Good news

Muslims will be stopped and searched more than other citizens. Read it here. Why is this good news? Because somebody is finally actually being honest about it.

4 thoughts on “Good news

  1. It seems to me that you believe that if members of a particular group is stopped more than others, then that group is, ispso facto, being unfairly targeted. The key word here is “unfairly.” Otherwise, why should anyone care?
    Let’s assume that the crime you’re trying to interdict is Salafi jihadism of the al-Qaeda variety. Even if the police used individualized suspicion, as they should because group suspicion is a waste of resources, the stops and searches will necessarily affect Muslims more than other groups. Why? Because *only* Muslims are Salafi jihadis. You might say that being a Muslim is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition to be a Salafi jihadist. I know I’ve made this point on this blog somewhere previously.
    Consider this example: let’s say you’re trying to interdict sexual assault on women. Could anyone seriously argue that if the statistics show more men than women are stopped, it must mean that men are “unfairly targeted”? As I said, group suspicion doesn’t work, so stopping *every* man or even many men randomly wouldn’t work — you’d chase too many dead ends.
    Of course, the howling from Muslim groups demonstrate either that they still don’t understand this, or they don’t care what Salafi jihadis do, or they believe there’ll just be more harrassment of Muslims, suspicion or not. I’d be more sympathetic to the last possibility (or even probability) if so many Muslim groups didn’t seem so out of touch with other realities *just as real* as police abuse of power.

  2. Tony, I agree. I travel constantly, and am constantly stopped for random searches. The randomness of the searches are getting predictable. However, I do not mind, if they are searching me, they are searching those that also fit a similar profile. Security is always courteous and I have never had any problems. I was once at Heathrow and security stopped a 90 year half-blind, somewhat crippled priest in front of me for a random search. I was let through untouched. I found this ridiculous.
    Having said this, I am very much opposed to current policy of locking up suspected terrorists without due process. It weakens us as a country. Do not take away my rights, nor infringe on the liberties entitled me in the Bill of Rights and Constitution. If you want to search me feel free. If, however, you want to lock me up in Gitmo, deny me access to legal representation, refuse to bring charges against me, torture me, and deny me my human rights, then you are no better than those you hunt.

  3. The issue of locking up terrorists without due process was not addressed in the Guardian article. However, the issue is not as straightforward as you put it.
    Due process literally means the process that is due under the circumstances which, at a minimum, has meant notice of a claim or charge and an opportunity to be heard. The question is what process is due to a non-citizen, presumed enemy seized when a state of war (or hostilities at least) exists between that enemy’s paramilitary organization and the United States? I don’t know the answer to that because we’ve not faced this situation before and there’s no real precedent for it. Are Salafi jihadis soldiers 1) to which the Geneva Convention, and not the justice system, applies and 2) where there’s an expectation that they’ll be repatriated when the hostilities end? Or are they common criminals to be handled by the justice system? Or are they something else altogether. It seems pretty obvious to me that they’re something else altogether that we’ve not faced before. So what was the Supreme Court’s view? Basically that the Administration should figure it out.
    The Supreme Court has said that they’re entitled to some kind of hearing in which they may assert their claims. What that hearing will look like is still being debated, but it appears at a minimum that some charge will be brought to which the prisoner shall answer, and that the prisoner will have legal counsel. That’s already happened in some cases. But I’m not going to pretend that these hearings are anything like the criminal process, nor should it be. Unless the judges of the Supreme Court are ready to pick up a weapon and man their post, they’re not likely to extend themselves any more than they have.
    Although we might disagree on what rights these people are entitled to, I hope we can agree that whatever process is due must be balanced in light of the Administration’s constitutional obligation to defend the United States against foreign enemies.

  4. Tony, while I’m not as convinced as Ghost Dog, you have made the argument elsewhere here, and I have found it persuasive. It’s the reason that the comment I had on the piece is that I think it’s good news someone is being honest about it. Articulate a police clearly and rationally, and then we can have a discussion about it. Obfuscating or denying certain policy actions makes the policies dangerous.
    I’m leaving the due process debate alone, for the moment.

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