During CNN’s coverage on Monday, Anderson Cooper noted that a BOLO (a police term for “be on the look out”) had been issued for a “person of interest,” this vague new term that allows us to forget about civil liberties as law enforcement officials try to ferret out criminals.
This time, the BOLO was issued for someone dark-skinned, maybe a black man, maybe with a foreign accent, wearing a black backpack and black hoodie. The description was damning, vague, and eerily reminiscent of too much. The description was broadcast, over and over, to millions, many people on edge, worried, newly suspicious, now armed with an overly broad racial profile of someone onto whom they could focus their new suspicions, confusion, and fear.
In major cities across the country, because this kind of suspicion spreads like cancer, men who fit this vague profile are going to pause before they leave their homes or walk down certain streets while the rest of us are blithely exempt.
There are many kinds of terror in this world."