The trial of Gilberto Valle, the “Cannibal Cop” began in Manhattan this week. The New York Police Officer is charged with Federal kidnapping conspiracy. The charge sheet can be found here. The evidence consists largely of e-mails and instant messages in which Officer Valle was “discussing plans to kidnap, rape, torture, kill, cook and eat body parts of a number of women.”

His defence team is arguing that this was just a sexual fantasy and that Valle had no intention of carrying out any of these crimes.

Now that we know the shootings last week in Manhattan near the Empire State Building were a curious mix of both murder and bystander-gone-wrong, I’d like to take a moment to deconstruct the dramatic unfolding of events that happened that morning over a 2.5 hour arc to demonstrate how the social news spread first, as a terrorist attack on the Empire State Building, and ultimately became the truth of a revelatory revenge murder.

In the film Minority Report, based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, police of the future arrest criminals before the crime even occurs based on three psychics who can predict the future. All seems to be going well until the captain of the police force is seen committing a murder thirty six hours later and he suspects that he is being set up by his colleagues. I couldn’t help but think of this story when I read about the New York Police Department plans to start a new system to track crime that will be practically all seeing and all knowing.

We know we are being watched.  We accept we are being recorded.  We’ve even learned to recognize the multiplicity of cameras that bludgeon our every move now and forevermore.  There are cameras in the lampposts.  There are recording devices in the coffee cups.  The eyes of a peacock’s tail — as it struts along fallow land in the wilds of the Bronx and the niches of Central Park — have become a thousand, Panopticonic, eyes perceiving our every move.