Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Profiling: A Plea for Common Sense
So last night I was flipping through the channels looking for something to watch on the telly while my chocolate fudge cupcakes baked. Lo and behold, I landed on A&E's show American Justice (I prefer Cold Case Files, but AJ will do in a pinch). The show about Wayne Williams, the convicted serial killer believed to have perpetrated the Atlanta Child Murders was running.

I had seen the show before, but there was nothing else on, so I snuggled into my blanket and watched. Somewhere in the middle of the show, the make it known that fiber evidence had been collected from the rapidly growing pile of bodies that seemed to link the murders. Now, fiber evidence was very new at the time, but so was profiling.

There was such panic and urgency about this case that the FBI brought in two "profilers" to develop a picture of the suspected killer. In particular, this was done to hopefully stave off any racially motivated vigilantism. (I should point out that this was a concern because all of the victims were young black children and the city feared that "white pride" types of groups would be blamed and that violence would break out.)

Now, as I say, profiling was a very new practice at that time, viewed with serious skepticism, almost as though it were voodoo. One of these profilers came on and said the most profound thing. He said, "Profiling is not going to solve a case. You are going to solve the case (he says he told the cops this). However, profiling is another tool that can give you leads where none exist. It is just another tool in the tool box." (This isn't verbatim, but the gist of what he said.)

This struck me as very sensible. Profilers use history and precedent, psychology and other tools to develop a best guess about the predator. So, I ask, why is it recognized practice to use profiling for domestic serial killers who prey on an area, terrorizing the citizens while picking them off one at a time, but not okay to use a profile to find mass-murdering killers who prey on a nation or region murdering tens, hundreds, or thousands at a time?

Why not use history and precedent and psychology to catch perpetrators and prevent future killings? Why eschew a potentially valuable tool in the prevention of further mass murders? That just seems dumb! Why walk around fighting the war on terror wearing blinders? Lady Justice can be blind - and should be - but in searching out the perpetrators to bring to Lady Justice, we should have our eyes wide open.

I've never bought into the whole politically correct thing. I prefer to call a spade, a spade. If you are an asshole, I'm not going to call you "personality-challenged" in deference to your sensitive feelings. If you are short, I'm not going to call you "stretch" or "vertically-challenged". That's just dumb!

Take it another way. Suppose I am a victim of a violent crime - let's say rape - and I barely escape with my life. Should I not give a description of my attacker for fear of not being politically sensitive? Should the police not review the crime scene for fear that it could offend the people who live in that neighborhood? What is more important: solving the crime, removing the criminal from the opportunity to prey on another, and taking the perp to justice, OR...salving the pride of the self-defined religious or ethnic groups? Is the predator more important than the victim? That's NUTS!

If I say that my attacker was a muscular blond-haired, blue-eyed man at least 3 inches taller than me, do we really need to look at Gary Coleman look-a-likes? Do Arian Nation Groups need to get all riled up that I've identified their "race" unfairly? Hell no!

I'm not indicting all blond blue-eyed men the world over, just trying to identify the one man who victimized me.

Look at the history of recent terror attacks and a clear pattern of perpetrators emerges - it is quite telling. They aren't senior citizens, grannies, or even sorority girls from Iowa. They aren't cub scouts or brownies, breast-feeding mothers, or even white anglo-saxon protestants. Oh no. But to deny the facts of who they have been, ignoring the common elements in the perpetrators, unreasonably blinds us to the prevention of future attacks.

Is it really prudent to ignore the obvious?

I don't think so.

If I'm standing on the train tracks, I hear a whistle, see smoke, and feel a rumble, is it wise to say, "How prejudiced I am to assume that a train is coming!"

"What nonsense! Thank goodness no sensitive trains were here to see me get so silly. Imagine how that would hurt their feelings! I am an insensitive train-hater. Perhaps I should seek professional help to work out my issues."

posted by Phoenix | 8:18 AM


At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, this is logical--the reason liberals will not endorse it, in the same way they would not endorse common-sense precautions that perhaps could prevent the spread of the AIDS virus. Or voting fraud. Or anything else.

Prejudice, or supposed prejudice will always trump logical measures.

At 12:09 AM, Blogger The Game said...

This is common sense...
first time on your it so far...
I would love it if you checked mine out as well...

Back to my comment...
I just put a blog up myself on this...this is an issue that makes my brain hurt...
When EVERY SINGE person trying to blow up planes, buildings and themselves all seem to come from the same religion, background and sex, it seems to only make sense to keep an eye on them...
WE can even look at others, but if the left thinks I am going to risk getting blown up so one arab doesn't get offended at the airport or train station, sorry can deal with that pain and suffering of getting your bad checked.

If they are not doing anything wrong nothing bad will happen...

Its like someone tells you they want a BLUE shirt for xmas, and you get them 10 shirts to make sure the other colors are not offended....


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