Subway surveillance stupidity

As I write, I’m stuck in a tunnel on the Red Line–a delay that is becoming a weekly occurrence, sometimes more often.

And I read in today’s Globe that the MBTA plans to install surveillance cameras with the aid of federal grants, amounting to more than $6.5 million.

Jeesh! What a waste!

Surveillance cameras won’t get me to work on time–or even let me phone or email my office, doctor’s office, babysitter, or teenager to tell them I’ll be late–again. Nor will they fix the problem of disabled trains or crumbling bridges, which pose an immediate and real-world threat to public safety.

No doubt, the cameras are a gift from homeland surveillance. More likely, it’ll be a “gift that keeps on giving,” as the MBTA in future years will need to spend funds to hire people to operate the spy cameras for years. (These Homeland Security grants remind me of the old MAD magazine riff–“Gifts for people you hate,” showing a down payment on a yacht for some sucker who could never afford to actually buy the boat).

In any event, whatever the MBTA spends on building a total surveillance society is money we should instead invest in fixing our broken public transportation infrastructure.

That’s a public safety investment that makes sense.

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