A few posts ago I linked to nice article by Brian Beutler. He explains very well how he didn't succumb to the "ecological fallacy" (of assuming what is true for the individual is true for the group, or vice versa) even after being held up and shot. I particularly like the line, "Everyone who’s ever shot me was black and wearing a hoodie. There just aren’t any reasonable inferences to draw from that fact."
But I've since heard Beutler on the radio (On Point with Tom Ashbrook, but I can't find the link to the segment). What I heard makes me think Beutler doesn't understand policing. And to say (I'm paraphrasing here) "I've been shot by two blacks guy and still don't think police should have stopped my shooters" is like a left-wing equivalent to the right-wing mindlessness of wrapping yourself in the flag and saying "September 11th!" whenever somebody considers that it may not be right for the US to kill or capture and imprison and/or torture some innocent person.
Beutler said that these two guys, the ones who shot him, were doing nothing that he and his friend weren't doing that night. So police had no reason to stop them. And if they had, it would have been racial profiling. But of course the two criminals were doing something that Beutler and his friend were not doing. The two black guys wearing hoodies were carrying a loaded gun and looking for people to mug. This intention matters because, as any street cop can tell you, it changes your behavior.
Cops are trained and have experience noticing things. I'm not talking about some vague "leave crime to the professionals" bullshit. I'm talking about concrete behavior that would give observant police officers reasonable suspicion to suspect and stop these thugs before Beutler got shot. That really is what we train and pay police to do.
Beutler, I assume, was going from point A to B. The criminals may have walking around the block, or back and forth on one block. The cops might have known of previous armed robberies in the area the past few days and been looking for two young black men who actually did match the description... or were the actually criminals pictures in a previous robbery.
A cop could have noticed the walking that is characteristic of a man carrying a gun in his pants: a sheltering hand, a favoring gait, a possessive pat, or a heavy weight in the pocket. A good police officer would also notice that the two criminals were very alert to their surroundings, their heads jerking in all directions while they walked with a practiced nonchalance that doesn't coincide with said hyper-vigilance. Or maybe the cop just know these two from a previous arrest.
Now none of these reasons alone may give police reason to stop a person (though a few of them would). But my point is a good cop could see many suspicious aspects of criminal behavior that a dumb-ass politically correct liberal would be oblivious to.
At some point the "totality of the circumstances" (Illinois v. Gates) allows a cop to build a case for the reasonable suspicion needed to make a legal stop. Had a good cop been there and done this, he could have preventing the the shooting of Beutler. The only thanks he may have received from Beutler was being called racist: "Why didn't you stop us, the white guys. I was doing the same thing they were."
But no, Brian, you weren't. And this is key: The criminals weren't (hypothetically) stopped because they were black. They were stopped because their behavior was suspicious in a way that would lead a reasonable police officer to suspect that they were about to mug somebody. Just because all you see is race may say more about you than it does about police.