The Problem With "If You See Something, Say Something": The Inevitable Selective Application of It After The San Bernardino Shooting

First off, on the shootings in general. As the father to a 9-month old, I can't understand how anything could drive you to commit an action that would take you away from an offspring.  I don't care to judge, but all I'm saying is these actions are infathomable and overwhelmingly tragic.  But yeah.  Damn.  Fuck.

After the mass shooting in San Bernardino, law enforcement has aggressively encouraged the public with a sign I've seen at Disney Studios in Burbank "if you see something, say something."  I generally don't have a problem with that as a general idea applied to any situation. Its a constant reminder, and upon seeing it, people will always be on the look out in general.  

But the mass call by law enforcement in the context of just this shooting bugs me a little bit.

Only in this shooting, out of the 350 or so this year, have I seen/heard law enforcement, people more aggressively say, "if you see something, say something."  The more 'radicalized' conservative version of people commenting on this situation is people saying "I don't care if I offend Muslims, let's profile the crap out of them!"  Meanwhile, we'll still have about 348 of those other mass shootings. 

The fact that law enforcement is more vocal to "see something, say something" particularly around this shooting involving Muslims is that now your right-wing radical as well as your average moderate will wonder a lot more about the Arabic, Middle-Eastern-ish garb-wearing people for nothing other than the way they look and dress.  I say "Middle-Eastern-ish" because just as after 9/11 we saw idiots harrass Sikhs for the headscarf, they will probably do the same. 

The fact that the San Bernardino shooter has been constantly described as "quiet", that co-workers couldn't remember any conflicts, and that even his own family didn't suspect anything, gives those who want to "see something, say something" even more reason to scrutinize anything they associate to be "Muslim" to the exclusion of any other person who also may be doing something suspicious. 

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