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David Gelernter: You object to profiling? Fuhgedaboutit ^ | July 29, 2005 | David Gelernter

Posted on 07/29/2005 5:16:09 AM PDT by Tolik

...Ideally, a profile would list characteristics that identify all criminals and only criminals, but usually there are no such (easily visible) characteristics.

So the real question is this: Are we eager enough to prevent the crime in question to stop people (like bulky-backpack wearers or travelers who appear Middle Eastern) who we know might be guilty but almost certainly aren't? Are we willing to impose this inconvenience on many innocent people who fit the profile just to find a few guilty ones?

If the goal is to preempt "ordinary" crimes (say theft or robbery) that hurt only a few individuals, the coldblooded answer is probably no. If the goal is to preempt a terrorist attack that might hurt the whole nation, the answer ought to be yes.

Once we've decided to use profiles, we should make them complete. A complete profile is as likely to promote fairness as damage it.  

If I'm carrying a bulky backpack and you look Middle Eastern, and both items belong in the profile — why should I be stopped and not you? Equality doesn't mean you get a pass or special privileges just because your skin is dark or you appear Middle Eastern.


...But the fact remains that profiling is logical in loads of circumstances, from deciding who should get flu shots to choosing whom to chat with when you don't know anyone at a party. Profiling means making smart choices when you have nothing but externals to go by.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: davidgelernter; profiling; waronterror; wot; wwiv

1 posted on 07/29/2005 5:16:10 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Lando Lincoln; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; Valin; yonif; SJackson; dennisw; monkeyshine; Alouette; ...

Logic and common sense!

    This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention. You can see the list of articles I pinged to lately  on  my page.

       Besides this one, I keep separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card, and occasionally for David Warren and Lee Harris. You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about).

2 posted on 07/29/2005 5:17:48 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik

One way to defuse and shift the "racial profiling" debate
is to use the phrase "statistical profiling".

It's just a coincidence that effective statisical profiling
of terrorist bombers has a large ethnic component. But we
can't entirely rely on ethnicity. It wouldn't have caught
Reid (shoebomber), nor McVeigh, nor IRA thugs in the UK,
but it will catch a large number of real threats.

Random searches are seriously suboptimal.

3 posted on 07/29/2005 5:39:10 AM PDT by Boundless (ACLU: Destroying the Constitution in order to "save" it.)
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To: Boundless
Correct, and random searches punish everyone by reducing their rights. This isn't neccessary. In fact it is probably a terrorist goal to provoke an authoritarian clampdown in the U.S.

Clamp down on young Moslem men, and leave everyone else to pursue freedom. That is the only true path to victory.

4 posted on 07/29/2005 5:57:32 AM PDT by Haru Hara Haruko
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To: Tolik

Sometimes I think David Gelernter is as brilliant as Thomas Sowell.

5 posted on 07/29/2005 6:13:05 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Standing athwart history, shouting, "Turn those lights off! You think electricity grows on trees?")
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To: Haru Hara Haruko

"Clamp down on young Moslem men"

They aren't shy about using their women as walking bombs.
Or hiding behind their kids, for that matter.

6 posted on 07/29/2005 6:15:08 AM PDT by Sabatier
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To: Sabatier

Quite so. But 100% of the planners and 95% of the bombers are young moslem men. Get rid of Moslem illegals and all that are naturlaized or with visas that committed immigration fraud by not revealing their ties to radical organizations and we would not need to conduct ineffective random (but voluntary, otherwise they would be illegal) searches.

7 posted on 07/29/2005 6:19:54 AM PDT by Haru Hara Haruko
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