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Old Feb 14, 2002, 02:04 PM
Been There! Done That!
boomerace's Avatar
Eugene, Oregon, United States
Joined Sep 2001
19,187 Posts
Airport Profiling

To ensure we Americans never offend anyone -
particularly fanatics intent on killing us - airport
screeners will not be allowed to profile people. They
will continue 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 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by:
(a) Norwegians from Ballard;
(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 US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
(a) A pizza delivery boy;
(b) Crazed feminists complaining that being able to
throw a grenade beyond its own burst radius was an
unfair and sexist requirement in basic training;
(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 Braze, 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 the
train mission, or,
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

In 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania 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 and destroyed by:
(a) Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck, and Elmer Fudd.
(b) The Supreme Court of Florida trying to undo their
so called "hijacking" of the 2000 Presidential election;
(c) Mr. Bean,
(d) Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

Hmmm ............. nope, no patterns anywhere.

boomer
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Old Feb 14, 2002, 06:22 PM
A Clinger
rclark's Avatar
Butte, MT
Joined Sep 2001
7,058 Posts
Ahhhh, come on boomer. There 'might' be 1 honest Muslim middle eastern that you don't want to offend, you know they are basicly good people -- they seem to enjoy blowing themselves to bits and killing each other and others. They are taught to hate us as kids, but basicly good they are very good kids... They just don't like us infidels (unless using us for there own ends -- oil?), but shoot they are basicly good people, each tribe wants control, so when we aren't around to blast, they go after each other, but basicly good ol' boys, and hey they don't let thier women drive or go out in public without family members, burkas, but still good people with good values, etc. etc. etc. .... Just wish they would do it off on thier own without taking others with 'em.

Cynisim aside, there are I am sure lots of good folks over there. But trouble always seems to come from that part of the world now'a days..... What's the solution? I don't know.....Does anyone?

Sad
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Old Feb 15, 2002, 08:34 AM
Balsa Flies Better!
Stamford, CT
Joined Oct 2000
6,690 Posts
I'm sorry but I have to disagree here. This is the same type of logic that led the US government to intern citizens of Japanese origin during WWII. You could certainly come up with a similar list of atrocities and attribute them to young Japanese men either prior to or after Dec. 7, 1941- although the Japanese had the benefit of being in a declared war.

If we go along with this logic, then we are playing into the terrorists hands. Most Middle Eastern Muslim men between the ages of 17 and 40 are normal human beings who would be perfectly happy to watch football and fly Zagis if they lived in this country. In their own countries they probably watch soccer and fly Terry's instead. The extremists do not have solid popular support, most citizens of these countries would prefer to live in peace rather than fight a war with the US, Israel or the rest of the world. It is imperative to distinguish between Nazi Germany (the Nazi regime did have broad popular support) and terrorists in Muslim countries who are using the population of these countries as a shield. By antagonizing the folks in these countries who would prefer peace, we are doing what the terrorists want. In my book, doing what these creeps want you to do is a bad idea, and we need to come up with other solutions.

Sam
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Old Feb 15, 2002, 11:29 AM
Master Nursery Builder
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Canton, GA
Joined Jan 2001
297 Posts
So Sam, are you saying that we should intentionally NOT allow screeners to target young men of middle eastern appearance for a more thorough security check?

To me, that is handicapping the entire effort.

It would be like the police putting out an APB for a criminal: "a thief, sorry, we can't give more description because we wouldn't want to anger all the people that are caucasian, or 6-1, or brown haired, or one-armed"

-O Geoffrey
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Old Feb 15, 2002, 12:49 PM
Balsa Flies Better!
Stamford, CT
Joined Oct 2000
6,690 Posts
Back up a sec O geoffrey

The last time I checked it was considered reasonable to stop/search for a particular individual who had committed a crime. In other words, white male aged 30-40, medium height, medium build, wearing a blue denim jacket in a specific locale within a reasonble time frame. Should the police be able to search all the time for a white male fitting this description on the basis that most criminals look like this? This is the same furor over racial profiling- should the police be allowed to stop black men aged 18-45 driving on I-95 because they might be drug smugglers? I have a problem with this- what happened to the constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure?

Historically, the US has done its best for its own people and in the eyes of the world when we hold fast to the same principles the founding fathers laid down over 200 years ago. Those guys were no dummies, and they had to deal with many of the same problems we face today. When we disregard these principles under the short sighted assumption that times have changed, often we regret it later. Yes, secret organizations will be able to operate more freely in an open society, but in the long run, the open society will do better.

In short, I've got no problems with stopping Muslim men aged 18-40 if there has been recent terrorist activity in the vicinity, and the perpetrators might be fleeing the scene. I do have a problem stopping Muslim men who might be terrorists, but there's been no crime to convict them of. Should we allow the terrorists to turn ourselves into a police state? How much of our liberty are we supposed to sacrifice to deal with these clowns?

Sam
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Old Feb 15, 2002, 12:50 PM
A Clinger
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Butte, MT
Joined Sep 2001
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Terrorists? This morning a group of 'mecca trekkers' you know these 'good religious people' killed the Afgan Air Minister -- beat him to death and threw him off his plane....... So the terrorists are using these 'good' muslim people as a sheild?.....Hmmmm....

Yes we should profile them 'in times of crisis' for the good and safety of the whole. There is nothing wrong with profiling as I see it -- as long as it isn't abused.

Again, not all are 'terrorists', but we do need to be very concerned with who and what nationality goes where in these trying times.... Wish it didn't have to be so.....
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Old Feb 15, 2002, 01:35 PM
Master Nursery Builder
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Canton, GA
Joined Jan 2001
297 Posts
(beep, beep)

Sam. I was just extrapolating from this country's current disease of PCness what could happen. Same thing you did (in implying that we could be on the road to more internement camps) only in the other direction.

Think about this. The current terrorist threat comes <i>almost completely</i> from people of middle eastern descent. Why is it such a bad thing that airport screeners focus their activities on the very community from which almost all terrorists came from?
(btw, I heard this argument on the radio)

I'm not saying we should lock up all people of middle eastern descent. I'm not saying we should presume guilty until proven innocent.

I just don't see where this would create a police state or infringe on our liberties. Some people would just have to show up to the airport 15 min earlier.

-O Geoffrey
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Old Feb 15, 2002, 02:02 PM
Registered User
Okemos, Michigan
Joined Feb 2001
277 Posts
Look...

Randomness is a good thing. PC or not PC we should atleast search people, and racially profiling them isn't going to catch home grown terrorists either. So if randomness is not a good thing, well too bad. I support it. Yes Islamic terrorists are something to definitly worry about... But to single out people by how they look is definitly not cool.

Go ahead and flame.... But think about being on the other end of the "stick" before you spout off about it. There are several "middle eastern" looking people who are American citizens that pay their taxes, ect. Just because someone looks a "certain way" doesn't mean their up to something. Nor should we drop our guard when it comes to detering terrorists.
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Old Feb 15, 2002, 02:02 PM
Balsa Flies Better!
Stamford, CT
Joined Oct 2000
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O Geoffrey

In a democracy, the idea is that we treat all people equally. How would you feel if you're of Middle Eastern descent and you're told you better show up early to the airport compared to the Caucasian guy sitting next to you? I don't see how this isn't presuming guilty- based solely on race. What's next- can't move into this neighborhood because you'll lower property values? How about not being able to get a job because we don't want to have to do security screening?

Maybe I'm missing something, but from my viewpoint it looks like you want to say that we're not presuming guilt, but then the actions that you suggest are based on that principle.

Look at the terrible price that has been paid by by all of us for institutionalized discrimination against African- Americans. This discrimination was given the force of law-as an example-the Jim Crow statutes. It's left a legacy of bigotry, hate, and violence. I'm damned if I want to go down the path of discrimination again for any reason. We're still recovering from the African-American disaster, and I suspect we've got a couple of decades left to go.

Furthermore, I'd doubt that these security measures will do much good in terms of catching terrorists- they're more for public consumption. I'm willing to risk the miniscule chance that the terrorists will do something more effective than they have so far in order to safeguard my freedom. Look at the damage suffered by nearly any major European city, Chinese city, or Japanese city during WWII. Comparatively, what happened to the twin towers was a pinprick. Let's not let these terrorist creeps do any more damage.

Sam
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Old Feb 15, 2002, 02:47 PM
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Berks, England
Joined Jun 2001
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Sam - if searching someone at the airport is an assumption of guilt then no-one should be searched - everyone is innocent until proven otherwise.

It's not a question of guilt, but of probability of guilt. Taking race out of it: a 17-40yr man for example is more likely to destroy/hijack a plane than an 80-year old woman. Should the woman be searched for concealed knives?

I do agree that the measures are ineffective. The method the hijackers used will never work again anyway - consider the fourth plane on Sept 11th. Already the hijackers method was less successful, and that was when news of the first hijackings was very confused.

Stuart
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Old Feb 15, 2002, 03:10 PM
Balsa Flies Better!
Stamford, CT
Joined Oct 2000
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Stuart

Well, we agree that these measures are being done largely to assure the public rather than to stop terrorists. Since this is the goal, then let us set a good example, and truly search randomly.
The moment you set up predictable security measures, i.e. only search males between certain ages, then the simplest response is to use a terrorist who doesn't fit into that category. Since people will feel safer when "security measures" are in place, then let everyone share the burden equally.

By and large, it seems that most of these security measures aim to bar the door after the horse has bolted.

Constructive suggestions- since I'm tired of weather forecasts that say that it's raining pieces of jetliners.

Reinforced baggage areas. This could be done for relatively little money and weight penalty- probably a few hundred pounds if that. Compared to losing an airplane- cheap.

Chemical detection (or other means) of screening explosives. Traditionally, the problem has been that the sensitivity of these devices has been set to catch all explosives devices. If we couple this screen with the above reinforced baggage area, then relatively little bombs which are hard to detect will be rendered ineffective. Bombs large enough to demolish the baggage area should be easier to detect.

I agree that the pilot the jetliner stunt into something has been played out- it's a one trick pony. Too many of us would jump on a hijacker figuring we've got nothing to lose. Tighter security on freighters though might be useful.

Sam
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Old Feb 16, 2002, 07:42 AM
Registered User
Berks, England
Joined Jun 2001
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Quote:
Originally posted by Megowcoupe
The moment you set up predictable security measures, i.e. only search males between certain ages, then the simplest response is to use a terrorist who doesn't fit into that category.
But - since aircraft terrorism by passengers is effectively a suicide mission, it is very hard for the terrorists to find someone outside the expected profile. And making it hard for the terrorists is the purpose of security measures.

I agree with everything else you said. And the governments really need to be looking at security at non-aircraft targets, such as nuclear power stations. The British government has been refusing to confirm that they have taken any precautions in this regard, which is not a good sign.

Stuart
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Old Feb 16, 2002, 09:19 AM
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Melbourne, Victoria, Oz.
Joined Oct 2000
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Stuartaw postulated this below.

"It's not a question of guilt, but of probability of guilt. Taking race out of it: a 17-40yr man for example is more likely to destroy/hijack a plane than an 80-year old woman. Should the woman be searched for concealed knives?"

I postulate thus:

Oh yes indeedy, If I were a dumb white hijacker I'd carry the naughty gear on to the plane myself. But if I was a cunning and dastardly hijacker/murderer of middle eastern appearence, I'd be getting every child, pregnant woman with children, 80 yr old man/woman to carry them on for me. These people aren't stupid, certainly not as stupid as the FBI and the CIA. Who can't catch them and can't explain why they can't. Remember the RAF (no. it's the Red Army Faction) a successful German terrorist unit, many of their suicide squads were japanese!
So much for looking for naughty socialist Germans.
Search everyone, and make them all fly in the Nude.

hugh
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Old Feb 16, 2002, 02:31 PM
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Houston,TX
Joined Mar 2000
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I don't think we should try to remove someones rights based on profiling. That means we can't toss you in jail without reason, remove the freedom of speech etc.

However, flying on an airplane is not a RIGHT! - not anymore than driving a car. Want to drive a car? Well in in many states this means you must have insurance - ever priced insurance PROFILE,PROFILE,PROFILE... I'm sure I could find a safe teenage male with a sports car and a dangerous Mom with a minivan.. however the insurance statics don't see it that way. This is legally acceptable "equal" democracy. I don't see airport security any differently, they have limited resources and should deploy them in the most effective way based on all information they have. Everyone at the airport is subject to search, consider yourself lucky if you don't get searched. If you can't handle getting searched, get your own plane or maybe drive.
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Old Feb 16, 2002, 02:36 PM
Most Exalted Windbag
Newark, DE USA
Joined May 2001
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Scott,

Well put. Excellent analogy IMO.

RB
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