The end of the world as we know it?
Henry, slightly edited, on this horrific dilemma.
E-MAIL TO HENRY
There's a whole big debate going on here re; the cops stopping people at random (like every five or ten people or something) before they enter the subway turnstiles and checking their backpacks, bags, etc. Thing is, one Brooklyn assemblyman has suggested that in this instance, there SHOULD be racial profiling, since he feels chances are if there is a terrorist, he will probably fit the Middle Eastern looking profile. Whadda you think? Have you had any similar things going on where you are?
Horribly enough, that was the first thing that came to mind when I heard about the searches--like, yeah, to do that would be profiling, and that rubs me the wrong way big time (like when they had the intern camps for Japanese Americans during WW II). But on the other hand, I think that stopping little old Upper East Side ladies and checking their purses and knitting bags is probably a waste of time. It's a real dilemma--esp. during such life and death times. I'd be interested in your take on it.
Oh also--there was this one young guy featured on my local station, NY 1--I think he was perhaps of Indian descent--who was stopped three times in one day, and started to feel like it might not be too "random." I think the guy was American, or had lived here a long time--no real accent, just a young student, I think from Columbia U. Yeah, I'd feel pretty bad if that happened to me. Shit, what a world!
There was another program on NY 1 tonight where they interviewed some Arab-American spokesmen and they pointed out that they feel Al Queda et. al. will soon figure out how to get around the whole thing by employing white or white-looking folks to carry their deadly cargo for them. They cited the examples of Richard Reid (your personal fave) and a few others, as well as instances where apparently devices, etc. were smuggled in via kids and babies.
Sometimes I'm amazed that downtown Manhattan isn't a wasteland. Instead, the real estate prices keep going through the roof, and on the Lower East Side there are more luxe hotels and apts going up every day. After 9/ll, I remember thinking that we probably wouldn't want to mention it at my job in our college promo brochures--that it would be taboo because it might scare prospective students (and their parents) away. But as it turns out, the admin. felt it was good to openly show how NYC had been steadfast and unintimidated--how the recovery from 9/ll demonstrated how NYC and America refused to be cowered by these maniacs. And as far as I know, the university's enrollment figs just continue to rise and rise.
But I also can't help but feel like we may be living on borrowed time. NYC is such an obvious target. Maybe it's a little safer at BG's place in the Bronx--what are they going to do, blow up the Zoo or the Botanical Gardens? (LOL).
Do you feel "safer" where you are? As far as Islamic terrorists, that is--not the domestic/neighborhood "terrorists" you've been dealing with--LOL.
BG often says you don't have to go halfway around the world to meet your enemy--your enemy is right next door, on the street, in the subway. He just says that when he's in one of his more paranoid states of mind--like when crackheads bang on his door at 5 am. None of that going on now, knock wood--but these days, after the London bombings, your enemy could very well be sitting next to you on the train.
A FEW MORE THOUGHTS
I'll bet anything that Al Queda et. al. are rubbing their hands together in glee over this. After all, the dilemma over profiling is just the kind of thing that one could see as a great way to divide and conquer--to compromise American's jealously guarded and hard won gifts of individual freedom and civil liberties.
It is terrifying to think that a madman headed for the subways intent on wreaking havoc could be overlooked. It is also terrifying to contemplate the horrifying repercussions of racial profiling.
What do YOU think?