How many shades should honesty have? Now there's a question to ponder. I'm sure very little has changed throughout the ages, however the steady blasts of news we are bombarded with today, will leave you believing that there are about twenty shades of grey between black and white facts regarding honesty.
Headlines in the newspaper and TV newscasts prompted me to discuss this important issue this week. The first was related to Marcus Vick, who was permanently kicked off the Virginia Tech Football team after his junior year of play. Now here is an extremely talented athlete who had a very bright and lucrative future ahead as a pro football player. However his talent and work ethic on the football field, was not transformed into moral values and honesty in his character. In addition to the many legal and school infractions that led to a prior suspension from the team, the straw that broke the camels back occurred in the Gator Bowl which was recently played against Louisville. During the Gator Bowl, Vick was shown on videotape stomping on the left calf of Louisville All-American defensive end Elvis Dumervil after a tackle. This incident was played over and over on every sports report on TV. It couldn't be clearer from any observer's view, that this was an act of aggression that has no place in any competition. Yet Vick insisted that it was an accident. Then to add insult to injury, Vick claimed that he apologized to Dumervil for his conduct. Dumervil said he received no such apology.
These lying incidents go on every day of the year in all walks of life, all over the world. We are bombarded with these blatant lies, 24/7 on TV, and it makes you wonder where our morals and values are headed as a human race. Just in the United States in 2005, we have witnessed the lies of CEO's who robbed their shareholders and bankrupted their companies, as they claim they had no idea of doing anything wrong. We have watched high ranking elected officials like Tom Delay, who left trails of evidence regarding his wrong-doing, say he did nothing wrong. We watch this epidemic of dishonesty as it occurs in our government, school system, medical system, work environment, banking system, legal system and worst of all in organized religion. There just seems no place to hide from immoral and dishonest behavior.
When you add the terrorist threats to all of this dishonest behavior, what we may all get in the end is the removal of the civil liberties and privacy that made this country a great place to live. I am witnessing right before my eyes, small changes that will prepare us for the inevitable oversight of government that will become a way of life in the future. Advances in video technology and cheap digital storage space, may eventually have video cameras watching our every move. We will end up accepting this video surveillance "IN ORDER TO DETER AND CORRECT ERRORS IN JUDGMENT AND KEEP US SAFE."
On the subject of correcting errors in judgment, we all seem to think that "INSTANT REPLAY" in college and pro football has a place in the game, to correct an error in judgment by an umpire or referee. This sounds logical and innocent enough to accept without any fight. It also seems quite positive. However, at this very moment thousands of cameras are being installed on U.S. city streets and highways all over the country. Retail stores, office buildings, malls, parks, hotels, casinos, restaurants and most other PUBLIC places, already have surveillance cameras watching everyone, in the name of security. I believe they will soon be used to deter and correct our errors in judgment or lapses in memory when it comes to being honest. Speed on a highway or run a red light and you will simply get your summons in the mail. No police were necessary since you were caught red-handed on camera. Is this the type of deterrent we all need, in order to be honest, law-abiding and truthful?
Last year during the London Subway Bombing, I was amazed at the number of cameras on the streets of London. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, "there are at least 500,000 cameras in the city, and one study showed that in a single day a person could expect to be filmed 300 times." Known as CCTV (standing for Closed Circuit TV), one study claims there are 7 million of these security cameras in the United Kingdom. Keep in mind that Michigan is larger in square miles than the entire United Kingdom and you will get an idea of how many cameras may be deployed in the United States over the next decade "to keep us safe."
It would be sad for our children and future generations of American citizens, if we had to deploy a few hundred million cameras, watching our every move, in order to keep us HONEST and SAFE. Life will be very different and closer to George Orwell's life descriptions in his book titled 1984. If the alternative is practicing, teaching and demanding honesty and heightened vigilance for safety, we should all try to do so before it is too late.