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Not full disclosure

A movement is afoot to try to persuade news media gatekeepers to close the door on information about mass murderers like the kid out in California.

The logic goes like this: Many of these killers are copy cats, so let's not tell them anything they can copy.

Sounds reasonable enough, until you consider the advantages to society as a whole of having a complete story in hand, so as to forestall rumor and gossip and unvarnished, downright lies. If you completely, 100 percent trust law enforcers and others in the criminal justice system (think Dist. Atty. Anderson late of Williamson County, for example) then let them hide all the facts they want.

But, if you're a little bit wary of that, maybe we should not go down that trail.

I sure hate citing that old slippery slope idea, but what's next? Let's get all violent crime out of movies and games, because that kind of thing can inspire copy cats.

OK, I will back off enough to say that I think Margaret Sullivan of The New York Times may have something right when she writes that it might be worth considering to hold off on publshing or otherwise provide a platform for killers with manifestos on a case-by-case basis.

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0 #1 David J 2014-06-02 22:38
Is censorship ever a good idea? Is there any evidence that there were actually copy cat killers? If there is evidence to that effect why isn't everything copied? Where is the copycat for To Kill a Mockingbird?

The old hacker concept of information wants to be free comes to mind. I'd rather run the risk of a copycat (if in fact that risk exists) to the known danger of limiting access to information.
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