By Christopher B. Daly
–I am so proud of my old newspaper, The Washington Post. The paper has recently been rendering a major public service: a reckoning of all the shootings of civilians by police that take place in the United States. You might think that information would be routinely collected by Justice, the FBI, or at least every state police agency. You’d be wrong.
Turns out, there is no central governmental accounting. So, the Post stepped into the vacuum and built a database from the ground up.
Turns out, American cops shoot about two civilians a day, every day.
Is that too many? Too few? Just about right? I don’t know, but at least now we can begin to have a debate about it and come to terms with the police. As Juvenal put it 2,000 years ago: Qui custodiet ipsos custodes? Or, Who will police the police? Who will guard the guardians? Who will watch over those who watch over?
In my view, this is exactly why we need a free and independent news media.
–Here we go again with the NSA.
Don’t get me wrong: I am all for a robust, state-of-the-art intelligence service. To my mind, that means spying on other countries in ways that advance our national interests without them even finding out about it. That’s my standard for U.S. intelligence-gathering. Anything else has to yield to the Constitution. When it comes to spying on Americans, there is no reason for the executive branch to take it upon itself to routinely spy on Americans who are not even suspected of having broken any laws.
According to the Times, the secret agency has justified its secret program to a secret court, so we are all supposed to just shut up and submit our data. Absolutely not.
–So, I see that tourists will now be allowed to take photos while touring the White House. Yay.
If only the professional news photographers who cover the White House had the same liberty!