The Need to Know




Happy September! Labor Day, such as it is, has never really held much meaning for me beyond the weekend before school starts and the beginning of another Football Season. Every job I’ve ever worked – even the union one – we worked Holidays, Saturdays, Sundays, Birthdays and Nights (Get it? SSBN…)

Anyway, I wasn’t going to do a show for today, but I was reading on Friday afternoon about some stuff that left me a bit… well… you’ll see.

The problem with the “Need to know” concept is that most Americans, for some reason, just assume that they personally have some divine, Constitutionally protected right to know everything. We don’t. But thanks to everybody in the media chain, from the Congressman who wants to impress people to the reporter who had to be spoon-fed the story, we’ve become convinced that we have a “Need to Know” everything that the government does.

The idea that we “need” to have something akin to “Open Government” is insane. You can be open, or you can have a government. You do not have a right to know everything, and neither do I.

And sometimes, there is a reason for that, even if you or I don’t understand that reason. The problem is that we have – in this age of the interwebs – those who will willingly “fill in the blanks” as it were, claiming to know what it is that we don’t know in an attempt to either get themselves noticed or more normally, to make money of off people stupid enough to buy whatever they are selling.

Once upon a time, I was told what I needed to know about an incident in history. It was a part of our training and a discussion that was serious and meant to impress upon us the dangers and possibility of death which we had chosen to embrace. Frankly, to me, it was a sad story. One that I was certain would not – could not – happen to me, because we had learned from it and integrated the lessons of that incident into the operational procedures, thus eliminating the possibility.

It never occurred to 18 year old me that the sea will always find new ways to try and kill you.

In 1968, the world was a much different place. Man had yet to set foot upon the moon, Vietnam had not begun to end, and Aretha Franklin was #4 on the Motown Charts with “Chain of Fools” (She was also #10 with my favorite song of here – “Think”).

I was four years old when the news broke that the US Navy had lost a submarine…

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