Friday, July 22, 2005

London, Patriot Act, and New York

There are a few news items from the past few weeks that have driven me to a point of near-insanity. I have to vent somewhere, and that somewhere is here.

1. London Bombings/Shooting: London was hit twice and this morning they shot a man in a subway who was wearing a heavy coat in 70-degree weather and running from the police. Two things that make me crazy related to this whole situation:

One, the reporter(s) who kept asking Blair if his government/policies/mother/reading habits were responsible for the attacks on London. Now I'm no terror expert, but I would probably blame the bombings on THE TERRORISTS! Why do we have this agenda to find some reason for their insane hatred? Guess what- there is no reason. It's not 9/11, it's not Iraq, and if you think it is, you're ignoring all of the terrorist attacks that took place before those events by the same groups we're facing now. They hate us. They've hated us for years, they will hate us for years to come, and that's the end of it. Anything that they point to as "reasoning" is a smokescreen.

Two, the article on the shooting this morning indicated that police would have to justify shooting the man this morning and that certain people were nervous after the shooting. Let me save the police some time and handle this for them: THE IDIOT RAN AWAY FROM THE POLICE IN A SUBWAY WHERE BOMBINGS HAVE BEEN TAKING PLACE. Here's a simple formula: police + heightened security concern + request to stop = DO NOT RUN, STUPID. Now the nervous people can relax.

2. Patriot Act: The House came to its senses and passed the Patriot Act on to the Senate. The debate on this one was enough to send my blood pressure through the roof. If I hear one more politician proclaim that the Patriot Act turns America into a different country than they know, or some stupid statement to that extent, I will put my foot through the television. Guess what- this isn't the America you think you know, liberal politician. You think you live in a country, not to mention a world, where everybody will just get along and love each other and we can all expect to have nobody bother us or inconvenience us or make us uncomfortable. I live in a country where people next door may be planning to bomb a bus, or working on a plan to hijack another plane. They look like everybody else, they don't announce their intentions, and we don't know them until they strike- unless we can look into some of the things that the Patriot Act allows. Law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear from this act, and I would rather be uncomfortable (although who really cares if the feds look at their library records anyway) and alive than dead from the next attack.

3. New York Searches: New York police begin random searches today at transportation hubs. It's about time, people. Of course the New York Times got to the heart of the matter in an article from yesterday, when they pointed out that 1) people didn't like the searches and 2) no racial profiling would be allowed. On the first point, who cares? I like being alive. I think that trumps how much I may or may not like my bag being searched. And again, who really cares about this? Search my bag. I HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE. If you don't either, stop whining.

On the second point, why are we not profiling? Apart from all the rhetoric as to why profiling is evil, biased and generally not nice, no one has asked the million-dollar question- does it work? Yes, it does. I'm tired of this knee-jerk opposition to profiling that comes due to the fact that we have elevated "tolerance" and "diversity" to levels of importance higher than "life" and "safety." If white Americans of German descent were suicide bombing and plotting against the US, I would expect to be stopped more often, asked more questions, searched, whatever. As a law-abiding citizen who loves this country, I would not care. I don't care n0w when they search me at every airport I visit. I'm happy to prove to them that I have nothing to hide. If it keeps us safer, we should do it. If that means we search more people of Arabic descent than white people, so what? More Arabic people than white people are trying to kill us. I think it's biased to search more white people than would be representative of the percentage of white people in the terrorist pool. If 97% of known suicide bombers and terrorists are not white (or 80%, or whatever), only 3% of searches should be of white people. Any other approach is biased, in my opinion. But guess what- if they want to search me, I will gladly let them do so.

At the end of the day, freedom is at stake. Not the petty, self-centered personal freedom that we constantly hear about, but the freedom to live and pursue a safe, productive life. Those are the inalienable rights our founders spoke of, and those rights are the ones that we must protect first. Anything beyond that is a luxury, and at this point in history, our luxuries need to be re-examined and de-prioritized.