Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Security and Reality

After contemplating this for several days, I have decided that there is no way to discuss the recently implemented security measures in New York City without coming across as a politically incorrect or a borderline bigot.

Be that as it may I decided to go ahead and post my thoughts on the topic.

A little background. After the second wave of terror attacks in London NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to implement a plan that has the various city police agencies randomly checking bags as people head into the mass transit system.

I have no problem with this, although I do question its usefullness. (More on this later)

What does bug me is the system in place pulls people out of line based on some type of mathmatical equation. Say everything tenth person is inspected. What is specifically not taken into consideration is the person. Bloomber and the Metropolitian Transportation Police chief publicly stated that nobody will be checked based on their sex, race or age. In fact, a list will be kept detailing these particulars on everyone being inspected to ensure no profiling takes place.

This is the most foolish policy imaginable. Only one type of person is perpatrating these attacks. Men from their late teens to mid 40s primarily from northern Africa, Mid East and South East Asia. There have been a few women suicide bombers in Israel as well, but for the most part the it has been the same demographic. No tall, blond Swedish women, no short, bald white men, no 75-year old grandmothers, etc.

This is a rare case in policing when the authorities have a very good idea who to guard against, and they are throwing that advantage out the window. Profiling is a dirty word in law enforcement these days, but it is also the best tool any cop has to solve or prevent a crime.

For example. If searching for a made member of the Gambino crime family it would make zero sense to start arresting and interrogating African-Americans or Asians. No, you go to Howard Beach, NY or Bay Ridge and start talking to Italian-Americans. If you are looking for a member of the Bloods, you don't start questioning white kids from Boston's suburbs.

If you want to find a Muslim terrorist you look for people from the aforementioned regions. If the bags of innocent people from these places must also be checked, then you do so in the nicest manner possible and say thanks for your time. If they take offense, well that is too bad. Better to upset someone then have 75 people blown up on a bus. To do anthing else is a waste of time and money.

By handling the situation in this manner the authorities only check people with the highest potential of being terrorists.

Is it intrusive, yes, is it profiling yes, but will it make the currently hollow system have at least some chance of catching a bad guy before the bomb goes off.

Now, as far as the entire bag inspection idea goes I think it is a complete waste of time. Even if my decidedly politically incorrect measures are taken. Why. There are hundreds of subway entrances and thousands of bus stops. All a terrorists needs is a little patience and he will find an opening. And if not there 100,000 other places in New York City to go and kill large numbers of people.

My suggestion is for Mayor Bloomber, NY Governor George Pataki and President Bush to go on TV and tell the state and nation that no matter what type of hands on local security we try, the bad guys are going to get through. So instead of spending billions trying to stop them at the subway we will take that money and triple the size of our foreign intelligence services. Once they are found overseas our military will go to that place and kill them. If a nation decides harboring terrorists is in their best interest, well then that nation's leader will be asked to leave or will be blown out of his presidential palace.


At 1:54 PM, Blogger iPont said...

I absolutely agree with you (you politically incorrect bigot). If you are going to do something stupid like randomly search the bags of the bazillion or so people who use the NYC public transportation system every day, you might as well do whatever you can to raise the odds of actually being successful in those searches. The authorities have done an excellent job of closing the barn doors after the horses have already escaped. This is just another example. My favorite instance of that was when they used to ask at the airline check-in counter if a stranger had given you something to put in your luggage for them. No sane person would do that in this day and age, but apparently, one person did it at some time in the past, and every ticket agent was then required to ask every passenger. I think they have recently stopped that practice. Maybe somebody in authority realized how dumb it was. Nah, I doubt it.

I always wondered how, when a bomb was blown up in Isreal, there was a response within a few days. Some known terrorist leader's house would catch a bomb or would be visited by a passing gunship. What we need is a system that allows us to make an immediate response.

That's the way the legal system works in general. People don't act in a socially acceptable way because they want to; they act that way because performing some anti-social actions, like stealing and killing, can get them thrown in jail. It is the fear of those consequences that keeps people from crossing a line when they feel that they have been wronged. The people that strap explosives to their chests already have no fear of any consequences, but those are only the foot soldiers. Fear of being bombed, if done often and accurately enough, may convince the commanders of those foot soldiers that attacking might not be a good idea. That's much easier said than done, of course.


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