Wiping the beads of sweat from her brow, Beryl Gladstone, a frail widow of 92, finished watering the blush pink standard roses at the bottom of her modest garden. Since her husband Jack had passed on, shortly after their diamond wedding anniversary just a few months before, it was left to Beryl alone to tend to the garden. Gardening seemed to be about the worst thing there was for Beryl in terms of bringing on her arthritic pain. However, she knew well that, without enough water, the roses – Jack’s pride and joy – would surely wither and die in the 90 degree heat. Was it her imagination or were English summers becoming hotter with each passing year? Why, there were even brown patches now appearing in the normally immaculate green lawn.
Beryl was just turning off the hose when she thought she heard the front doorbell ring. A minute later, she was confronted by an angry-looking man in a suit, brandishing some official-looking document.
“Madam, you are in violation of Devon County Council’s hose pipe ban”, said the man, thrusting the paper into her hands.
“It’s a fine”, he added, answering the questioning look on the old woman’s wrinkled face. “You owe £1000. There is a serious water shortage in Devon, yeah?”. As he was driving away in his black Mercedes C class car, he shouted from the window, “Oh, and make sure you pay within 30 days or else the fine doubles.”
Being absent-minded in her advanced years, Beryl failed to pay the fine on time. Not that she had the means to do so, having been swindled out of her and Jack’s life-savings by a man named Elijah Emmanuel from a place called Lagos. This young gentleman had at first seemed so friendly, so generous, so communicative and had apparently lost a very rich relative who was quite senior within the country. Hit with a fine she could not pay, the childless Beryl would ultimately lose her home and be placed in a state-run care home.
What she could not know was that a neighbor, Stanley Armstrong, had witnessed Beryl flouting the hose pipe ban and denounced her anonymously to the authorities. Armstrong was proud of his actions, and believed he was acting in the best interests of ALL in Devon. If there was a hose pipe ban in place, well there must be a damn good reason for it. It just wasn’t right that a senile old witch should waste scarce resources on fucking roses. So fucking selfish, he thought as he dialed the ‘Devon Community Whisteblowing Hotline’. His first attempt at denouncing the witch had been a miserable failure as he had had no evidence. Now, however, he had still photos from his cameras as well as video footage from his Go Pro device.
Beryl’s story is not unique. In many countries today, courageous law-abiding citizens are frequently denouncing their work colleagues, bosses, neighbors and even friends and family for all and any transgressions of the law. We are not talking only about so-called ‘serious’ crimes like murder, fraud/ corruption, or hate speech but literally all types of crimes. This is because the zero-tolerance philosophy has been proven to work time and time again. Left unpunished, a seven year old child who steals an apple from his neighbor’s tree could well become capable of genocide as an adult. We simply do not know. And it is precisely because of our ignorance that we must leave it to the police and government to decide which crimes are more serious than others. Our role as community minded individuals begins and ends when we report the crime.
Whether the crime in question is littering, smoking in places where it is prohibited, speeding, jaywalking, or indeed flouting hose pipe bans, there is a victim somewhere and therefore the crime MUST BE reported.
Since we never know when a crime is about to happen, we should carry a Go Pro camera on our person at all times, continuously recording. Not only will this allow for a successful prosecution (as in the unfortunate case of Beryl), but it will have a deterant effect. A right-wing bigot will think twice of using hate speech in public (e.g. Criticizing same sex marriage) if the video evidence is used against him and he and his wife lose custody of their children.
This approach worked well for Stasi in former East Germany. It can work well in Current Year.