Pubdate: Sun, 05 Dec 1999
Date: 12/05/1999
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Author: John G. Chase

The Tribune's editorial ``Getting the facts on profiling'' (Nov. 23)
agreed with the proposal by Sen. Kendrick Meek, D- Miami, and Rep.
Tony Hill, D-Jacksonville, to set up a task force to study traffic
stops in Florida. This study will not solve the basic problem. Let's
follow it to its natural end point:

-- Law enforcement agencies put the task force's study into

-- Law enforcement personnel become less biased and less efficient in
interdicting drugs. They know that bias in traffic stops could hurt
their careers if reported publicly.

-- Some law enforcement personnel quit in disgust at this game of
``let's pretend'' and replacements are hired.

-- Data is gathered, analyzed, reported and discussed.

-- During the campaign of 2000, politicians try to convince minorities
that no bias exists, while somehow trying to still appear tough on

-- After 2000, the situation slowly returns to nearly

We are wasting time. Each year the antidrug budget rises, drug use
rises, drug addiction rises, the overdose death rate rises,
drug-arrest rate rises and new prisons are built. Each year Congress
passes yet more coercive but ineffective antidrug legislation
infringing on our Bill of Rights freedoms.

The longer we allow this situation to continue, the more public trust
in government erodes. The solution to profiling can be found in the
history of Prohibition. Then it was Germans, Italians and Irish;
today, blacks and Hispanics are profiled. It took 13 years for the
noble experiment to run its course. The answer was to tax, teach and

John G. Chase,
Palm Harbor