You are under surveillance. Whoever you are, whatever you do, wherever you go, the police state watches. There are cameras not only in banks, but also in every store, every building, in elevators, in hallways, in public parks and on street corners. Does constantly being watched by a stranger make you feel safer?

In recent years, we've been told to accept this form of totalitarian state espionage because of the increasing threat of terrorism and crime. The truth is that violent crime rates have been steadily declining in most major Canadian cities for the last decade and the last terrorist attack on our soil was the Air India bombing, which took place more than two decades ago. Still, people are frightened now more than ever and the media is to blame. They've been steadily pumping fear and paranoia into our lives by over-hyping crime and terror threats. We've been told that everybody is a suspect, so we trust nobody and gladly hand over our civil liberties in the name of security. We let our school and healthcare systems stagnate while we expand our police forces and prisons to unprecedented levels. In London, the city is spending $34 million to expand the police headquarters because the police force has more than doubled its size in the last 30 years, and has been growing even faster since 9/11.

Just go out to Richmond Row on any given night, and I guarantee you that there will be paddy-wagons and police cruisers hovering around like vultures looking for the next chump they can hit with a drinking ticket. But it's not just Richmond Row, it's everywhere, it's in your community. Police are so hard-up for a purpose that they've had to resort to hunting down little kids with markers. If London had a huge crime problem to justify such a massive police expansion, why do they have a dedicated task force to stifle art? Why is one of the London Police Force's most visible initiatives anti-art, or as they call it, “Anti-Graffiti?” What happened to all the terrorists and violent criminals that needed to be brought to justice?

So if little kids with markers are criminal suspects, who else might be? Are political dissidents suspects? Are visible minorities suspects? We already know that students are suspects given the extreme and overaggressive reaction by police officers who used tasers on a student during a party on Fleming Drive. Some students who weren't even involved in this party were also violently attacked by the police because they fit the description of ‘student.'

To add insult to injury, I've been informed that Fanshawe College has kicked some students out of their programs, without refunding their tuition, for alleged actions that did not even take place on school property.

Fanshawe College has adopted the police state model in terms of security lately. In the last year alone, it has built a fence surrounding the entire property and has allowed the security contractors working here to become the first college security guards in the province to obtain the special constable status. This status gives these security guards similar power to that of police officers. Fanshawe also have several hundreds of cameras that record their students' movements. Every hallway, every elevator, many classrooms, the parking lots, the cafeterias, almost everywhere you go on campus is being filmed.

Look around right now, there's probably a camera, go give it the finger. Let the strangers that watch you know you don't like being a character in their Orwellian reality show.

Surveillance advocates exploit tragic events like murders and shootings for their own agenda, convincing people that cameras need to be put up everywhere for our own security. A camera can't stop a bullet; only film it as it leaves the gun. By the time they review the evidence the damage is done. How does that protect anyone? Why should we trust the same people who film everything we do out of distrust? The fact is that when a camera is pointed in your direction, you are a potential suspect. They are filming you because you are a potential criminal.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.