Tuesday, August 02, 2005

So I'm now a "socialist whore for terror"

I'm deeply disappointed in Confederate Yankee in reproducing garbage like this. I've supported the War on Terror inasmuch as I believed we had to destroy the Taliban and Saddam, who did much to support Islamic terrorism around the world. However, I will never accept the suspension of our inalienable rights because of vague threats, particularly when the means that require suspending our rights won't do a thing to make us safer.

Ronald Reagan said that he never left the Democratic Party -- the Democratic Party left him. Similarly, I never left conservatism, that is, real conservatism that championed limited government, maximized personal freedom, and government's subservience to the people instead of the other way around. Modern conservatives have left me behind, which is for the best, anyway, since their new journeys involve trampling all over the Constitution.

The authoritarian conservatives just don't get it. Try this quiz. You may glance at each picture for no more than five seconds, roughly the same amount of time that an NYPD would have to "profile" someone who's approaching subway turnstiles. That's even being generous: during rush hour it's more like one or two seconds. You can take my word for it. I work in Manhattan and take the subway all the time, and I know how large the crowds can be.

The single question: which of the following men would you stop on the basis of appearing Middle Eastern?






The top row, left to right: black, Hispanic, black. Bottom row: a Caucasian with a scraggly beard, a Caucasian who looks like he's been living on the street, and a definite Caucasian.

How many did you decide to stop? If you didn't already know who these faces belong to, and if you didn't guess this is sort of a trick question, you'd have stopped none of them. Perhaps you'd stop one or two, which still means the others would have slipped through your profiling net.

All six of the faces belong to known or alleged members of Islamic terrorist groups. If you miss one, you've still failed. That's enough to do some damage.

The top row, from left to right, are Richard Reid (the "shoe bomber"), Jose Padilla (accused of Al Qaeda ties and plotting to detonate a "dirty bomb") and Hussain Osman (accused of taking part in the second round of London bombings). I'm not saying anything about Padilla's guilt, only that he's Hispanic and just doesn't fit the profile of being Middle Eastern. Nor do the other two. And as I said before, most Americans still can't tell if someone's Chinese or Japanese, so what makes us think we know exactly what a "Middle Eastern" person look like? Odds are that police employing "racial profiling" would stop a Sikh man for his turban while letting Hussain Osman go through. I'm the last person who wants to give terrorists advice, but they already know to dress Western to blend in. Osman in a sports jersey, basketball shorts and basecall cap, carrying an iPod, would look like any other ballplayer.

Did anyone see that the three pictures in the bottom row are of the same person? If you did, you're probably familiar with John Walker Lindh, the traitor who joined Al Qaeda and was captured in Afghanistan. He's as Caucasian as can be, and while there's no evidence he ever intended to carry out terrorist activities on American soil, that's still exactly what the terrorists can and would do. Why should they send someone who only looks like a regular white American, when they can send someone who is a regular white American?

You cannot stop the terrorists -- not unless you search everybody. And that makes us a police state. Remember what I first said about the random searches?
If there's a serious, credible threat, then let's do the proper thing: Governor Pataki should call out the National Guard, suspend the writ of habeas corpus, and impose martial law on New York City. Let people see the full horror of the police state, not this veiled facade of liberty. Perhaps then they'll understand how precious personal liberty really is.
Here's an example of "racial profiling" at its worst. I can't believe I forgot to mention this.

Our new friend Mike at the No Angst zone had a great entry on an "incident" two Sundays ago in Times Square. The Daily News had good coverage.

A tour bus driver, to use the vernacular, freaked out at five "South Asian-looking men with British accents" who he thought were terrorists with explosives. The article doesn't give their names, but I wonder if they're Indian. Remember my recent anecdote about a few men who most Americans might fear are terrorists, but their Hindi accents said otherwise.

It's still unclear whether the bus driver called 911, or if he called a dispatcher who then called 911. Regardless, an NYPD SWAT team, sharpshooters and all, converged on the bus while it was at Times Square. After 30 minutes they ordered all passengers off at gunpoint, including women and children who were crying and screaming. Streets were closed, buildings evacuated, and it turned out the five suspicious passengers weren't terrorists at all.

The irony is that the threat of death came from the police, summoned because an overreacting person needs to learn the difference between vigilance and paranoia.

But here's the ultimate irony: the bus driver's name is Mohammed. He's probably more Muslim just by his name than the five poor men who must have thought they were going to die.

6 Comments:

Blogger Alva Goldbook said...

just passing through. pretty good post. I have noticed so many conservatives who have felt completely left out by the modern GOP. My answer to them is the same as to the DNC. Take back your party from the nutcases!

As a long time hard leftist, I've been quite amazed by the GOP of the last few years. It's became the party of big government and control over the rest of us. When even Bob Barr is jumping on our side to protest the Patriot Act, you know something is wrong.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 1:47:00 AM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

I've had the pleasure of meeting Bob Barr. He's a good man, and an honest one to admit he regrets voting for the Patriot Act. I told his friend and former aide, "We needed 534 more like him on Capitol Hill."

The desire for personal freedom should transcend party lines. We know something's wrong when all 100 Senators voted for the Real ID Act.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 6:56:00 AM  
Blogger TKC said...

4 out of 6. Boom. Even profiling won't get it done.

Even then, the NYC subway is only turning away people who won't consent to a search. So if I am Joe Terrorist I simply won't consent. I'll hop a bus to the next station and try again. Then again, if I am Joe Terrorist, how many targets of oppertunity for a guy with a backpack bomb are there in NY City? Hundreds? Thousands?

Does anybody remember John Mohammed and Lee Malvo? They were practically trying to get caught.

Does anybody remember Ted Kazinski or Timothy McVeigh? How would you profile them?

I guess I'm a whore too.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 4:33:00 PM  
Blogger TKC said...

Perry, I borrowed one of your John Walker Lihnd pictures, put it in my photobucket, and posted it here in the comments section.
http://thehounds.blogspot.com/2005/07/profiling-its-time-has-come.html

Go check it out. See if anyone passes the profiling test.

Actually, just to complete the blog theft, I think I'll go blog it myself. I owe you a beer.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 7:15:00 PM  
Blogger Perry Eidelbus said...

Don't worry about the traitor's picture. I did a Google image search and borrowed it from another site.

The D.C. snipers are another perfect example. They're black, not Middle Eastern. Profiling wouldn't have caught them, unless police also stopped all black people on the chance they're Muslim.

You don't even have to take a bus to the next NYC subway station. You can usually walk there. If I'm turned away at the 55th and Broadway station, it's not too far to Columbus Circle, or 50th and 8th Avenue.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005 9:30:00 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

The bottom line is that a) the way to stop terrorism is through good intel and preventitive action, and that b) our society is too open and has too many soft targets to be totally secure. Hell, even 75% secure. The sooner we as a nation accept these two facts, the better off we'll be.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005 1:26:00 AM  

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