Friday, June 29, 2007

London plot, take II

Today's thwarting of two gas and nail bombs in London is good news, but it reminds us we must be constantly vigilant and not so quick to dismiss CCTV. "They" only have to be right once to cause havoc as we've learned all too well.

I apologize for the relative briefness of my notes the last few days, but have had to attend to other matters ... I hope to write some articles of some substance in the days ahead.

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Anonymous said...

Please explain how trampling civil rights helps in this case?
The fact that Brits live in a police state confirm that the terrorists have won. Fear has replaced ration thinking as Canadians are more accepting of giving the state more control...

BlastFurnace said...

It's a fair question, Jason. Some of the post-9/11 measures in the UK, such as arbitrary detention for 28 days, have gone overboard. But to suggest the British live in fear ... I respectfully disagree. I think the UK overall found the right balance between freedom and security -- that one can't have freedom without security.

And the British certainly have more free speech and freedom of movement than, say, our American friends; even without a charter or bill of rights. They see freedom from a collective point as well as an individualistic one -- and that's something I think Canadians and Americans forget at times.

CCTV is a good example. Much of the network was established when the IRA was running rampant. While intended at terrorists, it has helped fight petty crime too. Yes, there are security cameras just about everywhere but law-abiding people don't seem to mind because they're not the targets -- criminals are.

I don't see the British as a frightened people. After all, their country was bombed relentlessly by both Nazis and terrorists. They haven't flinched, they fight back while shoring up their defences and at the same time ensuring the liberty of the law-abiding.

We don't have to necessarily adopt everything they do, of course, but we should consider their best practices.

Here in Hamilton, for example, we have such cameras in some high target areas for a couple of years now (downtown and the Beach Strip), and they've been exactly the deterrent they've been intended to be; in fact people are starting to move back to those areas that have been neglected for decades. The use of cameras is being considered to be spread to other neighbourhoods and I don't see too many complaining. I for one would prefer a silent guardian over none at all.

But it all goes back to what I and so many others say: Constant vigilance -- the terrorists only have to get it right once, and once in a while they do. They even manage to penetrate London once in a while.