This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 29, 2002 12:48 AM. The previous post in this blog was Great life, crummy blog. The next post in this blog is Y'all come back now, y'hear?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, August 29, 2002

Back on the blog

Time to catch up after too long away. Where to begin? Let's run backward from Wednesday....

I love reading The New York Times (painless registration required to link). Today Maureen Dowd voiced a sentiment I've been brooding about for nearly a year now: If we're going to invade a country in the Middle East, why not Saudi Arabia? On the other side of the page, Thomas Friedman bemoaned the flap that has arisen in North Carolina because students were assigned to read a book about (gasp!) the Koran! Why do some feel so strongly that if we ignore radical Islam, it will eventually go away? Understand your enemy, people.

Sunday's Times magazine featured a stunning piece about an the birth of an extremely premature infant who died shortly after birth. Not exactly a breakthrough in journalism, except that it was written by the child's mother, who truly bared her soul. And readers are the richer for it.

Also (still) in the news: the gruesome (but not surprising) discovery of the bodies of the missing Oregon teenage classmates on the grounds of the home of a friend's father. The most important story for me (and many others) is the question how the suspect was allowed to live his apparently perverted life for half a year without a thorough police search of his home and belongings, and, much more importantly, without intense police surveillance. This man was a prime person of interest from the moment of the first girl's disappearance, and yet the evidence strongly suggests that he somehow managed to commit the exact same type of homicide on another girl from the same school, same dance team, same apartment complex, weeks later.

I would have thought that, within the bounds of the law (and perhaps slightly outside thereof), the police and the FBI would have been tailing this fellow morning, noon and night. Whatever his constitutional rights were, I would have assumed that he would not be allowed to pick up a second girl on the way to school and murder her, too.

But then again, it was unthinkable to me that suicide bombers could commit the atrocities of 9/11/01 on U.S. soil. Or that they would be allowed to train at U.S. flight schools until they had the skills to fly jumbo jets into skyscrapers and the Pentagon.

Or that corporate executives would even try to get away with widespread looting of public companies at the expense of ordinary investors and employees.

Implicitly, I have assumed the good faith and basic competence of the FBI, the FAA, the INS, the SEC. Lately I am seriously questioning those assumptions.

The government wants us to surrender some civil liberties to ensure our safety. How about as part of the deal the government adequately funds public safety and white-collar law enforcement, and actually does a decent job with them?

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