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Profiling Is Not the Answer

by TChris

Random searches of New York subway passengers have been unproductive, leading some to advocate for racial or ethnic profiling:

If "looks like a young Muslim" or "looks Middle Eastern" is an easily visible characteristic that terrorists are likely to have, it belongs in the profile.

Apart from the legal and ethical issues that surround profiling, its advocates build their case on a false premise: that terrorists are visually identifiable.

Leaving aside the fact that more than half of the Arabs in the United States are Christians, Arabs simply do not possess to any set of physical characteristics that either plainly bind them together or set them apart from many other American communities. Arabs are a very diverse ethnic group who can resemble almost any group of southern Europeans, Latin Americans, Central and South Asians or Africans.

Even more preposterous would be any attempt to identify Muslims by appearance, as Muslims come from almost every part of the world, and constitute one-fifth of humanity. And, because about one-third of American Muslims are African-Americans, any futile attempt at profiling of Muslims, especially in urban areas such as New York City, will immediately degenerate into yet another way of profiling black people.

There are better answers, including improved intelligence gathering and the presence of explosive-sniffing dogs. Searching suspicionless passengers -- whether randomly or because they fit a profile -- reduces our freedom without providing significant protection against terrorism.

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  • Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    There is also the fashion profiling thing. Take any of the northbound lines from Manhattan, and you'll see plenty of young men in bulky coats, in the profiler's eyes well suited to hide a bomb.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#3)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    While I think we can call the bag searching grossly unconstitutional, and unlikely to stop a London-style bombing, I don't think we can call it entirely unproductive. Subway Crime Drops As Police Do Security Searches:
    Through Sunday [July 24], there were 171 felonies in the subways this month, a decrease of 50 from the corresponding period last year....


    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#4)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    In1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed .In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over. During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon. In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair. .In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a US Navy person trying to rescue passengers was murdered. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time. In 1999 a Moslem was captured entering the US with plans and bomb material to blow up LAX. In November 2000 the US Cole was attacked. In 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers. Thousands of people were killed. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and beheaded. In 2004 Theo van Gogh was killed in Amsterdam. In 2004 Spain suffered many dead and wounded in the Railway bombings... In 2004 a Russian grade school was atacked. On 7/7/2005 the London Railway bombings killed and wounded hundreds. On 7/17/2005 there were four more London Bombing attempts. The common denominator in each of these attacks: They were done by Moslem radicals between the ages of 17 and 40. But keeping repeating the following. Profiling doesn’t work. Profiling doesn’t work. Ommmm, ommmm…. Profiling doesn’t work. Profiling doesn’t work. Ommmm, ommmm.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Even if profiling were a good idea (and it isn't) we don't seem to be very good at it. An unfortunate incident involving a Brazilian man comes to mind.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Profiling would be bad. I am not sure what the right answer is, but I do know profiling is not. -K Meade

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#7)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Roy, A police state has its advantages. Just as the Chinese gov't can tell you, or the Burmese military junta, or the Uzbehk strongman, or or or... Jim, My point for you is the same as for Roy. You are talking about living in a de-facto police state. There are plenty of Jews as dark as dark can be, there are plenty of muslims as light-skinned as you. And why stop with terrorism? Our murder rate is a disgrace, why don't we police-state ourselves a little more to stop that, too, a few summary executions, a minority community more fearful than ever...I think that sounds like a plan. I implore you, my friend, try to imagine what it would be like if we had a leader who could engage the world in a discussion of fundamentalism, of all stripes, his own included. But that requires intellect, imagination, and a vital sense of self-examination. Right now, all we got is chest-thumping that continues endlessly to little effect. Imagine the speech Eisenhower could give TODAY, half a century after he warned us about the danger of profit-motivated perpetual war. We are so far from that kind of truth-telling from our president, or his circle, that it is beyond depressing.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    In 1955 Emmitt Till was shot and killed. In 1963, civil rights leader Medgar Evers was assasinated. In 1964, civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were killed. In 1968, Martin Luther King was assasinated. In 1979, five labor organizers were shot to death as cameras rolled. In 1994, the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City was bombed, killing nearly 200 people. And this list is by no means exhaustive (doesn't include the numerous abortion clinic attacks, the Olympics, or Matt Hale's merry band of race killers). The common denominator in each of these attacks: all were committed by right-wing white males.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    More rightwing boilerplate from Jim, proving absolutely nothing because of yet another GROSS effort to mislead in statistics. 90% of those cases were done in the ME, where a great number of men 17-40 are, shockingly, Muslim. During the same forty year time period, you'll be surprised to hear that white men 17-40 committed the great majority of crimes in Lincoln, Nebraska, Bangor, Maine or Boise, Idaho. It's an epidemic!

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Yours was better than mine, kth. If we count the number of civilians killed by white men in US gov't -- it's a staggering number. White man Genghiz Bush has killed 130,000 in Iraq, plus another 10,000 in Haiti. Anyone who smirks at such crimes, like GWB, should be stopped.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#11)
    by Al on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Since Islam is a religion, obviously there are no external attributes that you can look for. To say a person "looks Moslem" is just as absurd as to say a person "looks Christian". Of course, if you go by looks, what this really means is, does the person "look Arabic"? (Whatever that means). Here's why this doesn't work: There are what, a few hundred million people who answer to that description? And there are perhaps a few thousand of those who are terrorists, at most? See the problem, Jim? Sure, you can point to a few dozen terrorist attacks perpetrated by Moslems after the fact. But if you see a person who looks like a Moslem to you in the subway, what are the odds that person is actually a terrorist? Bobby Kennedy's assassination as far as I know was not motivated by religion. I am quite certain it could not have been prevented by racial profiling. Nor would racial profiling have prevented the kidnapping of American diplomats by the Iranian government of the time. Nor would it have prevented any of the other attacks you mention. The net is simply too wide. What is more, I'm sure that the terrorists would be delighted to see racial persecution following from their attacks. It just makes Muslims more afraid, more frustrated, more accepting of Al-Qaeda recruiters. You want to defeat the recruiters? Make Muslims feel safe and respected.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#12)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Profiling would also advertise a blind spot for anybody who doesn't look Arabic or Muslim (or whatever standard they'd use). The terrorists just have to recruit a white guy, or get an Arab to dye his skin(*) to pass as black, and the NYPD will wave him through. (*) This sounds trollish as I read it back to myself, but it's plausible. John Griffin, a white civil rights activist, lived as a black man among blacks for a while.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#13)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Paul in LA: got a good link for the 130,000 killed in Iraq and 10,000 killed in Haiti?

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#14)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Dadler – The problem is that the radical Moslems do not want to have a discussion. Simply put, they do not want to obey secular western laws, and want us to obey Islamic laws. You are looking at an enemy that is aggressive, well financed and require a response that includes containment at the least, war at the most. kth – And all of the actions you described were condemned by US society as a whole and received attention from the US criminal justice system. Your straw man doesn’t walk. PIL writes: 90% of those cases were done in the ME. No, that is not correct. In fact, it is not even close. If you can, read the post and the locations and try again. I recommend you have world atlas nearby as you do the exercise. However, 100% of them were by Moslem terrorists. Al – Actually, I think none of the attacks were motivated by “religion.” But all the attackers were members of the same religion, and all were influenced by radical “religious leaders” calling for jihads and fatwahs.
    “Nor would it have prevented any of the other attacks you mention. The net is simply too wide.”
    I think a strong case could be made for the 9/11 attacks being prevented if profiling had been in place in the Boston airport. And especially if the FBI hadn’t been so politically correct that they ignored all kinds of warning signs. BTW - Profiling does not depend entirely on appearance. c-law – It wouldn’t have happened if the man had not ran when told to stop. It appears that he was in England illegally and fled because of that. Classic case of “I fought the law and the law won.” roy – True, profiling by itself won’t do the trick. It is merely one tool.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Jim too lazy to make your talking points? Seems your 11:15 post was taken verbatim from a conservative radio quiz. Next time at least acknowledge this isn't your writing and stop asking questions when we call you a dittohead.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#16)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Jim,
    True, profiling by itself won't do the trick. It is merely one tool.
    The only way profiling could help "do the trick" would be if Arab- or Muslim-looking men were simply not allowed in the public subway system without first being searched. Anything less would be a joke because would-be suicide bombers could just keep trying until they got in. A bomber would probably blow himself up rather than being searched, and a bomb at the entrance of the subway system is almost as dangerous as one on a subway, so we'd have to intitute a "keep your hands in the air within 50 feet of the subway" rule for Arab- or Muslim-looking men. That rule would have to be enforced with a London-style shoot-to-kill policy. That's what it will take for profiling to "do the trick". Slippery slope arguments are sometimes cheesy, but I think it fits this time. I think profiling, if enacted, would just be a way to get Americans more used to accepting unconstitutional policies.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    PPJ aka Jim - Tim McVeigh. Terry Nichols. Ted Kazynski. Eric Rudolph. The IRA. ETA in Spain. All white. All terrorists.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#18)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Two points: First: A basic lesson in logical resoning for those unable to grasp the flaws in any argument for racial profiling: a. All dogs have four legs THEREFORE: b. All four-legged animals are dogs a. All terrorists are muslims THEREFORE: b. All muslims are terrorists Clearly incorrect. It's a logical error. Get the point? Second: The IRA recently announced that they will cease armed action permanently after 30 years of terrorist actions and violence against civilians and government targets. Some questions occur to me here: Did we get here by "taking the fight to the enemy"? By bombing the houses of suspected IRA terrorists? By invading the Republic of Ireland? Or did we get here by negotiating with the "terrorists" and offering them a voice in a political process?

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#19)
    by Al on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    PPJ (referring to innocent Brazilian shot by police):
    It wouldn’t have happened if the man had not ran when told to stop. It appears that he was in England illegally and fled because of that. Classic case of “I fought the law and the law won.”
    Classic case of blame-the-victim. So what if he had overstayed his visa? So what if he ran because of that? (which nobody knows; he may also have run because he was being pursued by a bunch of guys in plain clothes with guns). The police blundered horribly and inexcusably. It was not the victim's fault in any way.
    I think a strong case could be made for the 9/11 attacks being prevented if profiling had been in place in the Boston airport.
    Right, because the only people passing through Boston airport who looked like Muslims were the 9-11 terrorists. You just don't get it, do you? You target the Muslims, you breed more terrorists, many more than you will catch with your silly profiling. If you want to be safe, make the Muslims feel safe.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#20)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:47 PM EST
    Ian: So which political process do you want to give them a voice in? London's? Bali, Chechnia, Sudan's, Saudi Arabia's, New York's, Wahsington's, Madrid's, Amsterdam's, Who is the spokes person?

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#21)
    by roy on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Al,
    Right, because the only people passing through Boston airport who looked like Muslims were the 9-11 terrorists.
    If security screeners had searched all Muslim-looking men, or just put them through a more sensitive metal detector than the general public and searched those who tripped it, they would have found the box cutters. It's not that profiling can't work, it's that to make it work you have to be willing to abuse a huge chunk of the population. As in every airport terminal making two security check lines, with big signs saying "Arabs" and "Non-Arabs" and a steady trickle of hispanics switching lines because the screener thinks they look Arabic.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#22)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    njdem – So, what’s your point? Tom, Ted, Eric and Rudolph are in jail. The other two organizations are no threat to the US. GregZ`- Nope, I cleaned it up, made some changes, including removing some harsh statements, and added one or two attacks. But I should have noted that some of the source material was not totally original. It is, however, accurate. Al – The problem isn’t targeting Moslems, it is them targeting us. I mean I don’t remember reading about any airplanes flying into buildings in Mecca. And if Boston had been profiling on the morning of 9/11….guess what? Can you say, “normal flight operations?” roy – Cheesy is as cheesy does, ;-) You are right. It isn’t 100%. But it is part of the puzzle.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#23)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    cleaned it up? more like turned questions and answers into sentences...

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#24)
    by John Mann on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    GregZ: Seems your 11:15 post was taken verbatim from a conservative radio quiz. GregZ`- Nope, I cleaned it up, made some changes, including removing some harsh statements, and added one or two attacks. But I should have noted that some of the source material was not totally original. It is, however, accurate. LOL roy – Cheesy is as cheesy does, ;-) No kidding.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#25)
    by Al on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    PPJ:
    The problem isn’t targeting Moslems, it is them targeting us. I mean I don’t remember reading about any airplanes flying into buildings in Mecca.
    Moslems are not targeting "us". Al Qaida is. And while no planes may have been flown into buildings in Mecca, things like the destruction of Fallujah, or sodomizing prisoners in Abu Ghraib, are great recruitment tools for suicide attackers.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#26)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Terrorists come from all races, all ideologies, either gender. How do you profile that?

    I believe the right-wing of the right-wing wants a police state, and will use whatever means necessary to get us there.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#27)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    cheetah - The current crop we are worried about come equipped with a religious background that is Moslem. That is a good start. John Mann - Keep on laughing. It'll help you. et al - As most of you know, I have written before that it is up to the moderate Moslems to fix this problem. I can't, you can't, we can't. It is their problem, and only ours because of the attacks on us. I would note that they have also attacked other Moslems who they felt weren't "following orders." Probably they have killed more Moslems than any other group. But until they do, or at least until they quit worrying about "backlash" and start worrying about the problem, I give them scant slack. Security resources are finite, and they should be applied in a rational manner. Searching Grandma and not young Moslems males makes little sense.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#28)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Well, PPJ, "the current crop" may be all you are worried about, but I'm concerned about the whole lot.

    Picking and choosing one leaves us vulnerable to the ball we've taken our eyes off of.

    Ridiculous!

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#29)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Menezes wasn't wearing a 'bulky' jacket, he used his tube pass, didn't jump over the turnstile, and there is no confirmation that cops identified themselves before chasing him and tackling him and pumping 6 to the head and one to the shoulder. He was profiled, and the profile was completely wrong.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#30)
    by jimcee on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    PPJ has it right and anyone who disagrees is a partisan fool, period. When Hindus, Sikhs, Catholics, Methodists or Lutherans or Jews for that matter have a serial history of vicious attacks on civilians then maybe I'll be siding with the 'anyone could be a terrorist' mentality. But there is no denying that in the here and now that it is people of the Islamic faith that are out to kill innocents for whatever reason. Profiling makes perfect sense unless of course you're an idiot then you deserve to die with the others that are killed because GOD has told someone to be a suicide bomber. The Left loved Stalin and Mao and agreed with Hitler as long as the murderer Stalin agreed with him. How long before the Left realizes that they are being suckered into the Islamic fold? Nothing is sadder than when someone is beat to a pulp and then realizes that they didn't really deserve the beating but blame themselves. The Left's opposition to to the war on terror resembles the abused spouse that says 'but he really is a nice guy, he just gets mad when I burn the dinner...' The weakness of the Left on this site saddens me and I am glad that they are not in control right now. Grow some balls and stand up for Western civilistion or become a part of the Dhimmni. It is your choice... submit or die,, or battle the medeivel mentality that has attacked the West. Somehow on this site bowing to the greater state of Islam is better than the elected government of the US. The Left is nothing but appeasing wimps. What the word Liberal used to mean and the sad way it is used now is pathetic. Man is the Left out of touch right now.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#31)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Sailor, as you so rightly pointed out, it always pays to wait for the official story to be overshadowed when the actual truth of the event unfolds. A "bulky jacket" turns out to be not bulky at all. "Jumping over a turnstile" never happened.

    What has happened to innocent until proven guilty? The right-wing will start crying foul only when they begin to get caught up in the police-state rush to judgement.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#32)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    jimcee...another viagra overdose? You beg the question: Why aren't you off in Iraq defending our way of life and our fair white women right now instead of frothing all over a keyboard? I guess your just one big sh*t talking appeasement monkey. You Pu$$y. :P

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#34)
    by Johnny on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    jimcee, when you start your comment with something like: "PPJ has it right and anyone who disagrees is a partisan fool, period", it pretty much defines your post as "partisan". You too, are a partisan fool. Your entire post is a repeat of every wrong-wing talking point about this "profiling" business. "When Hindus, Sikhs, Catholics, Methodists or Lutherans or Jews for that matter have a serial history of vicious attacks on civilians then maybe I'll be siding with the 'anyone could be a terrorist' mentality." Let's see... Just the other day I read where some white religious group finally decided to lay down arms.. Oops, forget they are white so no-one remembers the Irish. "But there is no denying that in the here and now that it is people of the Islamic faith that are out to kill innocents for whatever reason." Noone is denying it jim, but some people are not going to deny that an innocent person is innocent no matter their skin color-killing them is wrong. Period. Dead babies in Iraq? Wedding parties in Afghanistan? Aspirin factories in the Sudan? "Profiling makes perfect sense unless of course you're an idiot then you deserve to die with the others that are killed because GOD has told someone to be a suicide bomber." Guess the god that told GW to go and kill a bunch of Iraqi's has a different taste for blood? "The Left loved Stalin and Mao and agreed with Hitler as long as the murderer Stalin agreed with him." Link me please, I would LOVE to see that "Hitler+Liberals" in writing-no blogs, no non-major newsite either. "How long before the Left realizes that they are being suckered into the Islamic fold?" How long before the wrong-wingers realize they are doing exactly what the terrorists want them to do? (Kill babies, destroy cities, annihilate infrastructure). "Nothing is sadder than when someone is beat to a pulp and then realizes that they didn't really deserve the beating but blame themselves." That speaks volumes of what you perceive victims rights to be. "The Left's opposition to to the war on terror resembles the abused spouse that says 'but he really is a nice guy, he just gets mad when I burn the dinner...'" No, our opposition to the war is based on the fact, I repeat fact, that reasona fter reason provided to us by the wrong-wingers proved false. Now all the wrong wingers beat the drum of peace where once they were beating the drums of war. Blah Blah Blah... Some of us also oppose war on moral grounds. "The weakness of the Left on this site saddens me and I am glad that they are not in control right now." Well, glad we can help you out there Jim. Of course, wrong-wingers are in charge and of you can honestly answer that this country is better off because of it then I applaud your delusion. "Grow some balls and stand up for Western civilistion or become a part of the Dhimmni." LMAO Right after you gladiator "t is your choice... submit or die,, or battle the medeivel mentality that has attacked the West." Which is it? Which are you doing? Tell us how to make this all better Jim, there's only about 6 billion people on this planet, 5.7 billion of whom harbor no particular love for us rightnow. Fix it. The left has offered it's hopes and plans, now lets hear a rational strategy from the wrong wingers. "Somehow on this site bowing to the greater state of Islam is better than the elected government of the US." That is also a telling statement. It tells me two things. One: you spend too much time with Ann Coulter and two: you have no idea that the left opposes the current admin because we think wrong wingers are going to uckfa us up (which they are well on their way to doing). "The Left is nothing but appeasing wimps." Riiiight... Which explains why the wrong wingers have geared up to invade the other 130 countries with human rights violations similar to or worse than Iraq. "What the word Liberal used to mean and the sad way it is used now is pathetic. Man is the Left out of touch right now." *snicker* Oh right! I almost forgot, is there a war going on? Someone hand me my biscotti and espresso... PBS has an anti-america documentary on! That is hilarious jim, sorry man...

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#35)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Jimcee, Wastch out! The "Left" is gonna get ya! Please stop. You're a scarin me.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#36)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Jimcee, The left ARE a bunch of appeasing wimps, that's why the Taliban still controls Afghanistan (outside of Kabul) and Osama is still free. Yup, blame it on the left, if W had his way, we'd all be eating ice cream in Mecca. Moron!

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#37)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    “Arabs are a very diverse ethnic group who can resemble almost any group of southern Europeans, Latin Americans, Central and South Asians or Africans.”
    I guess this depends on how you define Arab. If you are talking about folks who speak some form of Arabic this would cover ~35 countries (two continents) from Algeria to Uzbekistan, or you could be talking about only folks from the Arabian Peninsula.
    “Even more preposterous would be any attempt to identify Muslims by appearance, as Muslims come from almost every part of the world, and constitute one-fifth of humanity.”
    True, but not really the issue. The profile is simple; male, from or adjacent to the Arabian Peninsula. This would cover Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, UEA, Qatar, Kuwait, (a landmass and population about the size of California) and Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea.
    “Demagogues who call for profiling, and even across-the-board discrimination, against American Muslims should acknowledge that in practice this could not be based on appearances or names.”
    You tell me if these folks (1, 2) have names and appearances in common.
    “It would probably require Americans to be categorized by, or register their faith with, the government, and carry identity documents confirming their official religious designation.”
    Ridiculous scare tactic. Registering by faith; carrying faith identity documents? Again, ridiculous. I’m not attempting to justify racial profiling. However, if you are going to argue against profiling I don’t think the ability or efficacy is the place to start (or lame scare tectics). I mean really, how comfortable are you going to be getting on the train with a young Arab man wearing unseasonable clothes and a large backpack? For better or worse that is the profile.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#38)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    PW, I would also feel unsafe on a train with a crew cut young man, unseasonably dressed, with backpack, and a neo-nazi tatoo sticking up from his collar. Can I profile christians because some are christian-identity extremists?

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#39)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Roger- “Can I profile christians because some are christian-identity extremists?” You missed the point; or rather have it exactly backward. As I covered in the previous post religion is not the profile. In your example the profile would be a young white male with tattoos and a hairstyle associated with a particular group, unseasonably dressed with a large backpack. You simply assumed he was a Christian extremist because of his (assumed) intent. The profile I described above was based on age, sex, and ethnicity; religion is incidental. Most young Arab men are Muslim, but most Muslims are not young Arab men.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#40)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    PW, Fine, I give you the same example (don't forget the tatoo!). Can I profile young germanic looking men? Irish? Serbian? After that, the unseasonable clothes and backpack would probably get anyone searched these days. The Fourth Amendment won't stop the search (and stop the bombing), it only prevents some of the evidence being used in court.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#41)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    So...denying 1 million American citizens who have brown skin their 4th amendment rights for a false sense of security is ok with some of you? For shame...and you call yourselves Americans! A bunch of cowards afraid to live free, that is what you are.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#42)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    “Fine, I give you the same example (don't forget the tatoo!). Can I profile young germanic looking men? Irish? Serbian?”
    I suppose; but what exactly is that going to accomplish? We are talking about a specific group of folks intent (by admission and deed) on carrying out soft target attacks in the west. The ‘foot soldiers’ are young Arab men. It seems altogether reasonable to pay extra attention to folks matching this description. By way of your analog; here in Utah we have a problem with extreme right white separatist groups. Several of these folks have made particularly violent outbursts in court and threatened the court and court officers. Recently one smuggled a shiv in his rectum into a courthouse holding cell and attacked a Hispanic inmate simply because he was Hispanic. Two weeks ago when he was brought to court over this incident the state police cordoned off the block surrounding the SLC courthouse. I am certain they profiled adjacent foot traffic for the kind of folks you described. And they should have. It is not a violation of the fourth amendment to ask young Arab men or skinheads if they would consent to a search. Not allowing someone access to public resources because they assert their fourth amendment rights is another thing altogether.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#43)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    It's time to put all the "politically correct" BS aside. Despite what we'd all like to believe, stereo types aren't dreamed up... there is a reason that they exist. Profiling is done for a reason... no.. not because the police (or any other people of authority) are bad... it's because these are the people causing trouble. If green eyed redheads were blowing things (& themselves) up, we'd be fools not to give them a good hard look when we saw them comming... COMMON SENSE....! Have we as a people completely lost any idea of this?

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#44)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    So, pigwiggle, what exactly are we supposed to be looking for? What color skin? Brown? What shade of brown? What color eyes? What about hair? What exactly is the profile?

    I'm American Indian. I've been asked if I was Greek, Spanish, Indonesian, Argentinian, Mediterranean, and Jewish. What do you do with people you can't seem to classify properly, simply because they look different from you?

    Like I said earlier, terrorism knows no race, no ideology, no gender. I have some ancestors who could explain that fact to you in very clear terms.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#45)
    by John Mann on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    Jimcee:
    PPJ has it right and anyone who disagrees is a partisan fool, period.
    PPJ has no credibility, and never has had. He totally exposed himself as a plagiarist today when he typed in this thread something that had been written by someone else and passing it off as his own words. When called on it, he simply turned tail and ran away to lick his wounds, but just as certain as the sun will rise tomorrow, he'll be back.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#46)
    by peacrevol on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    Like I said earlier, terrorism knows no race, no ideology, no gender. I have some ancestors who could explain that fact to you in very clear terms.
    Good point cheetah

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#47)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    “What exactly is the profile?”
    I see you didn’t read the post. OK, once more; young Arab male likely carrying a backpack or otherwise dressed to hide a weapon.
    “What do you do with people you can't seem to classify properly, simply because they look different from you?”
    We aren’t talking about folks that simply don’t look like me; although for all you know I am a young Arab man.
    “Like I said earlier, terrorism knows no race, no ideology, no gender. I have some ancestors who could explain that fact to you in very clear terms.”
    Ideology is what terrorist rally around and almost without exception membership can be drawn along ethnic, national, or economic lines. And gender; one characteristic of the modern suicide bomber is they are almost exclusively male. I’ll humor you and include the likely murderers of early American natives. These folks certainly could profile their would be attackers. Likely a white man on a horse, or any other native male not in their tribe or an aligned tribe; no need to worry about young Arab men. Anyway, what is the point? I hardly think the slaughter of American natives by white men is justification to not preferentially scrutinize young Arab men entering would be targets. I’ll change my mind when white men on horses or American natives start blowing themselves up in trains/buses/nightclubs/resorts/cafés/embassies/etc.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#48)
    by peacrevol on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    Like I said earlier, terrorism knows no race, no ideology, no gender. I have some ancestors who could explain that fact to you in very clear terms.
    Good point cheetah. We have to think of the majority of people who fit the "profile" but are not terrorists and not group them in with those who are. To put it into perspective, consider how you would feel if you were, say, a successful Egyptian businessman who takes the subway to work every morning and has his breifcase, which is full of confidential business papers, searched every other day. It's just not right. Where's the line between profiling and a police state? I saw where someone mentioned earlier that there are advantages to a police state. If there are, they DEFINATELY do not outway the disadvantages. Imagine having your every step watched by a government. The government already has too much control over the lives of its citizens.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#49)
    by roger on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    PW, You deliberately ignore the point: terrorism is a tactic, not an ideology. Many groups use it, they are not of one homogeneous ethnic group. Do I really need to provide you with a list of "non-arabic" terrorists? My guess is that more Americans (and definately more europeans) have been killed by white terrorists than by "arab" terrorists

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#50)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    Roger-
    “You deliberately ignore the point: terrorism is a tactic, not an ideology.”
    I think I made it clear; ideology is what terrorists rally around.
    “Many groups use it, they are not of one homogeneous ethnic group.”
    I thought we were discussing this in the context of subway searches. Bin Laden affiliated terrorists have shown intent to attack specific kinds of targets. It isn’t unreasonable to profile for these folks around those targets. However, if you want to shift the context to, say, profiling right wing terrorists around abortion clinics, fine; young white Christian men.
    “My guess is that more Americans (and definately more europeans) have been killed by white terrorists than by "arab" terrorists”
    Perhaps, but it seems the current and pressing threat is from folks ideologically aligned with AQ. If the next attack on one of the targets coveted by the likes of AQ is perpetrated by an organization or person not ideologically aligned with AQ I’ll eat my keyboard. Come on; was anyone here convinced when the Spanish government tried to blame their elections eve train bombing on ETA?

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#51)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    peacrevol... consider how you would feel if you were, say, a successful Egyptian businessman who takes the subway to work every morning and has his breifcase, ...searched every other day. It's just not right. Easy problem to solve. If he indeed takes the subway every day, all they have to do is check him real good once. Then put him on a list and have him show his ID each morning... done deal.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#52)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    ..it seems the current and pressing threat is from folks ideologically aligned with AQ...ideologically aligned with AQ.
    You say that you know terrorism isn't the result of ideology, yet you keep bringing it up.

    If you want to live your life afraid of young Arab males, knock yourself out. Just don't thrust your fear on the rest of us. Some citizens just want to be able to go about our business without being constantly hassled. And I, for one, am going to continue to live my life free from the kind of fear you are displaying here.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#53)
    by peacrevol on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    BB
    Easy problem to solve. If he indeed takes the subway every day, all they have to do is check him real good once. Then put him on a list and have him show his ID each morning... done deal.
    That could work, but then while security is checking his id, the blonde-haired white terrorist walks right by. My point is, it's not an easy problem to solve, and it cant be done by profiling. Even though most of these terrorists are Arab, it's logically conceivable that they could wear colored contacts and dye their hair another color if that's all it takes to get by security with a bomb.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#54)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    “You say that you know terrorism isn't the result of ideology, yet you keep bringing it up.”
    I haven’t said as much. Certainly if a plank of an ideology are methods we could agree were ‘terrorist’ then terrorism could be the result of ideology. Anyway, the relation between ideology and method seems little more than academic in deference to empirical profiling.
    “If you want to live your life afraid of young Arab males, knock yourself out. Just don't thrust your fear on the rest of us.”
    I’m not afraid; I almost never find myself in places that might be targets. A topic in the thread is the efficacy of profiling. I have simply taken exception with some of the rhetoric here. Come on; in the past few years there have been several high profile suicide attacks on so-called soft targets by young Arab men, and all the while organization with which they were ideologically aligned have promised repeats within the US. To argue that these folks can’t be identified before the fact because “terrorism knows no race, no ideology, no gender” is monumentally lame.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#55)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    "Monumentally lame."? Terrorism knows no race, no ideology, no gender. That is a fact. In other words, that is true.

    Truth is never "monumentally lame." Truth is what it is, and it's what you work with. Anything else will end in failure.

    Like in Iraq.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#56)
    by peacrevol on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    Each Arab-looking person that is profiled and given a hard time will sooner or later start to become bitter towards the US. If we continue to alienate the entire world based on a gender we're going to find ourselves profiling everyone, because everyone will be our enemies. Have we learned nothing from the racial oppression and difficulties we already have in this country?

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#57)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    Freedom, by nature, is scary. Imagine all of the people going about their business as they please, carrying what they please, saying what they please, and doing what they please. Scary, but glorious. This is freedom. The second an agent of the state stops you from doing the above without probable cause of wrongdoing, it ain't freedom. I say again, profilers are cowards afraid to live free. Live free or die. I have Middle Eastern features. Sorry folks, I am not willing to sacrifice my freedom so you all can feel a little safer. If you don't like it, you don't like freedom. Simple.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#58)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    kdog "Live free or die."

    I second that! I have no desire to live in that world. Fear is a killer in itself.

    peacrevol "Have we learned nothing from the racial oppression and difficulties we have had in this country?"

    Apparently some haven't.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#59)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    Truth is never "monumentally lame."
    The fact, in itself, is what it is; it is your argument that is lame. Agreed, all kinds of folks have throughout history perpetrated terrorism. Exactly how does this discredit profiling on public transit? Ideologicaly aligned groups that, almost without exception, use young Arab men as their foot soldiers have promised to attack targets like the NYC subway. It is entirely irrelevant that, for instance, young white men have bombed abortion clinics and gunned down abortion providers.
    Each Arab-looking person that is profiled and given a hard time will sooner or later start to become bitter towards the US.
    Profiling doesn’t mean stopping and searching all or any of the folks that fit the profile. And certainly profiling doesn’t mean stripping folks of their fourth amendment rights. Yeah, it means that young Arab men are going to be getting a lot of sideways glances from uniforms and plainclothes. But aren’t they getting that now, even from other commuters? When I was in my teens and twenties every time I was pulled over I was asked for consent to search, and now it never happens. The cops were smart to ask and I was smart to say no. To quote Chris Rock, ‘I’m not looking over my shoulder at the ATM for the media.’
    “I second that! I have no desire to live in that world. Fear is a killer in itself.”
    I wish I could believe this. Take the TSA; I don’t think the federal government should be regulating airline security. Are you willing to give the airlines the freedom to run their own security knowing how hyper vigilant they may be when exposed to financial liability of the magnitude of 9/11? Or for an altogether unrelated matter; are you willing to allow folks the freedom to opt out of Social Security or Medicare, benefits and liabilities? When it comes to a healthy dose of freedom I predict a healthy dose of fear.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#60)
    by peacrevol on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    I totally agree with kdog. This country was founded by people who wanted to be free. They realized that with each bit of power the government gains, it becomes more like a police state, and the people are less free. Hence checks and balances. But what I am afraid of is that we are beginning to allow the government to control our lives so much that we are about to become a police state, giving up our freedoms. This "profiling" just helps chip away at the freedom of the diverse cultures and peoples of our country.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#61)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    Right on cheetah and pea....right on brothers. "Live free or die"... so much more than just a catchy slogan. Occasionally we are put to the test to live up to it. Thanks to the fear mongering of our govt. and the cowardice of the populace, we are failing miserably this time around. I say again, for shame. PW is right as well in that there are many many ways in which our society does not pass the freedom test. The USA...more free than most, but not nearly free enough.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#62)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    Last point....we should be expanding freedom as a big middle finger up to the terrorists. Instead, we restrict it and give them small victories. Embarassing.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#63)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    Posted by Wile E. Coyote: "Paul in LA: got a good link for the 130,000 killed in Iraq and 10,000 killed in Haiti?" The Iraq number was the latest survey, this one of family members who have been killed. The actual number was 128,000, IFRC. Haiti? Who knows. After Bush removed the democratically-elected Aristide, the country descended into great chaos, and many thousands have been killed. That's Bush's fault, and it is just one of his utterly illegal acts. Pigwiggle: "I don’t think the federal government should be regulating airline security." Indeed, not -- the CONGRESS should be regulating AIRLINES (and not giving them giant bonuses for screwing their employees, and FAILING to stop hijackings). In the 60's the airlines refused the demand by the pilot's union to armor the cockpit doors. Too expensive. But who knew that the US ran out of jets? Even our aircraft carriers just do circles off San Diego (unless they are out attacking disarmed countries and spreading hatred of Amerika).

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#64)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:50 PM EST
    peacrevol... sooner or later start to become bitter towards the US. I hate to break this to you, but many of them (most?) are bitter already. I hope that instead of doing what most of the left does (EI -blame everyone but who is actually guilty) that most of the moderate Arab world will blame the terrorists for how the rest of the world perceives them.

    Re: Profiling Is Not the Answer (none / 0) (#65)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:01:50 PM EST
    BB..I'm surprised at your stance on this, you usually support freedom, warts and all. We may be on opposite sides of the ideological spectrum, but I thought we were in full agreement in the love of liberty and the sacrifices to safety required to preserve it. What gives?