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Why I'm smiling for our cameras.

Byline: Brian Reade

I HARDLY ever experience punch-the-air moments watching the news on TV these days.

Even my punch-the-screen moments have ceased after I was banished to the furthest seat from the box following a nasty incident involving my knuckles and Nicholas Witchell's head.

But on Monday tea-time, watching the CCTV footage which jailed the thugs who left five-year-old Thusha Kamaleswaran paralysed, the air took an uppercut.

Thusha is the beautiful, pig-tailed girl who danced down the aisle of her family shop, then slumped like a rag doll as she was caught up in gangland crossfire.

Seeing that was heart-breaking. But seeing what followed, the masked low-lifes caught on CCTV cycling to the shop, firing, and one of them riding home, parking his bike, and throwing his hoodie in the bin, his face drenched with the sweat of fear, was awesome.

Indeed watching a gutless wimp who thinks that he is a big man, unknowingly put himself behind bars, was the most uplifting slice of reality TV I can remember.

Because it showed that these excuses for humanity who terrorise our streets with guns, who would kill our kids without a second glance, now have no hiding place.

God I love CCTV cameras. They are one of the greatest inventions of my lifetime.

Ever-present witnesses who can't hesitate to come forward, be argued with, suffer memory loss, be intimidated or murdered.

It was down to police sifting through 40,000 hours of CCTV footage that so many of last summer's rioters, arsonists, looters, car-wreckers, intimidators and muggers, were swiftly dealt with.

It caught that evil old trout who tossed a cat into a wheelie bin, Joey Barton beating a man up outside McDonald's, Ipswich serial killer Steve Wright and the animals who disfigured the television presenter Katie Piper in an acid attack.

As you read this, somewhere in Britain CCTV is capturing a smackhead climbing out of a window with a pensioner's purse and jewellery, probably with his name tattooed on his neck (remember him?) as a giveaway.

Pressure groups like Big Brother Watch say these cameras infringe our civil liberties, the TaxPayers Alliance say they cost too much, David Cameron called them "the rotting edifice of Labour's surveillance state" and right-wing pundits say they'd rather hang themselves from their Leylandii trees than allow councils to put cameras in their recycling bins.

But they can train them on my laundry basket to check for excessive stains in my boxer shorts if it pleases them.

Because I think back to Stephen Lawrence's murder and realise that had CCTV been around to catch that gang on camera, his family would not have had to live the nightmare they still live, as three killers walk free.

I think of five-year-old Thusha dancing, in that carefree way that little girls do when they feel very happy and loved, straight into a stray bullet.

And I think that theoretically infringing my civil liberties is a minuscule price to pay for putting the cowardly rats who paralysed her behind bars.


VICTIM JLittle Thusha
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Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 29, 2012
Next Article:Schools are Poles apart.

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