Monumental Security

bob schieffer CBS

here is a question: What do the Lincoln Memorial and liquor stores have in common? And the answer is video surveillance cameras.

Or at least they'll share that distinction come October when the Park Service will begin around-the-clock video surveillance of all our national monuments -- the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, the Washington Monument, even the wall that honors those who died in Vietnam.

The icons of our freedom have become such likely targets for terrorists that, once again, in order to protect them, the government is telling us we must surrender another part of our freedoms, the right to be left alone and unobserved.

I reluctantly tend to agree that this is probably necessary, the prudent thing to do. But it worries me. What is the next place that cameras will be necessary? And what if somebody in the government just decides they don't like my looks? Can they put a special watch on me? Whose call will that be? We need some rules here.

But mostly it just infuriates me that the same terrorists who have forced us to turn so many things we once took for granted -- air travel, for example --into exercises in torture, have found yet another way to limit our freedom.

There are many reasons to press the war on terrorists. But when they have forced us to turn America into a place that is on camera all the time, when we can't even stroll through our nation's monuments without the uneasy feeling that somebody someplace is watching us, that's as good a reason as any.


  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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