“If You See Something, Say Something™” the DHS slogan goes (yes, it is trademarked). “It takes a community to protect a community,” the feds continue. “Informed, alert communities play a critical role in keeping our nation safe.” No doubt. But the best information in the world is of little use if social pressure prevents one from disclosing it. Such was the case before the San Bernardino tragedy, when a man living near terrorist Syed Farook’s Redlands home noticed suspicious-looking Middle Eastern men in the area. But he “decided not to report anything,” wrote CBS Los Angeles, “since he did not wish to racially profile those people.” Ah, the power of a lie — to silence. And to kill.
And it’s time to kill that lie. This starts with grasping a simple truth: There is no such thing as “racial profiling” or “religious profiling” per se. There is only good criminal profiling and bad criminal profiling. The good variety considers all relevant factors, based on sound criminological science, regardless of political concerns. The bad kind discriminates unjustly among those factors and only allows greater suspicion and scrutiny of people who aren’t politically favored.
For example, I’m a member of one of the most profiled groups in the nation: males. Police view men much more suspiciously than women because men commit an inordinate amount of the crime. If this is just, however, shouldn’t we apply the exact same standard to all other groups that commit an inordinate amount of crime? And if considering racial factors is “racial profiling” and must be eliminated, isn’t considering sexual factors “sex profiling”? Shouldn’t it also be forbidden?
Of course, racial factors are considered all the time. If a white man is cruising a bad neighborhood in an expensive car, the police may stop him because they know the probability is relatively high he’s there to buy drugs. And at one time part of the profile of someone in the methamphetamine trade was “white,” as white motorcycle gangs used to be its main players.
Profiling is simply a fancy name for the “application of common sense.” As economist Dr. Walter Williams has pointed out, it’s a method by which we can make determinations based on scant information when the cost of obtaining more information is too high. For example, an Israeli airport-security agent could make far better judgments if he could spend a month living with every prospective traveler, getting to know him and his family. But since this is unrealistic, the agent has to assess probabilities based on the little information he has. And rest assured that the Israelis scrutinize young Muslim men far more closely than elderly Norwegian grandmothers.
We all engage in profiling, as it’s necessary for survival. If a person avoids a group of rough-hewn young men walking down the street, refuses to buy a car off a sleazy-looking used-car salesman, or if a child is wary of petting a strange dog, the individual has engaged in “profiling.” To refuse to thus act would be as silly as a cat not avoiding dogs because there are the odd canine-feline friendships. It could win you the year’s Darwin Award.
Doctors practice profiling, too, when they assess the diseases and conditions for which a patient should be screened. To use some examples Dr. Williams has cited, Pima Indians have the world’s highest diabetes rate; black men have a prostate cancer rate twice that of white men; and physicians check women and not men for breast cancer even though men occasionally develop it, and recommend prostate exams for men over 40. When a doctor does this, is he guilty of “racism,” “sexism” and “ageism”?
Reality: if he didn’t consider these relevant racial, sex-related and age-related factors when conducting his duties, he’d be a bad doctor. In light of this, let’s finish the following sentence: If a policeman doesn’t consider relevant racial, sex-related and age-related factors when conducting his duties, he’s _ ___ _________.
Oh, note that any politician, activist or voter who encourages him to be a _ ___ _________ is a bad citizen.
And there are many relevant group-related factors for authorities to consider. Men account for 81 percent of all violent-crime arrests; those aged 15–24, though only 14 percent of the population, account for approximately 40 percent of all arrests; and 96 percent of all crime in NYC is committed by blacks and Hispanics. Should these facts be ignored by authorities?
There are belief-oriented factors in crime as well. There was quite a bit of terrorism in the 1970s, perpetrated mainly by left-wing groups such as the Weather Underground, the Symbionese Liberation Army, anti-Vietnam War protesters and the Black Panthers. Thus, harboring these groups’ beliefs was part of the terrorist profile. Today, almost all the terrorism bedeviling us is committed by Muslims. Should authorities in 2015 play the three-monkeys game and ignore a clear-cut and consistent belief-oriented association with terrorism?
FACT: “Muslim” is now the most relevant factor in the terrorist profile. Anyone who denies this in political correctness’ name is hurting our country and should be shamed, stigmatized and ostracized. He should hear: “You’re a bad person. You’re a malefactor. And you’re aiding and abetting terrorism.”
Mind you, even those who rail against good profiling — using the propaganda term “racial profiling” — profile using racial factors. They just do it all wrong. Immediately after the San Bernardino shooting, MSNBC suggested it might be the work of pro-lifers (profile: “white”). CNN opined that it could have been perpetrated by militia types (profile: “white”). It was the kind of dishonesty inspiring some leftists to claim that white people are our biggest terror threat. Yet this assertion uses a raw-numbers comparison of murderers from a group representing 62 percent of the population with those from a group representing less than 2 percent of it, conflates a category with a creed (non-ideological mass killings with Islam-inspired incidents), and confuses acts of deranged minds with global jihad. Moreover, as I illustrated last year using statistical analysis, it’s a myth that whites commit in inordinate percentage of mass shootings.
Despite this, we’re supposed to believe criminal profiling is criminal itself when applied to some of the most criminally inclined groups. You can profile men. You can profile the young. You can profile whites. But profile Muslims or some other thought-police favored group, and you’re told you’re bigoted. It isn’t consistent application of good criminological science that indicates prejudice, however. Rather, that’s reflected in refusing to do so, in discriminating when applying that science — in contravention of its own findings.
During a presidential debate years ago, Ambassador Alan Keyes, a black man, was asked by a moderator if he’d be upset if a policeman stopped him because he was black. Keyes responded (I’m paraphrasing), “Yes, I’d be upset. I’d be upset at all of the young black men who committed crimes and caused authorities to look upon me more suspiciously.” We can all get offended, or pretend to be offended, by reality. But since I as a man want to be safe from crime, I accept that “male” will often be part of a criminal profile. If a young person wants to be safe from crime, he’ll accept that “young” will often be part of a criminal profile. If a black person wants to be safe from crime, he’ll accept that “black” will often be part of a criminal profile. Now, here’s another sentence to finish: If a person calling himself Muslim wants to be safe from terrorism, he’ll accept that “______” __ ____ __ ___ _________ _______.
If a politician can’t fill in those blanks, then that’s precisely what he’s shooting in the war against Muslim terrorism.
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