In NYC, there is a lot of discussion of the NYPD policy of “stop and frisk.” They tend to stop young men of color, and have done so at an annual rate that equals the entire young African-American and Latino population of the city. For this, they have netted a few arrests, and the smoldering animosity of an entire generation of young men. Seems rather inefficient, don’t it?
I would like to advance a modest proposal, in the spirit of Mr. Swift, that will be familiar to all aficionados of sci-fi stories and films, and that would make this approach to crime fighting very productive:
Simply provide every citizen with an identify card that contains a computer chip with a GPS and encoded ID info. Police can scan people without stopping them, and interrogate them if they are without their papers. Other countries do this (minus the technology.) Also, the movements of every citizen could be tracked and interrogated by the police, and compared with real-time data on crimes. “Sir, you were at that drug store at 11:32 p.m. when a robbery occurred. Please come with us...” (Oh, yeah, you’re not white either…)
Just to keep it all on the up-and-up, there’s no reason for this data to be secret. The social network Big Brothers of the world might be persuaded to cooperate in this brave new adventure in positive social engineering by posting all the movement data on every citizen. We would have the same data as the cops, and could keep tabs on everyone! Think of the adulterous affairs that would be nipped in the bud – a boon for family life! Drug use among teenagers would probably take a hit from vigilant parents. Facebook and Google would find ways to make billions of dollars off ad revenue for lawyers, counselors, drug programs, and the like that would be tightly focused. Imagine! You are arrested, and lawyers are waiting for you at the station, eager to represent you! Surely, a positive development for civil rights.
Maybe some day we can go the next step of implanting the chips in newborns. All under the beneficent gaze of the supervising corporate entities, keeping us entertained with spectacles, as in Rollerball. Sometimes, these days, I feel we’re almost there.