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.