Skip to comments.NYT: Terrorism and the Random Search -- The civil liberty argument against profiling
Posted on 07/26/2005 6:21:26 AM PDT by OESY
London's bombings continue to echo throughout the urban world. In New York City, commuters have been facing random searches of backpacks, duffel bags and briefcases by police officers who are trying to thwart a potential terrorist attack. The extra precautions, originally planned to continue for a few weeks, have already drawn complaints from some civil libertarians.
The searches must be done in an evenhanded manner. They must also be done for far longer than a few weeks.
Travelers have long since gotten used to extensive searches before they board airplanes, and they should be relieved to see security measures on the subways and commuter trains as well. The New York City Police Department seems to have taken some pains to make sure that people's constitutional rights are respected. It has, to its credit, issued a directive that while people who refuse to have their belongings examined can be stopped from riding the subways, no one can be arrested simply for leaving and not allowing a search.
The police officers must be careful not to give the impression that every rider who looks Arab or South Asian is automatically a subject of suspicion. They will naturally choose to search the bags of those people who appear suspicious, like those wearing bulky clothes in warm weather. But those who are selected simply because they are carrying packages should be chosen in a way that does not raise fears of racial profiling - by, for example, searching every 5th or 12th person, with the exact sequence chosen at random.
Finding a way to treat people fairly and still pursue any real threat is a particularly difficult and important task in a city as diverse as New York....
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
The New York Times has unwittingly made the strongest possible argument as to why Democrats cannot be trusted in leadership positions where they might direct national security matters. The Dem base would never allow them to comprehend the root causes of a problem, much less deal with it effectively, because of the liberal deference to political-correctness. In their skewed hierarchy of priorities, equal (evenhanded) treatment and privacy rights outweigh constitutional responsibilities to ensure domestic tranquility (and freedom from fear) while protecting the right to life from terrorist attack.
Aw Jeez! Not that shit again!
Profiling = sanity. Liberalism is a mental disease. MS is right.
Absolutely! Not hurting some young Arab male's feelings is exactly as important as finding a bomb before it is planted on the subway . Everyone (at the NYT) knows that.
That PC crap is going to lose the war.
It doesn't matter what the civil liberty argument is, there is going to be terrorist profiling. Whether it be transit authority, police, security, or most importantly the PUBLIC there will and should be profiling. There is not one thing these namby-pamby's can do about it!
"But those who are selected simply because they are carrying packages should be chosen in a way that does not raise fears of racial profiling"
Racial profiling is perhaps the most effective tool in intercepting these terrorists. In addition to race, we know they are usually young men so age and sex profiling are also appropriate in this case.
As I recall the main opposition to racial profiling came from police stopping blacks driving expensive cars. Perhaps it was overused but now it is viewed as a policy akin to slavery by the leftwing fruitcakes. Racial profiling will save lives and could have prevented 9/11 if the airlines had been allowed to use it. Once again, liberal feel good policies will subvert our security and cost lives while protecting terrorists.
They can cry about it a lot for all the good it does.
The only right answer.
> Most metropolitan transit authorities are publicly owned corporations (local government owns at least a controlling share of the stock) and not government services.
Another point is that the NYT and ACLU types don't ride the subway with the hoi polloi...they've never experienced that horrible, sinking feeling when the police go by with a bomb sniffing dog...never rode the bus next to a veiled young lady who might explode at any moment. I'd like to see the editorial staff of the New York Times take public transportation for the duration of this war, and see how quickly they change their civil libertarian minds about profiling.
Well, it all depends.
If 'Rat wavering causes
the terrorists to
attack our cities,
that will empower Red Nation
both sorting out things
and how the war's waged away.
But if terrorists
if they attack our farmlands
we could see the end
of our whole country because
Blue Nation would then
have to issue calls
to the UN to help us,
and, then, we'd be gone . . .
On the plus side, New Yorkers usually race down the stairs for fear of missing the train and having to wait for the next one. If carrying a backpack or package was going to result in delays, fewer and fewer people will carry them so searching will get easier. Maybe the city could provde backpacks for tourists - perhaps with material that is sensitive to explosives built in.
Disrupting terrorist plans may not require searching everyone, just the chance that the courier would be detected by a random search, a random visit from a sniffing dog, or a technological sniffer might convince them to try something else.
What we really need to win this war is a machine that finds and/or destroys explosives. It has to be less intrusive than the conveyor belts. Come on inventors & scientists, this would be better than transparent aluminum.