Monday, November 28, 2005

Profiling "them" WILL make "us" safer

Writing in the Chicago Tribune, a Dawn Turner Trice says that the profiling of Arab men trying to get into the United States is "downright dangerous". Her article is a bit disjointed. She starts out by accusing U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) of advocating racial profiling of Arab males. Then says that he actually said that the immigration of males from terrorist-producing countries should be limited. That's a big difference. What exactly is Rep. Kirk advocating?
"I'm OK with discrimination against young Arab males from terrorist-producing states. I'm OK with that."
"I think that when we look at the threat that's out there, young men, between, say, the ages of 18 and 25 from a couple of countries, I believe a certain amount of intense scrutiny should be placed on them," the Highland Park congressman was quoted as saying. "I'm not threatened by people from China. I'm not even threatened by people from Mexico. I just know where the threat is from. It's from a unique place, and I think it's OK to recognize that.''
Ms. Trice asks, "If you say it's OK to discriminate against some Muslims trying to enter the country, then how long before American Muslims would see their rights whittled away?" Well, it is my understanding that the United States places limits on the immigration of people from every country on this earth. Has the immigration limit on Italians caused Italian-American rights to be whittled away? Has the immigration limit on Canadians wishing to move to this country caused Canadian-American rights to be whittled away? Has the immigration limit on Ukrainians caused Ukrainian-American rights to be whittled away? Has the immigration limit on Nigerians caused Nigerian-American rights to be whittled away? Hell, they've got more rights than I do (preferential treatment in consideration for university slots, job openings, small business loans, etc.). Especially if they are of a minority race and more especially if they are female. Ms. Dawn Turner Trice qualifies twice.

So, according to Ms. Trice, Congressman Kirk's statement "profiling--attempting to sort out criminals and non-criminals based on racial, ethnic or age considerations--seems to be a perfectly reasonable and efficient tool in 'the war on terror'" (her scare quotes, not mine). I suppose that the use of the scare quotes around "war on terror" indicate her dislike or disbelief of that term.

Ms. Trice, no doubt a highly seasoned and experienced anti-terrorism specialist, goes on to list a group of murderers which she says indicates that terrorists are as likely to be WASP's as Arab males. She notes Eric Rudolph, WASP (killed 2 or 3 people and wounded a couple of dozen, I think), John Allen Muhammad (a converted Muslim African-American - who converted him, a Catholic Imam named Paddy O'Shea?), Timothy McVeigh (killed 168 people), a University of Oklahoma student, WASP, who blew himself up (killed one - himself) and another University of Oklahoma student, WASP, caught with a pipe bomb (kilt, uh, nobody). She failed to mention William H. Bonney (killed 9), Alexander Franklin James (killed 150+), John Wesley Hardin (killed 30+), Charles Joseph Whitman (killed 17). WASPs all. Ms. Trice also failed to mention these fine folks.

Khalid Almihdhar - Arab male
Majed Moqed - Arab male
Nawaf Alhazmi - Arab male
Salem Alhazmi - Arab male
Hani Hanjour - Arab male
These four flew American Airlines flight 77 into the Pentagon - killed 289

Satam M.A. Al Suqami- Arab male
Waleed M. Alshehri - Arab male
Wail M. Alshehri - Arab male
Mohamed Atta - Arab male
Abdulaziz Alomari - Arab male
These five flew American Airlines flight 11 into the North Tower, World Trade Center - killed 2860

Marwan Al-Shehhi - Arab male
Fayez Rashid Ahmed Hassan Al Qadi Banihammad - Arab male
Ahmed Alghamdi - Arab male
Hamza Alghamdi - Arab male
Mohand Alshehri - Arab male
These five flew United Airlines flight 175 into the South Tower, World Trade Center

Saeed Alghamdi - Arab male
Ahmed Ibrahim A. Al Haznawi - Arab male
Ahmed Alnami - Arab male
Ziad Samir Jarrah
These four flew United Airlines flight 93 into the ground in a field in Pennsylvania after being attacked by the passengers - killed 45.

Zacarias Moussaoui - Arab male - missed his flight on 9/11
Osama bin Laden - Arab male - financed and helped plan 9/11

Abu Ali al-Harithi - Arab male
Ahmed Hijazi - Arab male
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri - Arab male
Fahd al-Qusaa - Arab male
Maamoun Msouh - Arab male
Ibrahim al-Thawr - Arab male
Abdullah al-Misawa - Arab male
These eight plotted and/or carried out the USS Cole bombing - killed 17

Ramzi Yousef - Arab male
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed - Arab male
Mohammed Jamal Khalifa - Arab male
El Sayyid Nosair - Arab male
Sheikh Abdel Rahman - Arab male
Mahmud Abouhalima - Arab male
Abdul Rahman Yasin - Arab male
Mohammad Salameh - Arab male
Eyad Ismoil - Arab male
Nidal Ayyad - Arab male
Ahmad Mohammad Ajaj - Arab male
All convicted of conspiracy and/or murder for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing - 6 killed, 1040 wounded

And there are lots more - the Buffalo Six, The Oregon Seven, Ocean's 11 (just kidding about that last one). The point here is that law enforcement, when considering preventive measures, must take a look at the odds, or probabilities. Who are the most probable people to make a terrorist strike against us? Grandma with her darning needles or an Arab male driving south across the Canadian border with a trunkful of C4? Billy and Sally with backbacks stuffed with clean underwear for a week at summer camp or an Arab male flying in from Saudi Arabia with his suitcase stuffed with bomb-making recipes and a Koran? And as far as immigration goes, should we put just slightly more stringent restrictions on Yemenis than Australians? I shouldn't think that it would require a lot of brain power to determine the more prudent course here.

Ms. Trice then proceeds to make this silly statement, "All racial profiling does is gives us a false sense of security." That's the same as saying that the neighborhood firehouse is useless because it gives us a false sense of security. Buildings still burn down, don't they and sometimes with people still inside? The city ambulance services with their trained paramedics provide us with a false sense of security because people still drop dead from heart attacks. The town sheriff provides us with a false sense of security because people still rob and rape and murder. Seat belts and airbags give us a false sense of security because people still die in car crashes. Walk/Don't Walk signals give us a false sense of security because folks still walk out in front of cars and get splattered. I could go on but you get the point.

Will we ever be completely safe from terror attacks? Of course not. Are the French? The Italians? The Spanish? The Russians? The British? The Saudis (the innocent ones, that is)? No one is completely safe or secure. But eliminating more stringent measures that could be taken against the most likely perpetrators of a future attack is like eliminating the FAA because, heck, people still are going to die in plane crashes.

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