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There is a push, in many places - largely in response to efforts like Black Lives Matter - to get police to wear body cameras. Most cops, from what I've seen, oppose this, and for obvious reasons. They feel the measure shows a lack of trust in the police, to which the obvious response is...



A dude's wandering around my neighbourhood with a gun, saying he's gonna lock me in a cage if I don't follow the rules, regardless of whether I know those rules or not? I'm not gonna trust that dude. Regardless of the existence of institutional racism or classism, the very concept, in and of itself, is not one that even allows for trust. A lack of trust is baked in. (And no, the fact that there's hundreds of them in matching outfits really doesn't help matters.)

But hey, let me tell you about my job for a bit, okay?

For my day job, I work at a call center. I handle billing questions about people's cellphones. The most harm - the most harm - I could conceivably do to someone is to screw up their phone bill a bit, and they'd have to call back and complain until one of my coworkers fixes it.

When I come to work, I have to pass under at least six security cameras, pass by a human security guard, and swipe my ID badge to open at least three different doors. I'm not allowed to have any digital devices or pen and paper at my desk. I have to sign into my computer with my username and password, and sign into all the various apps I use to work on customers' accounts with other passwords. Every single call I take, not only is the audio recorded, but a full screen capture of everything I'm doing is recorded as well. Literally every operation I could conceivably perform on a customer's account is recorded and tied to me. I work in a veritable panopticon.

And y'know what? I'm betting you do too. Most people do. If someone is paying you to do a thing, they're going to want to watch you do that thing.

Does that mean the call center or its parent company doesn't trust me? Of course they don't. But trust doesn't matter. "Trust" is a bullshit fairy tale word, trust doesn't factor in. It's all security theater. It's paranoid and responsive, like how we all had to start taking our shoes off at the airport after the shoe bomber guy, regardless of the actual plausibility of the threat.

And y'know what else? I get away with some truly egregious shenanigans on a near-daily basis that should probably get me fired if anyone ever notices them. I'm betting you do too.

That's how panopticons work. They're only intimidating for the first few days, until you figure out where all the cameras aren't pointed.

(Monday afternoon, EXT: alleyway)

MH: Y'get told you had a right to remain silent yet?
RA: Uh, he didn't get to tha-
MH: So whadja do, huh, Ross? You guilty?
RA: I didn't do anything! I was just exploring inside this abandoned buil-
MH: Ah, trespassing! Naughty, naughty, Ross. Hope he throws the book at ya.
OO [reaching for the location the phone was in the last panel]: Miss, you are not permitted to record-
MH: I tell ya, Ross, this alley's got lousy acoustics. Lots of background noise. You picked a bad location to get busted in.
MH: Fortunately, this mic's directional, so I don't inadvertently pick up some bystander conversation I don't have permission to record.
[OO reaches for location the phone was in last panel]
MH: Gotta say, though, if I did happen to accidentally record someone without their consent, why, I'd just tell'em hey -as The Man said- if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide, amirite?
MH: I'm right. I'm pretty sure I'm right.
[OO still reaching for location in last panel]
MH: And let's see what the viewers have to say - what say you, viewers?
MH: DarthHumongous says IANAL -you certainly are, Darth- but Max is correct. Thanks, DH!
MH: And JeffSmegs says... well, that's just the cry-laugh emoji, but I've always interpreted that one as affirmative. Thanks, Jeff!