Sunday, November 15, 2015


I see that French authorities plan to go after radical Imams and other leaders who may be having a bad impact on young people, leading them to commit crimes in the name of the "Islamic State" or something similar. It seems to me that this only adds fuel to the dangerous fire. It's as though we decided to fight crime in general by seeking out those people - parents, teachers, friends? - who are likely to help steer a young person toward crime. Sure, we want to do all of that, but let's not turn this criminal investigation and crime prevention priority into a witch hunt for unpopular ideas or people who are simply inclined to do bad things. We get far too close to the delicate balance of free expression and public order if we do that. Instead of enlarging the investigation and crime-fighting focus of the moment, let's double-down on that - find all those criminally responsible for the atrocities of Friday night and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. After completing that work, we should next double-down on strong law enforcement efforts to detect and thwart crimes in the planning stage. Finally, after all of that is so much better executed, let's reflect carefully on all of the things needed to reduce the likelihood of sacrificing young men and women to such atrocious acts. It's a lot more than trying to silence clerics or others and singling out bad apples for some sort of police harassment.
Think of these as the terrible criminal acts that they were and let's get on with investigation and prosecution while we redouble our efforts to make so many changes needed to reduce the likelihood of developing more people committing similar acts.

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