18 August 2011

Does Anyone Else Have a Problem with This?

If not, then I propose the following idea: the city should buy one such car for every street in St. Louis and then the populace will be extra-super-guaranteed safe.  The Watchers can track every single public movement of every resident.  Littering, illegal dumping, jaywalking, spitting on the sidewalk, administering corporal punishment to a child who tries to run into the street, feeding children junk food from McDonald's, public urination, thinking bad thoughts-- all these heinous crimes can be prevented or prosecuted!

What I can't believe is that no one would be upset that such an armored car-- parked in what we are assured are "high crime" areas-- is named "The Exterminator".  Is this a city-sponsored hate crime?  What if you parked a menacing, camera-studded armored car called "The Exterminator" in a predominately Jewish area?  A predominately black area?  Hello?  Who is in charge in this town?

And note the casual drop that Big CarBrother can be used anywhere there are "large crowds".  So, make sure you never exercise your former right to peaceably assemble, either.

And of course there is no word on the camera program to watch the Watchers. Do we get to see that?  Reading the comments of the St. Clair County official, whose county already uses this form of public intimidation, doesn't give me a high degree of complacency.

I will now hold my breath and wait for the public outcry.

From STLToday:

Retrofitted armored car to stand guard in city

by Robert Patrick

Following in the footsteps of law enforcement around the country, city police will soon have an anti-crime armored car to take pictures in trouble spots, officials announced Wednesday.

Dubbed "the Exterminator" by the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department and "the Armadillo" elsewhere, the basic idea is this: Take an armored car retired from money courier duty. Attach police decals, cameras and recording devices. Then park it in front of the houses of drug dealers and ne'er-do-wells to scare them straight — or at least scare them away.

The truck is courtesy of Brink's Inc., which agreed to sell a used vehicle for $10. The St. Louis Police Foundation, a nonprofit that uses donations to help the department, agreed to pay up to $10,000 for the retrofitting.

Spiess, commander of the 7th District, said after the meeting that the truck would get cameras with 360-degree coverage, graffiti-resistant paint, specially hardened tires and shielded lights and windows. He estimated that the total cost would run $6,500 to $8,500 and that the truck could be ready for duty by fall.

Spiess said officials planned to park the truck in front of various problem properties in his district, which sits north of Forest Park, and in the Delmar Loop to dissuade troublemakers there.

It could also be used at special events or anywhere large crowds are expected.

"I think its a damn good move on their part," said St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus, who began using his department's Exterminator last fall. "Its been successful here."

"When we put it a neighborhood, the neighbors love it," Justus said. "All the (expletive) stops," he added.

The Exterminator now has its own website, including a truck tracker and a "Help! I need the Exterminator" feature.



ATW said...

No problem here.

thetimman said...

ATW, I thought I might hear from you!

I purposely didn't post my reminder about Summer at the Oratory this Sunday immediately after this one-- I thought it would be too much for you to resist.

We have a different view indeed, I think, about the danger of the surveillance state. I am not of the opinion that just because "I have nothing to hide" it means that the government should be so intrusive in my life. Creatures of God, not of the state, if you get my drift.

Hope to see you in St. Louis soon.

Anonymous said...

Eh, sorry this just doesn't trip my trigger. Sorry. This is different than red-light cameras, or other surreptitiuos monitoring programs, IMHO. Granted, if one of these starts showing up on every corner all the time, I might feel differently.

From the article, it sounds like this is more deterrent than monitor. It's different only in capability from a beat cop standing on a street corner.

For years, a city police officer parked on the corner just outside our house for most of the evening. Not that our neighborhood is unsafe, but I welcomed it. My kids gave him lemonade on the occasion or two when they set up a lemonade stand.

Proud SLPS Parent

ATW said...

At this point in history I fear the barbarians more than the "surveillance state." Perhaps I am wrong.

I would love to attend Summer at the Oratory. I already mentioned this to my family and we're hoping to make it next year.

P.S. Are you baiting me with these stories? Getting too predicable.

Bsdouglass said...

Why must the police these days always seem to try their hardest in making themselves and everything they do seem so sinister?

Although evil appearing as an angel of light makes it no better, I guess. But this idea is just creepy.

St. Maximilian Kolbe and Servant of God Dorothy Day pray for us!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous 10:39 and ATW,

May it would trip your trigger if this was in your neighborhood! From someone who lives in St. Clair County, where one of these vehicles was parked a mere 8 blocks from our home, I find them extremely offensive. This vehicle was parked in a predominately black neighborhood with the words 'EXTERMINATOR' and 'NUISANCE' painted on every side. Usually, when you use the word 'exterminator' you are referring to an insect control company. We are all human beings--not insects or pests to be eradicated--unless you think like those that promote Margaret Sanger's Planned Parenthood.

Did you know that you can call the police hotline anonymously to complain about your neighbor and request the vehicle for your street? My father always said "that laws are for the law abiding." If someone was going to break the law and the vehicle was present, a criminal would just go to another neighborhood. The vehicle is not stopping crime--contrary to what the sheriff in the article might believe. I too appreciate having a visible police presence in my neighborhood but this is way over the top.

So many cities are now having cameras at every intersection (which doesn't seem legal to me since the cameras belong to privately owned companies and not the police department), we now have armored vehicles parking in residential neighborhoods with cameras that have a direct feed to the police department. At what point would 'ATW' draw the line? A 24 hour surveillance camera in your own home may be? But that shouldn't be a problem because after all, he has nothing to hide. And what happens if the 'surveillance state' becomes the barbarians? We must never forget the wisdom of the old adage 'absolute power corrupts absolutely.'

ATW said...

Dear Anon 17:89,

Several days ago thetimman had a post entitled "What Are the Instruments of Good Works?" It was an excellent summary of how to practice our faith. These trucks in no way prevent or hinder us from performing any of the works enumerated in that post. In fact, given the current downward spiral of our civilization, these trucks may allow some of us to practice our faith for a time longer than we otherwise would be able to do. They are not being used to persecute but to protect. They may even help weaker souls with No. 48. And should the "surveillance state" decide to use them for a more nefarious purpose, well, I direct your attention to No's. 33, 30, and also 49. These trucks are not the problem.

ATW said...

I don't want to beat a dead horse, but Fr. Z has a story about an incident at WYD:
Had it not been for the riot police, some of these young Catholics might not have made it out of there alive.

My point, once again, is that during these dark times the police power of the state may allow us to practice our faith in the face of the barbarian threat, as it did for these children.