Every occasion is good enough to make bucks. Or to propagate a message. The souvenir industry thrives on such vulture-like behaviour.
The vendor who alerted the authorities about the recent bomb scare on Times Square is selling T-shirts with the message, ‘I saw something…so I said something’ superimposed on the American flag. He is selling his heroics for five dollars but he says in an evangelical tone that he wants people to be vigilant.
Is this any better than being eyed suspiciously by intelligence agencies? You see anything that you find suspicious and you talk about it. That does it. Who will stop the profiling that will be based on personal biases? You may have a bad experience with a person of a particular kind and you use that type to target. It can be dangerous.
It also reveals the nature of the way we look at contemporary history - as something to flash on your chest. Aw, yeah, your heart is in the right place.