In the aftermath of the tragic bombings in Boston, a friend of mine and I were discussing how long we thought that it would take authorities to capture whoever was responsible for these horrible deeds. My friend mentioned that we had gotten lucky in the case of Timothy McVeigh,the perpetrator of the Oklahoma City bombings.
Tim made some pretty dumb mistakes for a man who had just committed one of the worst crimes of terror on U.S. soil, i.e. driving with an expired tag, not having vehicle registration or proof of insurance, and then admitting to carrying a concealed weapon when the arresting officer noticed a bulge under his jacket License Tag Snag.
I was thinking about this while talking to my friend and couldn’t help but wonder how many more innocent people would be murdered or injured before the perpetrators were finally caught. Then very quickly, after much conspiracy theorizing and finger pointing by commentators and the general public, enter Big Brother.
When the police and the FBI started reviewing footage of the various security cameras in use at the scene, they very quickly identified the images of the primary suspects. From there, as we all know, the call was put out to the public via national and social media to help identify the suspects. The call also went out to citizens who had been at the scene to review their smartphone camera footage
and to anyone who might know who the suspects were.
I firmly believe that the Tsarnaev brothers would not have been apprehended this quickly if it wasn’t for the surveillance cameras in place at the scene and the mobile smartphones used by the people attending the Boston Marathon. There wasn’t much video surveillance equipment in existence if any, in Oklahoma City when those bombings happened and Smart phones and phones were still years away.
Now days there are surveillance cameras everywhere and it seems like every incident that transpires in the world is being recorded on smart phones, for better or worse. While issues still remain concerning invasion of privacy and civil rights infringement, in this case technology was used by the authorities and the citizenry for a purpose that was good and in this instance I have to score one for Big Brother.
The book “1984” by George Orwell describes a police state where the police watched the general public for political infractions rather than protect them from criminal activities. Boston showed us something quite different. Video surveillance equipment and smartphone cameras helped us quickly apprehend the suspects and get them off the street before they did any more harm. It was later was reported that the brothers had a large cache of weapons and were planning more bombings.
Finally, while the nation watched events unfold on national TV the night that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was apprehended and judging by the applause that the law enforcement teams received once the ordeal was over, it would be hard to fathom that our country was turning into a police state where the police oppressed the populace. So in this instance I say, hooray for Big Brother!