Southern Gothic Surveillance Meets Two Deadly Sins

Darkness has Crept in at Midnight by James Christopher Hills

The Alex Murdaugh murder conviction saddens me, not because I think he’s innocent, but because I didn’t want it to be true, didn’t want to believe that the Sophoclean shit show the prosecution posited could be real, that a father could premeditatively gun down his son, splattering his brains, then utilizie a different weapon to gun down the mother of that son, shooting her five times, the final shot to the head.

[Cue Kurtz: the horror, the horror.]

I was chatting with a stranger at the bar at Chico Feo yesterday afternoon about the trial and about the ubiquity of surveillance. I mentioned that Siri, Apple’s arbitress[1] of data, sang like – if not a canary – like a soulless automaton out of Orwell, providing law enforcement with information about how many steps Alex had taken, how fast he was walking before and after the event. The black box of his Suburban also ratted him out, digitally informing SLED that his SUV had hit seventy on the bumpy dirt road on his way to the house of his Alzheimer’s ridden Mama in the dark of a night as black as any in Southern gothic literature. 

It out Faulkners Faulkner.

The stranger had his own story about super-surveillance. I didn’t know this, but there are magnetic (for lack of a better word) homing devices that you can affix to someone’s car and track its movements just like they did in the Bond movie Goldfinger.

He had purchased several and affixed one to his then girlfriend’s car because he correctly feared that she was cheating on him. On the last day of their relationship, he drove to where her car was parked, discovered her as she was leaving an apartment complex, and thanked her for showing him what kind of person she really was. 

Happily, no shots were fired. Even, at least in his telling, the recrimination was mild-mannered.

Anyway, in this case, even if his girlfriend didn’t possess a cellphone and drove an early model computerless automobile, she still would have been busted.

Let’s face it, Big Brother’s corporate siblings, his little brothers, our cell phones, automobiles, etc. are watching us, and we pay them to. Could the knowledge our every move is monitored move us to emend our sinful ways. After all, if we don’t slaughter our families, cheat on our lovers, or binge watch Monkees videos, we have nothing to worry about.

[1] Even though I consider myself “woke,” I like the sound of feminine suffixes, and, on another topic, realize that the personality that is Siri is not an employee but merely a voice strung together with ones and zeroes. 

3 thoughts on “Southern Gothic Surveillance Meets Two Deadly Sins

  1. What is to be expected from someone who’s name is spelled with four letters of MURDer. Just add motive and pills to distort rational thinking. Bumpy roads at 70 mph are normal for hick boys. A trip to moms was a goodbye visit. She’ll never remember. The shove down the steps of the housekeeper will never be brought to justice.

  2. I wonder how many people the Murdaugh’s family of prosecutor’s sent to prison that were innocent? How many because of the color of their skin? Karma can be a brutal bitch/bastard sometimes.

  3. Even a prosecutor who knows abt the technology was unable to trick it. Not sure why he threw the wife’s phone out, but turning his off might have been enough for the defense to argue reasonable doubt on the metadata. The son’s TikTok was the smoking gun, through, so to speak.

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