July 30, 2005

In response

Jon sarcastically writes in response to my previous post:
What really chaps my ass are those unconstitutional searches they force on me whenever I have to board an airliner!This issue must be addressed. And you're not even allowed to joke about carrying a bomb at an airport. What happened to
freedom of speech?

in response to that comment Vidiot writes:
Air travel is a much more restrictive environment than the New York subway. There are also more alternatives to air travel than there are to riding the subway. But one of the biggest problems with the random subway bag searches is that it won't solve anything, and may actually make things less safe. They're "security theater", not security.See, I want people on my train to not be complacent, to think "oh, they searched that one swarthy guy's bag, I'm safe." I want people to keep an eye out for suspicious packages and bags left behind.If we're to have searches, they should be predicated on constellations of suspicious behavior. That was, after all, what caught Ahmed Rassam. Not a random search or simple racial profiling.These searches are idiotic. If a terrorist is asked if his bag may be searched, he'll do one of two things: a.) detonate his bomb at the search station, killing whoever is in line; or b.) leave, go to another station blocks away, and enter the system there. (Or, the terrorists could refrain from putting their bombs in backpacks or bags; they could put them in hollowed-out books, or coats, or belts, or womens' purses (which have been specifically excluded from these searches.))

Why not dedicate police resources to the NYPD's Intelligence Division? (See last week's New Yorker article by William Finnegan...sadly not online.) Murder on the subway is a crime. Let's treat it like a crime. Investigate those who are plotting it, gather evidence, and put them in jail for a long, long time.I have nothing to hide, yet I firmly believe in the Bill of Rights and the Fourth Amendment. Which is why I will courteously and respectfully decline to consent to a search. Particularly a warrantless search absent probable cause, which violates the Fourth Amendment.

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