My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

2 Articles from August 2014

  1. On police cameras, Ferguson, and justice

    Chatter about police wearing cameras while on duty has been picking up over the past year. The recent shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson has only amplified such calls. Really, as more and more ordinary citizens undertake lifelogging seriously, police wearing cameras will be inevitable. For an example from some recent and near-future fiction, look no further than Halting State, by Charles Stross. But it’s a mistake to think that police wearing cameras is a magic bullet that will prevent further tragedies like Ferguson.

    In theory, police cameras are supposed to make officers more accountable. Cameras tantalize us with the promise of a mythical objectivity of evidence untainted by the unreliability of eyewitness accounts. They would dispel any ambiguity over what, precisely, happened when Darren Wilson confronted Michael Brown. At the moment, all we can do is try to piece things together from the autopsy reports. (Hint: Wilson shot Brown, who didn’t have a gun, at least six times. In what crazy universe does that seem justified?) Ah, but if Wilson had been wearing a camera, then the story would be different. Supposedly we would know (and therefore, our fallacious logic follows, understand) what happened between…

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  2. Home via Halifax

    I’m home. I’m sitting in my bedroom, in my slightly-too-short-for-this-desk rolling chair, a cup of tea in my big blue Eeyore mug to my right, and my fabulous bookshelves to my left.

    Oh, and my room is a mess. My suitcases lie on the floor in front of the bookshelves and TV, bulging and gravid with my life in England. I haven’t even attempted to unpack yet. I need to tidy the room first, for it has become mired in the accumulated kipple of two years’ near-continuous absence. Snuggled between the cases and the shelf are books I didn’t succeed in getting rid of before leaving. More books that I haven’t read yet are strewn around my room: on my desk, atop my dresser, in envelopes and boxes and bubble-wrapped packages. I have a lot of work to do, and a lot of organization.

    So I’m blogging instead.

    My flight across the Atlantic was uneventful. It was my first transatlantic flight with Air Canada, and they were surprisingly punctual. I was a bit bored; fortunately, because I was flying to Halifax, the flight was only six and a half hours instead of the eight and a half it takes to…

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