Would you support a person’s constitutional rights even if it meant the death of women and children?
That’s how one question was framed in a recent public opinion poll on the use of automated traffic enforcement cameras in Lafayette.
To be fair, this was the question as asked: “Some people say the state Legislature should outlaw the use of traffic cameras because they are a violation of a person’s constitutional right. Other people say that we need to allow the use of traffic cameras because women and children are being killed by people who speed and run red lights and the use of cameras will save lives. Which do you agree with more?”
One might question the lack of concern in that question for the lives of men, but the words “women and children” seem to roll off the tongue nicely when laying out the dire consequences of traffic scofflaws. [...]
Beyond the “women and children” question, there were a few points where it seemed the poll was attempting to make an argument for traffic cameras rather than gauge opinion about the devices.
One question asked poll takers to agree or disagree with the use of video cameras in other situations: a security camera at an ATM machine, security cameras in department stores, video cameras in police cars.
One might question whether the use of those examples offers an implicit argument that traffic cameras are no different from other uses of video technology.