Thursday, July 27, 2006

Zombies, the New Urban Blight


The Strawman asked me what I thought of the recent arrest of several zombies by the Minneapolis PD and whether this constitutes profiling the undead. Of course it's profiling.

But this raises the more complex issue of why profiling is bad. Police are allowed to be nosey and they need to assess all of the facts available to them in determining if a crime is being committed. These facts including someone's race, age, gender, socioeconomic status, etc. Cops are also privy to recent crimes and often can spot general tendencies of criminals, drug addicts, prostitutes, pimps, slackers, phreakers, etc. And if a certain demographic is known to eat brains, well, that's surely a warning sign.

What's wrong with profiling, it seems to me, is that the biases that cops use don't necessarily reflect people's true levels of threat. Not all Arab men are terrorists, not all blacks are car thieves, not all white guys are meth-heads, not all well-dressed men are gay.

Cops acting on bias rather than reason harass law-abiding citizens when they should be looking for real threats to the commonwealth.

We expect the police to use their eyes and ears to detect trouble. But when they start busting young people for having a good time and acting a little odd, they're really cracking down on creativity and enforcing conformity. And that is certainly not the job of the police. That's the job of school teachers.

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