Security, surveillance and a mistake

-A A +A
By Jay Miller

Last week, I wrote about the signers of the Declaration of Independence. In the column, I mentioned that the signing took place on July 4, 1776.
I should have said the Continental Congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 4. It was signed only by John Hancock, the president of the Continental Congress, and Charles Thompson, the secretary on July 4.
Congress also voted on the 4th to have the Declaration embossed on parchment. The embossed copy was signed by 50 members on Aug. 2.
This mistake was pointed out to me by the respected Librarian Emerita of the Alamogordo Public Library, June Harwell. I apologize for the mistake. I knew better because Harwell had contacted me about the same mistake before. I had no reason to slip up again.
To all my readers, please take the time to point out my mistakes, or to disagree with my opinions. For 25 years, I listed my contact information at the end of my columns. At the urging of family members, I discontinued the practice about a year ago for security reasons.
Actually, I never received anything I would call a threat during all those years. While covering the tumultuous effort to dig up Billy the Kid and his mother 10 years ago, I received an odd phone call from someone who was completely unfamiliar.
I shared the story with a fellow writer who allowed as how I wasn’t smart enough to know a threat when it hit me in the face, All I can say is that I went on to compile all my columns on the subject of the Kid and I’m still around to talk about it. The book is called “Billy the Kid rides again.” By the way, that saga continues.
I think we are overly concerned about security. If security screening at an airport ever were to catch a single terrorist, we would hear about it ad infinitum. Some say airport security makes them feel safer. It just makes me feel irritated that I had to get to the airport two hours early to stand in line.
Gov. Susana Martinez is overly security conscious. She promised a transparent government, unlike that of former Gov. Bill Richardson. But she rejects records requests, often because it would compromise security.
Except for major public events, she does not like people to know where she is going. Gov. Richardson sent out a list of everything on his calendar at the beginning of every week.
Gov. Martinez doesn’t want people to know where she is going. She has even rejected requests for the whereabouts of her large security force because that could compromise her security.
Now the first gentleman even gets security. Yes, that happens at the national level and probably in some states. Bill Richardson had a large security force because he liked to travel with an entourage.
But in New Mexico, large security forces are more of an exception. We talked in the last column about former Gov. Dave Cargo’s security force of one.
Surveillance is a related issue. Many are incensed at the number of surveillance cameras that seem to be everywhere. I say the more the better. They do catch crooks. And I don’t care if they are always looking at me because I don’t plan to do anything wrong — or even embarrassing.
Drones are another related issue these days. They are like mobile surveillance cameras. They started out small, looking like model airplanes. Then without much notice, they morphed into something that looks more like a supersonic jet fighter that fires bullets and drops bombs.
It doesn’t bother me that they track down terrorists in other countries and snuff them out. I feel safer.
Jay Miller can be contacted at 3 La Tusa, Santa Fe, N.M. Phone: 982-2723. Fax: 984-0982. Email: insidethecapitol@hotmail.com. I’m hiding this column from my family.