Why airline security will always be merely offensive, and never useful

In a previous post today, in which I asked how to make airline security actually work, the clear winner was profiling, a la the Israeli system (along with some other solid suggestions, such as privatization).  But as long as the feds control airline security, that’s not going to happen.  Witness what’s going on in LA, which must have more gang activity than the next ten biggest American cities combined:

The federal government has warned the Los Angeles Police Department to do more to combat racial profiling by officers, saying the LAPD’s investigations into the practice are inadequate.

In a letter to city and police officials, the U.S. Department of Justice cites a recording of two officers being dismissive of racial profiling complaints, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

When told that other officers had been accused of stopping a motorist because of his race, one officer responds, “So, what?” The second officer is heard twice saying that he “couldn’t do (his) job without racially profiling.”

The officers didn’t know they were being recorded.

Read the rest here.

Yes, racial profiling can be terribly abused.  Yes, racial profiling can be perceived by some in power positions as a green light for acting out their worst instincts.

But yes, racial profiling is an accurate, if somewhat rough indicator of certain affiliations:  You won’t find many white young men in black or Mexican gangs.  You won’t find many Jews in neo-Nazi biker groups.  You won’t find many little old ladies from the Midwest packing airplane bombs.

Yes, there are white men who long for the “people of color” gang lifestyle.  And yes, there are self-loathing Jews who would probably be happy hanging with the neo-Nazis.  And yes, there are LOLs from the Midwest who have been coopted by Islam — but it’s not likely.

Sherlock Holmes may have said that, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth,” but first you have to eliminate the impossible and examine the probabilities of the improbable. Ignoring common sense and relying on randomness is not a way to fight crime, whether on the streets of LA or the airspace over America.

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Comments

  1. Libby says

    Just a reminder: As one of the DC-area residents terrorized by the DC Sniper, I was told for weeks by experts near and far that it was likely to be a white male, late 20′s-early 30′s, with extensive military training (sniper duty), acting alone, fostering some Montana Freeman/McVeigh-like anger toward the US govt. driving a white van.
     
    And then they – they! – were caught, and the profile, as well as some basic facts (i.e., blue sedan) were shown to be almost entirely incorrect. Sure, this demonstrates that profiles can be wrong, and shows the ill-effects of law enforcement/media/pundit/security consultant groupthink. But no one ever apologized for the targets of the profile: white men, veterans, rifle-owners. Heck, no one even requested an apology.
     
    So I have to ask: Why are we so concerned about the feelings of those who fit the terrorist profile? Why the need to demonstrate absolute blindness toward passenger religion, country of origin, etc. Why do we bend-over to involve CAIR in the process to ensure their comfort?
     

  2. says

    Well, let’s take the argument that the police and DC government were on your side, the side of the victims or potential victims of the DC sniper(s). If they were on your side, why did DC in fact outlaw handguns for quite some time?
     
    They’re not so much on your side or our side, as they are on their side.

  3. MacG says

    “What are you looking for?”  “Ice cream”  “You’ve been on every aisle but the ice cream aisle” “Starting there would be profiling cuz I was looking for Cherry Garcia”.

    In my neighborhood last night we just had (4) 6 foot high 18th street gang tags go up on commercial and residential buildings.  Where should the  police look for suspects?  Tiburon?

  4. jj says

    I would think the LAPD is free to invite the federal government to go re-read the Constitution, and then invite them to go pound sand.  I don’t actually believe the federal government – constitutionally the least powerful of our many lawyers of government – has anything to say about how local jurisdictions run their local operations, despite the civil rights act and all its cousins, and the rest of the blah-di-blah-di-blah we get from Washington.  And here’s Los Angeles, in a perfect position to remind the bastards of their limitations!  Hopefully they will.

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