The Press should not give publicity to terrorists
Tobias Stone

I think you’re missing the positive aspects of all that reporting. Acts of terror of various kinds are carried out by lone wolf actors across just about every community on the planet. Reporting of these incidents gives social scientists, police agencies, politicians, and the people running schools and public spaces of all kinds clues about what they should be looking for, and the opportunity to evaluate their existing security measures against the havoc real actors have caused.

Without the publicity, would the public accept many f the security measures we’ve put in place? Would they support the expensive and dangerous efforts to neutralize those who promote terror? Police agencies and politicians would dearly love to limit access to this information because it helps them hide incompetence within their own agencies. I’ll offer you an example. Several years ago, Canadian police were trying to bring a serial killer to justice, but they just didn’t have enough evidence. They offered his wife immunity from prosecution if she would testify against him. Then they learned she was an active participant in the rape torture and murder of several young women, including her own sister. The Canadian police promptly banned the press from reporting any of it solely to hide their own mistakes from the public.

I’m sure the UK Prime Minister’s protection detail would love to shield themselves from criticism of their wildly incompetent handling of the latest terror incident, but I’m sure watching the footage will force every other detail on the planet to improve their training.

Sadly we’re not going to prevent people from being fascinated with these incidents and more than we can keep people from slowing down to gawk at a traffic accident. That doesn’t negate the tremendous value of government transparency.

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