September 19, 2016 by gregrabidoux2013
Has the time come?
Should we allow even embrace the use of religious and ethnic profiling as a means to help protect our nation from would-be terrorists?
Is such a step, even if constitutional, now necessary?
FBI profilers tell us that they use fairly complex algorithms to identify and determine certain behavior patterns to predict with statistical certainty future behavior of individuals and groups that share a variety of common variables and components.
Critics of such profiling say that’s a nice way of saying “round up the usual suspects” with or without actual cause. if you are of a certain skin color, age and gender (black, 15-35, male) and in a car after a certain hour (1o pm) in certain areas then you know what they mean. Your chance of being pulled over and questioned with no cause if you fall under such a profile rockets upwards.
Supporters counter that part of profiling is simply using common sense.
There’s a reason they say that many terrorists do yell ‘Allah Akbar’ and not “reject radicalism” before they murder innocent people and it has everything to do with their religion, age, gender and ethnicity.
After a week-end that saw our nation endure terrorist attacks in MN, NJ and NY, more leaders are forcefully asking the question, actually demanding, that law enforcement officials be allowed to engage in religious, ethnic and even racial profiling as a strategic, preventive measure against terrorism. In this case, LEOs, including a former FBI anti-terrorist profiler and GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, have both recently demanded that such a move be made.
Front and center.
There’s a reason folks that police don’t immediately start searching for females age 65 and older when a terror attack has occurred. Or when police get word that a gang is infiltrating the local high school they don’t immediately go to the Math Honors Club and round up the usual suspects. Or when police believe that a serial killer may be at work they do start to immediately profile any single, white, loner men between the age of 35-45 associated with the victims and put him on their short list.
It may not be fair if you land in a profiler’s matrix and have done no crime, but maybe, just maybe, many argue, that is a fair price to pay for more security these days.
It’s also why we are learning that a number of anti-terror experts have been and are continuing to quietly profile possible radicalized terrorists, singling out Muslim men between the ages of 15-45 who have traveled abroad to so-called “hot spots” like Afghan, Iraq, Syria and Iran (non-US Military ) and are increasing what they call “preemptive” surveillance. We are also hearing from a number of politicians and citizens that surveillance be stepped up on a number of large Mosques across the nation and that these be targets for undercover surveillance as some argue this is often where young, vulnerable Muslim men become radicalized.
President Obama has asked that we remain calm and not give in to fear and that “attackers will never undermine our way of life.”
Hillary Clinton echoed the president’s thoughts today (9/19/2016) and in the immediate news of the most recent NY bombing called for us to “not overreact” and that “even calling it a bombing may be reckless.”
Her rival, Donald Trump showed no such reluctance, calling “it” a bombing, arguing that “we have to get tougher” and this morning as news reports broke making it a lot more probable that the suspected NJ/NY bomber (Ahmad Khan Rahami) was indeed, a radical Muslim, called for an uptick in profiling and surveillance.
So, who is right here? What is truly the best path as we move forward?
Profiling, surveillance, a blocking of further immigration, in essence a presumption of guilt until proven innocent or a measured, more cautious response?
Certainly, detractors of using religious and ethnic profiling argue that it is not legal, not the American way and that so many innocent men and women, though more men, will be caught up in the net of suspicion that only resentment, rage and resistance are likely outcomes.
Yet, proponents are pointing to the recent attacks like the Minnesota Mall of America stabbings (where the suspect allegedly yelled ‘Allah Akbar’-God is Great) before his attack and the self-proclaimed ‘Soldier of ISIS’ in the NJ/NY bombings as further proof that overwhelmingly terror, at least the brand targeted toward the USA and much of Europe is in fact, radical Islam and not any other profile or type.
So, why not simply admit that we are in a war against radical Islamists who want to destroy all western ‘infidels’ and take steps now to aggressively protect our way of life?
A way of life that has already, many argue, been undermined and changed forever.
Is it fair to generalize that “all” Muslims want to destroy America and murder all they see as ‘infidels’ to their religion? of course not.
But by the same token, should we ignore the fact that a significant number of Muslims take very literally scripture in their holy book (the Koran) that in fact commands them to do this exact thing?
Or to continually ignore thing “army” of ISIS soldiers and loyalists who apparently believe they live for no other reason than to kill as many Christians as they can before dying?
It’s difficult to amass knowledge, have a sense of history and observe what seems like daily attacks on your country, your city, your neighbors, your way of life without begin to ‘quietly profile’ isn’t it?
On the other hand, is refusing to engage in such presumptive profiling really just “political correctness” as Mr. Trump and others charge?
Or is our way of life and what we believe in now and for well over 250 years really at stake if we take this ‘step’ and profile those we think have and will harm this way of life?
In a haunting bit of irony, the NJ/NY bombing suspect’s family owned a small restaurant called “The First American Fried Chicken.”
Somehow I lost my appetite.