Monday, August 01, 2005

In Defense of Profiling

It drives me nuts to be at the airport and watch some little old lady being practically strip searched. There is one constant in security, you can't cover everything, you will never have enough resources. In order to defend against the threat the most efficiently you have to target your resources against the most likely targets, that is why you are likely to find greater security at the airport, then say, Bob's Bait Shop. So why is it when it comes to the people carrying out these attacks we pretend that they are all equal? We know that the overwhelming majority of the people who carry out terrorist attacks against us are Islamic males in their 20s and 30s of Middle Eastern, East African and South Asian descent. Does this mean that we should put everyone of this description in jail? Absolutely not. But if the police are searching people in the NY subway and they have a choice between searching a 50 year old black female, and a 30 year old Moroccan man, they are obviously going to accomplish a lot more searching the man. But this is something we can't say because it is insensitive. Well, I don't care, people's lives are at stake, I will say it, and so should everyone else. Charles Krauthammer has an excellent article saying this too.

The American response to tightening up after London has been reflexive and idiotic: random bag checks in the New York subways. Random meaning that the people stopped are to be chosen numerically. One in every 5 or 10 or 20.

This is an obvious absurdity and everyone knows it. It recapitulates the appalling waste of effort and resources we see at airports every day when, for reasons of political correctness, 83-year-old grandmothers from Poughkeepsie are required to remove their shoes in the search for jihadists hungering for paradise.

The only good thing to be said for this ridiculous policy is that it testifies to the tolerance and good will of Americans, so intent on assuaging the feelings of minority fellow citizens that they are willing to undergo useless indignities and tolerate massive public waste.