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Frank Gray

Associated Press

Pesky personal cams find a place

I remember listening to a radio program years ago about UFOs, and an unbeliever mentioned that despite all the reports of flying saucers, no one had ever filmed a UFO.

A believer retorted that people believe in car crashes, but he didn’t recall anyone ever capturing a car crash on film.

That’s all changed. Small video cameras have been common for years now, and even those have become passé. Today, practically everyone has a cellphone, and many of those can take video.

Last month, Google announced that it was releasing something called Google Glass, a gadget that can be worn like a pair of glasses that will record everything you look at.

The concept left me thoroughly disgusted.

I can see the value of video cameras. I even checked one out at the bike shop the other day, thinking I could mount one on the back of my bike so that if anyone ran me down I’d have video proof that I didn’t swerve in front of them.

Now, with Google Glass, you won’t be able to eat a meal in a restaurant without someone videotaping you at one time or another.

Then someone planted two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Now I have a whole new appreciation of all the video recording going on.

It seems to me that it is almost inevitable that someone with a cellphone or video camera caught a glimpse of whoever planted the bombs, stuffed in black backpacks or duffel bags. Someone, who could be from almost anywhere in the world, has a photo or recording of someone carrying the black bags, setting them down and walking away, or sticking them in a trash can.

Those pictures will eventually help find out who committed this bombing.

Police have long relied on security footage to solve crimes. In fact, that’s one of the first things they do at the scene of a crime these days: look for security cameras.

Now ordinary people have the power to solve one of the most heinous acts committed in years.

It does give one a whole new perspective on the pervasive nature of people with their various recording devices, and a new appreciation of things like the Google Glass.

Who cares, one begins to think, if someone records me displaying lousy manners while eating dinner in a restaurant. If I don’t want to be embarrassed, I shouldn’t do things in public to embarrass myself.

And perhaps lawmakers around the country should pause and consider the consequences of laws that would restrict people who make video recordings.

Above all, the Boston Marathon bombings serve as a reminder that today’s world is full of threats and madmen, and we all have to be alert, wherever we are.

Frank Gray reflects on his and others’ experiences in columns published Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. He can be reached by phone at 461-8376, by fax at 461-8893, or by email at You can also follow him on Twitter @FrankGrayJG.