Profiling "At Random"

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Adam's Apple, Jul 29, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    You Object to Profiling? Fuhgedaboutit
    By David Gelernter, The Los Angeles Times
    July 29, 2005

    Pretty good article about the necessity for profiling. Go to http://www.latimes.com. Do a search for David Gelernter. Will be first article listed.
     
  2. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    The fact that the politically correct crowd has villified calling people who and what they are based on physical appearance and behavior is ABSURD. We are NOT opaque and completely void of personality.
     
  3. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    From Gelernter's article:

    "So the real question is this: Are we eager enough to prevent the crime in question to stop people (like bulky-backpack wearers or travelers who appear Middle Eastern) who we know might be guilty but almost certainly aren't? Are we willing to impose this inconvenience on many innocent people who fit the profile just to find a few guilty ones?

    If the goal is to preempt "ordinary" crimes (say theft or robbery) that hurt only a few individuals, the coldblooded answer is probably no. If the goal is to preempt a terrorist attack that might hurt the whole nation, the answer ought to be yes.

    Once we've decided to use profiles, we should make them complete. A complete profile is as likely to promote fairness as damage it. If I'm carrying a bulky backpack and you look Middle Eastern, and both items belong in the profile — why should I be stopped and not you? Equality doesn't mean you get a pass or special privileges just because your skin is dark or you appear Middle Eastern.

    You might argue that dark-skinned people are a special case, given the way the United States has treated them. I agree — we have treated them so solicitously, and worked so hard to suppress racial prejudice, that dark-skinned people owe their country the benefit of the doubt.

    The U.S. doesn't deserve gratitude for not doing wrong. But no nation in history has ever worked harder to correct a fault than the U.S. has to end racial prejudice. We've earned the right to expect everyone who fits a security profile to grin and bear it.

    Which doesn't make it any less of a pain to match a profile. As a graduate student traveling alone in early-1980s Europe, I sometimes matched terrorist profiles and got stopped. (In those days, European terrorist groups were bigger problems than Islamic terrorism.) Today, I look like a bearded, troublemaking professor, and I still get stopped occasionally, in airports.

    But the fact remains that profiling is logical in loads of circumstances, from deciding who should get flu shots to choosing whom to chat with when you don't know anyone at a party. Profiling means making smart choices when you have nothing but externals to go by.
     
  4. Trigg
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    Trigg Active Member

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    I agree with everything that's been highlighted here. Profiling is necessary right now to fight terrorism. They need to stop searching 87 year old women, my grandmother was actually stopped in a airport she's 89, it's just stupid.

    People act like profiling doesn't take place everyday. Watch any episode of cops where they pull over white kids in a run down neighborhood. I was watching an episode where the cops are discussing pulling kids over since they were probably looking to buy drugs, profiling at it's finest people!!
     
  5. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    I know what you're talking about. A few years back, my mother was pulled out of line and searched at the Miami airport because she had fingernail clippers in her purse and a small sewing kit that contained a pair of scissors. They could not immediately find these "weapons", so she was detained for half an hour while they kept taking her purse back to the camera for yet another look. Beware of those elderly women who might have the strength to kill someone with nail clippers and a small pair of scissors!
     

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