During my brief tenure as a police officer I responded once to an assault at a bar, and upon arrival I was told by a witness that the male offender had run away from the scene wearing a red sweatshirt. I relayed this information to the other cars on patrol and everyone circled around looking for the man in the red sweatshirt.
I would find out later that the man had cannily ditched his red sweatshirt shortly after fleeing the scene, and was thus able to temporarily elude us.
I read today that Nigeria has been added to a list of nations (Afghanistan, Algeria, Cuba, Lebanon, Lybia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) whose citicens will automatically face tougher screening before boarding U.S. bound flights. Some have raised objections that this is discriminatory. I disagree with that. It makes as much sense to me as scanning for a man in a red sweatshirt. It makes sense, but therein lies the danger- they know we're doing it.
I'm afraid that all Al Qaeda will have to do to elude our thin line of defense is ditch the red sweatshirt so to speak. I predict that it won't be long before we see an act of terrorism perpetrated by an Islamic extremist who does not look like one and who does not hail from one of these problem nations. Maybe she'll be a fair-haired college student from France or Canada. Maybe it'll be an elderly man from Greece or a troubled teenager from an American suburb. Major Hasan was a U.S. serviceman. The danger in profiling passengers based on their nation of origin is not that it unfairly discriminates against them, but that it lends itself to a certain myopia or tunnel vision. They're looking for that red sweatshirt, ya know?
I would feel better if those charged with our security would drop this nation of origin business and standardize their screening procedures to allow for the evil potential of each passenger.