Wednesday, August 03, 2005

PLEASE CHECK MY BAG



Recently the controversy surrounding racial profiling by the New York Police Department has been aggravating me. The logic behind the "injustice" of the baggage searches throughout the MTA subway system is that the police will most likely pull aside Muslims or those who have similar skin tones. Today it has been announced that the NYCLU is filing a lawsuit against the NYPD for their infringement of our civil rights. Essentially, the NYCLU feels that we should be more sensitive about other people’s feeling, rather than maintain a level of safety and security. Better we should hold hands and sing happy songs than face the reality of the cruel and awful world we live in where suicide bombers don't distinguish between anyone, regardless of their political affiliations. The left-wing organization keeps referencing Timothy McVeigh as a support for their argument but what they fail to understand is that, yes, we will always have exceptions to the rule. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean we should ignore the rule. It can be said that no Muslim was involved in the Oklahoma City bombings but, paradoxically, I could say that no Caucasians where involved in September 11th or July 7th.

And despite my general liberal leanings, I think that the NYCLU, the forerunner in protesting the searches, is essentially assisting the terrorists in accomplishing their acts of selfish slaughter. Moreover, I don't think they should be "fighting" for the people when I'm sure the people are overwhelmingly in favor of the searches. Many say that if you have nothing to hide then there's nothing wrong with a policeman rummaging through my bag. The ones that should be nervous about the new policy are the people that indeedhave something to hide.

As far as this topic is concerned, I have plenty of things to say but I found an editorial from the New York Times that I think said it best. I generally stay away from posting other people's opinions but if you missed this, it's very worth reading. Unfortunately, the Times is charging for this article but I thankfully found it reprinted in the San Diego Union-Tribune. This piece proves that we do indeed live in a different time. There is no longer room for apologies and political-correctness. The world must act in its best interests. If that means inspecting my bag, then, so be it. Check my bag.

It's the age of terror: What would you do?
By Paul Sperry
July 31, 2005

In response to the serial subway bombings in London, Mayor Michael Bloomberg prudently ordered the police to start searching the bags of New York's subway riders. But there will be absolutely no profiling, Bloomberg vowed: the police will select one out of every five passengers to search, and they will do so at random, without regard for race or religion.

In that case, the security move is doomed to fail.

Young Muslim men bombed the London tube, and young Muslim men attacked New York with planes in 2001. From everything we know about the terrorists who may be taking aim at our transportation system, they are most likely to be young Muslim men.

Unfortunately, however, this demographic group won't be profiled. Instead, the authorities will be stopping Girl Scouts and grannies in a procedure that has more to do with demonstrating tolerance than with protecting citizens from terrorism.

Critics protest that profiling is prejudicial. In fact, it's based on statistics. Insurance companies profile policyholders based on probability of risk. That's just smart business. Likewise, profiling passengers based on proven security risk is just smart law enforcement.

Besides, done properly, profiling would subject relatively few Muslims to searches. Elderly Muslim women don't fit the terrorist profile. Young Muslim men of Arab or South Asian origin do. But rather than acknowledge this obvious fact, the New York Police Department has advised subway riders to be alert for "people" in bulky clothes who sweat or fiddle nervously with bags.

Well, a lot of people wear bulky clothes. A lot of people fiddle with their bags. And for that matter, a lot of people sweat. Could the Police Department be any more general in describing the traits of an Islamic suicide bomber? Could its advice be more useless?

Truth be told, commuters need to be most aware of young men praying to Allah and smelling like flower water. Law enforcement knows this, and so should you.

According to a January 2004 handout, the Department of Homeland Security advises U.S. border authorities to look out for certain "suicide bomber indicators." They include a "shaved head or short haircut. A short haircut or recently shaved beard or moustache may be evident by differences in skin complexion on the head or face. May smell of herbal or flower water (most likely flower water), as they may have sprayed perfume on themselves, their clothing, and weapons to prepare for Paradise."

Suspects may have been seen "praying fervently, giving the appearance of whispering to someone. Recent suicide bombers have raised their hands in the air just before the explosion to prevent the destruction of their fingerprints. They have also placed identity cards in their shoes because they want to be praised and recognized as martyrs."

The bodies of the London suicide bombers were recognized by their identification cards. And on the eve of the 9/11 attacks, the hijackers shaved and perfumed themselves with flower water in a pre-martyrdom ritual called ablution.

But don't expect the federal authorities to screen for these indicators on Amtrak, which pulls into Penn Station in New York and Union Station in Washington, two of the biggest commuter-rail depots in the country.

Not only is there no passenger profiling on Amtrak, but there's no screening or mandatory searching of carry-on bags. The only restriction on bags is a 50-pound weight limit – and that's not much comfort when you recall that the bombs used in London weighed only 10 pounds.

Once an Islamist suicide bomber is sitting next to you on the train, your chances of escape are slim. The only solution is for the police to stop him well before he boards your car. But with the system as it stands, that terrorist could easily slip in through the numerical window of random security screening.

By not allowing police to profile the most suspicious train passengers – young Muslim men who fit the indicators above – Bloomberg and other leaders not only tie one hand behind law enforcement's back, but they also unwittingly provide terrorists political cover to carry out their murderous plans. Call it politically correct suicide.

2 Comments:

Anonymous youcannotbeserious said...

dear arye, i do agree with you on many levels here, but i must admit id be a bit more sympathetic if you were brown. nevertheless, i think everyone is giving the mta and the police department and the mayoral admin too much credit. bag searching is quite simply an exercise in public relations. theres a major loophole that many people are, surprisingly, not considering, which is that every individual has the right to refuse being searched. meaning that mister terrorist can refuse a search and mosey on down to the next station where the odds are, he wont be searched. i guess id have a little more sympathy if i believed that these public gestures might actually be effective. so as it stands, seems to me these measures to emphasize or deemphasize racial profiling are only futile, at best.

anyway, if you have time, read this article: http://capmag.com/article.asp?ID=3639 as it rings a very similar tune to what you've said here and breaks it down even deeper.

2:05 PM  
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2:56 AM  

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