Adam Fields (weblog)

This blog is largely deprecated, but is being preserved here for historical interest. Check out my index page at for more up to date info. My main trade is technology strategy, process/project management, and performance optimization consulting, with a focus on enterprise and open source CMS and related technologies. More information. I write periodic long pieces here, shorter stuff goes on twitter or


The Hurtt Prize

Harold Hurtt, police chief of Houston, has advocated changing building permits to require cameras in public areas of malls and apartment complexes, to try to deter crime:

He’s quoted in the article, saying “I know a lot of people are concerned about Big Brother, but my response to that is, if you are not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?”

1) “Wrong” is always changing, and isn’t always correct.

2) Our society and legal system are neither constructed for or capable of handling perfect law enforcement.

3) It’s not worth any price to catch all of the criminals. There are tradeoffs to be made.

The Hurtt Prize is a $1000-and-growing bounty offered for anyone who gets a video capture of Mr. Hurtt committing a crime.

Tags: , , ,

One Response to “The Hurtt Prize”

  1. James Says:

    And another thing that drives me bonkers:

    People legitimately want to keep some things private not because they’re shameful, but because THEY’RE PRIVATE!

    Forget the easy cases of doctors, lawyers, counselors, pyschologists, and anyone who may wish to protect the confidence of another person. Of course those are perfectly legitimate and non-shameful aspects of privacy. There are perfectly legitimate personal reasons to seek and enjoy privacy, and they have nothing to do with doing anything wrong.

    I know that in our publicity-obsessed culture people feel they really haven’t said or done something unless it’s broadcast on TV for the world to see, but many of us treasure our modicum of privacy. We cherish private conversations that we never intend to share with anyone else, not because they were in any way embarrassing or shameful, but because they were private. The fact that something is known or shared between only a few people can forge a special personal bond among them. In other cases, privacy gives us scope in which we can be tenative, silly, emotional, etc. — all things which are in no way shameful, but which we may not feel like exposing to the rest of the world. We like to be modest both in showing and in telling all about ourselves. We plan for the future and don’t intend to disclose every detail of our plans to everyone else in the world, friendly and unfriendly alike, who may wish to pry into our affairs for their own nefarious purposes. We are rightly protective of our vulnerable privacy, not because we are doing anything wrong, but because we know all too well how many other people might. We keep some of our plans, schemes, hopes and fears private because we simply enjoy our own personal inner sphere.

    Sometimes when I mention this idea of privacy I feel like I’m advocating the virtues of the ancient rites and rituals of a long-dead civilization. Many people seem to have lost any conception of this. But that’s their problem — not ours. A private life is a precious thing, and it deserves and has traditionally received legal protection. Anyone who wants to trample that should be prepared for the furious resistance such an outrage will inspire from good people who respect privacy.

Powered by WordPress