Big British Brother

What is it about the British lawmakers that they are so stupid when it comes to security? They already have more CCTV cameras in public areas than anywhere else in the world, and in the last few weeks, I’ve read all kinds of stories about how London Police have put up posters asking people to report those who:

It’s now illegal to take photographs of British police officers. The London bobbies are probably the most photographed policemen in the world, and now taking pictures of them is a crime. (Note to self: tell Gail and the boys this before we go to London this summer.) I fail to see how photographs of police officers would be of any use to a terrorist. I don’t know if this includes the Queen’s guards at Buckingham Palace, but that might be a good thing to know.

Reporting people who take pictures of policemen or CCTV cameras is just silly, but asking people to report “suspicious people” is particularly disturbing. Like it or not, there are an awful lot of people who are particularly suspicious of Arabs or people who “look Muslim”. Say I put my suitcase under my chair in the waiting area of an airport and then walk to the bathroom, leaving the suitcase under the chair. This is a stupid thing to do, but it likely wouldn’t cause much concern. If an Arab man were to do it, there would be people screaming “bomb!” all over the place. Arabs (and other visible minorities) already have to deal with enough racism (blatant or otherwise) in their everyday lives, and these posters are just going to make things worse, while doing exactly nothing to prevent actual terrorist attacks. (Though the posters don’t specifically say “be suspicious of Arabs”, you know that many people will interpret them that way.) If I were of Arab or middle eastern descent and living in London, I’d be seriously considering moving somewhere more friendly to visible minorities. Like rural Texas.

And all the while, the UK government thinks they’re doing their citizens a favour. This is nuts.


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