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November 30, 2004

Rhonda Gaynier again

Since a lot of people are reaching my blog by searching for Rhonda Gaynier -- I posted about her experience with an intrusive pat-down search 4 weeks ago and did an update last week -- and since AP had another story about her today, I thought I would address her plight again.

Comments seem to fall into two basic camps. First, this is an outrage because it touches women in places where they should not be touched (namely, the airport). Second, she should live with it because we want to stop terrorists.

My position, as I think is clear from previous posts, is that it's the wrong way to stop terrorists. It inconveniences innocent women to make us feel we're being kept safer. The right way is to be more aggressive in ethnic profiling. I haven't done the research on the legalities of ethnic profiling -- a thoughtful analysis by Roger Clegg may be found here -- but our policy should be to profile to the maximum extent of the law. As I noted in the previous update, it's our government's policy not to engage in profiling. This is a serious mistake.

Meanwhile, the rest of us submit to searches that may be perfectly legal but are also perfectly stupid. The women who apparently smuggled explosives onto Russian airliners weren't elderly black church-going ladies or even Rhonda Gaynier. They were people affiliated with Islamic terrorists. Why waste the time of TSA personnel when they could be focused on actual threats to our safety?

UPDATE (12/1/04): Charlotte Allen of the Independent Women's Forum agrees with me.

There’s a more effective way to do this, of course. It’s called terrorist-profiling. Remember that it was Chechen women--women who hated the Russians and had bought into the Islamo-fanatic ritual of suicide-killing--who seemed to have blown up those Russian planes. Not an American-born woman flying in America on business like Rhonda Gaynier. If we focused our searches on those most likely to bring down airplanes, we could leave the lawyers and the babies and the grannies alone.

But of course we can’t have that--it’s politically incorrect. And while Barry Steinhardt screams about groping to the TSA, his technology and liberty project continues adamantly to oppose terrorist-profiling. So, ladies, just grit your teeth and steel yourself for more indignity at the airport.