Racial Profiling and the Brazilian “Terrorist”

First the Racial Profiling:

I mentioned the issue of racial profiling a couple of days ago. Today while eating lunch I was watching Fox News (not because I wanted to, but because we couldn’t change the channel) and again some simpleton was calling for racial profiling. The particular show on at this time (around 1p EST) had a live audience, something I’ve never seen on the news. It seemed more like an episode of Oprah than the news. I guess people are right when they say that the news is more about entertainment than telling the story. Walter Cronkite must be so dissapointed. Every time the fellow being interviewed called for racial profiling the mostly-white audience cheered. Unfortunately, the man put on the show to oppose the racial profiling issue was a bumbling fool who spent more time spinning the issue than answering questions. However, when he said that, “all black people are not alike,” the audience actually booed him. What in the world is that? I think all those people needed to locked in that studio and given some lessons in racism.

Last time I spoke of the racial profiling issue I gave a bit of a sophmoric response, “let me hear a non-white call for it and I’ll shut up.” Let me add something a bit more refined to this argument. Have the Americans forgotten the Oklahoma City bombings? Originally they were sure it had to be some Arabs, but no, it was a white American. See! Americans can be terrorists too! Or is that word reserved for use by xenophobes to describe the Middle East? What about the Unibomber? He was another American-bred terrorist. Would looking for Arabs find him? No! Let’s face it, racial profiling will only work so much and will end up causing a lot of innocent people to be detained or worse.

Speaking of being killed over terrorism, I was reading a BBC article on the blog responses to the death of that young Brazilian man on the subway and came across some interesting blogs. Mark Maynard mostly summarized yesterday’s news, but also wrote about the thoughts we have all been going over in our heads. How can we solve the paradox of keeping ourselves safe from future attacks and also protect the rights of others? As Mark mentions,

everyone, the deceased included, just made a number of bad choices… He chose to wear the bulky jacket on a warm day, and to run from the cops. And, wanting to avert another bombing, they chose to shoot him five times in the head once the caught him, instead of interrogating him.

and really that is the real problem. There will always be someone who, in a sad Shakesperian tragedy-sort-of-way, will be wearing the wrong clothes or coming from the wrong place. That’s why I think we should not take such rash action as killing suspected terrorists. Unless you know for sure the person is a terrorist, you will always chance killing innocents.

Mayor of London introduced two very important points. First of all, as I wrote here, the news media were originally reporting this as the police having caught someone associated with the previous week’s bombings. I remember, but forgot to post, that the media made a pretty big deal of this. However, in the news coverage I’ve seen recently there haven’t been many mentions of the fact that they messed up. I would have thought this was an awesome story for the media. Don’t they love to catch governments fouling up? What is going on here?

But this isn’t really even the most important part of MOL’s post. The real clincher is:

The worrying bit of his report is the claim that the suspect was allowed to get onto a Bus !

Why was he not challenged before he got onto a Bus , if they thought he was a suicide bomber ?

I never realized this until he pointed it out. If this guy was SUCH a terrorist that the police had to shoot him five times in the head, why did they let him get on a bus? It’s not as though the bombers have only been blowing up the tube, they blew up a bus too! This is the strangest part in my opinion. Ok, if I were a cop and the guy was running when I told him to stop then I might shoot him. But I had always assumed he went from his house to the subway where he was shot. Letting him get on the bus is a very bad move for the police. They should have shot him before he got on the bus – if they were going to shoot him.

We’ll see what tomorror brings in this realm of news.