence and must assume 24/7 you have a peeping Tom! Unbelievable!!! Stop the madness.

    Comment by West Sider — 12:39 pm February 8, 2013 #

  32. Kudos to greg for bringing some reality to this topic. If the cameras have the ability to identify criminals\ activity, why wouldnt we want them? Even if it doesnt stop the initial crime, identifying perps and arresting them is just as important. Remember the mardi gras riot/brawl Cameras helped catch sime if

    Comment by earth first ed — 1:04 pm February 8, 2013 #

  33. Helped catch some of the thugs.

    Comment by earth first ed — 1:32 pm February 8, 2013 #

  34. Not to be too glib, but even paranoiacs have real enemies.
    The Patriot Act is essentially the antithesis of our founding documents, and this proliferation of spying devices is another example of how cheaply so many of us seem to hold the rights enshrined in those documents.
    It IS is slippery slope, and since 9/11/2001, we’ve been incrementally sliding down it.

    Comment by anti-obstruction — 2:06 pm February 8, 2013 #

  35. Can someone explain to me WHY surveillance cameras impede our civil rights; logically, succinctly, and without emotion? And, please be knowledgeable about what a police state (really) is.

    Comment by WTF — 4:00 pm February 8, 2013 #

  36. Greg’s argument that this is settled law and the case was 50 years ago so stop whining. Cameras 50 years ago had film. You had to develop the film to know what was on it, and film was expensive. Ditto movie cameras. There was no such thing as video. Or surveillance cameras 24/7.
    -
    Now, the rise of the machines has brought us cameras that can not only take high quality pictures, but the pictures can be stored digitally without the need for development. The images can be stored on Peta-Byte drives for endless recall. And thanks to the digital nature of these images, they can be easily reproduced, and better yet, manipulated. Get enough cameras and enough computing power and you can make a 3-D movie.
    -
    None of this was available in 1967. The law is not omniscient and in fact it is backwards-looking. And the law can change. But so far it hasn’t because we are still just rolling out universal surveillance (odd–my spell checker just suggested “Subservience” as the word I wanted…How apropos).
    -
    and WTF, why not emotional? If we feel an instinctual uneasiness about the government maintaining a fleet of cameras without proving what they will be used for, how they will be used, and how they operate, and who is operating them, then why should this unease not make us suspicious of those who are trying to foist them on us unawares? We don’t have them now, and West Seattle is a pretty safe place. What is the problem the cameras are meant to solve? Or is there really no problem, and it is in fact based on fantasy in our endless war on terror? I suspect the answer is uncomfortably closer to fantasy than most citizens would like.

    Comment by JayDee — 6:35 pm February 8, 2013 #

  37. All police states started somewhere
    Surveillance in my opinion seems to always be number 1
    I just think its very stupid to set up cameras to look at how cruddy our roads and schools are when all that $$$ could of helped fix alot of things around here!!!

    Comment by Jeff platt — 6:53 pm February 8, 2013 #

  38. @JayDee; not so much of an answer to my direct question.
    ——–
    West Seattle IS a relatively safe place. It could be safer and it could be more comfortable for those of us who are law abiding community members.
    I agree that regardless of state or federal funds used to purchase/install the cameras, we as taxpayers do have the right to know the whys/whos/hows.
    BUT, my question was ….WHY surveillance cameras impede our civil rights?
    When in public, all bets to privacy in the eyes of civil law are off. And, if we have nothing to hide, why does it matter? Why do you think our average activity is important or interesting to police? These cameras, I’m betting, are for deterrent and evidence gathering purposes.
    Everyone seems to jump on this ACLU bandwagon, cry “my rights! my rights! don’t take my rights.” Come on people. Are you still paying bills with checks and hiding your money under your mattress?

    Comment by WTF — 7:37 pm February 8, 2013 #

  39. There’s a big difference between walking down the street, saying something that I know my friend or neighbor will hear, and making a permanent government record of what I said and where I went. Just because I do something publicly doesn’t mean my government should record and stockpile that information about me.

    I think it’s reasonable to demand that our government not track and record what we say and where we go whenever we step out of our homes.

    Comment by Phil Mocek — 9:03 pm February 8, 2013 #

  40. WTF, or anyone else questioning what IS a ‘police state’, needs to listen & understand what’s happening right now:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=QsGJpTAsV8k

    Comment by sheepdog — 11:26 pm February 8, 2013 #

  41. WTF says, “Can someone explain to me WHY surveillance cameras impede our civil rights; logically, succinctly, and without emotion? And, please be knowledgeable about what a police state (really) is”

    Surveillance cameras can, potentially, be used for whatever purpose a nation that has enacted the National Defense Authorization Act chooses.

    A police state is one in which a government can imprison anyone they want without any charges, other than being declared a terrorist, and held without trial for as long as that government chooses to do so. This is exactly what the National Defense Authorization Act allows for. Bye the way, both political parties voted for this law to be enacted. Now of course, we all know that Barack Obama would never do this, don’t we. But, the NDAA is part of the law of the land, and thus, it can be used and abused by any future President against whomever that President believes to fit his description of a “terrorist.”

    A police state is one in which the President can compile a kill list, including American citizens, and at his, and only his, discretion use a drone to kill anybody he/she wants ……… all without a fair hearing or a trial. Now of course, we all know that Barack Obama would never do that. Why? Because he said so. But, what of a future President. With that kind of power in the hands of one man, who knows how that power could be used. Just think, if he lives long enough, Dick Cheney could be our next President.

    Comment by phil dirt — 8:19 am February 9, 2013 #

  42. @anti-obstruction—exactly!!

    ‘The Patriot Act is essentially the antithesis of our founding documents, and this proliferation of spying devices is another example of how cheaply so many of us seem to hold the rights enshrined in those documents.
    It IS is slippery slope, and since 9/11/2001, we’ve been incrementally sliding down it.’

    Comment by furryfaces — 12:01 pm February 9, 2013 #

  43. Phil Dirt – why “militarization” of police forces? Maybe it has something to do with everyone and their mother toting AR-15s on their back and packing sidearms. The video of the Oak Harbor City Council meeting, with 200 armed citizens intimidating the council, pretty much explains why police forces feel the need to respond in kind. It’s not just the bad guys armed to the teeth; its the “normal” joe and jane with their 11 assorted guns that is triggered and goes from normal to deranged killer. It happens everyday in America and I suspect many of the persons railing against these little cameras rail just as loudly about their right to put the public at risk as they parade around town packing.

    Phil Mocek’s comment on eavesdropping is a good point; there probably is a reasonable expectation of some privacy in personal communications in public.

    I don’t buy the slippery slope argument. That argument has done this country more harm than good – remember why we escalated in Vietnam – domino theory – same diff.

    Finally, we don’t live is some simple safe hamlet. When is the last week that this blog hasn’t posted about a home invasion, car theft, drive by etc. Between actual criminals and mentally disturbed folks on the streets, there’s plenty for the cops to actually be worried about besides what you may be discussing over a latte on a stroll along the boulevard.

    Comment by Greg — 3:44 pm February 9, 2013 #

  44. Many of us rightfully believe that we have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the examples cited above, but the truth is we have no legal protection yet since surveillance technology is progressing much faster than our legal definitions of privacy. As Greg noted, historically the courts have found that a person in public does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy for either their face, voice or movements and so public monitoring has not been considered an illegal search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment. But drones, TrapWire, Shot Spotter, FaceIt, and omniscient cameras go way beyond an officer’s eyes and ears and primitive cameras. And the courts ARE starting to recognize that modern surveillance can violate our civil rights – the U.S. v. Jones case last January was a good start (it ruled that tracking an individual’s public movements via GPS is a Fourth Amendment search). Until the courts are fully up to speed in their ability to defend our privacy rights by discerning which warrantless surveillance events constitute privacy invasions, our best defense is to raise our objections to the city and state before the surveillance infrastructure is established. (thank-you Karen Pooley for leading the way!)

    Comment by For Liberty — 12:28 am February 10, 2013 #

  45. Everyone’s made some really good comments here, covering both (many?) sides of this issue. Still, the single scariest thing I’ve read anywhere in a long time is, “When we spoke with Assistant Chief McDonagh, he explained that a “steering committee” has yet to make the decisions about who will operate the cameras and which agencies will have access to their 24-hour video streams.” Really? Picture a perfect melding of the Keystone Cops with the Empire from Star Wars…

    Comment by shipwrecked_and_comatose — 10:44 am February 10, 2013 #

  46. Last week, I placed a public records request for information related to that steering committee. Any responses will be automatically posted via MuckRock at the aforementioned link.

    Comment by Phil Mocek — 11:41 am February 10, 2013 #

  47. Greg says, “I suspect many of the persons railing against these little cameras rail just as loudly about their right to put the public at risk as they parade around town packing.”

    First of all Greg, the people who were armed at the Oak Harbor meeting were legally armed and protesting an illegal attempt to disallow people with licenses to carry a firearm from exercising their right to be armed in the public park. Being armed and openly carrying a weapon at that meeting, while upsetting to you, was not against the law. As a matter of fact, it is also not against the law in Seattle. For your information, I, too, am a legally armed citizen, having gone through the FBI background check and thus issued a licensed to carry. When I go to Lincoln Park and Schmitz park I am always armed. As upsetting as this fact must be to you, I can assure you that many other peace loving legally armed citizens are too. So far none have put the public at risk.

    I suggest that if you want to rail against people “packing” you would better serve the public if you would support law enforcement aggressively going after gang bangers who couldn’t care less about your aversion to them being armed. And, honestly, I hope that you will exercise your civic duty to demand that people who are in need of mental health treatment are removed from the public at large and treated for their impairment.

    This is not a perfect world, and on relatively rare occasions, I realize that people, like the legally armed man who shot up Cafe Racer, do slip through the cracks. However, even after the guy’s family, who realized their son’s impairment, tried to solicit the proper social services, they were turned down because of the present laws. Had one armed citizen been present during that incident, the outcome could have been quite different.

    Comment by phil dirt — 8:58 am February 11, 2013 #

  48. Armed in Lincoln Park? Seriously? I know those squirrels are tough but really? I’m in that park all the time walking around; through the woods, on the trails, dusk, dawn, dark, in the woods. Hope the fact that I sometimes wear a hoody doesn’t lead you to mistake me for a gangbanger!

    Your points re police going after gangbangers and better mental health treatment are right on, along with full background checks including at gun sales etc.

    And in any event I personally don’t fear those cameras near as much as I do some law abiding citizen with a gun having a hissy fit due to some perceived infraction of their rights (perhaps a slight in a traffic merge or dispute over a coveted parking spot) that escalates from words to gun fight.

    Comment by Greg — 8:12 pm February 11, 2013 #

  49. With more and more surveillance cameras popping up around the city, I now understand what the late Gore Vidal meant when he said: “The Cold War is over and the Soviet Union won.”

    We’re becoming similar to what Herman Melville described as sailing on a man-of-war with the guns pointed inward.

    Chilling.

    Comment by Curt Johnson — 1:21 pm February 15, 2013 #

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