Stop and Frisk Me
Mayor Bloomberg and Civil Rights Groups have been trading verbal barbs
lately over the controversial policy of Stop and Frisk, where police have
briefly detained hundreds of thousands of people (largely minority) in
high crime areas of New York City. The idea of allowing crime to rise
back to the level of the late 70's (exhibit A - Etan Patz) seems insane.
While conducting my own little personal focus group on Stop and Frisk
among my Manhattan friends and neighbors, I was shocked by the look of
bewilderment when I asked...not because they were for it or against or
even had any opinion. Bewildered because many had never even heard of
it...and at best vaguely knew of the practice.
Despite my personal belief that Stop and Frisk does save lives and does
make the city safer, I sympathize with those who are detained and have
their dignity taken just for being young and minority. Yet, to discard
Stop and Frisk because it may be tantamount to Racial Profiling seems like
throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.
There is a better way. Stop and Frisk everyone. For those NIMBY's who
aren't exposed to Stop and Frisk and have the luxury of not having to be
concerned about their constitutional protection to unlawful search and
seizure violated, I say Stop and Frisk us...
One of two things will happen: either those of us who have little to no
exposure to law enforcement will hate the intrusion and realize that the
tradeoff of living under something closer to martial law than a free
democracy is worse than a rising crime rate. Or, better yet, crime will
continue to plummet and all of us will learn to live with a little more
The odds that I will ever be the next shoe bomber are less than zero,
however, I have no problem being searched every time I fly. I am also
quite sure I am not carrying an illegal gun either...yet, that is the
price I am willing to pay to live in a low crime city that has blossomed
over the past two decades under two crime fighting Mayors.
So, I say to Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Kelly and all the critics of
this successful policy:
Stop and Frisk Me. I encourage all law abiding citizens to join me in
this siren call for safety.