Diane McWhorter has a great opinion piece in today's paper. Writing about 1963 Jim Crow Birmingham and the banality of evil she reveals how city fathers commonly endorsed the illegal use of electronic surveillance and hatched assassination plots as a means to achieve "racial peace." McWhorter argues that while we might have moved on from the institutional racism of Jim Crow we need to look again at our "new normal" where "assassination by drone" is official unofficial policy and debates about the effectiveness of torture are routine.
What I particularly appreciate about this piece, published on MLK Day in the fiftieth anniversary year of the JFK assassination, is the level of detail it provides of how political threats were handled by power brokers in a sizable Southern city. In 1963, whether Birmingham or Dallas, public safety officers were criminal co-conspirators used to spy and assassinate.