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Profiling: yes or no?(72 posts)

Profiling: yes or no?AllisonHayes
May 31, 2002 5:59 AM
To ensure Americans never offend anyone -- particularly fanatics intent on killing us -- airport screeners are not allowed to profile people. They will, however, continue to perform random searches of 80-year-old women, little kids, airline pilots with proper identification, Secret Service agents who are members of the President's security detail, and 85-year old Congressmen with metal hips.

Let's pause a moment and take the following test...

In 1972, 11 Israeli athletes were killed at the Munich Olympics by:
(a) Grandma Moses;
(b) The night cleaning crew at Rockefeller Center;
(c) Invaders from Mars; or
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1979, the U.S. embassy in Iran was taken over by:
(a) Norwegians from the Lichen Herbarium of the University of Oslo;
(b) Elvis;
(c) A tour bus full of 80-year-old women; or
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
(a) A pizza delivery boy (RRP's uncle);
(b) Crazed feminists complaining that having to throw a grenade beyond its own burst radius in basic training was an unfair and sexist job requirement;
(c) Geraldo Rivera making up for a slow news day; or
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
(a) Luca Brazzi, for not being given a part in "Godfather 2";
(b) The Tooth Fairy;
(c) Butch and Sundance, who had a few sticks of dynamite left over from their train mission; or,
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1993, the World Trade Center was bombed by:
(a) The entire cast of "Cats";
(b) Martha Stewart;
(c) Cheese-crazed tourists from Wisconsin; or
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania a were bombed by:
(a) Mr. Rogers;
(b) Hillary, to distract attention from Wild Bill's women problems;
(c) The World Wrestling Federation to promote its next villain: "Mustapha the Merciless"; or
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked:
(a) Bugs Bunny, Will E. Coyote, Daffy Duck, and Elmer Fudd.
(b) The US Supreme Court,
(c) Barney; or
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

Any patterns here?
Preach the Word sister! Right on!! :o) nmBikeViking
May 31, 2002 6:09 AM
I'll just remind you....muncher
May 31, 2002 6:17 AM
When the Oklahoma bombing outrage occured, everyone was looking for:

a)Muslim male extremeists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40; or

b) A white American ex-military guy?

D'oh.....
And I'll remind you...Sintesi
May 31, 2002 6:25 AM
The cops were not profiling Arabs and looking for Arabs after Oklahoma. They were looking for the guy who did it and found Tim Mcveigh almost immediately. You think we are all just a bunch of mindless Arab haters or something? D'OH..
And I'll remind you...MJ
May 31, 2002 6:29 AM
no not everybody - just the ones who post such nonsense about profiling...

and they were looking for arabs - do you have amnesia?
Buddy...Sintesi
May 31, 2002 6:48 AM
You don't know what you are talking about. You take media reports to indicate actuality. Just because a reporter speculated that Muslim terrorists MAY be responsible (not an unreasonable supposition considering the outright enmity and history - knowledge readily available to any pedestrian) does not mean the cops were doing blanket sweeps for Arab terrorists. The fact remains they didn't know who did it and excluded no one from the list of suspects. Do you really think the FBI is completely myopic and unaware of American terrorists? What do you know about police work?

Do you live in the US? because you don't appear to have grasp as to what "profiling" is. It's a useful tool when looking for perps you KNOW are out there. It doesn't mean you stop looking at other suspects.

Amnesia? No I have a clue.
What?muncher
May 31, 2002 7:04 AM
"A useful tool when looking for perps you KNOW are out there. It doesn't mean you stop looking at other suspects".

What on earth does that mean?
Tell me what you think I meant and I'll respond. (nm)Sintesi
May 31, 2002 7:13 AM
Do you know what?muncher
May 31, 2002 7:19 AM
I haven't got a clue what you are on about, but what I am fairly certain about is that it doesn't have a lot of relevance to airport screening.

Unless of course, you grant us an comprehensive explaination?
Do you know what?Sintesi
May 31, 2002 10:20 AM
If you are being attacked by muslim terrorists does it not make sense to give extra caution when screening muslims coming into this country? Why not?

America continues to screen everyone extensively. i have to take my shoes off still every time I fly. I see elderly people in wheelchairs being pulled aside.

this isn't racism. It's an extreme response to an extreme danger that will taper off when the threat subsides. If Muslims are being inconvienenced they should blame Al Quaida and not the US government trying to protect its citizenry.

Actually, come to think of it profiling isn't all that great an issue here after all since everyone is getting checked. Which is precisely how Tim mcveigh got caught. Officers checked everyone and caught the perp.
Slight ground shift there thenmuncher
May 31, 2002 11:05 AM
from 'not looking for Arabs and looking for McVeigh as the guy who did it' to 'checking everyone which is precisely how McVeigh got caught' dontchya think?

Which is exacty what I said in the first place - targetting arabs (or anyone else for that matter) exclusively is bad security. I know what type of person I wouldn't be using to bomb the US right now....
Slight ground shift there thenSintesi
May 31, 2002 11:47 AM
No. Screening (targeting, profiling, whatever) Arabs is good policy if you are being attacked by Arabs. It doesn't imply that you stop searching all others. Threat comes from all angles. This is what I meant. I thought you were implying that when the Murrah building went up we looked for Arabs only. This clearly wasn't the case.

Who is shifting? I can't tell anymore but this is what I originally meant.

Still searching people, like old grandmas, who don't fit a profile is probably a waste of time and resources. The only reason they do it is to keep people from yelling racist. It still makes sense, however, to search middle aged white guys wearing camoflauge at the airport terminal. Because that fits a profile.
I'm thinking of a number - guess which one - nmMJ
May 31, 2002 8:25 AM
Buddy...MJ
May 31, 2002 7:06 AM
if reports about the FBI pre Sep. 11 are anything to go by then yes I do believe they are absolutely myopic and unaware of terrorists in general- both domestic and international - if they were so aware then OK and Sep. 11 shouldn't have happened at all

I've forgotten more about police work than you ever learned - I've seen every single episode of Hill Street Blues, Starsky and Hutch and I get all the re-runs of COPS that I can stomach - I didn't realise we needed law enforcement credentials to discuss such obvious points - why is your brother in law a cop? is your knowledge somehow better than mine?

it may surprise you that profiling exists (widely) outside the US - it may also surprise you that it's an effective tool (by authorities everywhere) to discriminate against certain ethnic groups

you do have amnesia if you forget the shock that set in when the US (and the world) realised that McVeigh was responsible rather than some bearded, dark skinned, foreign person - they put out an alert at all Euro aeroports looking for Arabs - and it was widely reported initially in the US media that they were looking for Arabs - of course you'd be an idiot to exclude anyone - but everyone was surprised when it was a honkey
Honky?Sintesi
May 31, 2002 7:12 AM
You are really revealing yourself MJ. Shock? That's your characterization. Someone else could easily have expressed "surprise." I'm sorry, looking for terrorists is not unreasonable especially if you have sustained threats from such groups.
Honky?MJ
May 31, 2002 7:31 AM
yeah sustained threats from terrorist groups like the militia

shock/surprise - tomato/tomayto

the fact is that Americans are in greater danger from other Americans than from Muslim extremists - profile that

how can you argue with that?
Whatever.Sintesi
May 31, 2002 7:54 AM
Those militias were a flash in the pan, got a lot of press and now they are dribbling away. Combatting domestic terrorism remains a priority, these guys get caught pretty quickly. The profiling against possible Arab terrorists will continue because it should and its prudent. It will subside in time. But not in the face of present danger and the completely open hostility we face. You find this unreasonable? We didn't ask for 9/11 but we have a right to do everything we can to prevent it from happening again. Although, I'm sure you probably think we are in some way culpable for that horror.

Also don't confuse this issue with gun violence? These Al Quaida tried to destroy tens of thousands of our people, they attacked our government and tried to murder out president. This is war agains evil. If you can't understand that then I can't help you. You want to sit on the fence in the face of evil that's your affair. Your not that material to the debate.
Whatever.MJ
May 31, 2002 8:08 AM
those militias seem to have become part of the mainstream political landscape

I don't think the US is culpable - though a different foreign policy would have proven more effective than Homeland Security profiling and an extensive global military campaign

open hostility is nothing new if you know anything about interantional politics and opinion

you know what's prudent? getting rid of all the guns in the US - more people are in danger from fellow Americans than from foreign based organisations - it's a very simple fact - look at the statistics

evil to me is not a war or terrorist act (even if aimed against civilians) it's a people and government refusing to acknowledge daily preventable carnage - whether by an act of commission (Sep. 11) or an act of ommission (lack of gun control) threat to lives is the real issue of security - certainly you should look at the biggest killer if you are at all serious about the protection

you keep fretting away about the impending terrorist atrocity (seven warning last week alone) and keep gunning each other down while pretending that's not even an issue

or is it you can gun each other down but you object to being gunned down/killed by other people

it's subterfuge

I might not be as material to the debate as your valuable insights undoubtedly are - but if protecting people's lives is the goal - racist profiling ain't gonna help most people
Whatever.Sintesi
May 31, 2002 10:35 AM
The gun debate is a separate issue whether you like it or not. I think Palestine has more guns per capita than we do. Go bug them.

Profiling isn't racism if the suspects look like the people you are profiling. FYI the security checks are hassling everyone, grandmothers and kids of every color we got over here (land of the free?). maybe we are debating over a non issue. But I don't think it is unreasonable to not check a 72 year old black grandmother w/ a cane as opposed to a young guy from Lebanon.
any comments on this article?MJ
Jun 5, 2002 4:58 AM
I'm making a very simple argument - Homeland Security is a meaningless concept if it fails to take into acount the actual risks (foreign and domestic) which most Americans are threatened by - if guns are not included then it's pointless - call it what you want you'll not have Homeland Security...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/bush/story/0,7369,727577,00.html

Airlines sued over 'racist' screening

Julian Borger in Washington
Wednesday June 5, 2002
The Guardian

Four US airlines were taken to court yesterday for racial discrimination, accused of removing passengers from their flights as a terrorist risk because of their skin colour.
The American Civil Liberties Union (Aclu) sued the airlines, Continental, American, Northwest and United, on behalf of five men who claimed to have been the victims of racial profiling. Two of the five were US citizens of Arab descent, one was a Guyanese-American and another was a Bangladeshi-American.

The fifth, Edgardo Cureg, was a permanent US resident from the Philippines who was removed from a New Year's Eve flight from New Jersey to Florida because another passenger said he and two other men were behaving suspiciously. "I spent the saddest New Year's Eve of my life alone, exhausted and depressed, with a bitter taste that lingers in my soul to this day," Mr Cureg said.

The lawsuits demand that federal courts declare the actions by the airlines a violation of the passengers' civil rights and ask them to order the companies to act to prevent future discrimination.

The airlines deny that their security screening procedures implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks rely on race or skin colour.

But Kelli Evans, one of the lawyers representing the Bangladeshi-American passenger, Arshad Chowdury, said: "The treatment was good old-fashioned racial discrimination, plain and simple."

Mr Chowdury was ejected from a Northwest Airlines flight allegedly because the pilot thought his name was similar to one on a terrorist watch list.

A Northwest spokeswoman, Mary Beth Schubert, said: "We are satisfied that our employees acted in accordance with FAA security directive and federal regulations in denying boarding to him. The action was not based on his ethnic background."

American Airlines said that it was "enormously disappointed" by the lawsuits and that it has a long commitment to diversity.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee said that it had received more than 60 reports since September 11 telling how more than 100 people perceived to be Arab-Americans were forced off flights.
What are you? Guardian boy?Sintesi
Jun 5, 2002 6:49 AM
I'll read your article MJ. But just for fairness' sake how about a post critiquing something not in America. Can you skewer your own country? Or are you guys perfect over there? Do it just for a change. For me. please. I mean there must be other fallible people somewhere doing a worse job than the US. Are we really that rotten?

One thing, it's easy to file a lawsuit it's another thing entirely to prove discrimmination. But I will concede racial discrimmination does exist (utterly, without doubt)and in these paranoid (justifiably in my few) times one can expect excesses. Have all Arab-Americans been forced off? Have a majority? NO. Have vast numbers of travelers of Muslim faith been prevented from traveling? No. Inconvenienced? Possibly. How much? Don't know.

I won't tell you my racial make-up or ethnic origin, but I have been pulled aside twice, have had to remove my shoes, and had my carry-ons rummaged through. I don't mind at all.

Thank God these aggreived peoples have a nation where the personal injustices against them can be addressed in a court of law and openly reported as a matter of public record. Don't you love the corrective nature of the American system of Government? You appreciate a democracy no doubt, eh?
What are you? Guardian boy?MJ
Jun 5, 2002 8:04 AM
here's a Euro-critical thread from last week

http://forums.consumerreview.com/crforum?viewall@@.efa88ee

would you like for me to talk about -
the joys of being a subject rather than a citizen? not being able to choose the head of state? what about Britain's record on selling foreign arms and bribery? colonial past? industrial decline? abhorrent immigration policies? the NHS? (wait for it) - rail privatisation? transport policies? taxes? the potential loss of financial sovereignty? (and being simutaneously linked to the economic fate of Greece/Portugal and an expanding EU?) Elton John? petty crime? pub closing time? slippery Blair? the laugh that is the Tory party? the aristocracy/royalty? the EU

yep there's alot of bad stuff that happens here in UK/Euroland - I'm up to speed so to speak - anything you wanna bring up I'm happy to address - you'll probably find that I'll agree with the problems you may care to point out about Europe and the UK rather than defend the indefensible

it's rare for me to post something here concerning the US and it be widely acknowleged by US posters to be a sad state of affairs - people are offended that I could dare post something that may disagree with what they get spoon fed - the inability for many in the US to take criticism is at odds with most people's concept of rational discussion

the US system of checks and balances is often effective - but it is unfortunate that most of the main social impacts/influences are led by the court/judiciary rather than from a groundswell of public opinion (too disparate), the legislature (pork barrels) or the executive (more pork)

I bet you'd feel different about things if you were an Arab
That's Euro Critical?Sintesi
Jun 5, 2002 9:10 AM
Pretty funny. Bush is a confused and surprised by anti-US sentiment. That's beautiful MJ. From the Guardian once again. What was there? A comment in the end about how European inactivity an...here I'll just reprint it.

"If George Bush wishes to claim victimhood for himself or his nation he will have to stand at the back of a very long line. The horrific events of September 11 gave Americans a taste of the world's pain; it did not give them a monopoly on suffering.

The truth is, so long as Bush pushes ahead with this mindless, murderous military campaign and a world trade regime which discriminates against the poor and undermines democracy, he will remain a legitimate focus for anti-war and anti-globalisation protests.

Yet opposition to American foreign policy demands introspection in Europe. One of the few hopeful developments to be salvaged from the wreckag"

What strong, impartial, criticism you have there.

I'm going to do a search, and you know what I'll find. More critical Anti-US scribble from you and your favorite magazine. One note. You are one note.

Did the search, page after page of anti-american junk. Anti-Bush, gun Laws, Obesity? Page after page after page of this stuff from you. I mean literally page after page. The only consistency you have is the Anti-American disgust you push. Why don't you take a breather and say something really nice about us? I might take you a little more seriously if you could somehow be even-handed.

I admit I like a row but please please post something else.

If I were an Arab. I would defend my rights but I would allow myself to be inconvenienced since there is a war situation going on. If i was unfairly prevented from boarding a plane after being searched i would contact a lawyer and seek redress. If I am searched or questioned more than the white man in a Baseball t-shirt I would understand why and take no action.
Of course if this wasn't a dire war situation I would have a very different opinion. Or if the government were to set up internment camps, I would have a problem, If the govt. wanted me to carry a special "Arab" card I would have a problem. But none of this has happened. All that has happened is reasonable and the Government stance is "Anti-Discrimanatory." If the airlines are truly f*cking up across the board then our govt will punish them.

You don't understand our mentality MJ, at all.
That's Euro Critical?MJ
Jun 6, 2002 1:03 AM
as you appear to have not actually read my last post I'll copy and paste the parts you may be interested in

'would you like for me to talk about -
the joys of being a subject rather than a citizen? not being able to choose the head of state? what about Britain's record on selling foreign arms and bribery? colonial past? industrial decline? abhorrent immigration policies? the NHS? (wait for it) - rail privatisation? transport policies? taxes? the potential loss of financial sovereignty? (and being simutaneously linked to the economic fate of Greece/Portugal and an expanding EU?) Elton John? petty crime? pub closing time? slippery Blair? the laugh that is the Tory party? the aristocracy/royalty? the EU'

the obesity article generated lots of discussion - I don't recall posting anything on it - gun laws features frequently - it always draws out quite a few funny posts from irrational pro-gun posters - and Bush, well Bush is an idiot

I know what's bad in Euro-land - if you wanna bring stuff up about it then go ahead (like I said I'll probably agree) - I'll play ball - but every single time I post something negative on the US everyone sticks their head in the sand and pretends it's not true (or that I just don't understand) - it seems I'm hitting the nail on the head every time - because you disagree with me doens't mean I don't understand you (that doesn;t follow at all does it? - I didn't realise that I had to post a nice test before you take relevant points seriously

it appears the Arabs who have brought the law suit don't agree with you - I wonder why? any thoughts on that?

your posts have seem to have avoided the actual issues that have been raised and are now relying solely on your arbitrary nice test (which I'll probably fail anyways) - is that because you don't have an adequate response?
All right lets' stick to one issue.Sintesi
Jun 6, 2002 5:25 AM
With the limited information we have here, It would seem they felt they had suffered an injustice, however, the airlines disagree. A gave you some conditions in which if I were discriminated against I would seek justice. Perhaps they met my conditions, perhaps we (muslims and I) do agree.

Let's assume the airlines are employing a racist profiling doctirine and are just denying it for expediency's sake. Where are the other lawsuits? In the end we'll see what the courts say which is far more important the Guardian wouldn't you agree?

I maintain Bush is still a wonderful president.

Bush is not an idiot.

I'll go back and look. And see what issues are avoided. Perhaps we can start over.
That's Euro Critical?BikeViking
Jun 6, 2002 5:48 AM
"it always draws out quite a few funny posts from irrational pro-gun posters"

The same can easily be said for your position...disagreement does not mean irrationality.
That's Euro Critical?MJ
Jun 6, 2002 6:16 AM
it does when you go on about needing (wanting) guns to overthrow the government when it becomes a fascist state - that's funny - that displays a fundamental lack of common sense - it is very irrational indeed
That's Euro Critical?BikeViking
Jun 7, 2002 5:30 AM
Given world history of people being dominated by their own governments, (Germany WWII, Cambodia, Uganda, Rwanda, Serbia, USSR, Cuba, North Korea the list goes on), our Founders wisely added the 2nd Amendment to hopefully forestall any tyrannical activity by the gov't they created. We are doomed to repeat history if we don't heed its message.

Pretty smart in my opinion.
naiveMJ
Jun 7, 2002 7:38 AM
and ridiculous - totally failing to take into account any realistic applications of a citizen army against a govt/enemy with tanks, planes and nukes

tyranny is not held in check by the 2nd amendment - it never could be and never will be - it will keep the US body count high though

it is sad, irrational and hysterically funny (to me) if you think otherwise - actually you may need to see a doctor... just listen to what you're saying - do people actually believe that stuff?
I posted this a while ago.Sintesi
Jun 7, 2002 10:36 AM
In the aggregate, a nation of 270 million people can easily deal with 10,000 gun homicides a year. While it's horrendous to be on the receiving end of such brutality, apparently most of us aren't involved enough or threatened enough to do anything substantial about it. Media promoted incidents like Columbine or even the Vietnam war magnify the loss and thus motivates people to react politically, even though they live their lives relativeley remote from the violence and are not greatly impacted by it. Think about it: the raw carnage of gun, and say, vehicular deaths combined annually towers over the total loss of lives during the entire prosecution to the Vietnam War. I don't see this phenomena of violent death seriously impeding the progress of this nation. (relatively speaking our nation has grown in power, wealth, health and influence)
Another example, is the phenomena in US cities, where tremendously violent gun deaths can occur literally blocks from your house and yet if you did not read about in the paper or see it on the boob tube the next day you never would have known. In fact, someone was shot and killed 50 feet from my front door a while back, and I only found out about it the next day when my wife called me at work to say cop had come by asking if we heard anything. We didn't.
I would also like to throw this out. I suggest that there is a hyper-violent subculture in America that largely preys on itself, e.g. gang activity, criminals, people who regularly interact with dangerous individuals. Avoid these people and you can avoid must gun violence in America. When people abroad read about gun violence here, what they fail to perceive is that most of us walk through our daily lives w/out the remotest fear.
BTW, I don't own guns (I'm afraid of them) and am ambivalent about the second ammendment.

Our very independant nature. As Americans we have been steeped in this myth (myth does not necessarily equal untruth in my book) of heroic individualism. This is drilled into your head from practically infancy. Every person has the absolute right to guide his destiny and guns are seen as the empowering equalizer for the potentially oppressed. This and the very real fact that gun use in the relatively recently developed and rural areas is a deep part of our cultural tradition and had very real value once upon a time. Of course this is not the case today, i.e. one does not need to have firearms to feed one's family and or defend them, but it remains a deep component of the identity of a very large segment of our population. It is unthinkable for many be without the same weapons their family has enjoyed from dad to great, great grandad. It's impossible for many of us to understand, citizens and non-citizens.
This situation is not logical, it is cultural, and this is where you have your problem understanding our mentality. We have an animosity to outside influence, whether it be our government or the guy down the street and this cannot be over estimated.
Personally, I don't care for guns, I'll never own one (proud of that) and I find macho gun nuts to be absolutely repulsive, particularly the most reactionary of them but then again I'm pretty tolerant of others' attitudes and their right to be "wrong" if that be the case. And ultimately, to be perfectly honest, this debate is almost abstract (I know can be seen as obscene by people who have suffered due to gun violence - I appologise) to me. Guns have not caused me or my loved ones harm, I personally do not even know someone who was killed or shot by a murderer or a criminal. The only people I personally have known that have been harmed by guns has been due to accidents and suicides. Sorry, just being honest, and I'm inclined to think this is pretty normal in the USA.
I posted this a while ago.MJ
Jun 10, 2002 4:17 AM
lucid comments - but still avoids the point

Homeland Security should not exclude the greatest danger of violent deaths that US citizens face - from gun violence

by the same logic a nation of 270 million can also easily withstand 3000 deaths from Sep. 11

anyways - which is it - most gun deaths don't affect Americans or most gun deaths don't get mentioned because they're so common place - is it a ticking clock that you've been fortunate to avoid so far?
Another long one but I think I get to your point.Sintesi
Jun 10, 2002 7:33 AM
Hey look at us. Almost civil towards each other. : )

When I think of Homeland Security I do think it applies to threats from abroad. Outside threats to our government, our commerce, our viability to proceed as a nation. In short, war. I think this is distinguishable from random gun violence which has no more agenda than the immediate passion or greed that provoked it.

I will concede (since since it's the truth) that any "nut" with a gun or a bomb can kill a president or cause tremendous destruction. It has happened and unfortunately will probably happen again. Yes sadly, there are still McVeighs running around, but this has not exactly been forgotten. An example: Federal agents have created a profile of the type of person or persons who perpetuated the anthrax scare post 9/11. They think it is probably a disgruntled white American who is doing this and this is the type of person on whom they focus their investigation. It's just a profile, could be wrong, but it does let you know that our law enforcement officers are not myopic in their perception of threat.

Another example: the post office box bomber in the midwest from a few months ago was a deranged American kid who was apprehended in short order. I think the police caught a break in a tip-off from his father, but as I recall from the start they were looking for another American kook because this type of attack didn't fit a foreign terrorist's MO.

We've been living with this domestic violence (in some cases terrorism) for quite a while and we will continue ot struggle with it. Whatever "Homeland Security" means to you or me is purely semantical when one realizes that to focus on preventing terrorist attacks from abroad does not mean law enforcement stops domestically. It hasn't.

In regards to the 3,000 deaths, yes life will go on. I remember seeing a picture from London during WWII. It was a picture of firemen hosing down burning rubble after a bombardment the previous night. In the midst of all this was a line of English businessmen decked out in bowler hats and briefcases marching to work. England has taken far harder hits than we have (actually, you guys were on the ropes) and yet continued to go to work and prosecute that war to its completion.

But it's not just the loss of life that 9/11, it was the intent. They attacked our commercial center, our government, they tried to get at the White House and possibly our President. That's war. This is Pearl Harbor all over again. I'm sure if they (Al Quaida and their sympathizers) could get ahold of a weapon of mass destruction they would try and use it against us. I don't see why we should sit on our duffs and wait for it. We have to be aggressive. Our WAY of life depends on it, not just MY life.

America is generations away from gun control in the European sense. We are not ready for it and it isn't going to happen anytime soon period. We are too ingrained with this "gun culture" as I described it.

Gun violence doesn't reach most Americans personally. It's only a few cases that reach national, or (even rarer) international attention. But in local media all is reported. Most of us know where violence is likely to happen and avoid it. Most Americans value their security and take steps on a local level to secure it.

My number may come up. But so might yours, you could get hit by a bus. In NYC, I'm more worried about getting hit by a cab than a man with a gun. I go to almost all neighborhoods, but at certain times and certain areas- NO WAY.

BTW, we do have gun control laws on a state to state, municipality to municipality basis. NYC, where I live, has some of the toughest laws in the nation. The problem of course is that people buy their guns in other states and bring them in illegally. American gun control laws have expanded over the last 50 years not receded. It may be a matter of time, before it sinks in to a degree you would find reasonable.
Another long one but I think I get to your point.MJ
Jun 10, 2002 8:48 AM
more lucid points

the need to distinguish between foreign and domestic terrorists is arbitrary (and unhelpful) - many European countries have experience of internal and external terrorists - the result is the same - innocent people are used to make political and religious points

Homeland Security is a meaningless phrase if it is so narrowly defined as to only include foreign terrorist action

resources are being deployed to deal with a threat which pales in comparison to the threat which you (and other Americans) endure (and are victims to) every day

while you may fear a cabbie more than a guy with a gun (and take sensible urban precautions that people take everywhere) you should probably fear a guy with a gun a hell of a lot more than terrorist action

you can talk about the intent of Sep. 11 actions and while they may be deplorable at least they have stated clearly and loudly their intention - to ignore the gun violence problem (which claims more lives than terrorist action) avoids the real issues surrounding guns/security (and the associated destructive American myth) - it's sadder in many ways that the victims of gun violence are virtually ignored and viewed disparately rather than the epidemic it is - it is an attack on the American way of life - the American myth of the gun has been hijacked by extremists who prevent rational legislation and consequently permit a culture that accepts gun violence as normal - as you said it doesn't even normally make the paper - it is no less than an insidious and tolerated (daily) assault on America

if it was a foreign terrorist organisation which was killing an equivalent number of citizens that are killed by gun violence the reaction would be more zealous than it (perhaps rightly) is following Sep. 11 - why is it that because gun violence is not a foreign threat it is tolerated?

until responsible action is taken at a federal level then state and local gun laws are effectively meaningless - thus rendering a US Homeland that is anything but Secure
LOLDJB
May 31, 2002 7:43 PM
"I've forgotten more about police work than you ever
learned - I've seen every single episode of Hill Street
Blues, Starsky and Hutch and I get all the re-runs of
COPS that I can stomach"

While I'm holding out hope that you were joking, it would explain a lot...
LOL - you have a pointmuncher
Jun 10, 2002 9:14 AM
The omission of Kojak would be grave indeed...
How remarkably strange...muncher
May 31, 2002 6:30 AM
I clearly remember hearing plenty of American commentators at the time speculating that muslim extremeists were probably responsible.

Did I say that. Let me read my post again - err, no.
meant to say "only Arabs". there.Sintesi
May 31, 2002 11:48 AM
You've gotta be kidding me!jtolleson
May 31, 2002 4:49 PM
They detained Arabs at multiple airports before the arrest of McVeigh was announced. Where are you getting your information?
waitSintesi at home
May 31, 2002 9:39 PM
I meant "only" Muslims or Arabs. Sorry I didn't reread my post. It came off wrong.
Way to go, Munch. Also...retro
May 31, 2002 7:47 AM
...After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, an estimated 200,000 Iraqi civilians were killed by:

a) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.
b) America-hating liberal spawn of the hippies.
c) Bill and Hillary.
d) American military men mostly between the ages of 17 and 40 acting under the command of a president in debt to the oil industry.

In the 1960s and '70s, about 1 million Southeast Asian civilians were killed, their country devastated and their economy ruined by:
a) Freedom-hating commies.
b) Tree-hugging socialist-leaning environmentalists.
c) Secular humanists.
d) American military men mostly between the ages of 17 and 40...

C'mon--we can do this all day, but what's it achieve?
it's very amusingMJ
May 31, 2002 7:55 AM
there's so much mileage in this thread

nice examples
Way to go, Munch. Also...DJB
May 31, 2002 4:53 PM
"...After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, an estimated
200,000 Iraqi civilians were killed by"

Civilians? Who was doing the "estimating"? Saddam?
re: Profiling: yes or no?MJ
May 31, 2002 6:27 AM
Every year, thousands of Americans are shot to death by:

(a) Muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40

(b) other Americans 'excercising their duties in the state militia'
Homeland Security is aboutAllisonHayes
May 31, 2002 6:44 AM
(a) finding a suitcase nuclear weapon among the homeboys
(b) ensuring the NRA includes nuclear weapons as a constitutional right for every American citizen
(c) reducing the likelihood of terrorist activities by Muslim extremists
(d) other Americans' exercising their duties in the state militia
Homeland Security should be aboutMJ
May 31, 2002 7:10 AM
(a) protecting Americans in the US

(b) scapegoating dark skinned, non-Christian foreigners for the failure of US domestic and foreign security

(c) pretending that the only real threat in an average American's daily life is from the above mentioned foreigner (they don't speak English - hence no news/facts = hard to get reliable information) rather than from his neighbour/relative/friend
There is no question about the failure of US security.AllisonHayes
May 31, 2002 7:39 AM
And I agree the US has more than its share of wackos and that, on any given day, the likelihood of an incident against me will be from one of these people. But this has always been the case. That does not mean that there doesn't exist a far greater danger and threat to what we stand for, against which we must now be fully prepared. The situation with which we are now faced drives to the core of what democracy and freedom represent.

What is also clear to me is that the current threat is with a group of people who are easily profiled. The real issue is how to identify the minority of those who are militant from the majority of those who want nothing to do their extremism.

I am very bothered by seeing 5 year old children rocking back and forth for hours, day after day, chanting "kill Americans." I am very bothered by reading reports that "every American should be killed."

And should there be another incident that is parallel to what occurred on 9/11, I am very concerned about the kind of vigilante behaviour that will result and what will happen to those who are innocent but just happen to be among those easily identifiable "dark-skinned, non-Christian foreigners."

I am very concerned that things will get a lot worse before there is any resolution to this matter and that it will take a long time reach any level of accord. It is not only about preparedness; it is about how to resolve long-standing issues that have created the monstrous barriers that now exist.

We have entered a new chapter, indeed.
There is no question about the failure of US security.MJ
May 31, 2002 7:54 AM
surely the greatest danger is from the wacko who's likely to get you rather than the one who's not

the terrorist situation you now face in the US is no different to what most of the rest of the world has been facing for a very long time indeed

what do you stand for anyways? I'm not sure everybody would agree (even in the US - much less abroad)

most felons and criminal in the US are non-white - therefore by your logic you should be profiling black and hispanic guys for any true Homeland Security

Jefferson - 'A man who gives up a little freedom for security deserves neither.'

have you seen five year olds chanting things? where? an insane asylum? - propoganda exists the world over - did you notice if they were chanting in English for your viewing pleasure? - was it sub-titled? - what are the chances of five year olds in third world countries speaking English? - not to mention having access to clean drinking water and education?

profiling = racism - it's an excuse to discriminate - it legalises abusing the rights of people solely on the basis of their religion and colour (BTW I think it's ok to discriminate on the basis of weight, a poor taste in music and facial hair - so if we could limit profiling to that I'd be happy with your plan.)

fact is your biggest threats are internal not external - it's called subterfuge and it looks to be working very well on you
The danger we face...AllisonHayes
May 31, 2002 8:45 AM
Yes indeed, the world has been facing this danger for a very long time, as you say. It is also clear that this terrorism has escalated to a higher order--and not simply because it is now in the US.

As I stated, I am more likely to be attacked as an individual from some wacko; however, my liberties and my freedom are what are at threat from this higher order of terrorism. Let's not confuse the issues here: we have internal problems that are very different from terrorism. I am talking about terrorist activities on a world level.

And yes, there are video tapes of children chanting, "death to Americans." Tapes of children being trained as terrorists taken in the US, tapes of children in school in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in Palestine. Are you saying you have not seen these? If that is the case then one of has been duped.

It seems your central argument is profiling=racism. OK, let's agree that it is. My question to you is, how does one defend oneself against acts of terrorism?

"What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The terrorists have made their message clear--their actions are very clear. Again I ask the question, "how does one defend oneself against acts of terrorism?"
re: Profiling: yes or no?BikeViking
May 31, 2002 10:30 AM
The answer is THEMSELVES!!!! 16000 people committed suicide by firearm while 10,000 were shot by other people.

Anwer my this...why do you think you have the right to tell other people how to defend tehmselves, when the police are responsible for individual protection? Who protects them in you firearm free utopia?
my experience at the airports...nova
May 31, 2002 7:43 AM
I've flown a lot since 9/11/2001. By "a lot" I mean at least ten times through major and secondary airports around the US.

I'm 36 years old, 6'3" tall, white, and I look like the midwestern born & bred citizen that I am. My tickets are always round trip, and they are always purchased in advance.

I've been "randomly" selected for hand-searching of my bags and body every time I've flown since 9/11, even on connecting flights after clearing primary and "random" security once. That includes waving a metal detector over my feet after removing my shoes, and patting down my groin.

One time, a man of african descent with a red bandanna tied around his head (which reportedly the 9/11 hijackers carried on their persons) and carrying a hard-shell trombone case was waved on board the plane, while I was detoured and subsequently hand-searched.

The last time I flew, I'd had enough, and yelled at the guy with the wand about how I was being singled out. His response: "sir, if you ask anyone, the official response is that all searches are random." Random my chapped, saddle sore ass... Consider the statistical probability, and then talk to me about random...
Funny you say thatmuncher
May 31, 2002 8:11 AM
I have been to the US (JFK) once since 9/11.

I am white (if perhaps very slightly Eastern European in appearance), an English passport holder (which still states my profession as military) travelling with my English wife, with a return ticket to the UK.

By chance, I was queueing for security with a muslim looking chap (dress, beard etc) on his own, carrying a large grip-bag as hand luggage.

Guess who got searched for 10 mins and 50 stupid questions? You got it....
re: Profiling: yes or no?wsexson
May 31, 2002 9:43 AM
Profiling for likely terrorists based on relevant factors would be better than what is being done now, but "racial profiling" would be counter-productive. There are Muslims of every 'race', and the majority do not look like what most Americans think of as "Islamic extremists". For example, the shoe bomber was half English and half Afro-Carribean. If we profile for people that look like Mohammed Atta, the terrorists will just send poeple that don't look like that. The Palestinian-Isreali conflict also shows that young women can be suicide bombers. Thus, the only kind of profiling based on appearance that would work at all is that they will probably be between the ages of 10 and 50.
No,TJeanloz
May 31, 2002 9:58 AM
You haven't given us a statistically relevant sample. If you take only actions by Muslim extremists as examples, then yes, there will appear to be a pattern. But if you look at 'terrorism' on the global scale, the pattern is less distinct.

Were bombs in Northern Ireland triggered by muslim male extremists between the ages of 17 and 40? The Murrah building? The countless acts of terror propogated by the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka? Acts of cruelty and violence seem to transcend race and religion, but in America, we seem too blind to realize that most Muslims are not terrorists, most priests are not pedophiles and most blacks are not dangerous.
Your point is well taken, however, as I stated aboveAllisonHayes
May 31, 2002 10:17 AM
we are dealing now with a "higher order" of terrorism perpetrated by Muslim extremists:

"To kill Americans and their allies, both civil and military, is an individual duty of every Muslim who is able, in any country where this is possible," decreed master terrorist Osama bin Laden in 1998.

The New Model of Terrorism

The new model, involves a much more decentralized approach to terrorist management and operations. In it, "specialist" guerrillas are only brought together to commit a specific act and then quickly disbanded and returned to their current country of refuge. This model is one that allegedly is being practiced by Moslem extremist groups and those connected to much of the Mid-East violence. Interesting enough these small "ad hoc" terror organizations also, frequently, do not claim responsibility for their acts, or they claim responsibility for another group.

How do you fight a war where the enemy is in the shadows, can be located anywhere and can strike at any time? There is a lot that we do know about these so-called sleeper agents-and his tactics:

-there are 21 Islamic militant terrorist groups across the world
-they are brought together to commit a specific act and then are quickly disbanded
-these "ad hoc" groups may be under the control of several different "parent" organizations or even countries, who would acquire their services as needed for specific acts their goal is '' to destroy or damage structures, conveyances or other real or personal property within the United States"
-no one cell would know about the others, in the event that any of the participants got arrested.

Also interesting to counter-insurgency analysts is the fact that the members of these "ad hoc" groups may be under the control of several different "parent" organizations or even countries, who would acquire their services as needed for specific acts. In other words, specific terrorists are "hired" by one group or another to commit an act and then they become "free agents" again.

Who are these groups?

Islamic groups

Al-Qa'ida (The Base): Extremist Islamic group founded in 1989 by Saudi Osama bin Laden, believed to be living in Afghanistan. Dedicated to the fight against western influence in the Muslim world.

Al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad): Fundamentalist Egyptian group repsonsible for the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in Cairo on October 6, 1981, and the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York in 1993. Announced decision to renounce violence in June 2000.

Al-Gama'at al-Islamiya: Egyptian Islamic organisation which first surfaced in 1997. Responsible for several attacks in Egypt, including the asssult on foreign tourists in Luxor in November 1997 in which 62 died. Announced the end of its activities in March 1999.

Armed Islamic Group (GIA): Algerian fundamentalist group founded in April 1992 to fight for a Muslim state in the north African country after elections were cancelled. Responsble for the massacre of thousands of civilians in Algeria and bomb attacks in France.

GSPC: A dissident wing of the GIA created in October 1998 to set up an Islamic republic in Algeria. Headed by leading figures in the Islamic Salvation Front, the political party which was set to win the 1992 elections.

Aden Islamic Army: Militant terrorist group fighting for an Islamic state in Yemen, linked to Osama bin Laden. Has claimed around 20 bomb attacks in southern Yemen between 1998 and 1999, as well as the kidnapping of 16 foreign tourists.

Anti-Israeli groups

Hezbollah: Lebanese political party opposed to the occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel. Created in 1982, Hezbollah has been repsonsible for heavy losses in the Israeli army.

Hamas: Palestinian group opposed to Israel and responsible for some of the bloodiest and most lethal terrorist attacks against Israel.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad: Fundamentalist Palestinian radicals, opposed to the exis
continued...now you got me goingAllisonHayes
May 31, 2002 10:18 AM
Who are these groups?

Islamic groups

Al-Qa'ida (The Base): Extremist Islamic group founded in 1989 by Saudi Osama bin Laden, believed to be living in Afghanistan. Dedicated to the fight against western influence in the Muslim world.

Al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad): Fundamentalist Egyptian group repsonsible for the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in Cairo on October 6, 1981, and the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York in 1993. Announced decision to renounce violence in June 2000.

Al-Gama'at al-Islamiya: Egyptian Islamic organisation which first surfaced in 1997. Responsible for several attacks in Egypt, including the asssult on foreign tourists in Luxor in November 1997 in which 62 died. Announced the end of its activities in March 1999.

Armed Islamic Group (GIA): Algerian fundamentalist group founded in April 1992 to fight for a Muslim state in the north African country after elections were cancelled. Responsble for the massacre of thousands of civilians in Algeria and bomb attacks in France.

GSPC: A dissident wing of the GIA created in October 1998 to set up an Islamic republic in Algeria. Headed by leading figures in the Islamic Salvation Front, the political party which was set to win the 1992 elections.

Aden Islamic Army: Militant terrorist group fighting for an Islamic state in Yemen, linked to Osama bin Laden. Has claimed around 20 bomb attacks in southern Yemen between 1998 and 1999, as well as the kidnapping of 16 foreign tourists.

Anti-Israeli groups

Hezbollah: Lebanese political party opposed to the occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel. Created in 1982, Hezbollah has been repsonsible for heavy losses in the Israeli army.

Hamas: Palestinian group opposed to Israel and responsible for some of the bloodiest and most lethal terrorist attacks against Israel.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad: Fundamentalist Palestinian radicals, opposed to the existence of the Jewish state and equally opposed to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Created in 1980, Jihad was behind the Intifada of October 1987 and has claimed many seriousanti-Israeli attacks.

Abu Nidal Organisation: Dissident Palestinian group claiming dozens of anti-western and anti-Israeli attacks hroughout the world. Founded in 1974 and opposed to Yasser Arafat, the group claims responsiblity for the murder of several high-ranking Palestinianofficials and suspected of involvement in bloody terrorist operations in Vienna
and Rome in 1985 and in the Jewish quarter of Paris in 1982.

Separatist groups

International Sikh Youth Federation: Exiled Sikhs who have set up a fund-raising network to support their cause, the establishment of an independent Sikh state in the Punjab.

Babbar Khalsa International: A British arm of the Sikh separatist movement, whose name translates as "Tigers of True Faith". Particularly active from 1983 to 1991 during the separatist campaign against the Indian government.

Harakat Mujahideen: A shadowy Muslim separatist movement operating in Indian Kashmir and opposed to Indian rule. Links with Osama bin Laden and responsible for many assaults on Indian troops. Formerly known as Harkat ul-Ansar, Harkat ul-Mujahideen (Movement of Holy Warriors) has openly claimed credit for a number of attacks on Indian troops.

Jaishe Mohammed: Movement for independent state in Kashmir, frequently attacking Indian forces. Jaishe Mohammed (Army of Mohammad) was formed early last year by Maulana Masood Azhar, a leading Islamist figure who was released from jail in India as part of a deal to end an Indian Airlines hijacking in Decemebr 1999.

Lashkar-e-Taiba: Militant Muslim Kashmiri separatist group, the Army of the Pure. Have set themselves the task of driving Indian forces out of Kashmir. Most spectacular recent suicide raid was on the Red Fort in New Delhi in December 2000.

Liberation tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE): Created in 1972 to fight for an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka. Offensive stepp
continued...now you got me goingAllisonHayes
May 31, 2002 10:20 AM
Liberation tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE): Created in 1972 to fight for an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka. Offensive stepped up from 1987 onwards resulting in May 1991 assassination of former Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi by a suspected woman suicide bomber, one of the "Black Tigers", and killing of former Sri Lankan president
Ranasinghe Premadasa in similar fashion. Unresolved conflict in the northern Jaffna peninsula has left more than 60,000 people dead.

Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK): Kurdish separatist movement active in Turkey since 1984. Run by jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan, condemned to death by a Turkish court in June 2000 for treason. In September 1999, the group declared an end to its armed campaign following a call from jail by Ocalan to seek a peaceful and democratic
Solution to the conflict, which has claimed more than 36,000 lives.

ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna): Basque separatist movement fighting the Spanish government for 40 years in support of claims for an independent Basque nation in the north of the country. Since the start of the struggle in 1968, some 795 people, military and civilian, have been killed.

Opposition groups

Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C): Turkish extreme-left group, responsible for the deaths of a former Turkish Justice Minister and several high-ranking army officers. Also behind the rebellion in Turkish prisons in December 2000.

November 17 revolutionary Organisation (N17): Greek terrorist movement born out of the student uprising against the rule of the Greek colonels which was suppressed on November 17, 1973. Responsible for around 20 murders since 1975, including that of British military attache Stephen Saunders in Athens last June.

People's Mujahedeen: Iranian opposition movement founded in Iraq in 1965 and fighting for a democratic socialist Islamic republic in Iran. Operations include mortar and other attacks on Iranian security forces and institutions of the regime.
What's your point?TJeanloz
May 31, 2002 10:48 AM
Yes there are a lot of people in the world who are pissed off at somebody. Some of these people even have groups and fancy names and the ability to raise money.

Frankly, my opinion on the matter is that the best way to combat terrorism is to largely ignore it. I'm not worried; when it's time for my card to be punched, so be it. If I get blown up or gassed on the subway on my way home, that's the way the cards fell. I could spend my entire life worrying about these things, like some Americans suddenly seem to do. Or I can not care. If a lunatic really want's to kill me, I can't stop him. But I'm not going to worry about it.

I'm all for most of these groups right to existence, until they present a clear and present danger. I'm wholly opposed to violence, but these groups are absolutely essential to make the world a better place. At least we KNOW that some in the Arab world are displeased with us, and I'd rather know that my government is pissing people off than just assume everybody is happy.
The point is not whether your time card get's punchedAllisonHayes
May 31, 2002 11:23 AM
it's about the larger issue of freedom vs terrorism. We are beyond the point of ignoring terrorism; the sad fact is that we have ignored the problem for so long that now is has gone from benign to malignant. How can you even say these groups don't present a "clear and present danger?"

b TJeanloz, I have always respected you and your opinions and I still respect them. I am not trying to argue with you either.

I'll repost what I said above because I do believe we face a danger, maybe not today or tomorrow, but it is there and it is clear and it is very real:

Yes indeed, the world has been facing this danger for a very long time, as you say. It is also clear that this terrorism has escalated to a higher order--and not simply because it is now in the US.

As I stated, I am more likely to be attacked as an individual from some wacko; however, my liberties and my freedom are what are at threat from this higher order of terrorism. Let's not confuse the issues here: we have internal problems that are very different from terrorism. I am talking about terrorist activities on a world level.

And yes, there are video tapes of children chanting, "death to Americans." Tapes of children being trained as terrorists taken in the US, tapes of children in school in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in Palestine. Are you saying you have not seen these? If that is the case then one of has been duped.

It seems your central argument is profiling=racism. OK, let's agree that it is. My question to you is, how does one defend oneself against acts of terrorism?

"What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The terrorists have made their message clear--their actions are very clear. Again I ask the question, "how does one defend oneself against acts of terrorism?"
Why these groups don't present a 'clear and present danger'TJeanloz
May 31, 2002 11:34 AM
Why am I not worried?

~3,500 Americans were killed by these evil groups last year. Which puts my odds at about 1 in 120,000. I'm a gambling man, and those odds seem to be in my favor. I think the odds would have to be more like 1:10 or 1:5 for me to start to care.

Frankly, bike racing is probably more likely to contribute to my death than terrorism.
Why these groups don't present a 'clear and present danger'Sintesi
May 31, 2002 12:26 PM
What about a Nuclear device in NYC? That really won't hurt you either, well maybe economically. Warren Buffet is a gambling man, do you give his predictions much weight? How can you be so callous about the danger to your fellow citizens? I don't get it. This is a new ballgame TJ, ignore it at your own peril (or mine).

Profiling used sensibly isn't racist and only mildly discrimanatory (oop can't spell) and can be effective. It's common sense this isn't brain surgery. If white separtist Afrikaners were attacking the institutions of the South African government wouldn't it make sense to give them extra scrutiny? This is no brainer territory to me.
I believe it is only a matter of timeAllisonHayes
May 31, 2002 1:22 PM
and there will be another catastrophic terrorist event. Let's face it, the stakes keep getting higher. Nuclear devices are not out of the question as are other heinous means of terrorism.

I am not an alarmist, but I do believe we now need to be prepared. What does it take to get people's attention?

Well stated Sintesi, "How can you be so callous about the danger to your fellow citizens? I don't get it. This is a new ballgame TJ, ignore it at your own peril (or mine)."

Ignore it at everyone's peril.
a bit of a tangent here...weiwentg
May 31, 2002 6:42 PM
> TJeanloz: At least we KNOW that some in the Arab world are displeased with us, and I'd rather know that my government is pissing people off than just assume everybody is happy.

> Allison: I am not an alarmist, but I do believe we now need to be prepared. What does it take to get people's attention?

Allison, you're right in this case. however, you have to take TJeanloz's point that some - well, maybe many, sectors of the Muslim world are angry at the US.
my take on profiling: it makes sense. some of those randomly selected will be - note I hate to stereotype - Muslim males. some will not. profiling would seem to be the best way to defend your country without pissing too many people off. frankly, many of the US' actions have pissed off Muslims worldwide. profiling seems to be the best bet.
but what the US must now do is force Israel to accept the UN resolutions on Palestine: that Israel must withdraw to its pre-'67 borders, and recognize the refugees' right of return. and it must remove the settlements. these are no less than a form of colonization. what does this have to do with the US? the US supplies Israel with the arms needed to occupy Palestinian land. and it supplies Israel with political support for the occupation. take the negotiations between Arafat and Barak. Barak made major concessions. Arafat refused, and was excoriated by the media and by the US. the other side of the story was not told: not only did he not give an inch on Jerusalem, but his offer would have involved Israel annexing 'islands' of land within Palestinian borders. 80000 Palestinians in 40 villages would come under Israeli sovereignty, and the annexation would leave Palestinian territory discontiguous. can you blame Arafat for not accepting?
I'm not a Muslim, and I'm pissed - so perhaps you can imagine how most Muslims feel. and yes, the Palestinians have ample blood on their hands, but for every Israeli killed the Israeli army kills several Palestinians, often with Apache attack helicopters and F16 fighters. and Israel was the first to invade Palestinian territory (see my post in another topic). the Israelis, sadly, probably have more blood on their hands than the Palestinians.
frankly, your nation ignores this at its own peril. and not just its own peril - Israeli and Palestinian lives are also being lost.
will forcing Israel to comply with UN resolutions stop every extermist? no. not immediately. the US needs also to come to rapproachment with the rest of the Muslim world, but stopping the Israeli occupation will be a big gesture.
normalweiwentg
May 31, 2002 6:26 PM
> but in America, we seem too blind to realize that most Muslims are not terrorists, most priests are not pedophiles and most blacks are not dangerous.

bravo that you realize this. however, humans are that way - it saves cognitive resources to stereotype. I'm not defending it, and I admit I have stereotypes about some groups of people (eg the Republicans). it's normal, and it's not good, but it can be brought under control.
For the record,Spinchick
May 31, 2002 10:05 AM
I have flown three times since being obviously pregnant. Each time I have been singled out and searched. It's happened to several other pregnant women I know. Seems they are profiling pregnant women as well. You never know what we're going to be hiding under our maternity clothes.
Interestingly enough,TJeanloz
May 31, 2002 10:11 AM
There was a case with a pregnant woman (of Irish descent if that matters) flying from Heathrow to Tel Aviv in the mid-1980s. But she was not allowed to board an El Al flight because she didn't seem to have enough baggage and couldn't come up with a reason for visiting Isreal. They discovered a bomb in her suitcase. I'm sure I left out some details- but this is considered one of the true successes of El Al's security 'profiling'.
I'm actually not complaining.Spinchick
May 31, 2002 10:21 AM
It didn't seem like an unreasonable thing to do. I was also carrying a cup of coffee through the security checkpoint, too. They made me take several sips out of it before they let me through.
yesmr_spin
May 31, 2002 10:29 AM
If there is a pattern, you can't put your head in the sand and ignore it because some people don't feel good about it. And let's be clear, profiling is NOT equal to discrimination. Profiling is looking at a pattern of evidence and trying to extrapolate it in order to determine where to apply scarce resources. Profiling extends far beyond searching people at the airport. Profiling gives great insight into serial killers, mail bombers, etc.

I'm sorry if right now you are Muslim, or worse, a Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40. I'm sorry because you will likely experience greater inconvenience at the airport than an 80-year old Asian woman. But until the trend changes and 80-year old Asian women start committing terrorist acts, authorities have to go with what they know now. And what they know now is based on decades of terrorist acts that establish a clear pattern. One day in Oklahoma City does not invalidate the past 30 or 40 years of Arab and Islamic terrorism against America and Western Europe.
It's statistically interesting,TJeanloz
May 31, 2002 11:02 AM
This whole debate has been particularly interesting for those of us who use statistics extensively day-to-day.

The trouble with profile based on faith is, how do you know? Do you ask people what religion they are? I'm white, but my race doesn't make me non-muslim (Islam being the most popular religion in the World). I mean, if we wanted a really statistically significant variable, we could just ask people if they were terrorists or not.

It seems to me that the statistically significant variables (that can be established without a response from the subject) are: gender, age, country of origin. I'm all for profiling on these, but on faith? Are all Catholics terrorists (most members of the IRA were Catholic, right?)?
The problem is it doesn't workmuncher
May 31, 2002 11:12 AM
as we found out in Northern Ireland.

The terrorist kidnaps your wife and kids and tells you to drive to bomb into the shopping centre or you get them back in the post.

Who do you profile then - anyone who looks nervous, regardless of colour/race/religion/ etc etc.

Works for murders etc on the basis of psychology etc as an investigative tool, but not good for physical security implementaiton - the only way there is check 'em all, or at least enought to make it an effective deterrent on the grounds that the terrorist thinks that there is a significant chance of getting stopped/failing (dying/detention often isn't an issue of course).

Interesting, but tricky stuff n'est pas?
very tricky, indeed. good point!AllisonHayes
May 31, 2002 11:26 AM
How do you fight an enemy that is always in the shadows?
not so trickymr_spin
May 31, 2002 11:57 AM
Easy. You fight them by profiling them. You pull people who fit the pattern into the light and you give them a more thorough check. Will you catch any terrorists? Perhaps not. Will you scare terrorists away from airports? Almost certainly. Is there any impact on non-terrorists subjected to the extra check? Of course. It takes them extra time to get through. Sorry. But whatever inconvenience you suffer in the end benefits everyone here, including yourself.
The bottom line for many in the US...nova
Jun 1, 2002 5:12 AM
Politically, the world is a continuum of viewpoints. What is good for one group isn't good for another, and in many cases there is no "right" or "wrong" point of view.

But in the end, we all die, and Americans typically don't like it when someone else decides when and where they will die. (Unlike Muslim extremists, who relish the idea of being sent to their deaths).

To that end: it is us or them. I've heard it said that Americans were innoculated by September 11th, and I agree. The death and bloodshed of Americans is now acceptable to Americans in order to preserve our way of life.

If I were an anti-American activist, that might give me pause....

I know it's been fashionable over the years to be cynical about the average American's intellect, motivations, physical health, etc. I'm guilty of that to this day. However, in the end (life or death on our terms), I choose the USA and its citizens.

My home isn't too far from the Pentagon - and the Marines in armored vehicles with 50cal machine guns deployed around the building are a welcomed sight. It's a new world for us and we will adapt and prevail. Hopefully we will be as fair as possible in the process, but innocent people WILL get stepped on. Welcome to life on Earth as a human being.

Remember Pearl Harbor? How about the "We've awoken a Sleeping Giant" comment by the Japanese admiral? The same is true today.

Yes, there is much to be critical about in terms of US foriegn policy. There is also much to be proud of in terms of humanitarian relief and human rights efforts. Rarely do positive actions by the US make headlines in France or pop up on Internet discussion forums...