Wednesday, April 27, 2011

852 Forty Four If By Land, None If By Sea

853 Forty Four If By Land, None If By Sea

What’s in the water around the Great Neck peninsula? Just the other week, the nannies in the second-northernmost of the nine villages banned smoking on the street. Now, one village to the north, paranoia fans, an equally chilling development, and wow would this have been nice to put into the Spy-Pad/Orwell posting of earlier this month. But the news broke too late.

We’re talking about the Village of Kings Point, one of the ritziest on the planet, once home to the mansions of robber barons, now home to the mansionettes of garment district, insurance and Wall Street barons.

The village is in the process of placing cameras at the village’s 44 entry points. Not a big deal in the age of spy cams, security cams, traffic cams and such. But this one has a new wrinkle. The cams aren’t just there to make sure they have video of the latest deli heist artist (Heavens! Do they have delis in Kings Point? Yes.)

These are license cams designed to photograph every plate that comes crosses the border. Even this isn’t extreme in today’s climate. But here comes the new twist: every plate recorded is going to be sent to a national data base and checked for warrants, fugitive status and all kinds of other stuff. Great way for the cops to keep an eye out, right? Keep riffraff out of the place or at least tail it.

In 2001, the US Supreme Court ruled in an odd case, and the decision was and is the object of cop scorn. It declared you can’t use infrared scanning of building interiors from ground or air to see if hanky panky lurks, unless you have a warrant?

How is today’s news any different? What’s next, stop and frisk? A license plate may be “in public view.” But the data collected by law enforcement is not, unless there’s probable cause to suspect criminal activity.

“Pull over, Granny, you fugitive! We’re not fooled by that matronly exterior of yours. We know there’s a bench warrant on file for you for running a stop sign in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 2004!”

If you want to pull a heist, burglarize a mansionette, commit a murder in Kings Point, you’d better come in by boat. The village has water on three sides.

And if you’re fleeing from the smoking police one village to the south, you’d better flee on bicycle or on foot.


--Comment from a reader on Wessay™ #852, “Radio Dies Again”: “you're saying terrestrial radio is really nothing more than Conelrad!” Response to this response: No, Conelrad had better announcers and no commercials.” (Conelrad was set up to warn us of an enemy attack, and stands for Control of Electromagnetic Radiation.)

--A new self-published E Book, another yarn about traveling around the country, has taken a page (excuse that one, please!) from the movie and television industries. Commercials in every chapter, and plenty of paid for “product placement.” Your book will continue “after these messages.”

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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