How many really bored Texans are there?

The brilliant Texas governor, or maybe a really drunk aid, have come up with a new plan to help prevent illegal immigration across the border from Mexico.

What’s the idea?

The Texas governor announced his plans for streaming the border surveillance camera footage over the internet at a meeting of police officials on Thursday.

“A stronger border is what Americans want and it’s what our security demands and that is what Texas is going to deliver,” Mr Perry said.

The cameras will cost $5m (£2.7m) to install and will be trained on sections of the 1,000-mile (1,600km) border known to be favoured by illegal immigrants.

Yep, placing lots and lots of cameras covering huge stretches of the border. Then wiring them all up, and broadcasting the footage on the Internet for anyone who wants to monitor.

The practicalities of effectively covering such an area with cameras are beyond me. For comparison, the entire border of Israel, with the sea and all neighbouring countries, is slightly more than 1,000km. They’re talking about 160% of that.

The price they quote for the job also seems widely inadequate. This should cover all the cameras, installation, wiring required to connect everything, computer servers to collect all the footage and store it, and bandwidth costs for transmitting all that video over the Internet?

No way. They’ll run out of money before even beginning to deploy and set the infrastructure, not to mention maintenance costs.

Heck, they current estimates I see for their fence idea is at $8 billion. This is a third of the length, but walls have much lower maintenance and upkeep costs, don’t require electricity, and don’t have to be wired. So maybe $5 billion is more likely than $5 million.

And that’s not even the biggest problem with the idea, I think. Who exactly do they expect to sit and watch those border cams??

Sure, some may be placed in locations with nice scenery, so may become popular. But most of the cameras will just be covering empty stretches of a deserted border. And totally deserted and eventless videos are mainly one thing: boring.

This is a part of why normally people who monitor such surveillance cameras are paid money. It’s a boring job. Nothing is happening, and there’s nothing to see.

Sure, the singular event of actually noticing a group of Mexicans trying to sneak in can be exhilarating and exiting, no doubt. But most people won’t get to see that even if they’ll wait hours, days, weeks, and months, just staring at a camera feed. It’s a very long border, I remind you.

Watching such a huge amount of cameras will require massive manpower dedicated to the task. Texas can’t employ so many people on this job, so they’re trying to get it done for free by the public.

But nobody will do it on their spare time. Not unless their alternatives are even more boring and dreary than watching a motionless camera feed.

Can there really be that many Texans out there who are constantly so bored out of their minds?


Hat tip to Make You Go Hmm

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