Government Cameras Didn’t Help During The Boston Marathon Explosion
In the midst of celebrations upon capturing the suspects in the Boston Marathon explosion, Americans got a chilling glimpse of the suppression of liberty under martial law.
The eerie sight of homes being searched without warrants, people being placed under house arrest, and armed soldiers patrolling the streets more closely resembled a city in a third world country than the land of the free. The fact that this went largely unquestioned sets an extremely dangerous precedent. The path is now opened for soldiers and police to duplicate such tactics in any other American city at any time.
Of course, most politicians never let a crisis go to waste, which has naturally led to increased calls from both parties for more surveillance cameras in American cities and towns. Just as in nearly every other crisis that has occurred throughout American history, politicians are capitalizing on the fears of citizens by urging them to sacrifice liberty for security.
Supporters of the government response after the explosion maintain that such legally dubious tactics were needed to capture the suspect. But a private citizen, not government surveillance cameras, found the suspect hiding in a boat. And as Timothy P. Carney wrote in the Washington Examiner:
Law enforcement in Boston used cameras to ID the bombing suspects, but not police cameras. Instead, authorities asked the public to submit all photos and videos of the finish-line area to the FBI, just in case any of them had relevant images. The surveillance videos the FBI posted online of the suspects came from private businesses that use surveillance to punish and deter crime on their property.
Many Americans believe that government must use any means necessary to keep us safe, even at the expense of our freedoms. But this invites the potential for enormous abuses of power and turns around the true purpose of government, which is to protect our freedoms so we can keep ourselves safe.
The unfortunate lesson of government actions after the bombing has been that police state tactics are needed to keep us safe from terrorism. Instead, the lesson should have been that the people, not government forces, must always be relied upon as the prime safeguards of their own liberties if they are to remain truly free.by