Monday, November 22, 2010

Peek-A-Boo. We Can't See You.

While the various state and federal government agencies carefully sniff out any forbidden display of traditional western religion, these same agencies have tip-toed around even the slightest hint of criticism of Muslim regalia. Political-correctness and government ineptitude are soon going to get some of us killed at airports or aboard airplanes because a little extra attention toward full Middle Eastern garb might--horrors!--be a symbol of the dread ethnic profiling.

Ethnic/racial/religious profiling is a highly useful tool of law enforcement in a dangerous world that is not--I repeat, not--forbidden by the Constitution. If all nine Supreme Court justices tell me otherwise, I will still not change my opinion on the matter. A plethora of muddle-headed decisions allegedly based on 14th and 1st Amendment strictures prove only that judges today are more frequently motivated by political-correctness than by reasoned law. Lincoln and Oliver Wendell Holmes declared that the Constitution is not a suicide pact. Today, judges need to heed that admonition.

The various Muslim versions of the veil (which is not specifically ordered or described with care in the Koran) have produced a major security problem that can't be addressed by touchy-feely religious nonsense. A modest scarf on the head, which may even be wrapped around the chin, is the most the Koran demands in its sensible belief that women be chaste and modest. I may or may not agree with its implementation, but it probably wouldn't be a half-bad idea if men followed the same advice (skipping the head scarf, of course). Still, you and I, and in their heart of hearts even the liberals, know that head scarves and religious freedom are not what has stirred up resentment among Westerners and rigid ideological madness among the left.

First of all, the Constitution forbids excessive government intrusion into religious matters, while at the same time protecting religious practices which do not endanger the rights of other people. Somehow, overweaning courts have variously found that displays of the Ten Commandments, pictures of Jesus, menorahs, crosses and various other non-Muslim religous displays must be rigidly banned from public view. At the same time, they have shown both their ignorance and their cowardice in the face of the onslaught of demands that Muslim women must be covered from head to toe with nothing of the bodies showing as a result of a purposeful misreading of the Koranic dress code. According to the Muslim zealots and their fellow-travelers on the constitutional left, nothing--absolutely nothing--must interfere with this phony religious right.

In order to subordinate women and make them into wrapped presents rather than human beings, sexually-suspect Muslim clergy have read the Koran to require the ridiculous abaya, chador, niqab and my favorite, the burqa. Now if women in Riyadh and Kabul want to go along with that, so be it. If Egypt and Nigeria wish to tolerate this domination and humiliation of women, that's their privilege. But when a full-body covering that is not even properly scriptural runs afoul of the clear necessity of being able to tell who and what is behind the mask, it's time to stop the lopsided protection of Muslim custom and stop tolerating a religious view that endangers American citizens on our own soil.

The current flap over airport screening takes a prominent place in this argument, since past court decisions lead me to believe that regardless of what modifications of the full-body scan and alternative full-body patdown security measures are reached, we will still be stuck with timid law enforcement and a religious exception which will apply to Muslims only. The issue of fully-veiled Muslim women demanding to get drivers licenses and government picture IDs has yet to be fully litigated or fully decided. The complete ludicrousness of these Muslim demands doesn't faze politically-correct fools and illiterate jurists. It's an ID, for crissakes, and how the hell are you going to tell who the person is from that picture?

Crazy Christian cults which require the handling of poisonous snakes as a test of faith are tolerated within their own enclaves, but let's see what happens if one of them decides to bring a Bible, a couple of eastern diamondbacks and a cobra into the Delta Airlines terminal. But at least the snake cult doesn't require the wearing of full-body coverings which could conceal the snakes, nor would airport security or a court accept the reasoning that "it is the will of Jehovah" that the person under the tent not be identified or identifiable.

For that matter, I'd like to see the reaction if the Grand Wizard showed up at JFK Airport in full Klan regalia demanding his right to be clothed from head-to-toe like a pointy-headed ghost because the Aryan Bible requires that he do so. Somehow, I don't think there'd be a a lot of judicial and constitutional head-scratching over that one. So how do we know that after a civilian jury acquits Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the Obama administration grants him asylum, it isn't good ole KSM under that burqa along with fifty pounds of high-explosives? "Don't touch me, I'm one of Allah's virgins," is no substitute for "take that tent off, or we'll take it off for you."

And after we've thought of the obvious, there's a horrendous example of just how dangerously foolish this whole politically-correct religious/ethnic argument can be. What if the person under the tent is not a Muslim, but actually a real live innocent child who has been kidnapped, raped and threatened into silence? And what if a suspicious police officer asks the crazed looking man with her to have her remove the cloth that is covering the child's entire upper body, and the man replies "you can't do that, our religious beliefs forbid anyone seeing our women other than her family and her husband?" And what if the police officer hesitates, then backs away for fear of being punished for being insensitive to the religion of another person? And what if the child then spends months in bondage being raped and tortured until a fluke leads police to her and her captor/rapist?

That's not a hypothetical situation, nor a bar exam question. That exact horror happened to Elizabeth Smart in exactly that manner. A police officer had been alerted to the abduction and possible whereabouts of the kidnapped child. He even had a general description of the pervert who was with her. Brian Mitchell was even courteous enough to look like a stereotypical psycho and his actions in the view of the officer were suspicious as hell. But as soon as the magic words were uttered, the officer abandoned all his training, gut instincts and common sense and let the rapist proceed to leave with the child.

Was Mitchell a Muslim? No. Was the child wearing Muslim garb? No. So not only does this prove that the simple requirement of viewing the face of another human being for security purposes isn't limited strictly to swarthy Middle Easterners nor genuine religious believers, but it proves that political-correctness doesn't just put the lives of crowds in danger. It can just as easily result in the most unimaginable horrors for an innocent child who is now emotionally scarred for life.

In a world without liberals, leftists, self-loathing Americans, and crazed jurists, that police officer would have said "step away from that child and have her remove that cloth covering, or I will beat you to a bloody pulp--with all due respect, sir. You have the right to live, or not, as you choose. If you live through the beating, you have the right to remain silent . . . . "


AndrewPrice said...

Sorry Lawhawk, but I can’t disagree more about racial profiling. I’ve know lots of cops, FBI guys and DOJ attorneys and none of them would use racial/gender/religious profiling because race, gender or religion have nothing to do with spotting wrongdoers.

And if you want proof, it’s simple. There are 2 billion Muslims, but only a few thousand terrorists. The vast majority of bombings in the US each year are from disgruntled white guys, and there are only 200 million of those -- a much higher percentage than Muslim terrorists. Should we profile white males? If not, then how do we explain the decision to profile Arabs when whites are more likely to be bombers? Timothy McVeigh claimed to be a Christian, does that me we should frisk Christians before they get on planes? Why not?

Moreover, most Muslims will appear to be Indonesian or Asiatic, not Arabic, and yes, they have been blowing things up just as the Arab terrorists have, see e.g. Bali. Al Qaeda has members who are black, white, Arabic, or Asian. Chechens appear to be Russian or Easter European in appearance, but they have committed a large number of terrorist acts. Focusing on Middle Eastern Muslims lets these others slip through unnoticed.

For example, the Russians assumed that terrorists were males and profiled Chechen men, until women started blowing up railway stations. The Israelis found out that teenage girls could be suicide bombers.

And what about the accomplice? While we’re strip searching the Arab looking guy, the white girl with the bomb gets the pass, or maybe the Swedish granny who was once a 1960s terrorist and now feels like helping Al Qaeda.

Even in regular crime profiling on anything other than behavior makes no sense. The vast majority of criminals in the US are whites. So do we profile whites? If not, isn’t it racist to profile blacks or other minorities when white are more like to be criminals?

These are the reasons racial profiling is rejected. It leads you to make wrong conclusions based on biased assumptions about race, religion and gender, and it allows a smart criminal to avoid getting caught by manipulating your bias.

Finally, there is the moral question: “judge a man by the content of his character, not the color of his skin.” That’s not consistent with “suspect the Muslim” or “suspect the Arab.”

Joel Farnham said...

Do you guys know why the "moderate muslims" aren't speaking out? It is because we aren't executing the crazy terrorists. We aren't seeking out and destroying the ones who would have us all praying for Allah. We are so enamoured with not destroying a nation (Pakistan) for fear of alienating the moderates. The moderate muslims would love to speak out, but instead we hide a cartoonist for daring to promote a draw mohammed day. The moderates see that and then hesitate.

Andrew, Don't misconstrue LawHawk. He is as much a constitutionalist as you are. He never said, "only go after arabs or arab looking people." He stated very clearly that Muslim regalia is what he doesn't like. France doesn't like it as well. Elizabeth Smart's captor wasn't Muslim. He just knew what to tell the cops if he was stopped. LawHawk is against Political Correctness.

BTW Timothy McVeigh calls himself an atheist. People around him called him Christian. Leftist and progressives call McVeigh a Christian.

Tennessee Jed said...

There can be no "muslim religious exception" or it all falls apart. If you want to wear a chador, you should not get a driver's licence or make it through security.

Terrorism and algore have pretty much killed theairline industry anyway.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Sorry, but I've undoubtedly known, worked with and in opposition to as many cops, FBI, DEA, INS (now ICE) agents and prosecutors as you, and oddly they largely seem to come out with a position precisely the opposite from yours. Perhaps the people you knew in DC and Colorado are a different group from the ones I know in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York City.

For the past few days, we've been talking about airports and airline bombers. How many of the perpetrators and wannabe perpetrators in those situations have been white males? How many of the 9/11 terrorists were white males? I'm sure the people I know might say the same thing you said if we were talking about Safeway bombers and Brooks Brothers bombers, but when it comes to airports, they all say it's the very first thing to look for. And unlike the inference in your response, it's hardly the only thing to look for.

Once again, that sweet old Swedish grandmother may have mass murder in her heart and plastique in her waistband, but profiling for purposes of saving lives puts the odds on the Arab in Middle Eastern garb. And the last time I looked, there are a lot more white guys running around nationwide who can't all be watched than there are Arabs (and as you mentioned, Southeast Asians) taking international flights into or out of American airports. When crazed white guys start targeting airports, we should develop a crazed white guy profile. I also missed the FBI report that says that all 200 million white guy Americans are disgruntled.

Unknown said...

Timothy McVeigh claiming to be a Christian is a non-starter. Even if he were, what major denomination or sect of Christians has at its heart the murder of all who are not Christians or who dare to offend or caricature Christ?

Professional profilers (as opposed to rednecks who hate "Arabs") know that Indonesian and Asiatic Muslims look different from Arabs. So let's add them to the profile. Moreover, the Bali attack did not take place in America, obviously, and it was a nightclub, not an airport.

Ethnic profiling is a start, not a final answer. And unintelligent use of it would be just as useless as X-ray machines and full body patdowns by TSA morons. As for the Russians, perhaps they should have had a Chechen profile rather than just a Chechen male profile.

Israeli security has a high level of sophistication, but that doesn't mean that they don't suspect Muslim Arabs first. They're just smart enough to look at the ethnic profile, recognize that today's profile might not be tomorrow's profile and act accordingly. Focusing on a currently-accurate profile doesn't mean focusing exclusively on that profile. It's one tool in a large tool shed.

I don't remember suggesting that we should strip search "the Arab looking guy," while ignoring the other telltale signs of potential danger in the Swedish granny. I am suggesting, strongly, that until Al Qaeda switches its tactics and recruiting, which it is very adept at doing, we know where the odds lie.

The argument that we should profile whites at airports because there are more white criminals is the same one that was used to support welfare because there were more white welfare recipients than black or other minority. The proper profile would be white welfare recipients who are making international flights. Of course there are more white criminals and white bombers in America because there are more white people. I wouldn't even consider ethnically profiling corporate embezzlers the same way I would profile airline passengers. It's apples and oranges.

I don't need Martin Luther King, Jr to be quoted to me. I was there. How am I supposed to judge an airline passenger by the content of his character when I'll only see him for two or three minutes?

And finally, the real thrust of my article was full body coverings on people at airports who refuse to remove the overclothing so the agents can see who they are and what they might be concealing. And to make my point, I pointed out the matter of the non-Muslim, non-Arab Brian Mitchell who used full body-covering to disguise his non-Muslim, non-Arab victim from a cop who should have, indeed, been profiling crazed white guys.

My biases are not easily manipulated, nor would they be for trained, professional screeners. But my bias against using questionable religious custom and garb to avoid realistic profiling and useful airport security hasn't changed one iota as a result of your arguments.

Unknown said...

Joel: I try to think of it this way. I hate racial and ethnic profiling, and I'm fully aware of its use and abuse in totally inappropriate and racist situations. But I also hate surgery, and it has saved my life--twice. Sometimes, and more often that we would wish, the choice is between two evils. I consider ethnic profiling, under certain very limited circumstances, in very carefully prescribed places (such as airports) and revolving around obvious telltale signs (such as the chador and burqa or men's long robe and turban-like headgear) to be one of those necessary evils. That survives the constitutional test of compelling state interest, and the practical test of "what are the odds?"

Unknown said...

Tennessee: It's also important to note that I did not mention "religious profiling" at all. The religious issue would only occur after the initial demand, based on a reasonable profile and plain old common sense, that the face-covering be removed, and excess overclothing be inspected. Only at that point would the "religious" objection and constitutional issue enter into the picture.

Your comment about terrorism deeply damaging the airline industry is extremely apt. It is part of the terrorist plan. Get people to fear flying and/or the godawful airport screenings, and you can cripple a major part of the American economy. As for Al Gore, I think he'd try to avoid the airport screening if he had to fly commercial by wearing a head-to-toe covering. The problem is that it's hard to find that much clothing material.

Unknown said...

I should also add that "profiling" isn't a simple matter of look/stop. There are two levels to profiling, and over the past couple of decades the FBI particularly has gotten very good at it. The first level is the "profiler" who creates the profile of the potential "criminal" based on multiple levels of intel, psychology, statistics, logic, facts, and opportunity. For instance, it has become a fairly standard profile that a serial killer is most likely to be a white male, in his twenties to forties, along with numerous other traits too many to mention. But it isn't true all the time, and FBI profilers warn the agents in the field of that. An example would be the Atlanta Child Killer. Because of multiple diversions from the standard profile, it was determined that the serial killer was most likely black.

The second level is the agent (right now, for purposes of this discussion, the TSA screener) on the scene. The TSA agent is likely far too poorly educated and additionally too poorly trained to create a profile of his or her own which is the least bit sophisticated. Whatever profile might finally be decided upon, it would likely include travelers with clothing that denies plain view of the face and the ready ability to identify what is in the clothing. Even TSA agents could follow that guide without deciding to stop every passenger who "looks Arab." But rather than develop a full and sophisticated profile and hire professional agents to implement the policies surrounding the profile, we are stuck with gummint employees who can't make any reasonable decisions or distinctions, and are therefore required to humiliate, annoy, and occasionally terrify the very passengers they're supposed to be protecting.

Tehachapi Tom said...

You have touched the very core of the politically correct who must protect the wrong doer at all costs mentality that permeates our country. Why must we be all embracing and accepting of the very group that celebrates our misfortunes? After 9-ii non of the Muslim countries in the world displayed remorse or dismay at our misfortune. In fact they all celebrated and had a party in their streets to exhibit their glee.

Excuse me if I cannot turn the other cheek I am only mortal.

I feel that the prophesies of Armageddon could be correct and might be based upon the omniscience that created them.
I'm with you. true there are bad people in all ethnic groups but there is only one where it is embraced by the practitioners as well as the leaders.

I know of no other group who raise there children and then are thrilled when they go out and blow them selves up in order to kill others. They have to be subhuman.

Only some one who is without compassion can embrace and or make excuses for such behavior.

Unknown said...

Tehachapi Tom: All security matters are deadly serious games of intelligent guessing based on multiple sources of information. But there is such a thing as "indicators" that anyone can pick up. Should we be suspicious of all "Arabs" or Muslims. Of course not. We are talking about the indicators that I specifically addressed in the article.

Juan Williams lost his job at MSNBC for being frank about his innate suspicion of certain fellow passengers who spoke in hushed tones among each other in a foreign language while wearing clothing specifically identified with the Middle East. Is he a bigot? Likely not. Is he ignorant? Definitely not. Did he just describe unofficial ethnic profiling? Yep. And at the same time he made an unconscious mental calculation of the odds that those people might be trouble and Swedish granny might not. He didn't automatically tag the Middle Easterners as terrorists, nor did he automatically exclude granny. But he did recognize the most obvious and easily-dispelled indicators.

Tehachapi Tom said...

I must bow to your more embracing understanding as well as being able to make a more clear defining of the issues.
I have a much harder time dealing with the politically correct crowd than you do.
I also lack your "Word Smiths" ability to illuminate a topic to the point of such clarity that all will see the light.
I would rather just bluntly address the issue with a ball bat.

As for Juan Williams that was such an exercise in political correctness as to completely illustrate the STUPIDITY of the politically correct.
NPR is so far off base I won't even listen to any of their stations any more. I had reached that point even prior to the Juan Williams event.

Unknown said...

Tehachapi Tom: Nobody faults any reasonable person who is fed up to the neck with political correctness. I probably get just as angry, but I had years of training in suppressing that anger and concentrating on the specific issue at hand. That doesn't mean I haven't gone off on an occasional rant on this very blog. LOL

t said...

Now that I have cleared my for thought of the stupidity of political correctness let me address what you originally made the subject of your article.
The Muslim woman in Florida who wanted a drivers license photo of her with her burka obscuring her face comes to mind. Am I off base in assuming a photo identification is to provide something to compare your appearance with. Don't the police glance at you while holding you picture emblazoned DL? How can a completely in draped persons identity be confirmed?
If you appear at odds to the average shouldn't you be placed under a closer scrutiny?
I only ask as any think different escapes me completely.

Unknown said...

Tehachapi Tom: The woman in Florida was not the first and undoubtedly won't be the last to try to pull that one. Neither driving nor flying is a constitutional right. And in the case of the driver's license, the whole purpose is to use it as a positive form of identification. I could put on one of those burqas and look exactly like the person in the picture. More germanely, an auto thief in a burqa would therefore look exactly like the alleged owner driving the car.

As for the airport issue, identification is important, but secondary. The whole point of the airport screening is to determine that the person with the ticket is the one who bought it, and more importantly to determine that the person isn't carrying explosives or other harmful substances. That's a little hard to do when the person is covered head-to-toe in thick garments that they won't remove for "religious reasons."

So, there are very strong reasons to want to exclude persons who claim religious exemptions which allow them to wear outfits that deny even the least possibility of inspection.

The TSA is telling us that we can submit to the radiation, or submit to a full-body patdown, or simply not fly. The same options are available to Muslim men and their women who claim a religious right not to be searched. That doesn't alter the fact that the person (who knows if it's a man or a woman?) who is wearing the full, thick body cover is better able to bring explosives aboard than Fred Schmidlap from Possum Holler in his tee-shirt, flip-flops and cargo shorts.

Unknown said...

Chas7007: You obviously put a lot of thought into that. And you're probably right. It's likely it will take another attack to wake people up to what needs to be done for national security, including but not limited to profiling.

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