I Am in Favor of Profiling

Yes.  I said it and I stand by it.  Profiling is not bigotry and it is not racism.  Profiling is a very useful tool in identifying a threat.  It is used by law enforcement to prevent violent criminal acts and apprehend criminals before they can commit further mayhem.

Bigotry and racism are merely emotions based in hatred of some perceived flaw in those the bigot or racist doesn’t like.

Profiling may be based on how a person looks, but it is based much more on a person’s background and associations and personality traits.

In the current environment, dealing with terrorism which stems from radical Islam, and because the overwhelming majority of radical Islamists are of Arab decent, the most obvious way of first identifying a potential terrorist is by their appearance because the overwhelming majority of people in this country do not have that physical appearance.  That is not racist or bigoted.  That is fact.  It is truth.  It does not mean profiling is a racist or bigoted way of determining whether someone is a terrorist or not.  It is an obvious place to begin identifying a potential threat.

I worked with a young man who was a delightful, intelligent, witty and friendly person.  One day I told him, “You know, if I didn’t know you and saw you walking toward me on the street, I would try to avoid you because of all of your tattoos and piercings.  I would be afraid of you.”  He said, “That’s a shame.  We wouldn’t become friends then.”  It is a shame, but it’s a natural reaction and not something to feel guilty over.  Thankfully we get past those first impressions if we are willing to look a bit further before making a final decision about perceived danger.

That is what vetting does.  Profiling begins with the most obvious and then proceeds to investigation which delves deeper to uncover any real threat.  Investigation is necessary to prove or disprove a threat.  If profiling isn’t used, and I really don’t see how that is possible since we do it automatically every day on a personal level without even thinking, then we would have to investigate every single person.  That is simply not feasible or reasonable.

So, when I hear people berate those who call for a temporary ban on any certain group of immigrants based on profiling, I have to ask, “What other way would be reasonable to protect us?”  We’re not talking about anything permanent.  We’re taking a first step to protect ourselves from a real threat and then moving to the next step, which would be investigation to sort out the real from the perceived.  Once that is worked out, then we no longer have to maintain a total ban.  We can determine who poses the real threat and who does not.

Who allows everyone that approaches their front door into their house before determining if they are a danger?  If a crowd of strangers came knocking and some of them were wearing masks and robes that concealed them, wouldn’t you stop them until they unmasked and showed themselves and maybe answered some pertinent questions before you let them in?  Wouldn’t you make sure they were not going to harm you or destroy your home first?

That is profiling.  It isn’t racist and it isn’t bigoted.  It is sensible and anyone trying to enter your home would realize that and not take offense.  But even if they did take offense, it wouldn’t stop you from trying to protect your home by profiling.

That is exactly what immigration laws do for a country and, in times of real peril, those laws have to be even more tightly restrictive.

A friend of mine suggested this scenario:  If you are not starving and someone presents you with a huge jar of M&Ms and tells you that 50 of them are tainted with a deadly poison, are you going to allow your children to eat even one before they are all carefully tested?  We have a country that is not in need of a larger population.  We are being presented with tens of thousands of refugees.  We know that some of them are terrorists.

Profiling is the first step.  We can identify M&Ms from other types of candy.  We can identify people coming from areas of the world where radical Islamic terrorists have a strong presence.  It happens that the most obvious way of identifying them is by their appearance and place of residence.  The next step would be keeping the M&Ms in the jar until each has been carefully tested to determine it’s potential danger.  A temporary ban on people entering our country based on initial profiling until they have been carefully investigated would be the next step.

Investigation would determine the safety or threat of each M&M and only the safe ones would be allowed to be eaten.  The same thing holds true for any refugees or other immigrants.

Again,  what other way would be reasonable to protect us?  I am truly saddened that so many people are hurting so badly from war, pestilence, and so many other things that force them to leave their homelands around the world.  Life is never fair and often very cruel; however, it is my responsibility to protect myself and my family from suffering.  It benefits no one if, by trying to do good for someone else, I endanger and bring harm to myself and my family.  By doing that I have only increased the suffering, not alleviated any portion of it.

So I stand by what I said originally.  I am in favor of profiling.



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