Jul 29, 2005

More anti-profiling madness

So Mayor Bloomberg tells the residents and transit workers of his fair city to be on the lookout for possible terrorists. But when alert tour-bus employees report suspicious behavior, the mayor attacks them.
Bloomberg stopped just short of branding Gray Line’s employees liars: “They didn’t even have any knapsacks,” he said of the five British men. “Just state the facts as you see them. . . . In this case, clearly, it was not warranted. . . . It turned out that these . . . people did not present any threat.” The mayor further instructed New Yorkers to use “common sense” in the future and to avoid racial profiling.

The detained British tourists, for their part, seemed unruffled. “These things happen, don’t they?” one said to the News. But just in case, the mayor apologized to them on behalf of all New Yorkers: “It’s a shame,” he noted.

But it’s the mayor’s response to the incident that was shameful—and dangerous. The mayor’s civic throttling of Gray Line’s workers will surely cause New York’s competitive tourist industry to second guess itself in the future. By carelessly castigating the tour-bus workers as exaggerators and racists, the mayor has wrapped several layers of gauze around the eyes and ears of tourist workers and of other watchful New Yorkers.

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