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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Is Anyone Here Alive? 


Hello?

Hey there. Sorry 'bout that. Ha.

So. What's happened to you all in the last month or so? All 26 of you per day? Anything interesting? I, uh, I made a very, very short film in a very, very short period of time (48 hours). That was very fun and very tiring. Verily.

I am working on a no account reality television program, doing, essentially, data entry. Not exactly in the typical vein, though DATA is most definitely being ENTERED.

Had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend up in Brackney, Pennsylvania. One forgets how many stars there are or how grass can cut your foot or how slimy the dock in a pond feels, or how quickly lawns burn dark under the heat of a casually tossed fire work. And then there's quiet and beauty and peace.

Back here in the Real For Now, we're concerned about bombs going off in our transit systems again. Kind of. The police are looking through people's bags. Sometimes. I've never been stopped. I've definitely run through a turnstyle, sweaty, nervous and a little bit swarthy-looking, with an enormously stuffed back pack right past two or more officers of the law, not to get a second look. Well, at least, not a third.

If I were more swarthy looking, I bet, and possessing that slightly vacuous look of determined indifference that those terrorists seem to convey in file photos, those two police officers would probably approach, smile gently, and ask if I didn't mind their checking out just what I had in that little bag of mine.

And I would refuse.

Because it's voluntary! Ha, ha! The thousands of otherwise responsible New Yorkers carrying the dozens of pounds of marijuana from Brooklyn to Manhattan and back across the river each day were certainly relieved to hear that. I hear. Who would want to be busted for carrying a dime bag during a routine sweep in the name of the homeland's security?

Not me.

Nor the Arabic version of me.

Neither of us.

Which brings me to my next point (Not that there was a first one): Al Sharpton and others want this practice of bag checking stopped on the grounds that it's fundamentally racial profiling, that it infringes on our civil rights. I tend to agree, and, furthermore, find the practice to be something close to completely useless. However, there is an element of practicality -- almost science -- to this all: if it can be found that a majority of these particular events (bombing of innocent people, 2001 to present, in American cities, notably New York) have been perpetrated by a relatively specific group of people, wouldn't it make sense to stop people in that group more often? I'm just talking empirically here. Pragmatically. I have all the same civil liberty concerns as Rev. Sharpton with the added luxury of being a young white male. Granted. But I just wonder when/where practicality/ probability might or may supercede civil liberties? In my mind's eye, my ideological heart, I say, "never." And I like to think that's true. But... I guess what I'm asking is, if the police are racially profiling (cough -- obviously -- cough) can you really, really, realllllly blame them?

There are many more Timothy McVeighs out there, I'm sure -- and if we thought they were pissed about Waco, just imagine how they must feel about the USA Patriot Act -- and the chances that one of these homegrowns will be behind the next attack are just as good if not better than it being a Muslim. But let's be (kind of) honest: can we honestly check every single weird-looking white guy's bag?

Ahem.

Up next: More on the "China Syndrome"...

Send Rover Right Over

And, Aliens.


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