Letter from Birmingham Jail

On the moral responsibility to break unjust laws.

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“There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience. You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court's decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, at first glance it may seem rather paradoxical for us consciously to break laws. One may well ask: "How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?" The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’”

The Truck Stop Killer

When she was a 15-year-old runaway, the writer was nearly killed by a truck driver. Twenty-seven years later, she investigates whether her attacker was truck stop serial killer Robert Ben Rhoades, who often kept his victims chained in the back of his truck for weeks before killing and dumping them.

Unbothered

On Black nonchalance.

Gold and diamond grills. Stilettos you can’t walk in. Grandly arching fingernails, lovingly adorned. Such flouting of functionality is an obvious fuck-­you to the days of scrutinized teeth at auctions and picking cotton on plantations.

Kenneth R. Rosen has written for The New York Times, Wired, The New Yorker, and many other publications. His new book is Troubled: The Failed Promise of America's Behavioral Treatment Programs.

“When I report, I keep two journals. … I keep my reporting notebook, which is sort of an almanac of dates, times, names, quotes, phone numbers. And then I have my personal notebook, which has all my fears and anxieties. And it invariably makes its way into the reporting … which is sort of an amalgamation of those two journals, of those two experiences, the internal and the external.”

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Lost Lost Causes

On the Capitol assault.

Some people may treat the appearance of a Confederate flag as another bit of absurdity, but I’ve never had the luxury of taking it in any way other than literally and seriously.

After The Sacred Landslide

The stories that sprung up around if not quite about Trump were as brutal and lazy as the man himself; they teased themselves endlessly from one episode to the next, building toward a brutal grand finale in which America’s heroes would murder its villains, on TV, at some time to-be-determined.