What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Racial Profiling: the Art of Lazy Law Enforcement

Conservatives pundits, for the most part, are big fans of racial profiling. At least for people with dark skin. I can see how this appeals to conservatives: let's make sure minorities are always considered as suspects by law enforcement. None of that innocent until proven guilty bullshit.

The current target of racial profiling are Muslim men. You know, because they account for the majority of crimes committed in the United States. Oh wait, they do not. Yes, 19 terrorists caused the deaths of over 2,800 people on Sept. 11, and the terrorists were Muslim. Also, most of them were from Saudi Arabia. But we'll ignore that in our racial profiling matrix, because the Saudis are heavily invested in the United States, and we do not want to offend them. That's why we sort of look the other way when it comes to the horrific human rights violations committed by that government.

I wonder if law enforcement also has its eye on white Desert Storm veterans? After all, Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people.

If it did happen, it wouldn't last long. If white conservatives suddenly found themselves on profiling list, they would do everything in their power to stop it. Conservatives can ramble on about the ACLU and how law enforcement needs all the tools at its disposal to stop the bad guys, but if law enforcement's focus settled on that group, they wouldn't stand for it.

Unlike conservatives, I support the civil rights of everyone. Innocent until proven guilty. Our legal system is what separates us from countries like Saudi Arabia, where there is no concept of innocent until proven guilty.

If terrorists are determined to strike against the United States, they will make that attempt. If law enforcement has its eye on Muslim men, what's to prevent a group like Al Qaeda from recruiting white males to carry out their mission?

Treating minorities as suspects is not the answer. Perhaps conservatives should give the Constitution a read, and take a look at all of the amendments. Section one of the 14th amendment is of particular interest:

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Aside from the ethical issues involved, racial profiling seems to me a direct violation of the 14th amendment.

This isn't a "liberal" or "conservative" issue. All citizens should be aware of the actions the government takes when it comes to civil rights.


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