Self-defense in a surveillance society

I’ve pointed out on several occasions that the present justice system, in many parts of our country, is biased against those who seek to legally and legitimately defend themselves.  Some activist and extremist District Attorneys and prosecutors appear to be aggressively pursuing charges against those who defend themselves against rioters, whilst simultaneously refusing to press charges against the latter.  Effectively, the law in those areas has been weaponized to support extremism.

My previous articles on the subject include:

If you haven’t read them yet, I suggest it might be a good idea to do so before continuing here.

In the first of the four articles cited above, I noted:

Are there security cameras on businesses or buildings overlooking where you might have to act?  (Don’t forget innocuous-looking devices such as smart doorbells in residential areas – video from them has been used to catch criminals.)  What about cameras mounted on light poles or buildings to cover the street?  Many big cities now have thousands of them in law-enforcement-monitored networks, as well as gunfire location systems to detect when and where firearms are used, and send responding officers straight there.  If you use a firearm to defend yourself, you may be recorded on video and audio by such systems, providing evidence that may be used to identify, arrest and convict you.

In an area where the law enforcement and/or prosecution authorities are subject to and/or promoting an extremist agenda, such photographic and video evidence can be turned against you.  The raw images alone are not sufficient to clear your name, because a competent prosecutor can describe them in very different ways to yourself, and twist their interpretation to support otherwise baseless charges against you.

For a recent example, look at the video evidence in the Kyle Rittenhouse case, and how prosecutors used it to bring murder charges against him while his defense attorneys are claiming it shows him acting in legal, legitimate self-defense.  Same video, very different interpretations.  Which one will the jury believe?  Your guess is as good as mine – particularly because the prosecution has a major say in selecting the candidates for the jury pool.

That reality has just been strongly reinforced by this news report.

From walking the dog to driving into work, researchers say Americans are being caught on security cameras at least 238 times every week … By next year, there will be about one camera for every 4.6 people in the United States. finds much of this weekly surveillance happens on the road. Researchers say the average American is filmed 160 times while driving. One of the biggest reasons for this is the growing number of cameras at major intersections.

Traveling about 29 miles a day on average, researchers say motorists typically drive under 20 cameras over that span. The report cautions that it’s hard to know how many of these devices are permanently storing their recordings or just passively filming to monitor traffic data.

Once you’re done commuting, researchers find the average employee is filmed 40 times a week at or around the office. This number, the study finds, can be drastically higher if a person works in a retail store or in transportation. These workers may be on film hundreds of times every week in comparison to people working where there’s a single security camera at the entrance.

Meanwhile, the average consumer in the U.S. is under surveillance 24 times while out shopping or running errands. Researchers find security cameras are the norm in business today, as merchants crack down on theft and other criminal activity.

The study says one of the biggest increases in surveillance is right in a person’s own house. The average American is on film 14 times a week in their house and neighborhood. In the past, researchers believe this number was closer to zero … Today, doorbell cameras are a common feature in home security systems. So a walk through your community is likely now a walk past several homes filming everything that goes by.

. . .

Researchers say for Americans who frequently travel by airplane or work in high security areas, they are likely on film over 1,000 times each week.

There’s more at the link.

That should be enough evidence to convince anybody.  If you are forced to defend yourself, the odds are very high that you will be recorded on audio and video either during the incident, or immediately before or after it, making it relatively easy for prosecutors (and activists who might want to doxx you over it, which might put your home and family at risk) to prove your presence and/or your actions.  Even if the evidence doesn’t show illegal conduct, that’s no guarantee they won’t analyze it and twist its meaning to support their allegations.  Truth, honesty and fair dealing are among the first casualties when extremism rules.

Therefore, do your very best to avoid confrontations that might lead to violence.  Better not to get into one at all, if possible.  It’s not cowardice to “get out of Dodge” before trouble arrives:  in today’s legal and political environment, it’s common sense.

If such confrontations become unavoidable (and, let’s face it, extremists will do their best to provoke them), then the advice given in my earlier articles comes into play.  Do what you have to do (within the law, naturally), but be aware that your actions can be (and in some jurisdictions almost certainly will be) analyzed from an extremely biased and unfriendly perspective.  In such jurisdictions, you’ll have to decide the best way forward, bearing in mind the surveillance issues raised above and in earlier articles.  Choose wisely!


P.S. – Shooting Illustrated has just published a useful article titled “10 Best Ways to Defend Yourself Against Civil Unrest“.  It covers much of the ground I’ve covered in articles here, but adds a few more points.  Worthwhile reading.


  1. Speaking of Kyle Rittenhouse the convicted felon who attacked him with a weapon has yet to be arrested, charged or have his probation violated.

  2. Also the Louisville boyfriend of the Briona woman shot at the cops first After they
    identified themselves. He committed a crime during which his girlfriend was killed.
    In any justice system in the US that I'm aware of that makes him guilty of murder
    and he has not been charged with anything.

  3. You can have all the video footage possible, even up to 3 news crews filming right there and then.

    Doesn't matter one bit.

    By the time any footage is available, the Media, those that control the Media, and the Mob will have already determined what 'really' happened.

    Like… George Floyd. Known drug user. OD'd on drugs the previous year when stopped by cops. Does the exact same darned thing, and it's the cops' fault? And the choke hold? A known non-choking, non-violent knee hold used since the 50's?

    Or Breonna Taylor. Known Drug Offender. Known to hold lots of drug cash. Known to be involved in a murder plot. The warrant was a knock-announce warrant, not a no-knock warrant (amazing what finally comes out, that pesky thing called the truth.) It was an unfortunate but good shoot. And the boyfriend, not eligible to carry or possess a gun. Oooooops.

    Or George Zimmerman.

    Or the two white guys who shot the 'innocent black jogger' because racist.

    Or Kyle Rittenhouse defending himself.

    Or the bar owner who self-slabbed because the MOB destroyed his life.

    Where in any of these cases has the truth, video or otherwise, mattered?

    Please, defend yourself and yours. But be aware that the powers-behind the mob and the media will decide your fate instantly and you have no control whatsoever of what will happen after.

    Get that? The Truth doesn't matter. They will come for you no matter what the truth is.

    And one day soon, someone will realize this and just hose down a mob in self-defense. And the wheels, already missing on one side of the bus, will fall off the other side.

    Again. Truth is dead. Truth doesn't matter any more anywhere. It is all secret meanings and Court of Public Opinion.

    Has been since… Rodney King, even earlier than that.

    And notice, it's always the evil ones that are protected and lauded by the media and the masses as good people.

    You never hear about, oh, say, a white woman gunned down by a black cop. Or a 5 year old gunned down by a black man. Or the #1 killer of white females, which is… black males. Or… Or… Or… Or…

    You hear about Proud Boys making threats, but you don't hear about the revolving door on Antifa assaulters, arsonists, looters and thugs.

    Truth is dead, long live Pravda.


  4. Good article. When I was still living in suburban California, I always assumed that I was on somebody's camera (mine included) as soon as I stepped out of my house.

  5. Your guess is as good as mine – particularly because the prosecution has a major say in selecting the candidates for the jury pool.

    Wait… what? The prosecution has just as much as say in jury selection as the defense does. Voir Dire doesn't give them any special edge.

    He committed a crime during which his girlfriend was killed.
    In any justice system in the US that I'm aware of that makes him guilty of murder
    and he has not been charged with anything.

    The misconceptions around this case bug me to no end on both sides.
    1) The prosecutor office has already announced charges against Kenneth Walker were dropped.
    2) Under no definition does anything you describe come close to murder. At most, you would get "wanton/reckless endangerment" or "attempted murder" (given the police officer injured).

  6. @Nate Winchester: Yes, both sides have an equal say in jury selection – but that's not what I said. I said:

    "the prosecution has a major say in selecting the candidates for the jury pool"

    That's literally true. The pool from which the jurors are selected is drawn up by bureaucrats in the court system. Prosecutors tend to have a lot of influence with them, even sometimes control over them. If they arrange for a pool of jurors that's largely unsympathetic to the defendant's position(s), then the jury selection process is already tilted in their favor. Candidates that may be more sympathetic to the defendant simply won't be included in the pool.

  7. @Peter Grant – wait… What? Maybe it varies in other states but i van assure that idea is literally not true in KY. The jurors are summoned at random for the pool, and even then the selection for voir dire is done with an old fashioned Powerball style tumbler where the numbers are selected at random. There was a case on this in front of the state SC back in 2016.

    At no point do any of the prosecutors talk with or contact the jury office in the courthouse. (Maybe in some tiny county I've never visited, where you only have a thousand to select from.)

    Which states you been in that allow this?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *