Our AWOL Security State

Many on the left have cynically (or at least opportunistically) used James Holmes’s Aurora, Colorado rampage as an occasion to demand gun control. A more sensible and less constitutionally dubious response to this tragedy would be to enact universal reporting requirements that would allow for the aggregating of red flag-raising data, such as records of lawful but suspicious weapons sales in gun stores and unusually large online ammunition purchases. In my most recent “This Just In” piece for the Boston Phoenix, I point out that the Feds are good at inventing "terrorist" plots starring a cast of innocuous misfits, egged on by agents who don’t have enough real work to do and by informants working off some beef with the feds. Yet the feds appear less skilled at gathering accessible information that would help them uncover real crimes. We live, alas, in a national security state that is better at invading liberty than in actually providing protection.

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