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God and Santa Stalk Me
by Michael Giardina

Stop staring at me. Stop photographing me. Stop videotaping me. Stop watching me drive down the freeway from your computer. Stop recording my calls. Leave me alone. I don't exist.

Yesterday evening, I drove through an intersection and a bright camera flash distracted me. Anxious and angry, I feared some mechanized, pseudo street-cop mailing me a $370 ticket for an alleged red-light violation.

The driver in front, who I assume was also shocked by the bright flash, screeched to an abrupt stop and we nearly collided. These cameras encourage people to stop when it's not safe to do so. Not sure if you can make it past the yellow light? Screw objectivity. Nobody is going to chance it with that huge, looming fine. Thanks for keeping us safe, city officials.

Sleep tight, America. Big Brother loves you.

I'm sick of having motion sensors and video cameras above every street and attached to every streetlamp. Hell, I bet there's even a pinhole camera embedded in that teddy bear the police officer gave your baby cousin.

And what moron invented those dorky, spiffed-up parking enforcement "spaceships" that sport huge license-plate-scanning digital cameras to gauge the duration of your parking presence? Can this person's job become any more unnecessary? Soon he will be paid to just ensure a brick sits on the gas pedal. Cameras will ensure he doesn't look away from the brick.

When does this "supervision" become invasion? Put your foot down on the spying game, or years from now, the location of every cell phone will be tracked by satellite. Starbucks will buy the data to identify the heavily trafficked streets that still need a Starbucks across the street from a Starbucks.

"Big Brother seemed to tower up, an invincible, fearless protector, standing like a rock against the hordes of Asia ... seemed like some sinister enchanter, capable by the mere power of his voice of wrecking the structure of civilization," writes George Orwell in his famous novel, 1984.

And how does that translate to modern day? Well, I can't say George Bush has wrecked the structure of civilization with the power of his voice, but I think it's fair to say he's wrecked the structure of grammar. Baby steps.

If we find ourselves edging closer to the militaristic and oppressive world of Big Brother, doesn't that come with an opportunity to run the other direction? No. In a Wall Street Journal editorial titled "Big Brother's Camera," Burt Aaronson, Florida's Palm Beach County Commissioner, was quoted saying, "If Big Brother saves lives, then I'm happy to be Big Brother."

Well, isn't that dandy, Mr. Aaronson? If I could assure you that banning sex will reduce the amount of sexually transmitted disease-related deaths, would you gladly ban intercourse? That's fine. We can use test tubes to ensure a safe, brave ... new ... world.

Once again, I'm wondering why everyone considers saving lives or ensuring safety a valiant pursuit in this life, especially when we're forced to live under surveillance. Solution: offer freedom, reduce overpopulation (two birds, one stone).

Look; parents keep track of babies with radio transmitters, Big Brother records our telephone conversations. Parents make sure you don't leave their sight, Big Brother records our whereabouts. We are merely the litter of an older age group. We are unable to care for ourselves and make responsible choices. They're right. We are a bunch of big babies, willing to give up our civil liberties for the illusion of safety from the illusion of evil, all the while sucking happily at Big Brother's udder.