The figures boggle the mind. Approximately 11 million Americans cycle through our jails and prisons each year (including a vast “pre-trial population” of those arrested and not convicted and those who simply can’t make bail). At any moment, according to the Prison Policy Initiative, there are more than 2.3 million people in our “1,719 state... Read More
Should Prison Really Be the American Way?
You’ve heard of distracted driving? It causes quite a few auto accidents and it’s illegal in a majority of states. Well, this year, a brave New Jersey state senator, a Democrat, took on the pernicious problem of distracted walking. Faced with the fact that some people can’t tear themselves away from their smartphones long enough... Read More
The Annals of a Private Eye
Once upon a time, I was a journalist, covering war in Indochina, Central America, and the Middle East. I made it my job to write about the victims of war, the "civilian casualties." To me, they were hardly "collateral damage," that bloodless term the military persuaded journalists to adopt. To me, they were the center... Read More
Step aside, Sam Spade. Move over, Philip Marlowe. You want noir? Skip the famed private eye novels and films of the 1930s and 1940s and turn to our present American world and to neighborhoods where the postman doesn’t ring even once, but the police are ready to shootmore than once, often on the slightest excuse.... Read More
The Real (Armed) Dangers of American Life
Consider this paragraph a holding action on the subject of getting blown away in America. While I write this dispatch, I’m waiting patiently for the next set of dispiriting killings in this country. And I have faith. Before I’m done, some angry -- or simply mentally disturbed -- and well-armed American “lone wolf” (or lone... Read More