The politically correct (PC) crowd has succeeded in emasculating some of our law enforcement tools and tactics under the guise of profiling. The most obvious and blatant example of this is at our nation's airports. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has standing orders not to profile Muslim passengers, deliberately avoiding taking them out of line for either questioning or a more thorough search, since that would be "profiling." Instead, the preferred PC tactic is to "randomly" select passengers in general for a more complete screening. That results in the ridiculous, humiliating sight of 80-year-old grandmothers in wheelchairs, infants in diapers, our heroic military personnel in full uniform, and frequent traveler business types, being wanded and their carry-ons being inspected. Then, add to that debacle the general public observing this whole sordid affair, and you have one big cluster at our nation's airports, just so that "no one feels uncomfortable." That really means "so that Muslims don't feel singled out or targeted." Someone please tell me if I am wrong, but in the past ten years haven't 99.9% of all terrorist attacks and threats been committed by Muslims? Not to profile them seems to be a dereliction of duty.
In any basic police academy, recruits are taught that the most efficient and expeditious way to investigate a crime is to look for the most logical suspects. Generally speaking, police categorize, profile, discriminate--whatever term you care to use--criminals into categories or types. These types of criminals exhibit certain behaviors that coincide with their criminal acts. For example, drug dealers like to wear gaudy, huge, obnoxious looking jewelry (aka "bling") as part of their official uniform. If an officer on patrol spots one of these individuals, he generally assumes this subject is a drug dealer. These drug entrepreneurs travel in luxury type vehicles--BMWs, Mercedes, and Lexus, as well as SUVs. The officer can count on these guys or one of their associates--usually female--to be holding drugs, money, or guns. That is what is known as profiling, typing, or categorizing. Where I come from it is also known as "street smarts," and it allows cops to quickly identify and separate the good guys from the bad guys. Incidentally, the bad guys do the same thing--they profile us. Just as they make it easy for us to spot them, by their dress, hair styles, tattoos, etc., we wear uniforms, have short hair, and much to their chagrin, see "everything" going on around us. They spot us by our vehicles and behavior, catching us "rubber-necking" as we drive down the street.
Profiling is the most basic of skills that an officer must master if he is to be a success at his profession. It makes our job easier, and it eliminates wasted time and resources looking for someone that played no part in the matter that we are investigating. If a bank robbery was committed by two thin white males in their early 20s, wearing baseball hats and sneakers, why would a cop stop an elderly black person wearing a suit, and question him in regard to the crime? It doesn't make sense, does it?
If a neighborhood has been besieged by prostitutes, most of which are attired in clothing that barely covers the parts of their bodies that their mothers warned them to always keep covered, would any smart cop ask questions about prostitution of an old lady walking down the street with a shopping cart? If that happened, either that cop is a Mayberry reject or TSA-brainwashed. Regardless, he has no business being a cop, since he ignores the most rudimentary tool used by all of law enforcement--profiling. Talking to and investigating the most likely people that may have, or are about to commit a crime, enables us to arrest and detain those that are the most likely offenders.
Think about how important this whole concept and practice of profiling is to law enforcement. Some of the most heinous crimes committed in our otherwise lawful society would never have been solved without the skills of a professional profiler. When cops are stymied in their investigation, and have no idea of who may have committed the crime, they turn the case over to profilers. In my own experience, the FBI profilers that worked out of the Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) at Quantico, Virginia, were instrumental in solving dozens of cases. Local authorities turned over case files that were cold, all leads exhausted, in hopes that the profilers might give them an insight into a subject to pursue and therefore help the investigators solve the crime. On some occasions the profiles may have been wrong, but most times the profile developed by the guys and gals in the BSU injected new life into the case.
Why is profiling acceptable in other professions, but not in ours? The auto insurance companies profile drivers all the time. Young drivers under the age of 25, unmarried drivers, drivers that have had driving convictions and accidents, all these profiled types have higher insurance rates. They are "singled out" as poor risks. The medical profession profiles as well. Certain races and sexes are more prone to different diseases, i.e. 1heart attacks and strokes--that's profiling. Some people that have family histories of cancer are singled out for further "screening"--that's profiling. Attorneys profile all the time. Next time you watch TV, count how many commercials you see for law firms trying to help you sue doctors and hospitals over alleged poor medical care--that's profiling folks. The lawyers know that a certain "group" of people are likely to want their "services."
Do we profile when we watch traffic? Of course! When we see a driver weaving in and out of lanes, speeding, or conversely, driving 20 miles under the speed limit--we profile them and place them in the category of likely driving while impaired. We profile certain types of vehicles and drivers, on certain roads and Interstates. We know that certain vehicles are known to carry illegal drugs and cash on certain north/south routes on the East coast. That is profiling, and that practice has led to huge seizures of drugs and cash.
How do you ignore behaviors, people, and instruments of crime, when from your past experience you can prove that they have led to criminal activity? Moreover, if you did ignore these "clues," these positive indicators that a crime has been, or is about to be committed, how long would the people that hired you continue to employ you? I suspect that the answer would be that you would be gone for ignoring basic fundamentals about police work. Yet that is what is being done today. The PC crowd continues to assail law enforcement for anything that they believe to be profiling. People that accuse anyone of profiling them are considered "victims." Anyone that is made to feel "uncomfortable" due to a profile is awarded huge sums of money (they themselves were profiled by the lawyers). Yet when crimes are committed, or large scale tragedies occur, the first ones to point the finger at us for not preventing it from happening are the very PC types that outlawed our ability to be proactive in the first place! So the paradox of profiling continues, it is both a pragmatic tool and a pejorative practice. You figure it out, my head is splitting.