Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Big Brother Will Keep You Safe...

Or, you know, not.

Witness: Mom grazed by bullet didn’t know what hit her
A Dorchester mother who was grazed by a bullet in the head Saturday night as she walked her teenage son and nephew home from the movies didn’t appear to realize at first how narrowly she cheated death, a witness who knows the 44-year-old woman told the Herald yesterday.
The witness, who gave his name only as Isaac, said he and his wife had just returned home from dinner and were “just coming out to go to the store to get some soda” shortly after 8:30 p.m.
The woman in question is recovering and appears to have suffered no lasting wounds. It appears to have merely grazed the side of her head and did not penetrate, so the story has a happy ending (well, as happy an ending a story about someone getting shot in the head can have). She ought to go out and buy a lottery ticket once she recovers, though.

What got me was this part:
The woman was walking home when she was hit next to a city ShotSpotter device — used by Boston police to zero in on shooting incidents — mounted on a telephone poll at Norton and Stonehurst streets.
Yet the police were on the scene after she had already started receiving treatment from people already there, and no arrests were made. In other words, the "ShotSpotter" device was completely and utterly useless. It alerted the police that someone in that area had been shot - you know, like the dozens of 911 calls made once the woman got hit. The system costs about a quarter of a million dollars - see this article for the figure - and the makers of the system tout it as a way to get police on scene faster.

Now, here's the thing. This is a system that has been in place going on seven years. Since one of the devices was placed  right where this woman was sitting, it stands to reason that this is one of the areas in which gun shots were common enough to warrant dropping $250K on one of these devices. Since these devices are supposed to assist police officers in getting to the scene of a shooting faster, there is obviously a direct link from the SpotShotter to the local PD. Even with all that in place, the police didn't show up in time to catch the person responsible.

Gun control, as Uncle Says, is what you do instead of something...

That is all.


Rifleman762 said...

I've been inside the 911 call center in Boston and seen a demonstration of the Shotspotter system. There are some clear benefits:

- increased response time. Shotspotter means that responders are on their way even before bystanders call 911. This has translated to..

- increased likelihood of survival for gunshot victims, because they faster response time means victims get treated more quickly.

- better information for responders. Shotspotter lets responders know how many shots were fired, where and when. 911 calls are most often panicked and unreliable information.

The drawbacks for Shotspotter, though, are also clear. False positives happen frequently. The system is costly. Shotspotter, in principle, is unquestionably an extension of the surveillance state.

Having seen Shotspotter in use, I can say that it is a useful tool. I certainly can't say that it's a necessary tool, or that it makes enough of an impact to outweigh the surveillance creep into our everyday lives.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me the Shotspotter System is a valuable early warning device.

Not because it automatically alerts the po-po to someone shooting a gun, but because any place there's a Shotspotter sensor is someplace one should avoid. There's a reason they put a sensor at Third and Maple; stay the Hell away from there.