Reason number 72 that “the terrorists have won:”
New York City will begin making random checks of bags and backpacks at subway stations, commuter railways and on buses, officials announced today in the wake of a second wave of bombings on the London transit system. The checks will begin on Friday morning.
… Mr. Kelly said most searches will occur in subway stations, but that the Police Department “will reserve the right” to check the bags of passengers on buses and ferries as well. While the policy is still being worked out, officials said passengers will be checked before they enter a station’s turnstiles, though some people inside stations may also be searched.
People who do not submit to a search will be allowed to leave, but will not be permitted into the subway station. The police commissioner said officers would take pains to avoid singling people out for searches based on race or ethnicity.
I am never leaving my house again.
Well pshaw, when I was in Italy like 15 years ago, when we were leaving Rome, I was pulled aside without warning as I entered the Leonardo da Vinci airport. My friend, who was allowed to pass, turned around and had the most priceless look of WTF? on his face. A policewoman held a submachine gun to my head while her male counterpart searched my bag. When he found the little souvenir statue of David, he made a funny laugh/snort sound of derision, tossed it back in the bag, and they let me go.
I was also searched in the Zurich airport long before searches started here (1999), but as they explained apologetically while examining my laptop, there was a war going on not that far away.
So, no I’m not thrilled about searches, but I’m alos a little nervouse every time I ride the Blue/Orange Metro through the tunnel between DC and VA.
I’m more concerned about the Library and related privacy issues.
If you’re interested, check out the Flex Your Rights Citizen’s Guide to Refusing New York Subway Searches. It details how to assert your rights should you be the one chosen for a random bag search when boarding the subway. There’s a downloadable flyer version, too.