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Hooray For Racial Profiling And Trigger-Happy Police!

Reported by Ellen - July 26, 2005

Is there a civil liberty FOX News isn't eager for us to give away in the name of fighting terrorism? The latest restriction that we should be glad about is racial profiling for terrorism in NYC. Last night, on Hannity & Colmes, former CIA operative Wayne Simmons, another of the rabidly hawkish FOX News regulars, said every American should not only embrace that new policy but "take a deep breath, sigh of relief and say, 'thank you, federal government. What took you so long?'"

Happily for our side, civil rights attorney Norm Siegel and Alan Colmes very capably dismantled Simmons' arguments.

Siegel said it's acceptable to use race as one factor among many, not as an exclusive factor, such as going after all Muslim males under 30. He compared it to someone getting mugged by a black man. He said the police consider race but also get many other characteristics - height, weight, hair style, etc. - when looking for suspects.

Hannity said that considering our limited resources, "Shouldn't we start with young men first?... How many 80 year-old grandmas are going to be recruited by Al Qaeda?"

Siegel replied that it wouldn't necessarily be an 80 year-old grandmother but it could be a young blue-eyed, blonde woman.

Alan Colmes jumped in and asked Simmons, "Once (the terrorists) decide they know who you're profiling, they just switch the profile, right?"

Simmons said "absolutely" because young women from South America carry babies "that, disgustingly, had already been killed and packed with drugs."

Siegel and Colmes score one.

Next, Colmes asked if they had to shoot to kill the Brazilian man in England.

Simmons: Yes, they absolutely did... The police officers in Great Britain who had the fortitude to... chase this guy down who they believed had a bomb strapped to him... They had to shoot him in the head.

Colmes and Siegel said that "believed" is the key word, that there should be a higher standard. Siegel said that there has to be almost certainty that the person is a terrorist.

Simmons got angry at Siegel for being so gunshy about killing people. "That is the most ridiculous thing in the world for you to sit there and tell me that there has to be certainty."

Siegel gave it right back to him, saying "I said 'ALMOST certainty.' (Comment: Siegel was correct. He said "almost.") You didn't listen, Mr. Simmons. If you want to yell and scream, yell and scream. If you want to have a debate, we'll have a debate."

Simmons, unable, apparently to debate the substance of Siegel's argument, attacked further: "This is exactly what you guys do."

Siegel: Oh, stereotype me, too.

Score another point for Siegel.

Simmons, again mischaracterizing Siegel, said, "You don't want (the policeman) to go home at night to his family. You want him to be absolutely certain and that is wrong."

Siegel: Don't put words in my mouth.

Simmons, getting it wrong again, shouted, "There is no almost... You are either dead or you are alive." (Comment: Siegel said the police should be "almost certain" before shooting, not that anyone should be almost dead or almost alive.)

Siegel answered, "Well, everything is black and white to you."

Simmons continued yelling until Colmes interrupted to give Siegel time to respond.

Siegel explained that in NY, they have a system of stopping people without killing them, that it's proper for the police to shoot to kill if they are "almost certain" someone is going to detonate a bomb, not just believe that he does. "What happened in London is wrong and we have to be careful, make sure that the rules are in place because otherwise we are going to be killing people because people believed he's a terrorist."

Simmons shook his head as Siegel spoke. The segment ended. Simmons never had another chance to speak. In my view, he scored no points.

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