Keeping a Low Profile

I was amused to see that Sheriff Joe Arpaio was in trouble for “profiling”, something which for unknown reasons is anathema in the US.

The Israelis are not suicidally stupid on this subject like the US is. The Israelis assume, for example, that the people who are most likely to carry a bomb on their airplanes are young Muslim men who appear to be nervous, are traveling alone, and who bought their tickets with cash … crazy, huh? Who knew? Here’s a description of the security at Ben Gurion airport, emphasis mine:

All vehicles that arrive at Ben Gurion must first pass through a preliminary security checkpoint where armed guards search the vehicle and exchange a few words with the driver and occupants to gauge their mood and intentions. Plain clothes officers patrol the area outside the terminal building, assisted by sophisticated hidden surveillance cameras which operate around the clock. Armed security personnel patrol the terminal and keep a close eye on people entering the terminal building. If any persons seem suspicious or anxious, security personnel will approach them and engage them in conversation in an effort to gauge their intentions and mood. Vehicles are subject to a weight sensor, a trunk x-ray and an undercarriage scan.

Departing passengers are questioned by highly trained security agents before they reach the check-in counter. These interviews could last as little as one minute or as long as an hour, based on such factors as age, race, religion and destination. Unlike in many western airports, passengers are not required to remove their shoes while passing through physical screening processes. Furthermore, there are no sophisticated x-ray machines; rather, traditional metal detectors are still in operation.

Now, of course this would be highly illegal in the US. We cannot base the length of our interviews on crass things like “age, race, religion and destination”, that’s the crime of “profiling”.

Instead, our idiotic laws require that our airport security guards spend as much time investigating and searching Granny as they spend investigating and searching young Muslim men … israeli security

… because you see, if they do anything else, our authorities would end up like Sheriff Joe, charged with the heinous crime of focusing on the groups most likely to be committing crimes. He foolishly assumed that illegal immigrants along the Arizona border were likely to be Hispanic … and inter alia, that’s what landed him in durance vile.

It’s nuts—doing what the Israelis do by focusing our scarce enforcement resources on the types of people most likely to be guilty of committing particular crimes, well, that’s “racial profiling” … and in the US you most definitely can go to jail for doing just that.

As I get older, I’m starting to see how societies wither and die … not by threats from without, but by suicidal stupidity and blind political correctness from within.

Ah, well, the sun is glittering on the bit of ocean I can see from my kitchen window, and the trees are smiling, that’s good enough for me.


32 thoughts on “Keeping a Low Profile

  1. Willis, this is just another example of the societal stupidity that Severan talked about back in 2009 at Climate Audit when he posted the following (my bold):

    I’ve made the observation many times that no civilization or culture seems capable of surviving prosperity. It seems to allow these kinds of inanities to run loose unchecked, people take their eyes off the ball so to speak when it isn’t a matter of day to day hardship and life or death struggles. Relaxation and freedom from want seem to breed complacency and immaturity.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have been thinking along these lines for a while now and smugly believedI was onto an original idea. Thank you for reminding me that there are always others out there far smarter and far quicker. That said, I fear for a future in which our idle time continues to grow and lead us(some) to ever greater heights of inanity.


    • Thanks for that one Mr. Crawford. It’s fantastic to me that most all US policies seem to be the exact opposite of what will work. (except the money sucking effect). If these were being generated randomly you’d expect maybe half to work as expected or at least cause no harm. I guess it’s going to work for the US until other peoples money runs out.


  2. After much observation and consternation, I have decided that this all boils down to replacing the rational with the irrational. It’s actually part of the Alinsky protocols for activism. Challenge your opponent with irrational affronts to their own standards.

    In this case, in the guise of making everyone equal, the anti-profiling laws extend the principle to unreasonable irrational ends. While rational thinking and logic would focus law enforcement and safety personnel on the know characteristics of the potential threat, the irrational theorist argues that not all persons that fit the description of the perpetrator are a perpetrator and thus you must in theory treat everyone the same. In practice this dilutes the focus of the response and instead of inconveniencing only the few percent of innocent that fit the profile of the perpetrator, you inconvenience many, many, more in the political theater of equal inconvenience. Wasting time and resources.


    • “Equal inconvenience” , in the UK the education establishment, which is very left wing and espouses the ‘all must have prizes’ approach, treats equality of opportunity as meaning opportunity must be limited to that of the least able student.


  3. Not only Ben Gurion. The Kurds are adept at toppling one’s balance during security scans. As are the Turks, but the latter also do it as a feather-fluffing exercise.


  4. As I get older, I’m starting to see how societies wither and die … not by threats from without, but by suicidal stupidity and blind political correctness from within.
    Sadly, I have to agree Willis. I think it was Elaine Pagels, Harvard Prof., in her books on the Gnostic Gospels, claimed the original meaning of the word that ‘satan’ is derived from, was ‘the enemy from within’.
    An interesting metaphore.


  5. My mother was a school teacher. In the first 3 days of school in September, she already knew who would need extra help, would be a problem child, would likely not finish projects on time, who would be a disruptive influence on the class. Now she taught in the inner city schools through the working class schools and ultimately the suburban privileged class schools. And yet, she knew from the get-to what task lay before her. She disclosed these insights at home, at times of frustration, at times of joy seeing a struggling yet persistent student whom she could help.

    Profiling of students is no less an art form than ferreting out potential terrorist threats. In each situation, the consequences are far reaching.

    Profiling is what we do in nanoseconds as the totality of body language, eye contact, voice and demeanor are calculated at the initial encounter and refined as we interact.

    Expressing hesitancy, reluctance, and fear is what we are built for, for survival as well as developing relationship skills. Profiling is what got us to where we are today. The trick in my opinion, is to keep adjusting our profile when new evidence shows such a change is warranted. We need to listen to our inner compass as it usually comes from our heart. After all, we have to live with ourselves.


  6. I can understand the anger that Republican politicians like John McCain or Paul Ryan feel at this stranger who came from the Democratic Party and wrestled their Party from the grip of the establishment. That does not mean that they should suddenly become irrational. I don’t particularly like President Trump or Sheriff Arpaio, but I don’t think that courts should be above the law. They punish the sheriff for enforcing the law. No judge or politician should be above the law. Gavin Newsom issues illegal marriage licenses – and he is a Lieutenant Governor today. Kamala Harris does not defend the California Constitution – and she is a Senator today.


  7. Triage comes to mind when reading this.

    Hospitals ‘profile’ injuries so that they can spend their scarce resources on the urgent + important rather than spend the same time/energy on all cases. Why should security be any different.

    If our politicians want everyone treated the same will they give up their perks and wait in line like we ‘average Joes’.


  8. “Instead, our idiotic laws require that our airport security guards spend as much time investigating and searching Granny as they spend investigating and searching young Muslim men … ”

    Actually, it is even worse than this. They MUST investigate Granny. Because they need to be able to demonstrate that they aren’t profiling!

    And here in the UK, still plenty of niqabs and burqas to be seen, apparently uninvestigated by anyone. At least two cases that I am aware of, where a male fugitive from justice borrowed his sister’s passport & burqa and flew out of the country, no questions asked.

    Idiocy on stilts.


  9. I find I have little sympathy with people who are upset by ‘profiling.’ In the early 70’s I commuted frequently by commercial airline. Being a mid 20’s white male traveling alone, I sort of fit the profile of the airline hijackers of that time. Having short hair, wearing normal casual clothes, and carrying a brief case was not what folks expected of someone my age at that time. Almost every flight I was singled out for special search. I didn’t mind as it gave me a little confidence that they were actually trying to keep us safe.

    The point is I was chosen for for extra attention because I matched a PROFILE. I knew that. Everyone knew that. It was the airline’s job to look for potential hijackers. I certainly didn’t mind they were making the effort.

    My advice to others: If there is a profile that is based on some actual threat and you fit that profile, just go with the flow. You will know why you fit the profile and were chosen for extra scrutiny. People around you will know. Don’t take it as a personal affront.


    • Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen anymore.

      I have been on flights to and from university towns in the NE US and the number of elderly female academics being ‘selected’ for enhanced screening is embarrassing. I know some of these academics personally and they have noted how much more often they are screened than their students. Basically, there are fewer older women flying than there are old females in the population, but in order to not be accused of the dreaded profiling, the security staff have to select numbers in each “group” matching their representation in the population.

      Quite honestly, with the countries I have travelled to (perfectly legitimately as an agricultural researcher) I really should be on someone’s list somewhere and be subject to more searches, but as a middle aged man we travel more than our share of the population so I am hardly ever selected.


      • Rob, I was probably not clear enough about the target of my advice. I was not referring to the people who are stuck as part of the non threat quota system used to mask an underlying profiling. I simply meant that people who do match the threat profile should not take it as a comment on them personally. If they must be angry with someone, be angry with the people that made that profile a concern.


  10. I wasn’t following Joe Arpaio case. Profiling is a crime? So I had to look it up. It seems that profiling is not yet a crime, except for Joe Arpaio, and only then because a judge told him not to do it. His actual crime was “disregard for the orders of this Court”.

    a federal judge in Phoenix entered a preliminary injunction against Arpaio and the sheriff’s office, noting that “states do not have the inherent authority to enforce the civil provisions of federal immigration law.” He ordered Arpaio to stop detaining anyone not suspected of a state or federal crime – simply being in the U.S. illegally is not a crime, only a civil violation.

    Discrimination is illegal in many cases, but are there actually laws about profiling? No doubt there are rules and regulations and guidelines and procedures for certain jobs, but are there laws against profiling for ordinary citizens? For the store clerk who follows a likely shoplifter?


  11. Eventually the men of this country will see the wisdom of our ancestors in regards to allowing women to participate in the political process. The feminine mind is able to hold two absolutely contradictory ideas in their mind at the same time, and the emotional one seems to always win out.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. And on the other side of the spectrum are those keeping a high profile in the media. Isn’t it ironic how the anti-fascists want to stop free speech and essentially stomp our civil rights out of existence through masked/anonymous violence? Who is the fascist now?

    Reminiscent of climate activists……


  13. Just about security at Ben Gurion airport – in the early 70’s I was working at the aircraft factory on the other side of the airfield, and I used to drive right up to the airport’s ‘arrivals’ doors, stop the car, wave to the police guard while I popped inside to buy newspapers from the kiosk just inside the door. More security inside (especially with passengers’ baggage), but there was a general easy-going feeling about the whole thing. I regret the loss of innocence that the Islamist terrorism has enforced on the world.


  14. Willis writes,

    “As I get older, I’m starting to see how societies wither and die … not by threats from without, but by suicidal stupidity and blind political correctness from within.”

    History have such patterns in them. Nations often die from with in,due to bad laws and policies.


  15. The Judge thinks entering America illegally is not a crime?

    ” He ordered Arpaio to stop detaining anyone not suspected of a state or federal crime – simply being in the U.S. illegally is not a crime, only a civil violation.”

    The Judge is WRONG then, since I have personal experience in bringing someone to America via the Immigration process,it took a year and a lot $$$ to do.On the Immigration Forms were repeated warnings not to provide false statements and similar. Then before she could leave Manila,she had to answer the Consulate questions and oath that she told the truth about herself. That she met the basic requirements to emigrate to live in America and marry a American citizen.

    She had to have a FULL Medical exam,Police check,evidence that she will not be an economic burden when in America to get the entry VISA. ALL this was REQUIRED to even get through the exit gate of the Airport in Seattle.

    People running across the border without permission, is indeed a crime.


    • Sunset, simply being in the US illegally is not a crime. Lots of people overstay their visas.

      However, crossing the border illegally is indeed a crime, whether it is the first or the second time. So the judge is being cutesy, since likely 99.7% of illegal aliens within a hundred miles of the Arizona-Mexico border are indeed guilty of a federal crime.



    • Interesting thought, Shivering. However, “Driving while black” is not profiling. Profiling means selecting people on the basis that they are likely offenders. Black folks are no more likely to violate traffic laws than any other color of people. Thus, busting people for DWB is racism, not profiling.



  16. It’s interesting to watch UK police reality TV shows that have officers on patrol picking out people and vehicles that are not quite right in some way or other and when stopped and checked there is often some form of criminal behaviour going on. They call it cop sense.

    James Bull


  17. My wife was stopped at Heathrow many years ago when returning with a package she had the feeling she was going to be stopped as the package only just fitted into the holdall it was in. They asked all the standard questions and she gave all the wrong answers but her demeanour and who had organised the job meant that they let her on her way, they obviously profiled her as not a risk.

    James Bull


  18. Mmmmn, a commenter named “Sitting” is followed by another commenter named “Bull”.
    You two are not the same person, are you ?


  19. ‘…how societies wither and die … by suicidal stupidity and blind political correctness from within’
    Crashex, above, refers to deliberate sabotage by enemies within. There is a strong element of this in the West. Also, there are many people who will unthinkingly follow our saboteurs.
    Wrapped in the correct sentiment, destructive ideas can appear the most thoughtful. The lines between between reason and sentiment, and between creative destruction and just plain old destruction, can be blurred for strategic effect, or blurred because sometimes it is just hard to know which is which.


  20. I can confirm the vetting procedure for outgoing flights at Ben Gurion airport as described by Willis’ informant. I was single, male, white, British, 50-ish, carrying a rucksack – it was probably the rucksack that attracted security interest – I had to unpack and display every item, answer a lot of questions. Took over an hour just for me. I was still in good time for my flight so wasn’t bothered – in fact quite impressed by their thoroughness. Men wearing kippas went through quicker.
    I’ve been less impressed by security for outgoing flights at German airports – too predictable, easy to get by.


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