A Nation of Spies
Will we allow fear to turn the United States into a nation of spies? Tens of thousands of school bus drivers around the country have been "trained to watch for potential terrorists, in a program financed by the Homeland Security Department." The School Bus Watch program is intended "to turn 600,000 bus drivers into an army of observers."
But what are they observing? It's fine to teach bus drivers how to inspect their busses for signs of tampering, but the notion that "a bus driver, going down the same streets and going into the same neighborhoods every day," will "know when there's a car that shouldn't be there" is silly. Does an out-of-town friend who drops in for a visit become a suspected terrorist because a bus driver doesn't think her Toyota should be there?
At weekly crime meetings in Nashville, neighborhood residents are told that it's crucial to report anyone "who doesn't belong here." That advice, according to this story, is taken to mean: "If you see more than two young black males ages 12-18 wearing hooded sweat shirts and moving by foot, quickly, run to the phone and call the police."
Apparently young white males wearing hooded sweatshirts are not suspect. This was articulated by a East Nashville Police Department representative who confirmed the fears and suspicions of the residents and assured them (more than five times) that 100% of the recent crimes committed in East Nashville were indeed committed by black males. In other words, "Your fears are completely justified."
In a diverse society that values freedom of movement, it's dangerous to assume that bus drivers, neighbors, or anyone else can reliably decide who "doesn't belong" or who "shouldn't be there."
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