The Shock Of Accountability

There are three stories today that matter because they are so so rare. A Catholic church official, who knowingly allowed a pedophile priest to be assigned to a parish where he continued to rape children, will find out his prison sentence today:

Prosecutors urged the judge to impose the maximum penalty. They argued in a statement to the court last week that the gravity of Monsignor Lynn’s crime — giving known sexual predators continued access to children, causing lifelong anguish and damages to some — was “off the charts.” They said he had refused to accept responsibility and had an “apparent lack of remorse for anyone but himself.”

It's worth recalling that the Pope himself when he was Archbihop of Munich was guilty of exactly the same crime. In my view, the Pope and the entire curia should have resigned when the truth of the profound corruption emerged. But a Monsignor is, I guess, a start. The sanctions on Penn State are also a moment of actual accountability. Then this:

Five of the eight people now facing criminal charges are accused of involvement in the hacking of the schoolgirl’s phone. They are Ms. Brooks, Mr. Coulson, Mr. Mulcaire and three other journalists who worked in senior newsroom positions at The News of the World: Stuart Kuttner, a former managing editor; Greg Miskiw, another senior editor; and Neville Thurlbeck, the paper’s longtime chief reporter.

The other journalists charged with involvement in phone hacking, though not in the Dowler case, are Ian Edmondson and James Weatherup, who were also senior editors at the tabloid.

Imagine if the same level of accountability were demanded of, say, those who authorized war crimes under Bush and Cheney; or those bankers whose reckless, clueless reliance on mathematical formulae they didn't even understand led to untold miseries for the blameless and continuing enrichment for themselves? Who, one wonders, was actually fired by CNN for jumping the gun on the healthcare ruling? When will Michele Bachmann face actual consequences for shamelessly slandering someone as an Islamist traitor?

One reason, I think, that the American mood is so sour is that most have internalized that those in authority can get away with anything. But black teenagers caught with a joint in their pocket? The jails are full to bursting.