Please, Profile Me!

Okay, just for the record here is the profile. I am white, a US citizen, in my mid 50′s, a grandmother, and a practicing Catholic. Rosaries, prayer books, medals, scapulars and other such paraphernalia are from time to time located on my person.  I know a few other women who fit that profile and while we are a far cry from being a bunch of sedate old ladies with our hair up in buns whiling away the hours on rockers, we tend to be a fairly law-abiding bunch. To my knowledge, no one who fits this profile has ever hijacked or attempted to blow up an airplane, committed a suicide bombing, or machine gunned a roomful of people in God’s name.

I have never heard a Catholic grandmother use the Bible, or the Catechism, or some Marian message to make the case for bringing death to a plane load of strangers and raining destruction down upon innocent civilians below.

But it could happen. I mean there is nothing to keep it completely out of the realm of possibility, is there?

So, let’s say that it does happen some day. Then what.

Should I be subjected to extra searches and interrogation at airports on account of the anomalous behavior of some other grandmother? No. I don’t think so. I don’t think that the fact that just one time some other grandmother committed a terrible crime — attempting or succeeding in using an aircraft as a weapon of mass destruction or maiming and killing innocent civilians — should cast any suspicion on me. Even if she pretended to find in the pages of Sacred Sacred Scripture or the Tradition of the Church justification for murder and even though I do adhere to those writings, her esoteric interpretation should by no means be ascribed to me. Not even by suspicion.

Not the first time.

But the second time? The third? The fourth? The fifth? The 20th?

Long before the isolated incident of a Rosary-toting terrorist has become a rash, you will find me begging  — PLEASE, PROFILE ME! Please!

I will do anything and everything in my power — be subject to pat downs and sniffed by bomb detecting dogs and answer anything you want to know about where I am going and why — to reassure my fellow Americans that they are safe flying with me. You may go over my luggage with a fine tooth comb. Don’t want me to bring any luggage on the plane? Fine. I will ship my suitcase to the hotel ahead of time.

Does it disturb met that writings I hold sacred are being used to condone or incite horror and violence? Yes.  it  troubles me greatly, but it my own clear and unequivocal condemnation of that violence and obvious commitment to the common good would best defend the reputation of those writings. They are not served by objecting to my religion being singled out for profiling — not after hundreds of deaths.

I understand. I have become frightening. I have a profile similar to that of a murderous terrorist, excuse me — I mean a rogues’ gallery of murderous terrorists. I do not resent your questions. I do not think you are being unfair to me. The people who have been unfair are all the other white Catholic grandmothers who set off bombs and shot people. They are the ones who are to blame for these precautions you have to take with me. I’m glad you are taking them, because I understand that they are keeping me safe too!

So please don’t wait until the 20th time. I’m ready — the 2nd time a Catholic grandmother sets off a bomb in a subway, or carries out an assault on a motel, for the sake of security and justice, I beg you: PLEASE, PROFILE ME!

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  • Claire

    Absolutely, Mary! Profiling has its place, and without it the risks in certain situations increase for all of us.

  • PrairieHawk

    Those Catholic grandmothers can do a lot of damage, you know, though the one I’m thinking of does it with a gavel and Congressional legislation. She advances the agenda of those who kill our children, sends our debt soaring, and lowers the burden of statism upon unsuspecting millions. Maybe our illustrious Speaker of the House needs to be subjected to a few extra searches next time she goes to the airport? Or does she even fly commercial?

  • Madeline

    You already ARE profiled Mary, don’t you know that?
    According to homeland security pro-life rosary toting Grandma’s are public enemy number one(after our home coming VETs from the war of course)
    As one who is pushing 50 myself(though no grandchildren yet…sigh)and who also travels a bit I notice that it’s usually 50ish + white grandma’s who are singled out for ‘special searching’. I can’t tell you the embarrassment of having my things publicly searched in front of other passengers who aren’t on that special 50ish old lady list. To have my purse dumped, rosaries, prayer cards, make up,dental floss, medications and holy water tumbling out(they confiscate the holy water now) for all to see.
    So, don’t fool yourself. You are already profiled and they are watching us, the most dangerous group in America.

  • goral

    Mary, did you pack the rosary yourself? I dare you to say no. The A Team would come down on you like the last days of Pompeii. Because I fit your description very well, plus, I’m an angry white male; I was also singled out for a thorough sheik down at JFK coming from England.

    Now, I’m about as far from a semite type as the Baltic is from the Persian Gulf.
    Yes, I was intently scoped and motioned to the thorough search area.
    They found nothing, but we were all safer for it regardless. At least that’s the way the A Team thinks. That label, by the way, is not flattering.

    As for San Fran Nan, I beleive she flies direct on her own (taxpayer) plane so that her purse is not dumped again in Dallas and all the condoms and contraceptives displayed.

  • elkabrikir

    Very funny, unfunny article, Mary.

    Prairehawk: true so true. Fortunately, the bags under her eyes have been removed. Many a bomb could be hidden in them. Now the wide eyes expose her for who she is. Unfortunately, she doesn’t perceive the image of who she really is.

    Madeline, don’t forget, you never know what may be stashed in a feminine hygiene product.

    goral, Heathrow in London is just as bad as JFK. Upon her return flight, my then 16 year old redheaded, ballerina sized daughter was SEPARATED from her grandparents, brought into a secure room and patted down! My in-laws were told to procede to bording! I guess the
    British Bright Lights thought they had the Ballerina Bomber on their hands.

    In another genius screening move, I was required to lift my shirt at every security check point in Italy, thus exposing my very big, REAL pregnant bump! (I’m half Italian/English and was 41 years old). I supose I could have been the Belly Bomber!

    My three year old was patted down as the Bear Bomber, as I watched from behind a glass window.

    Meanwhile, the identified potential terrorist boards a plane with a bomb in his bloomers.

    Boy do I feel safe. The government sleuths are certainly upholding their constitutional mandate to protect and defend the homeland. No wonder they’ve moved on to scheduling my mamograms and colonoscopies. One never knows where a bomb may be lurking!

  • liturgylover

    Me too, elkabrikir: On two trips to and from Italy, I was the only one who ended up taken aside and patted down. I’m a mid-50s white female, who has to walk with a cane and I had to try to take off my shoes, dismantle my cane and be searched, each time while turbaned or scowling middle-eastern passengers were passed through and boarded MY plane! Yes, we wouldn’t want to UPSET them by profiling and scanning them–imagine the backlash! But I’d have felt a darn site safer if they too had been screened as meticulously as I. Maybe if we started (silently) pulling profiled folks aside for this treatment, they’d lose the upper hand in the “war on terror”.

  • johnbyrnes

    We don’t need profiling to identify Individuals like the Christmas-Day Bomber!

    Virtually all media outlets are discussing whether we should be profiling all Arab Muslims; I will in the one-page explain why we don’t need profiling. Over 15 years ago, we at the Center for Aggression Management developed an easily-applied, measurable and culturally-neutral body language and behavior indicators exhibited by people who intend to perpetrate a terrorist act. This unique methodology utilizes proven research from the fields of psychology, medicine and law enforcement which, when joined together, identify clear, easily-used physiologically-based characteristics of individuals who are about to engage in terrorist activities in time to prevent their Moment of Commitment.

    The Problem
    Since the foiled terrorist attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian national on Northwest Flight 253 to Detroit, the President has repeatedly stated that there has been a systemic failure as he reiterates his commitment to fill this gap in our security. This incident, like the Fort Hood shooting, exemplifies why our government must apply every valid preventative approach to identify a potential terrorist.

    The myriad methods to identify a terrorist, whether “no-fly list,” “explosive and weapons detection,” mental illness based approaches, “profiling” or “deception detection” – all continue to fail us. Furthermore, the development of deception detection training at Boston Logan Airport demonstrated that the Israeli methods of interrogation will not work in the United States.

    All media outlets are discussing the need for profiling of Muslim Arabs, but profiling does not work for the following three reasons:

    1. In practice, ethnic profiling tells us that within a certain group of people there is a higher probability for a terrorist; it does not tell us who the next terrorist is!

    2. Ethnic profiling is contrary to the value our society places on diversity and freedom from discrimination based on racial, ethnic, religious, age and/or gender based criteria. If we use profiling it will diminish our position among the majority of affected citizens who support us as a beacon of freedom and liberty.

    3. By narrowing our field of vision, profiling can lead to the consequence of letting terrorists go undetected, because the terrorist may not be part of any known “profile worthy” group – e.g., the Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh

    The Solution
    Our unique methodology for screening passengers can easily discern (independently of race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, age, and gender) the defining characteristics of human beings who are about to engage in terrorist acts.

    The question is when will our government use true “hostile intent” through the “continuum of aggressive behavior” to identify potential terrorists? Only when observers focus specifically on “aggressive behavior” do the objective and culturally neutral signs of “aggression” clearly stand out, providing the opportunity to prevent these violent encounters. This method will not only make all citizens safer, but will also pass the inevitable test of legal defensibility given probable action by the ACLU.

    As our Government analyzes what went wrong regarding Abdulmatallab’s entrance into the United States, you can be assured that Al Qaeda is also analyzing how their plans went wrong. Who do you think will figure it out first . . . ?

    Visit our blog at where we discuss the shooting at Fort Hood and the attempted terrorist act on Flight 253.

  • goral

    After reading johnb’s post, I think we should just leave it at profiling al qaeda Mary. The other stuff is way too complicated for our gov’t.