UNITED STATES—Do we even know what accountability means anymore?

I have been referring to the last 5 years as the Era of Accountability because we are forcing people to be responsible for their actions. Cell phones and surveillance equipment are affordable and widespread, and have been helping to keep people on their toes for nearly 70 years.

One could point at the the founder of Candid Camera as the father of reality TV, as well as a precursor to behavior-addressing undercover camera shows such as What Would You Do, a show that tackles controversial and necessary topics that usually include racism and other equally disturbing injustices.

The fear of getting caught on undercover camera has grown bigger as microphones and spy gadgetry became smaller. The “bugs” have evolved into some truly crazy inventions including one I own, disguised as a normal-sized USB drive. It has become apparent over the last couple decades that the chance of conviction is much higher when we have proof.

Examples of immoral, illegal, and/or irresponsible behaviors are occurring all around us, but the availability of proof (like surveillance footage from a neighboring business) is making it easier to hold people legally accountable.

This last decade has shown us videos of people in authority corrupting their power: parents, police officers, church, educators, and political figures. Punished either legally or in the media, when there is proof of the offensive behavior. The days of the good old boy system being used inappropriately are fading fast. Just ask former police offer turned RICH Anne Rasmussen. Male officers misused authority to look up her personal information, shedding light on a once-frequent occurrence.

Uncle Sam now understands the value of making sure his employees are fit and trained. Our procedures evolve constantly, in response to the changing needs of officers in a sometimes lawless society. Dash cams and body cameras are becoming standard, for both the protection of civilians and the police officers themselves. This makes officers accountable AND cuts down on frivolous lawsuits against the police.

Accountability has evolved to include even those that think they are untouchable.

Humans learned there is force in numbers and started combining efforts to make one big leaderless group whose intentions are to combat bullies of all kinds. Anonymous was sparked as an attempt to stop the misuse of power and force accountability in all people.

Whether they were trying to even the field in the Michael Brown or Tamir Rice cases, fighting the KKK, or other bullies like the Rape Crew: these groups seem to be trying to fight for ideals that are very noble. Even if you disagree with some of the things they stand for you must remember that Anonymous is leaderless and composed of many people, with many different good fights to fight.

If you listen you will find something that you agree with. For example, take this Charlie Chaplin speech a user named Anonymous uploaded:

It is a beautiful message, isn’t it? One that still speaks to a necessity.

I’ve done a lot of talking about the current state of affairs, so what about the earliest example?

The first source I go to is always my bookshelf. The New Dictionary of Thoughts had nothing listed, but Rodale’s Synonym Finder had a bunch of applicable terms, the most interesting being: ‘Bounden Duty.’

This term, unheard of (by me) until now, is defined online as “morally obligatory (archaic except in the phrase bounden duty.)” I find it ironic that it mentions the word archaic, as I am not fully convinced that the accountability problem will be solved by the camera.

As a matter of fact I propose we are seeing a new phenomena of ‘if I can’t beat it I will just admit it’ attitude, where young people actually admit wrongdoing and instead question the system, the motive, or the right to have laws or make labels.

Perhaps they should be reminded that in the very beginning of our civilization, when everything was measured in biblical terms, the first methods for punishing those found to be accountable (regardless of proof) was called Lex Talionis.

Straight from Moses, it is the one that authorizes punishment equal to the crime.  So, to wrap it up in a way to describe the evolution of accountability? To do so we must remember, youth are capable of rationalizing opposition to everything, down to the simplicity of a parental order. For example, “I want your room clean before I come home in 3 hours” is disobeyed and illogically warped into the parent being responsible for “starting a problem.” AFTER ALL, the parent was persistent that he or she wanted the room clean. They should have let it go, to avoid a problem, right?

It surely is a whole new way of denying responsibility.

We have evolved from a world that previously evolved to allow proof of innocence…

To a world where you can’t prove it has evolved..

To this modern so what I – did it, but I did it for a good reason, excuse?

This may be a problem that needs addressing SOON.