Sam Harris continues the absurdist act that he has something intelligent to say when it comes to topics other than Neuroscience. We also learn that he possesses a 9mm, and travels with 75 rounds of ammunition, if the religion-bashing industry doesn’t work out maybe he can be the new spokesman for the NRA?
In a recent blog post, the pop Atheist guru writes that “we” should specifically profile Muslims at airports, and “be honest about it.” He is sick of the “tyranny of fairness” in which airport security searches people randomly when we all know that it’s the “Mooslims” who want to kill everyone on the plane. He concedes that he hasn’t “had to endure the experience of being continually profiled…”, and that he would find it “frustrating” if he had, but if someone looks like they may commit a crime (based on their ethnic appearance), they should be targeted for extra scrutiny.He uses the comedian Ben Stiller’s appearance as an example:
“But if someone who looked vaguely like Ben Stiller were wanted for crimes against humanity, I would understand if I turned a few heads at the airport. However, if I were forced to wait in line behind a sham search of everyone else, I would surely resent this additional theft of my time.”
Attempting to speak on behalf of the very people he wants profiled, he implies that Muslims should “welcome” profiling, at the very least it would “save them time!”
He goes on;
We should profile Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim, and we should be honest about it.
Maybe Sam will want Muslims to wear crescent and star badges so as to be identified as “Muslim?” By saying “conceivably be Muslim” Sam is really saying any Brown, Middle Eastern or South Asian looking person, perhaps someone with a turban?
In a very poor attempt to soften the racialist tone, he adds this caveat;
And, again, I wouldn’t put someone who looks like me entirely outside the bull’s-eye (after all, what would Adam Gadahn look like if he cleaned himself up?)… (emphasis added)
As with most advocates of procedures that single out specific people for harassment, Sam Harris himself doesn’t have to experience the frustration that comes from this harassment. It’s easy to say, “Muslims should just cooperate and make it easier on themselves and everybody else” when one doesn’t have to experience such situations, multiple times, themselves.
He recounts earlier in the blog post an ironic experience he had at the airport whereby he “accidentally” smuggled nearly 75 rounds of ammunition past the inspectors, while a three-year old was momentarily taken from her family so that her sandals could be inspected.
I once accidentally used a bag for carry-on in which I had once stored a handgun—and passed through three airport checkpoints with nearly 75 rounds of 9 mm ammunition.
Question: What the hell is Sam Harris doing with 75 rounds of ammunition?
As of today (May 1st), he has added an addendum to his blog, complaining that some people didn’t take too kindly to his simply presenting the “facts” as he sees them. One of those basic “facts” is;
“…that, in the year 2012, suicidal terrorism is overwhelmingly a Muslim phenomenon. If you grant this, it follows that applying equal scrutiny to Mennonites would be a dangerous waste of time.”
He must have not read the report which stated that only 6% of terrorist acts committed in the United States from 1980-2005 years were committed by Muslims, and that even in 2012 an American is more likely to get struck by lightning than to be killed/hurt by a Muslim terrorist.
He goes on;
“1. When I speak of profiling “Muslims, or anyone who looks like he or she could conceivably be Muslim,” I am not narrowly focused on people with dark skin. In fact, I included myself in the description of the type of person I think should be profiled (twice). To say that ethnicity, gender, age, nationality, dress, traveling companions, behavior in the terminal, and other outward appearances offer no indication of a person’s beliefs or terrorist potential is either quite crazy or totally dishonest.”
Well that’s a sigh of relief! It’s not “just” dark-skinned Muslims that he wants to be profiled, but all Muslims! What universalistic spirit!
It has already been established that the more “Muslim” a person looks at the airport, the less likely they are to attempt anything violent on the plane. It simply would make no sense for a person to raise a thousand red flags in the minds of airport security, before they even board the plane. The entire point of a terrorist is to accomplish their goal, not to raise the suspicions of everyone around them before they get the chance to do so.
Since the stereotypical image of a Muslim in the minds of many is that of a “dark-skinned man of the Orient,” Muslim profiling is for all practical purposes racial profiling.
Juan Cole wrote about this on his blog nearly a year ago, when two Muslim clerics were forced to exit a plane because the pilot refused to fly if they were still on board;
“The terrorist costume is a simulated reality, circulated in Hollywood and countless news broadcasts, that evokes a causal relation between appearance and action. The terrorist costume is familiar to nearly all Americans: a thick beard, an ashen robe, brown skin, sandals holding dirty feet, and some sort of headgear, usually a turban (Sikh style, of course). The terrorist wearing this costume often sports a Qu’ran, so the audience can be certain that he is a Muslim.
Yet the acts of terrorism that have been committed by radicals of Muslim heritage involved perpetrators, like Mohamed Atta, who didn’t at all resemble the image of the Hollywood terrorist. Rahman and Zaghloul dressed in a way that set off alarms in some of their American co-passengers because the latter entertained Orientalist fantasies. Ironically, Muslim-American clerics are among the more law-abiding people in the country.”
Harris’s pro-profiling views are not shocking to anyone who knows his history of loonieness. Harris after all is the same unprincipled and bigoted individual, who has, as Bob Pitt noted;