Surveillance systems in schools are a $3 billion dollar industry. Several security companies now offer their services in several states. Basically they monitor, mainly via a number of algorithms, students’ emails not only those written at school but also those written from home. Google searches are also monitored. Although the official word is monitor, the word track seems more apt. The algorithms look for certain key phrases which could, they say, alert them to danger. The rationale for all this, which began after the Sandy Hook massacre, is to save lives. The companies can share dramatic examples of how suicidal thoughts were uncovered, or an instance of when within minutes after 2 boys were overheard going to the bathroom to smoke spot in secret, they were stopped. Since there are no gun control laws, schools feel the need to engage in whatever they can to protect their students. Many schools now have police officers on their campus, sometimes with dire results. And while the algorithms alert people, the possibility for taking phrases out of context exists and is a real drawback.
Surveillance is now a fact of life, and it is
time we define where and how it is appropriate and demand the implementation of
those limits. While some parents have welcomed the monitoring of their
children’s emails and have asked for the results, there is something very scary
about monitoring the emails of minors who have no say so and do it because we
as a society are not able to pass gun control legislation.
Beginning next year in California, gun shops will be required to keep logs of ammunition sales. Gun rights groups have long fought laws on ammunition saying it is a way around the second amendment. But as Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan reminded some 25 years ago, “guns don’t kill people, bullets do.” California already has more anti-gun laws than most states and now it is going after ammunition. For people like me who do believe guns need to be restricted in order to save lives and life altering injuries, such laws are welcomed. But what is even more welcome is the Continue reading “Guns, Ammo and 3D”
Yes the Constitution has a second amendment which addresses the issue of gun ownership. But not until the Heller decision in 2008 did individual gun ownership come to the fore. This now famous landmark case, whose decision was written by Antonin Scalia, ended up a demarcation for Continue reading “Gun Control and the Heller Decision”
“When will they ever learn?” This was written by Pete Seeger as the refrain and last line of the anti-war song popular during the Viet Nam War “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” And now it seems to apply to guns and mass-shootings. A Washington Post blog cites the San Bernardino shooting on December 2, 2015 as the 355th for the year. Of course just a few days before there was one in Colorado. Not all mass shooting grab the headlines, and depending on how they are counted—whether it is 4 of less casualties—the reports may differ, still even a fraction Continue reading ““When Will They Ever Learn?””