Are You of Interest?

clemens_testify.jpgIs it good or bad at this point to be a citizen of or coming from a “country of interest?” If you look at the upside, you get to enjoy the feeling that comes with the friskiness of a full body pat-down. On the downside, well, you get the feeling that comes with the friskiness of a full body pat-down.

If you tend to think that this smacks of profiling, congratulations, you are now able to recognize the obvious! Of course this is profiling. There’s a reason why fourteen countries are on the list and there’s a reason why it’s a specific 14 countries. It’s the same reason why any PED testing scheme should focus on people who suddenly change shape (I’m looking at you, Giambi), people who are performing at very high levels after sickness or late in their career (this means you, Armstrong and Clemens) or people who’s production suddenly and inexplicably increases (yeah, Sosa, you’re on the hook for this one). If you’re looking for fire, it’s not a bad idea to try checking out the smoke.

Now, I’m not saying that I agree with the idea of profiling. Basing any kind of scrutiny or regime on just someone’s ethnicity or some other factor is not going to stop anything in the long-run. Timothy McVeigh wouldn’t have been caught by this nor would the Unabomber. There’s no real substitute for random testing, good intelligence and rigorous processes. Short-term, though? Something has to be done.

The real issue is that when problems are identified, whether it be security lapses or inadequacies in testing, knee-jerk responses tend to be the flavor of the day. The reality is that we need to find the balance between being authoritarian and being lackadaisical. Would a pat down have necessarily stopped the alleged Northwest flight bomber? Who knows but I’m guessing probably not. Would a fully implemented randomized testing program have kept Barry Bonds from the home run record? It’s hard to say. But it’s a place to start.



  1. mattpeas

    Jeff-just by signing up to be a Pirate fan let my dignity fly out the window.

    Great article tying in two of the hottest topics in the world and in baseball. I’ve been on a plane a handful of times since 9/11 and haven’t really noticed that many changes in airport secuirty. This Christmas Day bomber should have opened eyes across the world. Measures should be tighter or else innocent people will have to pay the consequences again.

  2. raysrenegade

    I wonder if any of the destinations currently listed as “countries of intrest” will do the same to our citizens now.
    I guess if they did, we would be total due such treatment. As long as it is not a weeklong vacation in a detainment cell, or some guy giving off a fake German “We have ways of making you talk” speech, it might be……….well, a disaster.
    I guess it could be worse. As of now I can not even go across the border in Buffalo, NY into Canada for a frothy beer without my passport……….but then the only thing I would smuggle back is some LaBatt’s or Molsons.

    Rays Renegade


  3. bklyntrolleyblogger

    Gee I hope the Mayans are right. And while I don’t really wanna get political, what happens in baseball happens in life – and what happens in life happens in baseball. Fay Vincent wanted to profile. Profiling works. Just tell the person of interest up front, you’re being profiled. You’ve been selected because tactic number one for “them” is blending in and tactic number one for us should be to act on the obvious. Duh!. Just be respectful and explain yourselves, then g’head and profile away. It’s called TACT. If you have tact and deal with this honestly and openly people will be tolerant. If you say you’re not profiling, when you are profiling, then there’s the problem. This is liberalism on steriods gone wild that even makes the LEFT cringe. C’MON! We can dooo eeet! P.C. continues it’s jellyfishification of America. Don’t get me started.
    Good grief.

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