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August 01, 2005

Brooklyn pol urges racial profiling on subways

Security theater collides with reality TV...

A Brooklyn Assemblyman says the NYPD is handcuffed by political correctness in the war on terrorism - and should profile subway passengers for bag searches.

"The individuals involved look basically like this," Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) said yesterday, brandishing a printout of the FBI's most wanted terrorists - all with Arabic names, most with facial hair, some wearing turbans.

"Why should a policeman have to think twice before examining people of a particular group?" Hikind asked. "They all look a certain way. It's all very nice to be politically correct here, but we're talking about terrorism." [NYDN]

I'm ashamed to say that Dov Hikind is a Democrat from Brooklyn.

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Comments

This is to say nothing about the fact that many of the suspects in the attacks in London are _not arab_ but African- from Somalia, Eritria, and Ethiopia, one from Jamaica, etc. This is to say nothing about the British "shoe bomber" or Jose Padilla. I also tend to doubt that most people can reliably tell a Pakistanii from an Indian. Since we've now limited our search to those from east africa, the caribian, latin america, the middle east, and south central Asia we might as well just start searching all the darkies, I guess. What a piece of work.

You know, I could actually have some respect for this argument if 1) non-Arabs who plan bombings (such as white guys who have an interest in bombing abortion clinics) actually made it onto those lists, 2) there were no signs of intelligent opposition that would be able to use profiling as a free pass by simply avoiding looking like the profile, and 3) it made any sense to waste resources searching bags in subways at all.

If racial profiling actually worked (i.e. had a net improvement in total number of bombings stopped per man-hour expended, and a net reduction in total number of innocent people hassled), well, yeah, it makes sense from a resource point of view to do it, even if it causes a disproportionate percentage of innocent people hassled to come from a particular racial group.

There are so many things broken with the entire thinking about transportation security in general, though, that I hardly pay attention anymore to the bizarre results like this. I'm sure that it made perfect logical sense to Hikind... just based on completely false, but widely propagated, assumptions.

It's always a mistake to create multiple paths through your security, some of which aren't as well protected as others. If terrorists know that searches are limited to men who look like Arabs, they'll use women or men who don't appear to be Arabs to get past the checkpoints. Random searches provide better security than racial profiling.

Um, shouldn't that link say "Dov Hikind"? Anyway, Hikind is a notoriously looney who has never hesitated to pander to people's worst instincts.

Just a taste:

http://www.villagevoice.com/news/9923,bradley,6323,5.html

Um, shouldn't that link say "Dov Hikind"?

Fixed, thanks.

ARRGH! the turban thing linking the whole rag head = muslim thing that keeps getting sikhs and hindus beaten up!

Turbans can be a useful survival tool if you live outside major population centres and their infrastructure in certain parts of the middle east and south west asia, they are not a distinctly muslim custom, and no terrorist would ever likely wear a turban in the US.

No western muslim terrorist has worn a substantial beard so far either and as muslim converts seems to be almost as likely to become suicide bombers as born and raised muslims, then the focusing on any specific ethnic groups will just lead to more non-ethnic muslims being saught out for recruitment.

Which has one benefit: It will mkae it easier for western and mainly white intelligence agencies to infiltrate the pan-islamic cells.

Of course it's unlikely that this guy realises such a thing rahter than he is just being racist to seem like he's thinking "outside the Liberal PC Box" for political points.

dumbass.

Uh, being a Semitic people don't many of our Jewish friends look like "that."

the irony is, of course, that Dov Hikind arguably looks every bit as semitic as the average arab in the middle east

Except, of course, that no cop in New York is going to lay a finger on Dov Hikind.

"Hikind is a notoriously looney"

"Looney" is too kind a word for Hikind. He is a putz.

Re the beard thing; apparently, recruits to AQ are required to grow a beard, but when hard core agents go into the field they shave - for obvious reasons. (Source; The New Al Quaida, BBC) And of course CS is quite right, if the security services say 'We are going to search people who look like x' it doesn't take a genius to decide use people who don't fit the profile. Also, if security does find a suicide bomber, how will they stop him detonating his device? Shoot to kill? There was a lot of high moral tone flying around when the British cops went that rout - some of it on this blog.

A spokesman against discrimination of any kind, Assemblyman Hikind chaired the Assembly's Subcommittee on Human Rights and published an in-depth study of the effects of the quota system and reverse discrimination on education, business and the civil service.

sure

It's always a mistake to create multiple paths through your security, some of which aren't as well protected as others. If terrorists know that searches are limited to men who look like Arabs, they'll use women or men who don't appear to be Arabs to get past the checkpoints. Random searches provide better security than racial profiling.

There's game-theory truth in this, but it assumes that the would-be planners of subway bombings have a sufficently appearance-diverse pool of recruits such that they can select operatives who fall outside the profiling. I'm really not at all sure that that's true.

The country with the highest population of muslims is indonesia, they look effectivly chinese, then you've got to take into account that the thing that ties all the suicide bombers together is belief in a specific and highly radical form of religion that has no real ojections to white folk as long as they're muslim.

There's usually a few white faces in the crowds that make the hajj every year, and one of the london bombers was a black jamaican, so yes, islam is probably the worst religion to target on a race level because the racial stereotype of arab muslims is more down to a fluke of geopoltical history than anything really accurate about islam.

also the number of black muslims (and some really crazy ass black muslims at that) in New York also means that black people would (or possibly should if you are gong to implement such a policy) be hassled more than dusky looking sorts, and as the london police have shown, it takes just a few fucked up policemen to make a mistake and another unarmed black guy will end up full of police bullets in new york.

I'm from Brooklyn, and Hikind has always been an asshole.

A chamomile tea compress on the face for a few hours, ginger on the lips, some hair bleach and voila, you have an instant, temporary, caucasian. A cheap suit and a briefcase instead of a backpack and there's no way this guy is fitting the profile.

OK, since we seem to be wandering into the realms of fantasy (chamomile and ginger?), try imagining this; if a white supremacist group started a bombing campaign (not impossible)and the police said they would not bother stop&searching elderly black ladies, would anyone have a problem with that?

Since we're concocting contrived fantasies about white supremacist bombing campaigns, here, I'l go further. What if we were under attack by a group of terrorists who tattooed 'Mad Bomber' on their foreheads. Would anyone have a problem with not searching suspects with no forehead tattoos? Would 'pragmatic, no-nonsense' critics decry the political correctness of those who didn't favor profiling? Would the terrorists wise up, and recruit some motivated people with no forehead tattos? Or go for laser tattoo removal. Maybe we should let the FBI browse everyone's dermatology records, just in case any of us are 'race jumping'.

The tattoo theoretical would make sense if either A) the bombers all belonged to a single easily recognisable group that contained only bombers or B) if people of middle eastern descent were all muslims who could be bombers.

Also, L'oreal sells some quite effective skin bleachers so instant white folk are even more easily created than you might think.

And you've gotta make sure there's enough police officers at every station, otherwise bombers can send in a few really suspicious looking colleagues who will of course have nothing on them while the real bomb carriers, who look less suspcious and travel in a slightly seperate group behind them, can sneak past the police without a second glance because there's this really suspicious group creating a neat little optical illusion.

So to get 2 bombs on to the new york subway, you need at least 3 people, the decoy and the two bombers, no need for recruitment of white people, just lighten up the bombers with some off the shelf skin bleachers (don't have to look whiter than white, just lighter than the decoy), dress them up like tourists and have their colleague grow a beard and wear a big coat, possibly darken his face up a little more than usual, though that might look too suspicious.

And there you go, one stop and search proof bomb plot, no black, white or asian muslims needed, just the most basic understanding of psychology.

"OK, since we seem to be wandering into the realms of fantasy (chamomile and ginger?)"

What do you mean? Chamomile tea works more quickly and effectively than commercial skin bleachers, but with poorer long term results. Bombers probably wouldn't care. Ginger significantly reddens lips without the obvious tell-tale signs of lipstick. These are well known tricks, not fantasy.

Both Mike and I did specify fantasies. Stop and search has absolutely no security value at all. None. Random or profiled. It is there to reassure.As we've all agreed, too many people fit the 'profile', too many people use the systems, too many weeks and months of expense and inconvenience with the bastards just waiting. And suicide bombers might prefer to kill 20 commuters, but 5 cops still gets them paradise. Reading between the lines, the London police have more or less said that they will be taking suspects down hard and accept there will be mistakes. If you thought someone was a suicide bomber, would you say, 'Would you mind opening your bag, sir?'
So we'd better hope they come up with reliable information.

Random searches have essentially no chance to ever stop a subway bombing. They provide a false sense of security that is in the end, more harmful than good. Profiled searches are worse. Defeating the profiling is easier than evading a random search. Only comprehensive searches can prevent the type of thing that happened in London, and they are not economically feasible.

Technology might work. Detecting metal signatures consistant with shrapnel isn't too hard, but ceramic shrapnel can be used. Detecting explosive chemicals is harder and more expensive, but it might be feasible. But your fare might be 5 times as expensive just to convince terrorists to attack a movie theater instead of the subway.

Face the unpleasant facts. There is essentially no practical way to prevent that sort of attack at the destination. Our security in this regard is almost completely dependant on the good will of the domestic Muslim community - that they will be intolerant of this sort of thing - that they will turn on anyone trying to recruit their sons or daughters to perpetrate these attacks. I believe that it is mostly true now. Making it more true will do more for our security than any searches - random or profiled.

Right... don't search the Middle Easterners because that isn't PC. Doing a full cavity search on 80 year old white ladies that is what will keep us safe and sound. But hey who cares if this country is safe as long as the Arabs don't get their feelings hurt. While we are at it maybe we should let everyone in Mexico come on over too. Who cares if they are mexican, arab, asian or south american we will just let em' all in to do what ever the heck they want. We may get blown up but at least the world will think we are nice.

Yeah, if there's anything I can't stand it's all those Asians and Mexicans illegally entering the country via the New York City subway system.

Kind of drifting into a personal agenda here, aren't we oceangator? If the presence of Mexicans in the US bothers you, there are plenty of blogs where you will meet kindred spirits. The rest of us were discussing whether stop&search and racial profiling were viable responses to Islamo-fascist terrorism.

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