Thursday, January 31, 2008

Risky Business for Future Enterprisers

The Northwest Arkansas Times editorial today is effusive in its praise of a Fayetteville student council plan to spend $18,000 and buy six spy cameras in an effort to "create a deterrent to, or a documentation of, vandalism, vehicle break-ins and the like. It’s an impressive goal for a student council," they write. "You’ve shown us a brand of leadership adults would do well to emulate more often."

Perhaps, but it also makes me wonder if the editors of the
Northwest Arkansas Times might have a side business that sells spy cameras to school districts, like former editor George Smith and the Chamber of Cowbirds peddled the light bulb scam without disclosing their financial interests and profit skimming. Spending $18,000 on surveillance equipment must raise other questions. If such security measures are necessary, why hasn't the school board taken action? Does such a plan really require six cameras that cost $3,000 each?

If the newspaper editors wish to praise the student council and inculcate the security state as a splendid model to be embraced without question, that is their right. Beyond the philosophical questions, someone should also question the cost of such a scheme to prevent these future leaders from getting in the habit of wasting money on public projects. Even the
Public Peeping Toms in Lowell can spy on their entire city with a single Panasonic WV-NS 202 camera that cost only $1,500.

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