xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Why does a bad idea like the spy plane keep buzzing around?

Victory Swift, mother of Victorious Swift, a student murdered in 2017, speaks out in favor of aerial surveillance as a tool to fight deadly violence. Behind her is community leader Marvin "Doc" Cheatham, left, and Cynthia Bruce, of MOMS, who lost her son in 2016. The press conference was organized by mayoral candidate Thiru Vignarajah to call for action on aerial surveillance to help fight crime. Vignarajah proposes limiting police use of the program for murder, shooting and carjacking investigations, with the requirement that police obtain a warrant. Oct. 14, 2019
Victory Swift, mother of Victorious Swift, a student murdered in 2017, speaks out in favor of aerial surveillance as a tool to fight deadly violence. Behind her is community leader Marvin "Doc" Cheatham, left, and Cynthia Bruce, of MOMS, who lost her son in 2016. The press conference was organized by mayoral candidate Thiru Vignarajah to call for action on aerial surveillance to help fight crime. Vignarajah proposes limiting police use of the program for murder, shooting and carjacking investigations, with the requirement that police obtain a warrant. Oct. 14, 2019 (Amy Davis)

The latest installment of the Baltimore spy plane saga as reported by Kevin Rector raises numerous questions. The overarching mystery is why an experiment in the domestication of military surveillance that began in controversy three years ago and continues to be sharply divisive today has found such ardent proponents among certain segments of the city’s leadership, notably members of the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Abell Foundation (“Aerial surveillance is not the answer to Baltimore’s crime problem,” Oct. 14).

What would lead the Abell Foundation to pay $40,000 for a public opinion poll aimed at boosting this project when both the police commissioner and the city council president have expressed views that range from indifference to deep skepticism? What, precisely, is the justification for directing $6.5 million in philanthropic funding to a three-year “free trial” of a technology nobody outside of a small set of boosters seems to want? The whole thing smells so strongly of inside baseball that it’s hard not to want to go digging after a conspiracy.

Advertisement

The fact of the matter is that the public doesn’t need to know the sordid details of the machinations keeping this boondoggle on life support to make up its mind about how the city should proceed. Whether now or three years from now, we cannot afford to gamble our city’s precious resources on this unproven technology. What’s more, the very notion that more policing in any form is going to solve the city’s violence problem is a theory that’s been debunked by decades of lost “wars on crime.”

The spy plane is a bad idea. We don’t need to know why anyone would say differently to know they’re wrong.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Jake Carlo, Baltimore

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement