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Editorial: Big Brother watching our every move

Yes, Big Brother is watching us. Almost every move we make.

I’m talking about cameras, and our reliance on them may be going a bit too far.

Those of us who like to watch sports have known this for several years. With video replays, decisions of umpires and referees is questioned at every game. And those interruptions for video reviews take time. Don’t they know we have other channels we can watch that don’t show a couple of people with headsets waiting for a decision? We want non-stop action. And by the time these replay review officials make their decisions, we have already made ours, based on team loyalty and the 12 times we’ve seen the play broadcast from every angle possible.

And with the case of a baseball game on Sunday, a player obviously slid towards home plate and was tagged out. He never touched home plate as he should have, and you could see that from at least five camera angles. But the video replay crew would not change the call.

Why have video replay if you’re not going to use it properly? After that, players, coaches and fans are questioning whether it is even necessary as it slows down an already slow game. Umpires get calls wrong. I miss the days when Bobby Cox would get thrown out of a game while arguing a call in the face of an umpire on the field. It’s just not the same when you’re arguing with a headset that relays information from some unknown person(s) in New York.

Referees and umpires make mistakes. We need to make sure they’re not biased, but it may be time to rethink our reliance on those video replays to decide an outcome. Let the umpires make their mistakes. And let the managers and players argue. It’s part of the game.

But it’s not just sports.

Cameras are everywhere.

Davie Sheriff JD Hartman knows this. He tells his officers to expect their every move and comment to be recorded. You may not see them, but someone could be recording your every move. That goes for the rest of us, as well. Start an argument anywhere, and someone — probably someone you’ve never met — will whip out their cellphone and begin recording.

There are cameras at intersections, checking vehicles to make sure they are stopping at red lights. If they don’t, they get a ticket in the mail. It reminds me of a joke by comedian Byron Allen, who said he got a speeding ticket in the mail in Los Angeles, complete with a photo of him in his car speeding down a road. Since he got the ticket with video evidence, he said he paid the ticket off by sending in a photo of his check.

Yes, if you’re in a city, expect that your every move is being recorded. There are police and government cameras everywhere. Businesses have them inside and outside their stores. And for some reason, just about everywhere, someone is making a recording on their cellphone.

Even Mocksville approved the police department setting up cameras at strategic locations throughout town, usually at stoplights. A former chief said it wasn’t so the department could write more tickets, but to have evidence of what vehicles are going in and out of a location in case a crime occurs. That makes sense, but we’re spending a lot of money and resources just to make recordings of ourselves going about our everyday business. Are they really making us safer?

Nowadays, people are talking about drones. They can be great for deliveries and such, they say. Drones come with cameras. So if you see a drone flying above your property, chances are there’s a camera attached. And chances are, there’s someone on the other end looking at those images. Unless you can prove the drone operator is up to no good, there’s little you can legally do. I’m not against drones for legitimate purposes, but individuals shouldn’t be allowed to fly drones over other people’s property.

It all makes a fellow want to move to a remote mountain somewhere in the wilderness. Just don’t take your cellphone. It will link with a satellite to tell someone your exact location.

So much for getting away from it all.

Thanks for nothing, Big Brother.

Mike Barnhardt is editor of the Davie County Enterprise Record.

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