Criminal profilers are racist
October 30, 2002 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Criminal profilers are racist for not thinking a black man could fire a rifle well enough to be the sniper. They didn't think a black person could be smart enough" to pull off three weeks of terror, driving into very public places, hitting his mark, then eluding all the local, state and federal officers. Wow.
posted by BirdD0g (26 comments total)
Warning: Daily News link.
posted by swift at 8:22 AM on October 30, 2002

posted by The Jesse Helms at 8:25 AM on October 30, 2002

Huh. I would figured the dumb racist thing to say would have been that black people are more experienced with shooting guns. In moving cars. Holding the gun sideways. While listening to gangsta rap.

Don't mean to offend, just badly making a point.
posted by Stan Chin at 8:26 AM on October 30, 2002

ho hum.......

now how many days to christmas.
posted by johnnyboy at 8:27 AM on October 30, 2002

The "racist" quote from above came, not from an offical working on the case, but from a "half-joking" friend of the journalist. Which makes that column even less interesting than the post indicated.

I second the Yawn.
posted by Pinwheel at 8:28 AM on October 30, 2002

your lead in quote is pretty misleading when you leave off its source.

"A friend of mine said, only half kidding,. 'They didn't think a black person could be smart enough'".

pretty silly article.

and, on preview -- pretty much what pinwheel said
posted by totee at 8:29 AM on October 30, 2002

Jesus, nice troll putting a quote stated "half-kidding" by a "friend". Nevermind the fact that a large majority of serial killers have been white middle class men and when you have no leads that's going to be one of the first places you look just by playing the odds. Hell to think of it I can't remember any news regarding race on this at all, though I didn't

The sharpshooter bit is a crock too. Every news report I saw said that almost anyone could make these shots with about 90 minutes of decent training.

I'm just going to stop now the more I type the more ridiculous I realize this post is.
posted by bitdamaged at 8:33 AM on October 30, 2002

wow that point got repetitive quick ;)
posted by bitdamaged at 8:34 AM on October 30, 2002

This is just silly. The reason profilers didn't say he could be black is that they play the odds. 84% of serial killers are male and of those 84%, 73% are white. Unless there is some indication otherwise every profiler is going to say white male.
posted by Mitheral at 8:35 AM on October 30, 2002

BirdDOg - I wish this quote could be attributed to someone (identifiable) in the FBI or in law enforcement in general. But it's just opinion; alas, for there is probably a bit of truth to the claim. However........

In recent history, American blacks have not been proportionately represented in the ranks of domestic terrorists apprehended by the law. This may change, as I hear that a large number of American blacks in prison -- totally disenfranchised and having lost all belief in the existance of basic justice (for the underclass, anyway) -- are turning to Islam and, in some cases, to radical Islam.
posted by troutfishing at 8:37 AM on October 30, 2002

Re: the author: In 1996, she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in commentary for her work at The News.

I hope this isn't representative of her award winning commentary.
posted by probablysteve at 8:38 AM on October 30, 2002

I posted that quote because the author agrees with it: The surprise expressed by many in recent days that a former Army mechanic, John Allen Muhammad, was such a sharpshooter - assuming Muhammad was the sniper - calls to mind World War II, where some of the Army's best marksmen, black men from units like Harlem's Hellfighters, were not permitted to shoot. They cooked and drove trucks and bagged bodies. And harbored grudges.

Not meant as a troll - just wanted to give a glimpse into ER Shipp's insanity.

posted by BirdD0g at 8:40 AM on October 30, 2002

While I agree that this post sounded more interesting than it turned out to be, there is something to consider in the line from the article: "Crime and craziness are no respecters of race, ethnicity or religion."

Is criminality egalitarian? Don't some religions come across as generating more craziness? And hasn't the popular media for decades nurtured the myth of the crazy criminal black man? (When respectable studies show that the link to criminality has everthing to do with depravation, desperation, and denial of dignity)
posted by ahimsakid at 8:45 AM on October 30, 2002

Did anyone else detect a tone of... pride (I'd prefer another term, but that's the best that comes to mind) that the alleged sniper is black? A sort of "didn't think a black man was good enough" to do this? I know (or at least, I hope) that was not the intent.

As for the white van... is there a more noticeable colour than white, a more conspicuous vehicle than a van, or more ubiquitous in an urban environment than a white, delivery-style van? If you randomly asked people to describe the last few vehicles they saw in the last half-hour, I bet "white van" would top the list.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:46 AM on October 30, 2002

Frankly, I thought this was a credit to black people because it points out the statistics that say whites are usually the crazy folk ; )

Good point, mitheral: I believe there's a later X-Files episode:
[paraphrasing--quotes are aproximate]:
FBI agent-in-charge to Doggett:
"We have a profile! The killer is a white male betwen the ages of 20 and 35 who has unresolved childhood issues involving his mother..."
"You've just described every profile we've ever followed..."
posted by Shane at 8:47 AM on October 30, 2002

Man, gimme a break. I just found it crazy that a black woman was calling profilers racists, for not giving black sharpshooters enough credit. But, sorry. (We probably could use a "MF to Fark" transfer button here, or, before anyone cuts on me more, more thought on the part of the BirdD0g)
posted by BirdD0g at 8:49 AM on October 30, 2002

We should all be proud that African-Americans now have a serial killer of their very own. You've come a long way, baby!
posted by Ty Webb at 8:49 AM on October 30, 2002

I'm gonna go off on a tangent... I don't know, but with so much media exposure on investigation procedures (cop dramas, FBI movies, TLC specials), I don't know how normal criminals can't at least elude for a substantial amount of time.
posted by freakystyley at 8:52 AM on October 30, 2002

freakystyley -
I think it's because serial killers aren't trying to get away with something. they're performing for the public. it's the attention-getting tantrum of a toddler multiplied by a few decades of stewing in an extremely unbalanced mind. as you learn in all those FBI movies - they want to get caught.
posted by badstone at 9:46 AM on October 30, 2002

According to a database compiled by another widely quoted expert, James Alan Fox, the Lipman professor of Criminal Justice at Northeastern University, 55 percent of sniper killers are white and 43 percent are black.

Overall, however, blacks are only about 22 percent of reported serial killers, Fox told me in an interview. Black serial killers may get less attention because serial killers tend to kill people of their same race, Fox said, and black-on-black crimes tend to get less media attention and public attention.

posted by y2karl at 10:00 AM on October 30, 2002

how do they define "sniper killer" here? Is it only those who have killed several people sniperishly, or are single kills included? Are snipers who kill several people within a few minutes included, or only those who serially sniper over time?
posted by tolkhan at 10:39 AM on October 30, 2002

posted by Shane at 10:48 AM on October 30, 2002

I don't know how normal criminals can't at least elude for a substantial amount of time.

Probably because they keep leaving notes, clues, phone calls, hints, etc....
posted by oissubke at 11:54 AM on October 30, 2002

Sniper killers? Is someone going around killing snipers?

Inquiring minds want to know!
posted by clevershark at 12:18 PM on October 30, 2002

Perhaps the convoluted FBI logic is something like this:

1) Rifles are owned by people who go hunting in rural

2) Black people do not go hunting in rural areas. They
live in urban areas.

3) Therefore the sniper must be white.
posted by kablam at 4:19 PM on October 30, 2002

It was interesting enough, too, to see three or four comments on Metafilter by "profilers" who were sure that the guy was white, Christian, and in his 30's or 40's, not in the military, or if so, not trained as a marksman....(I'd cite with links, but search keeps timing out for me)... don't get me wrong, I believe in criminal profiling, and some of these things were actually close, but it's important to remember that profiling is not evidence , it's a starting point/sieve for an investigation, and it's wacky to believe there might not be somebody out there who defies your expectations and classifications.
posted by namespan at 10:52 AM on November 1, 2002

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