Facing the Facts on Profiling: Take the Test

Enough of the forensic folly that is the debate over racial, religious, ethnic and national profiling at U.S. airports. It’s like debating Hitler’s “final solution.” There is no other side.

What’s at stake — protecting lives and national security — is too important to have an opposing view. Especially when that viewpoint represents the see-all-evil “discrimination” credo of the political correctness crowd. They can save it for, say, university admittance where the worst result is blatant unfairness — not death and destruction.

But let’s revisit where we are.

Take these tests:

1) You’re queuing up for an international flight. The red head behind you has the map of Dublin on her face and the passport of Ireland in her purse. The blue-eyed, blond guy in front of you has a Norwegian passport. The young, swarthy guy in front of him carries a Saudi passport. A security official asks the young man from Medina to step aside for some additional questions.

The Saudi guy takes obvious umbrage at being singled out. His ultimate destination, he says, is Paris, where he is a Ph.D. candidate in economics at the Sorbonne. He says he’s a victim of ethnic and religious profiling, which is as insulting as it is humiliating.

Deep down, you say to yourself:

a) “Poor guy. This is unconscionable, discriminatory treatment. Just because he’s an Arab, doesn’t mean he’s a security risk. This is, in effect, ‘flying while Muslim.’ I don’t blame him for being incensed. He hasn’t done anything. Moreover, most Muslims are as repulsed by the atrocities of Sept. 11, as I am. Islam is a religion of peace. Its perversion led to 9/11. I’m embarrassed that this blatantly discriminatory procedure is carried out in the name of United States security and unprofiled, non-typecast passengers such as myself. I’m ashamed at this First Amendment mockery — and embarrassed by my complicity of silence. This is as wrong as ‘driving while black.'”

b) “Poor guy. But given all we know about who has declared war on America and the ethnic background and religious affiliation of all those who committed horrific acts with commercial airliners, this is an understandable and prudent move. Of course, if I were in his shoes, I might not like it either, but that isn’t the point. The point is that right now I wouldn’t like it one bit if the Saudi guy weren’t scrutinized more closely than non-Muslim passengers. It defies sense as well as security to do otherwise. When it comes to my own life, I can get pretty picky about doing everything reasonable and rational to ensure it. That includes profiling, a legitimate security tool. Ask the Israelis. Hell, ask any police chief in an unguarded moment of investigative candor. Statistical relevance remains germane. And, hey, it’s always easier to proffer a sincere apology than to send deepest condolences.

“And speaking of shoes, those high-topped sneakers don’t exactly complement that three-piece suit

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