Cops and Body Cameras

Being in IT, I am a huge supporter of awesome gadgets.  Gadgets are crazy fun, some gadgets do cool things like make toast or they do really important things like save lives.

Unfortunately, from what I see in the news, I am noticing a twisted behavior surfacing when it comes to gadgets that record human speech and/or physical activity.

Here is one example:

A person in a high profile position is having a private conversation that, unbeknownst to them, is being recorded.  Nothing illegal is said during the conversation but the topic of the conversation is politically incorrect.  The conversation is made public and the person who was unknowingly recorded is then publicly humiliated and as a result the person suffers financial hardship.

Here is another example:

A woman in a high profile position is secretly recorded when she is alone in a private setting (she is doing nothing illegal).  The recording is made public, the woman endures public humiliation not only because a freak recorded her but because several people chose to actually watch the video that was made public.

Based on the examples above, the message conveyed is one must remain politically correct at all times and never do anything private like go to the bathroom in a bathroom or the person will be humiliated and/or destroyed publicly and financially.  I find it extremely odd that strangers believe it is their duty to judge others based on their private (legal) conversations and private (legal) activities.  If this message becomes the standard then all people will at some point be publicly humiliated and/or suffer financial hardship because of their (legal) words and (legal) actions.  There are no humans in existence that can maintain political correctness at all times from birth to death (just look at how some seemingly normal people behave and speak when they are behind the wheel of a car or are waiting for more than 2 seconds in line at the grocery store, yikes!).

The examples above are on my mind when I think of body cameras on cops.  I worry that this trend of body cameras will slowly, over time, decrease the number of good men and women willing to dedicate their careers to justice because these men and women are not willing to endure the horrific public humiliations or financial hardships that will ensue if they ever accidentally forget to turn off the camera while they are in the bathroom or when they find themselves in a politically incorrect conversation with someone.  Some people in our society seem to feed on humiliating others and it is a seriously poor reflection of humans in general.

On the other hand, the body cameras are priceless in times of injustice when illegal behavior is taking place.  But how can we guarantee that the private (legal) moments remain private? From what I’ve seen on the news and from behavior I have seen from some people in the general public, I don’t believe privacy can be guaranteed.

There are so many jobs where people have ample opportunity to harm others unjustifiably without any witnesses (food industry, nursing homes, hospitals, swimming instructors, summer camp, tourism industry, a bus driver could harm a lone passenger, or what about an appliance store – such an innocent place but sure – something could happen, the list goes on and on – unfortunately we may be harmed anywhere at any time), does this mean everyone is going to wear a body camera?  I hope not, our planet will then become one huge reality show and reality shows really creep me out; I can’t watch them, but the shows seem to draw an eerily high number of dedicated viewers.

I don’t know what the answer is when it comes to dealing with people who do bad things, there seem to be a lot of them these days, it’s depressing to think about.

Eyes tired? Have your computer read documents to you!

In IT I often have to read copious amounts of crazy boring PDF documents regarding servers or applications I support.  Some of these PDF documents are in excess of 300 pages.  In order to save my sanity and my eyesight, I often take advantage of the “Read out loud” feature in Adobe Acrobat Pro.  This feature allows me to absorb the content of the PDF through audio while I perform other tasks.  Follow these steps to give your eyes a break today:

  1. open a PDF in Adobe Acrobat Pro
  2. select View
  3. select Read out loud
  4. select Activate Read out loud
  5. select View
  6. select Read out loud
  7. select Read to End of Document (Adobe will begin reading the document to you)

If you do not have access to a tool like Adobe Acrobat Pro, their are other options available.  Other tools are called screen readers, some are available for download for free.  Please note: if you download a screen reader for free, please consider donating funds to the organization supporting the screen reader because screen reader technology is imperative to visually impaired computer users. The development and support of screen readers must continue, they provide an extremely valuable service to users.

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