Camera Con Continued

A while back, I commented on the fact that red-light cameras are little more than an excuse to entrap people into a crime that would not otherwise occur. Let me clarify: the cameras are not causing the crime in question, but the unilateral (boy, that word’s getting a lot of use lately) decision to shorten yellow-light times is.

Now Virginia is considering extending the cameras’ use, and to be honest, I can understand how people — a significant majority of people, according to recent polls — would support that decision. In theory, it’s a great idea. And no, I don’t swallow any of that nonsense about it being an invasion of privacy — though I will entertain the argument that in the age of Photoshop, a photograph can no longer reliably be considered “evidence” at all. A police officer sees you on a public street, a camera sees you — six of one, half a dozen of the other. (Speed cameras are utterly useless, as tests have frequently shown that they’re utterly unreliable — and without a witness to corroborate the alleged “speeding,” their output constitutes even less evidence than the red-light cameras’.)

In yesterday’s Post, Marc Fisher expressed shock that anyone would even consider not extending these cameras’ use. But the shocking thing is that Fisher acknowledges the fallacies of the red-light cameras — increased rear-ending accidents, the increased incidence of violations with shorter yellow-light times — but does nothing to counter the arguments.

Buddy, until you can actually convince me that you’ve overcome those obstacles, I’ll continue to hold the red-light camera craze for exactly what it is — a governmental con game. No more, no less.


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