"You Too" and Stuff...

If it's "a penny for your thoughts" but you have to "put your two cents in", someone is making a penny somewhere.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Lock 'em Up !!

O.K, I'm lame. This is how lame I am. Let me begin by first saying that I hate the T.V. show "Cops"....really, really hate it. Perhaps I hate it so much because it's not in real time. You know that it has already made it through editing and someone did their job by inserting bleeps and removing all of the controversial footage.

I work in a secured building which has an ellaborate camera system allowing us to see how things are inside and outside of the facility. The most important camera, meaning the camera that we get the most use out of and the one that would be providing us with a lot of vital information if a crisis were to occur, has a powerful zoom feature. The other day, a few of us were sitting in the main office, and we witnessed something so simple, yet so intriguing. We witnessed a city bus rear-ending a mini-van down the street from our building. We didn't actually see the collision, but we were there for the post-action. You would have thought that we were watching news footage of Kerri Strug's world famous gold medal winning broken ankle landing all over again. My co-workers and I became instantly addicted. We situated the camera so that the outside street was the only thing that could be seen. Then, we tested out the zoom feature. We were able to see the people on the bus!

For the next half-hour while the police arrived on the scene and the bus was evacuated, we were glued to the screen. This was just like "Cops"...no, this was better than "Cops" because the action was taking place in real time right outside of our building. It was a lazy man's rubber-necking. The action was all in front of us and all we had to do was sit there and drink our coffee and make sure that the camera stayed in focus. Thank God there weren't any injuries and the van was able to drive away even though it had a crushed rear end.

The accident certainly wasn't the highlight of the day. We work in a building where we see real life drama and people in situations that we wouldn't wish on our worst enemies. Why were we so fixated on this little fender bender? If it were a group of school kids walking down the street or someone looking for a lost dog, we wouldn't have cared. Was it the police lights? Was it the fact that a bus was involved? Were we watching actually hoping in a sick way that another crisis would happen with the situation like a man would be exiting the bus, walk into the street, and then get hit by another bus? Did it simply break up our afternoon and allow us to kill a little time? I don't really know.

But then, I realized, that perhaps the reason we were so captivated is that we felt like we were a part of the action. Watching the people walk around inspecting the bus and the police officers directing traffic, we were just as good as picnicking in the grass outside. We were there to witness the story as it unfolded. We didn't know what was going to happen next. Who knows if the next big story on CNN is going to come out of Springfield, IL when we find out that the bus is really a UFO carrying lots of little green men? To think that we could actually say that we were there...how fascinated everyone around the water cooler would be.

A couple of days ago I became excited as I came across a web site which hosts a web cam allowing visitors to watch criminals being booked into a Tennessee jail. Not that I'm ever entertained by violence, but you can watch "the bad guys" challenge officers and punch walls and get cuffed. It's great stuff...and I don't know why. All that I know is that I can't get enough of the live footage that is being captured in the Anderson County Detention Facility. It's sooo good! The site comes with this warning: "Instances of violence or sexually inappropriate behavior by detainees during the booking process may occur. Viewer discretion is advised. This is a jail, not a simulation."

In the last 20 minutes alone, I have already seen one guy get cuffed to the desk, another get fingerprinted, and yet another given his uniform and a mat to sleep on. I'm sad, it's sad...we get along fine. Check it out for yourself. Hopefully you'll get to see something more than just a lady sitting at a desk. Hang in there, don't hum the "Cops" theme song yet...this is real life in real time, baby. Welcome to the pokey.


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