Friday, July 8, 2016

Cameras Are Everywhere

In the wake of recent news events, the accessibility and use of cameras has provided a video record of what has often been a he said, she said exchange.  That 1 picture is worth a 1000 words may be true, but it may not be the whole truth either.  Still, that video cameras are everywhere is becoming a more important part of our daily lives.

It seems that every sidewalk has a video camera focused on it, every store has a video camera recording each corner, and in everybody's pocket there is a video camera, our smartphone, ready to record events as they happen.  And we are being record in our good times and in our bad.  Cameras are everywhere.

That it catches criminals and criminal intent is a very good thing, that it provides a potentially independent view of a situation is also good, and that it hopes to enhance security and provide protection is important.  But the reverse is a loss of privacy, individual freedom, and a likely permanent record of our actions, good ones as well as our indiscretions.  Personal privacy is lost for the greater good. 

I've always enjoyed catching video moments of my family's lives.  They are a permanent reminder of the events of our lives.  I'm happy too when citizens with their phones capture everything from silly moments to criminal activity.  The hope is that truth of the moment shines through.

But when it comes to media and the availability of these "videos", I worry that sensationalism outweighs truth, ratings over discretion.  Is it necessary to show everything, no matter how insensitive or gory it might be?  Does it make our society more compassionate or does it start to desensitize us?  There was once a time where media withheld material that wasn't relevant to the situation; today, the need to beat out other news organizations means that faces are no longer blurred, blood is no longer ignored, and pain and violence are showed in all its glory.  In the drive to show everything, we may be becoming more hardened to it.  Our scale of restraint has vanished.  And I worry that we, as a society, are heading down a very dark path. 

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