Ethnic airport security essay


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Ethnic airport security essay

  1. 1. Hondo 1 Benefits of Airport Security Profiling Kai Hondo March 24, 2008 Mr. Krocker Word counts: 971 words
  2. 2. Hondo 2 Benefits of Airport Security Profiling Safety when traveling is something everybody should think about. More and more people all over the world are using airports, and security when flying has become a major concern. Recently, terrorists came up with a new method of attack. This method involved hijacking passenger airplanes and flying them into targets. On September 11th 2001, several planes were hijacked in the US and flown into the world’s tallest structure, the World Trade Center in New York, which completely collapsed killing thousands. The attacks shocked the whole world and led to important changes in anti-terrorism security at airports. One important change involved airport passengers being chosen for security checks. The computers now select passengers thought to be high risk based on ethnic origin: “U.S. law enforcement agencies have targeted people of Muslim, south Asian, and Middle Eastern descent” (Amnesty International). This system is controversial because people naturally worry about racism when ethnic origin is used. However, some people believe that profiling by race is acceptable because all September 11th hijackers were Arab, so that ethnic group poses a higher risk and because behavioral profiling, the method of finding the suspicious character by his or her movement, could not stop the terrorist incident. Ethnic profiling of passengers is now common in American airports and although some people think that this profiling is racist, there is no doubt that it has increased security. The main argument against ethnic profiling is that it is racist. Civil rights groups claim that many Muslims, “more than 1,200 non-U.S. nationals have been arrested in the US since 2001 but have not been publicly charged with terrorism” (Amnesty International). They have been held on selective immigration charges that have not been
  3. 3. Hondo 3 used against non-Muslims. Using American airports has become unpleasant for Muslim families. The women are afraid to wear head scarves and some Muslim people don’t speak their own languages because they are worried that airport security staff might give them a hard time (Amnesty International). It is understandable that some Muslims find the new method of profiling airport passengers unfair. The majority of Muslims are, of course, innocent people who simply want to travel. Only a tiny minority of Arab travelers wish to cause violence. An argument in support of ethnic profiling is that this method has been successful in Israel. Israel’s location and politics have made it the number one target for terrorists. Many terrorist groups are based in neighboring countries and are determined to attack Israel. Despite this, no Israeli airplane has been hijacked since 1976 because they use ethnic profiling at airports (Major Terror Attacks). Almost all Muslims are thoroughly questioned and checked before entering the country. Furthermore, “no other terrorist acts have ever resulted in anything close to the loss of life that occurred on September 11th” (Terris). The Israeli system is thorough but it does not cause long delays, so it is a good example of how to prevent terrorists from using their new method of attack. If terrorists cannot board the plane with dangerous items to be used as weapons, then it is almost impossible for them to hijack a plane. Most Muslims entering Israel will expect to be searched by security staff because of the political situation. Any inconvenience Muslims feel is unimportant compared with saving lives by preventing terrorist attacks. Ethnic profiling has been a huge success in Israel and other countries should follow their example.
  4. 4. Hondo 4 Many airports in the U.S. have introduced ethnic profiling since September 11th 2001 and the evidence shows this method has helped improve airport security. At the time of the attacks, behavioral profiling was widely used but it did not prevent terrorists from boarding planes with weapons and hijacking the planes. Since the introduction of ethnic profiling, attempted attacks have been foiled and there have not been any successful major terrorist attacks using airplanes in the U.S. Those who have been arrested for trying to commit terrorism since September 11th usually fit the expected ethnic profile “the suspects who have since been picked up are at least mostly Arabs” (Terris). Before the attacks, many passengers who were obviously not a high risk were checked by security staff simply for political correctness. This still goes on in some airports and it is a waste of money. Old women and very young children were searched just so that Muslims didn’t feel victimized. While airport staff is wasting time checking these people they could be searching the high risk passengers. “If we check passengers arbitrarily, we will waste precious resources checking blacks, Hispanics, and Norwegians, even though experience tells us that they are extremely unlikely to be hijackers” (Terris). Ethnic profiling takes less time, cost less money and has improved airport security. Ethnic profiling has some problems but there are much greater benefits because it is a method which stops terrorism and it saves people’s lives. Small sacrifices are needed so that passengers can feel safe at airports. Since September 11th, there have been no further airplane hijackings in the U.S. The success of ethnic profiling in both Israel and U.S. proves that hijacking can be prevented by focusing security on high risk travelers. If airports spend too much time worrying about racism then more lives could be lost because of bad security. “Political correctness cannot be allowed to divert this country
  5. 5. Hondo 5 away from targeting in airports and other dangerous situations the people most likely to be terrorists” (Terris). Muslim passengers should try to understand that ethnic profiling is based on recent experience and not racism. Security checks are not intended to embarrass or harm anybody, they are a necessary precaution to protect all passengers including Muslims. Travelers who know what happened on September 11th do not have a good reason to complain about ethnic profiling which could save them from a similar attack.
  6. 6. Hondo 6 Works Cited Amnesty International. "Racial Profiling Does Not Increase Border Security." At Issue: Protecting America's Borders. Ed. Douglass Stinson. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2005. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. International School Bangkok. 27 Nov. 2007 < &tabID=T010&prodId=OVRC&docId=EJ3010374205&source=gale&srcprod=O VRC&userGroupName=isb&version=1.0>. Hahn, Robert W. "Tougher Aviation Security Measures Will Not Reduce Terrorism." Opposing Viewpoints: Terrorism. Ed. Laura K. Egendorf. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. International School Bangkok. 27 Nov. 2007 < &tabID=T010&prodId=OVRC&docId=EJ3010169225&source=gale&srcprod=O VRC&userGroupName=isb&version=1.0>. Schneier, Bruce. "Airlines Should Use Behavioral Profiling, Not Racial Profiling." At Issue: Racial Profiling. Ed. Kris Hirschmann. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. International School Bangkok. 27 Nov. 2007 < &tabID=T010&prodId=OVRC&docId=EJ3010418207&source=gale&srcprod=O VRC&userGroupName=isb&version=1.0>.
  7. 7. Hondo 7 Terris, Bruce J. "Ethnic Profiling Is Necessary to Prevent Terrorism." Opposing Viewpoints: National Security. Ed. Helen Cothran. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. International School Bangkok. 27 Nov. 2007 < &tabID=T010&prodId=OVRC&docId=EJ3010273229&source=gale&srcprod=O VRC&userGroupName=isb&version=1.0>. Terris, Bruce J. "Ethnic Profiling Is Necessary." Opposing Viewpoints: Civil Liberties. Ed. Auriana Ojeda. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. International School Bangkok. 27 Nov. 2007 < &tabID=T010&prodId=OVRC&docId=EJ3010118260&source=gale&srcprod=O VRC&userGroupName=isb&version=1.0>. Israel Ministry of Foreign Affair “Major Terror Attacks” 2008 < +Major+Terror+Attacks.htm>.