- The Washington Times - Friday, October 25, 2002

Racial profiling in reverse:

Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the Washington sniper case can be found in The Washington Post account of the police hunt. Here's the key section:

"Law enforcement sources said authorities may have missed a chance to apprehend the men just six days after the shooting spree began on Oct. 2. At that time, authorities were searching for a white van because witnesses reported seeing one at some shooting sites. The blue Caprice discovered today was believed to have been approached in Baltimore by police who found Muhammad and Malvo sleeping on Oct. 8, the day after a 13-year-old boy in Bowie was wounded as the eighth victim of the sniper, the sources said. The car was spotted in a parking lot off 28th Street, near the exit ramp to Interstate 83. The two were allowed to go, although their names were put into an information data bank in Baltimore, the sources said. 'Everyone was looking for a white car with white people,' said one high-ranking police source. Muhammad and Malvo are black males."

There's a phrase for this kind of police strategy, and it's "racial profiling." In a prescient piece, noticed by the Boston Phoenix's rising star, Seth Gitell, Michelle Malkin noticed this trend early on. Of the many experts called on to predict the nature of the sniper, many of them simply assumed that he was (or they were) white. NYU's Dr. Michael Welner, profiled the shooter as "white, male, single, 20s-30s … (with a) longtime fascination with hunting and shooting." Chris Whitcomb, former FBI agent, informed NBC that "statistically, it's going to be a white male." Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, stated confidently that the killer "is kind of a wallpaper white male, a disenfranchised, disrespected man who's getting back at society."

The interesting question is: Can you imagine these kinds of comments being made about a black man? There would rightly have been howls of protest. So why no protest when similar assumptions were made about the sniper? It's yet another case of racism against whites being acceptable and racism against blacks being unacceptable. Most of the time, this is an ugly double-standard. Racism is racism is racism. This time, the consequences of this racial profiling were even more dire. It may actually have been a factor in allowing several more people to be killed.


Campus anti-Semitism watch:

It's not been a pretty sight on campuses lately. Some of the anti-Semitism expressed is straight out of the 1930s. But some of it is simply a bizarre form of moral equivalence. Here's a section of a piece that appeared in last Wednesday's Harvard Crimson, equating Hosni Mubarak's police state with George Bush's America and the prime minister of Israel with Saddam Hussein. The "expert" was talking at a panel at Harvard on a possible war with Iraq:

"'The Bush administration has eroded civil liberties,' said Marlyn Tadros, former director of the Legal Research and Resource Center for Human Rights in Egypt. 'It is as if I am seeing Egypt all over again here! In the land of the free!' she said … Tadros said that other Arab countries agreed that Iraq was a threat, but that U.S. policy in the Middle East was hypocritical. 'We do believe that Saddam Hussein is a maniac,' she said. 'But why is he singled out? There are other maniacs out there. One of them is [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon.' "

Last time I checked, Mr. Sharon had not yet gassed his own people, murdered all his political opponents, and held a sham election, gaining 100 percent of the vote. But hey, details, details.


Von Hoffman Award nominee:

For spectacularly bad predictions of judgment among pundits, named after Nicholas von Hoffman, who famously predicted disaster in the Afghanistan campaign last year the week Kabul fell to the Northern Alliance.

"In his years out of office, [former President Jimmy Carter] has avidly pursued the mission of what he calls 'waging peace.' He had some successes in trying to resolve a dispute between Ethiopia and the Eritrean rebels, negotiating a four-month cease-fire in Bosnia and brokering a deal between longtime enemies Sudan and Uganda. But at times he has also encountered stiff criticism. In 1994, a few weeks before North Korean President Kim Il Sung died, he invited Carter to visit Pyongyang in an effort to calm tensions with South Korea and the United States over his nuclear weapons program. That meeting led to a thaw in Pyongyang's relationship with Washington although former President Bill Clinton at first rejected the overture and the State Department, never appreciative of outside help, viewed the Carter visit as meddling. Eventually, Clinton wised up and tried to pursue Carter's approach."

Helen Thomas, Oct. 17. This brilliant Carter-Clinton strategy, now urged upon us with respect to Iraq, has now led to North Korea bragging about having a nuclear capacity and much worse.

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