by Max Brantley
Can't link it because it's behind a pay wall, but the Hot Spring Sentinel Record carried an interesting report today on remarks by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.
He told county officials that changes in the state Freedom of Information Act might be in order. Why? Because free access to public records could serve as a deterrent to counties compiling reports on courthouse security, as many did after the Sept. 13 shooting at the Crawford County Courthouse.
“If you know that it’s going to be released to anyone who might have ill intent, it might cause you to not do the assessment in the first place,” he said.
County officials might decide, “Let’s not write it up if it’s going to be a how-to manual in how to attack ourcourthouse,” he said.
I think this is fantasyland thinking, the sort of disproportionate response that has become symptomatic of our age of fear. But let's not debate the question of whether evildoers will be FOIing courthouse security documents to get the lay of the land before hauling out their AK-47s to go on mass killing sprees. The real risk is an overly secretive government obsessed with security. I don't think you can tailor an exception to the FOI for "security" reasons that would not be abused and expanded.