The District of Columbia’s non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives, Eleanor Holmes Norton, decided to use the Trayvon Martin shooting to call for a multi-million dollar diversion of highway funds into grants for “states that enact and enforce laws that prohibit the use of racial profiling,” according to The Hill.
Norton introduced her “Racial Profiling Prevention Act” even though the Martin shooting had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with law enforcement “profiling” a suspect – a fact she admitted to herself when making her proposal:
“The Trayvon Martin tragedy did not involve a law enforcement officer, but his death reminds the country that every jurisdiction, including the federal government, has a responsibility to exercise its authority to eliminate practices that brand, on sight, black men and especially our youth as criminals,” Norton said. “Reports of racial profiling on federally funded highways, for example, are frequent. If we are serious about eliminating this form of racial discrimination, concrete steps are overdue.”
This is a great example of Big Government’s tendency to behave like a hypochondriac having an endless series of very expensive panic attacks. Opportunistic politicians with pricey agendas will take advantage any high-profile incident, no matter how tangentially related to the multi-million dollar drum they want to beat. The result mimics the behavior of a neurotic who insists every patch of dry skin is evidence of melanoma, and every headache calls for a CAT scan… with the bills to be paid by other people, of course.
In this case, Norton would raid highway funding for her anti-profiling grant money:
The bill would take $7.5 million a year from the Highway Trust Fund, for the next five years, and allow the government to use this for grants to states that are taking steps to curb racial profiling. Specifically, grants would go to states that enforce anti-racial profiling laws, and maintain public statistics about the race and ethnicity of drivers who are pulled over by police.
The grants could be used to pay for the costs of collecting traffic stop data, evaluating that data, and developing programs to reduce racial profiling.
Under the bill, no state could receive more than 5 percent of the total grant money available in any one fiscal year. The bill would take a total of $37.5 million from the Highway Trust Fund through fiscal year 2017.
This is odd, because President Barack Obama has been haranguing us for years about the urgent need to spend more money on highways and other “infrastructure.” Was Norton asleep during those dozens of speeches and State of the Union addresses? I can’t say I blame her, but certainly someone from Obama’s party was paying attention, and could clue the D.C. delegate in to the urgency of spending every available nickel to fix America’s blasted Road Warrior landscape of crumbling bridges and disintegrating highways.
Norton apparently was listening to the big-spending battle cry of the Obama campaign, as voiced by Rahm Emanuel: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Now that this particular crisis has been made good and serious, through a heavy application of Al Sharpton tactics and malpractice by media sensationalists, it’s going to be recycled quite frequently. That’s how a firestorm ignited by the reluctance of the police to arrest a Hispanic man who was consistently identified as “white” in early press reports has mutated into a demand that we pull money out of the Highway Trust Fund to battle “racial profiling” by the police.
Doubtless these new grants would be allocated with all the efficiency we’ve come to expect from the GSA and other appendages of the Obama Administration. Clearly America needs to levy new taxes on job creators to offset the cost of asking swarms of government bureaucrats to collect more statistics.
The saddest thing about this little spectacle is that no one has even been able to introduce evidence that private citizen George Zimmerman was doing any “racial profiling.” The only documented reference he made to Trayvon Martin’s race was in response to a direct question from the 911 operator. There is considerable testimony that Zimmerman doesn’t have a racist bone in his body, and to date, nothing has been introduced to suggest the opposite.
But of course, none of that matters to an “anti-profiling” agenda that amounts to heated demands for institutional blindness… and if that goal is achieved, the hypochondriac State and its acolytes will promptly begin complaining about the resulting bloody eruptions of crime from the open sores of its cities.