Skip

Your papers please...
July 21, 2005 11:16 PM   Subscribe

Attention Citizens of New York: The illegal searches begin tomorrow. And Congress also voted to keep the PATRIOT ACT indefinitely. I can't say I'm not surprised, but I have to say I'm very disappointed.
posted by Tlahtolli (165 comments total)

 
Disgusting. This isn't your granddaddy's America.
posted by digaman at 11:24 PM on July 21, 2005


shit. I put so much damn stuff in my framepack, and I'm in the major hubs in nyc all the time [i.e. Penn Station, Port Authority, &c.]... plus, I'm totally a target for profiling, in a Tim McVeigh sort of way; I'm white, ~30 yrs old, pretty [obviously] aware of my surroundings and usually alone. I'm going to get stopped all the time.

Also: this is going to make me feel so much safer. Right.

/me waits for wakko...

p.s. : congress sucks.
posted by exlotuseater at 11:25 PM on July 21, 2005


Correction: It wasn't all of Congress, but just the House of Representatives.
posted by Tlahtolli at 11:27 PM on July 21, 2005


I guess the NYPD had to find some way of bringing back the old "random" stop-and-frisks.
posted by clevershark at 11:34 PM on July 21, 2005


> "While the Patriot Act and other anti-terrorism initiatives have helped
> avert additional attacks on our soil, the threat has not receded,"

Really? I'd love to know which ones specifically? Seriously?....

On the random searches: I remember in Paris in the early 90s, filling the profile of the one the cops loved to stop every now and then for a bag search. So fucking humiliating.
posted by NewBornHippy at 11:35 PM on July 21, 2005


Who knew little bags of pot could be used to blow up subways?
posted by digaman at 11:42 PM on July 21, 2005


Article: People who do not submit to a search will be allowed to leave, but will not be permitted into the subway station

So if you're a terrorist and you don't want your backpack full of dynomite to be inspected, simply decline the random search and leave the station. Walk to the next station and try again.

These searches are security theater.
posted by jsonic at 11:45 PM on July 21, 2005


Blowing your mind is terrorism, digaman. We can't have any of that going on in this New American Century.
posted by loquacious at 11:46 PM on July 21, 2005


Oh, the cops will be jizn' over this. Those little bags of pot are terrorist fuel dincha know?
posted by telstar at 11:46 PM on July 21, 2005


Disgusting. This isn't your granddaddy's America.

Excuse me? In my granddaddy's America, the government opened and read the mail, put people on trial for sedition and treason, and trundled several thousand citizens off to internment camps. Welcome to life during wartime.

Which is not to say that the current bag-searching policy and PATRIOT Act extension don't suck great big donkey balls. But it's still all very mild compared to the kinds of things that went on quite openly in WWI and WWII America.
posted by Asparagirl at 11:49 PM on July 21, 2005


The illegal searches begin tomorrow.

Nice editorializing, but can you back up your claim that they're illegal? Annoying and ineffective, yes, but illegal? I doubt it.
posted by oaf at 11:57 PM on July 21, 2005


Welcome to life during wartime.

yeah. the only problem is, the way your President -- with your support -- has set this "war" up, it will last forever, not just for four years like FDR's. and it looks like the "war on terror" will be about as successful as the "war on drugs" -- God knows there are no drugs to be found anywhere anymore.

have fun in the meantime.
posted by matteo at 12:02 AM on July 22, 2005


oaf, please recall the fourth amendment, in our bill of rights:
Right of Search and Seizure Regulated.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

posted by BuddhaInABucket at 12:05 AM on July 22, 2005


The whole thing sounds absurd, so... 1) odds are very high that any terrorist will not get searched, and as have been pointed out, 2. sounds like you can simply refuse to be searched, and try again later.

What they need is a sensitive and relatively accurate way to detect explosives within a given area, no searches unless there is reasonable expectation of explosive material.
posted by edgeways at 12:06 AM on July 22, 2005


FUCK
posted by 517 at 12:09 AM on July 22, 2005


How does this circumvent the 4th Amendment? The consent thing?
What a bunch of facist BS...
Maybe they'll stop if everyone wears this shirt?
(on preview way to go BIAB. I'm posting anyhow though, with the full text link).
posted by numlok at 12:09 AM on July 22, 2005


BuddhaInABucket, that doesn't prove that the searches are illegal. And assuming that I don't know about the Fourth Amendment is nothing short of silly.
posted by oaf at 12:10 AM on July 22, 2005


It's certainly stupid and pointless, but it doesn't seem illegal. You can just say no and leave.
posted by nightchrome at 12:15 AM on July 22, 2005


Funny. I don't remember approving a "war." I never signed up for a "war." I'm not even sure there's an "enemy." I don't really feel that my "safety," freedom" or "security" are at any way at risk from a "foreign threat." I do, however, harbor doubts concerning my "safety" "freedom" and "security" in regards to assaults from my own government.










On the other hand: two weeks ago when London was bombed--the gas station a block from my house raised their rates 40 cents a gallon that morning. Dude, that sucked.

Perhaps it's time I joined the ranks of those who would trade stable fuel prices for freedom--I mean, that jump in price really scared the shit out of me.
posted by sourwookie at 12:16 AM on July 22, 2005


Funny. I don't remember approving a "war." I never signed up for a "war."

Can I use the same line of reasoning to declare the income tax deducted from my paycheck to be illegal? (I never approved any income tax, after all.)

...I didn't think so.
posted by oaf at 12:22 AM on July 22, 2005


Unfortunately for everyone, I think oaf is right (about the legality issue). I should read the entirety of my own links first...

"Even in the law enforcement context, the State may interfere with an individual's Fourth Amendment interests with less than probable cause and without a warrant if the intrusion is only minimal and is justified by law enforcement purposes. E.g., Michigan State Police Dept v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444, 450 ('90); Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 20 ('68)."

There's also quite an explanation about when and why random tests/searches/other infringements on 4th Amendment rights are legal (such as random drug testing at school/job).

Still S-U-C-K-S, smacks of Facist police-state tactics, and will not be a bit of a deterrent to those seriously intent on wreaking havoc.
posted by numlok at 12:27 AM on July 22, 2005


However, it's important to remember that just because something is legal, doesn't mean it's right. The reverse is, of course, also true.
posted by nightchrome at 12:30 AM on July 22, 2005


The searches lack probable cause, i.e. the court can overturn them, although one never knows about those strict constructionists. Anyway, its absolutely trivial to protest this: get lots of people to dress arab (with fake beards) and carry big ass bags onto the train, anybody who is stopped simply refuses to be searched, leaves, and goes to the next station.

If your willing to spend money, you can build an effective system based on smell detectors in the turnstiles. If a device goes off, the cops have the power to search people under probable cause, infinitely less invasive.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:31 AM on July 22, 2005


But it's still all very mild compared to the kinds of things that went on quite openly in WWI and WWII America.

no shit -- during WWII US armed forces were segregated, and dangerous yellow-skinned enemies of the State such as, say, immigrant Japanese shopkeepers and their families had been kindly detained in concentration camps (for their own good of course). and that most compassionate of conservatives, J Edgar Hoover, was running the FBI.
so what's your point -- that unless J. Edgar Hoover's drag-queen zombie corpse comes back from the dead to run the FBI all over again, Americans should just applaud these measures because in the Forties it was much worse?

it's a bit like saying to Rodney King that in old days he would have been lynched, so he shouldn't complain that the police roughed him up some.
you know, that nice LAPD police intervention was just quite mild, too, if you think about what happened in your grandaddy's times
;)
posted by matteo at 12:40 AM on July 22, 2005


"No racial profiling will be allowed," Mr. Kelly said. "It's against our policies. But it will be a systematized approach."

"The police can and should be aggressively investigating anyone they suspect is trying to bring explosives into the subway," said Christopher Dunn, associate legal director at the New York Civil Liberties Union. "However, random police searches of people without any suspicion of wrongdoing are contrary to our most basic constitutional values. This is a very troubling announcement."

Boston transit authorities conducted random baggage checks at major rail stations during the Democratic National Convention in July 2004, following the terrorist bombings of 10 commuter trains in Madrid four months earlier. The city, which has about one million daily subway riders, was the first in the nation to enact such a policy... Subway stations were selected at random and riders' baggage was checked before they boarded trains, Mr. Martino said. Passengers were selected "based solely on random numbers" and using a clicker-count of riders.

jonmc: These searches are security theater.

Exactly right. The whole thing is theater, including the outrage that the sanctity of the Constitution prevents any security measures from being imposed.

Better bag checks - and not random ones but checks based on the statistical profile of the threat - than airport style security on the underground.

Damned Constitutional originalists. If you want to live in the 18th century, sell your car, disconnect your electricity and water, and walk to your 18th century jobs making clay pipes. Some of us prefer to live in the 21st century and deal with the reality of it.

And enough already with the fascism. This sort of shrill hyperbole just makes you appear as out of touch with reality as you are. Real fascists would not bother with "random" bag checks: they would simply round up all the olive-skinned people and shoot them.
posted by three blind mice at 12:48 AM on July 22, 2005


Boy, blind doesn't even come close to cutting it.
posted by nightchrome at 12:50 AM on July 22, 2005


Clay pipes will not be tolerated. Ask Chong.
posted by Balisong at 12:56 AM on July 22, 2005


Balisong, not to quibble, but weren't Chong's pipes all hand-blown glass pieces of art?
posted by nightchrome at 1:02 AM on July 22, 2005


Yes you are quibbling, and yes you are correct.
posted by Balisong at 1:02 AM on July 22, 2005


matteo, stop being an ass. You know perfectly well that I was responding specifically to digaman's implication that stuff like this--bag checks! OMG!--never happened in "grandpappy's America", which was pure as the wind-driven snow and free as the bald eagle. And I even stated, quite clearly and in fellatio-riffic detail, that I think these new measures suck. My point was, quite simply, that much much worse happened routinely and unremarkably in other wars. Not condoning, not even rationalizing, just remarking.

But please, don't let that stop you from frothing about perceived nostalgia for Jim Crow and Zombie!Hoover.
posted by Asparagirl at 1:10 AM on July 22, 2005


Balisong, a quibble here, a quibble there; pass the "art" to the left, and it's all good.
posted by nightchrome at 1:12 AM on July 22, 2005


nightchrome That was a very insightful comment. Not.

I understand that it may be peaceful in Iowa or wherever you are writing from and all of this is an abstract theoretical exercise for you, but here in London, people are blowing themselves up on the public transportation system - or at least trying to. This is reality. There is every reason to expect that New Yorkers are going to have to deal with the same shit. Maybe you can ride your horse and buggy to your job shuckng corn, those of us in the big city have no choice but to take public transportation.

What do you propose to do about it, other than whine about your Constitutional rights?
posted by three blind mice at 1:37 AM on July 22, 2005


blindie, I live in Tokyo with the everpresent threat of nuclear annihilation by North Korea hanging over my head, as well as the constant knowledge that my city is a central hub for traffic from Eastern Europe/Middle East/Asia to the USA, and thus a massive target.

Reality is that your rights are the fundamental underpinning of society and if you want so readily to hand them over for this kind of pathetic feel-good theater, you should just shoot yourself now and save the "terrorists" the hassle because your civilization is doomed.
posted by nightchrome at 1:44 AM on July 22, 2005


Claiming this is a neccesary reality is absurd.

Do terrorists exist? absolutely. Will random bag searches stop any of them? absolutely not.
posted by mosch at 1:52 AM on July 22, 2005


Reality is that your rights are the fundamental underpinning of society and if you want so readily to hand them over for this kind of pathetic feel-good theater, you should just shoot yourself now and save the "terrorists" the hassle because your civilization is doomed.

nightchrome Tokyo is a great city. You're fortunate to live there. But this business about 18th century rights being inviolate in the 21st century makes about as much sense as Islamic fundamentalists who want to return to the 8th century.

I hate to destroy your idealism, but the 18th century civilisation you wish to preserve is gone: doomed from the start. Civilisations change or they die out. Clinging onto the past in the face of the present is the recipe for doom.

Again, back to my question, what do you do? Do you prefer that some secret government agency assassinate people in the darkness of night so you don't have to suffer the affront of having your bags checked, or do you prefer that these things be done in the light of day? Every e-mail you write is scanned by the NSA, no one seems to upset about that because hey out of sight out of mind.

I prefer my government intrusion to be out in the open where it can be seen.

On preview mosch I agree with you and jonmc, this random search is theatre. And so is the silly outrage over it.
posted by three blind mice at 1:59 AM on July 22, 2005


Why can't all these anti-terrorism laws be restricted to catching terrorists only? Would it be more palatable if the cops could only bust you for having explosives, guns, WMDs, but not for drugs, porn, semi-seditious liturature, or being non-white.

More trouble every day.
posted by twjordan at 2:13 AM on July 22, 2005


tbm: This is not about the 18th century crap you are discussing, as for starters, I'm not even American. The point is, either people have rights or they don't. Either they exist now and forever, or they don't. That's the definition of a right. It exists, outside of the bounds of a society or government, on its own. Inviolate. Permanent.

What you're describing isn't "rights", it's "permissions".
posted by nightchrome at 2:24 AM on July 22, 2005


nightchrome answer the question. You live in Tokyo where sarin gas attacks occurred on the Metro... what do you propose that Londoners and New Yorkers do?

If you criticise the random bag searches as ineffective theatre, I will agree with you. But opposing them because they infringe on your "rights" is worth debating. Rights, by the way, are restrictions on government. Outside this context, the concept has no meaning.
posted by three blind mice at 2:32 AM on July 22, 2005


I propose that New Yorkers and Londoners try to stop terrorists, rather than each other.
posted by nightchrome at 2:37 AM on July 22, 2005


Maybe I'm just getting reactionary in my old age, but I'm not sure how this is a big deal. Perhaps I'd be more upset if I lived in NY.

But random searches do work occasionally. LAX is still standing today because a US border guard decided, on a flash of intuition, to search a car which ended up being full of explosives, when normally she would just let the cars go through after a few questions.

These random searches probably won't do any good. But the police have to do something considering that the threat is very real to a very vunerable part of the city.

And regarding the comment "I didn't choose this war": thats one of the more idiotic things I think I've read here. Of course you didn't choose it. No one chose it. It was forced on us by 19 assholes on 9/11. Sure, the Iraq component was optional and mostly useless. But the overall conflict is not one we chose but one we have to finish and we have to do something to protect ourselves.
posted by pandaharma at 2:53 AM on July 22, 2005


tbm I hate to destroy your idealism, but the 18th century civilisation you wish to preserve is gone: doomed from the start. Civilisations change or they die out. Clinging onto the past in the face of the present is the recipe for doom.

Doomed! Doomed! We're all Doomed, I tell you! We survived the industrial revolution, World War One and Two, the Great Depression, the Cold War, and have crushed utterly every totalitarian regime that has opposed us, but ignoring all that we are Doomed!

Seriously, though: I think it's reasonable to observe that civil rights have a good track record of protecting us against bad government and producing a happier, safer and more prosperous society. We sacrifice them at our peril. I don't see how putting the word rights into quotation marks and belittling the natural and healthy concern people have over this encroachment on our rights is helping your argument, especially since you concede that the encroachment is unlikely to improve security.
posted by alasdair at 2:54 AM on July 22, 2005


Constitutionally dodgey, at best, and transparently ineffective, (real bomb-carriers have a free pass to try station after station until they get through).

What's to like about this? It's going to cost a lot of time and money, fill up the courts and jails with petty drug offenders, and it's not going to stop terror in any way. I don't get it.
posted by squirrel at 3:01 AM on July 22, 2005


So now the terrorists will have the explosives attached to their person. On need not carry explosives in a knapsack. And to cause a panic one could set off a bomb before getting to the security checkpoint near the train.

Meanwhile, we shall see how random the searches are. Will it be the same as in airports when 85 year old ladies are being searched? And, god forbid, what happens to security measures if a bad guy slips through this new screening procedure? Will you need to start arriving at the subway station two hours before your train leaves? Will you have to remove your shoes to walk through metal detectors?

My point is you can build a better mouse trap, but there will always be smarter mice.
posted by birdherder at 3:06 AM on July 22, 2005


I propose that New Yorkers and Londoners try to stop terrorists, rather than each other.

Gee nightchrome, I never would have thought of that.

OK terrorists. You stop it. Now. Play nice so we don't have to change anything or make any compromises.

There the problem is solved.
posted by three blind mice at 3:11 AM on July 22, 2005


LAX is still standing today because a US border guard decided, on a flash of intuition, to search a car

Not comparable, pandaharma. If the drivers of that car had had the option to turn around and try one of several hundred alternative entrances, they would have succeeded.

[The war on terror] was forced on us by 19 assholes on 9/11...

The only thing that was forced on us by 9-11 was the need to capture the perpetrators--which is the one thing we didn't do. All this other stuff (bombing weddings in Afganistan, invading and occupying Iraq) has been porkbarrel gravy to the military industrial complex. The only impact that these farces have had on the so-called war on terror has been to strenthen the resolve, the focus, and the numbers of those that want to destroy America.

I'm sick to death of hearing dittoheads declare that every idiotic step of this warmongering administration was forced on us by circumstances beyond our control. It's a pack of lies.
posted by squirrel at 3:13 AM on July 22, 2005


Mice, it is quite obvious that you value safety more than you value freedom. You might as well sign up for your shackles now, because the government will always be able to find something new to scare you with.

Land of the Free, my ass. Your forefathers would be appalled and disgusted with your spinelessness.
posted by Malor at 3:17 AM on July 22, 2005


I just can't bring myself to be proud of New York anymore. Lately I've had the sneaking suspicion that we were losing our edge, and this just confirms it for me. We're now just another group of cowering pussies.

/I miss the days when my city could kick your city's ass.
posted by PsychoKick at 3:35 AM on July 22, 2005


And regarding the comment "I didn't choose this war": thats one of the more idiotic things I think I've read here. Of course you didn't choose it. No one chose it. It was forced on us by 19 assholes on 9/11.

No the "war" was forced on you by a bunch of right wing monkeys in the whitehouse. America invaded Afghanistan and won. So there is no more "war" (apart from Iraq but that's totally unrelated). you can't fight a "war" against terrorists anymore than you can fight a "war" against drugs or a "war" against obesity. This is all the big red scare for the 21st century - pathetic.

Sure, the Iraq component was optional and mostly useless.

Nice, an optional and useless war that killed 25,000 innocents. This "useless war" has furthered both the cause of these terrorists and your government.

But the overall conflict is not one we chose but one we have to finish and we have to do something to protect ourselves.

Oh, you definately chose it alright. America felt the need to meddle in others affairs and train a bunch of terrorists to attack the commies.
posted by twistedonion at 3:36 AM on July 22, 2005


Let's hope the American stop and search goes better than this story, just hitting the BBC website.
posted by DrDoberman at 3:44 AM on July 22, 2005


Well they better not let a line form wherever they set up security, else then the bombers don't even need to get on a train to kill masses of people, just stand in line for a bit, then Boom. Or go to the lavatory leaving your suitcase behind.

The last thing a gridlocked city needs is to make public transport into even half the ordeal you go through at airports.
The terrorists won a long time ago.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:14 AM on July 22, 2005


The war in Afghanistan is over and has been won? Hrm, so that recent downing of a special forces helicopter was just the locals shooting up fireworks in celebration of their freedom?

Nice oversimplification Squirrel. Just because one component of the war is pointless doesn't make the entire enterprise pointless. I partially agree with you: the administration lied and bungled our way into a quagmire and its hurting our overall effort. I also agree with you that the option to turn around and try another entrance does make the search nearly useless. But I can't agree that, overall, the searching is a bad thing.

But the invasion of Afghanistan was a good thing. What else should we have done? The Clinton response of using cruise missles to blow up a few tents? Maybe we should have sent the Taliban fruit baskets accompanied by a card requesting that they send us Mr. Bin Laden and then we'd be best friends forever.

Yeah, our fight is probably creating a few new terrorists. However, the 90's strategy of litigation, the occasional cruise missle, and retreats from contested areas really worked well for us. We pulled out of Somalia, didn't respond much to the 1993 WTC bombing, the embassy bombings, the Khobar tower bombings, or the attack on the warship in Yemen. For icing on the cake, we exepended military resources in the late 90's to aid Muslims suffering in the Yugoslavian wars. Our non-belligerence and altruism earned us the attack on 9/11.

So I'm not sure how you could say this struggle was not forced on us. For the most part, we left them alone. And they still attacked. I hate to parrot something from the right, as I hate them and I've always voted against them, but in one thing, they're right. We were attacked because we were perceived as weak. Being nice doesn't work.
posted by pandaharma at 4:35 AM on July 22, 2005


And regarding the comment "I didn't choose this war": thats one of the more idiotic things I think I've read here. Of course you didn't choose it. No one chose it. It was forced on us by 19 assholes on 9/11. ...
posted by pandaharma at 5:53 AM EST on July 22 [!]


No, the "war" was forced on you by a bunch of right wing monkeys in the White House. America invaded Afghanistan and won. ...
posted by twistedonion at 6:36 AM EST on July 22 [!]


Just as the next one has already been chosen for us. It's going to LITERALLY open up China. And Japan. Possibly even Australia.
posted by vhsiv at 4:41 AM on July 22, 2005


> Would it be more palatable if the cops could only bust
> you for having explosives, guns, WMDs, but not for
> drugs, porn, semi-seditious liturature, or being non-white.

Not only would it be a lot more palatable, but it also makes
a damn sight more sense.

Who the fuck cares about what people do with their own
minds and bodies, when there are people out there who
are determined to non-consensually seperate the minds
and bodies of as many people as they possibly can?

Time to start setting a few priorities, IMO, and the War on
Terrorism strikes me as a tad more worthy than the War
on Some Drugs.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:42 AM on July 22, 2005


How is it that the House voted to make 14 parts of the PATRIOT act permanent, and the news wires can't even seem to enumerate or summarize them? Or how about telling us exactly how the PATRIOT act has been useful, so far? This is journalism?

Not picking on Sky News - none of the other mainstream outlet stories I've seen are any better.
posted by Western Infidels at 4:57 AM on July 22, 2005


Real fascists would not bother with "random" bag checks: they would simply round up all the olive-skinned people and shoot them

Real fascists know that you've got to get the people to accept the bag checks first, if you want them to accept the mass executions later.

Do you prefer that some secret government agency assassinate people in the darkness of night so you don't have to suffer the affront of having your bags checked...?

Absolutely. A few well placed bullets can be a whole lot more effective than a million tons of bombs, not to mention all the unnecessary security theater.

But that would mean doing some real work, which this administration seems to disike, as well as dealing with some shady characters which the opponents of this administration seem to find distatestful.

There would be less of a need for security theater, if we had some real security. You know - the kind of security which prevents 380 tons of high explosives from going missing.

I live in New York, and I've lived in Tokyo. Tokyo has had the sarin attacks, and they also had bomb attacks where the bombs were placed in the lockers in the station. Other than clearing out the lockers after 24 hours, there is less overt security in the Tokyo metro - and yet, somehow, I felt safer.
posted by bashos_frog at 5:16 AM on July 22, 2005


Can someone figure out how I send $1 to my soon-to-face-reelection Senator Santorum, along with the mention that his strict interpretation of the Constitution is incompatible with the Patriot Act.
posted by rzklkng at 5:32 AM on July 22, 2005


Well they better not let a line form wherever they set up security, else then the bombers don't even need to get on a train to kill masses of people, just stand in line for a bit, then Boom. Or go to the lavatory leaving your suitcase behind.

The last thing a gridlocked city needs is to make public transport into even half the ordeal you go through at airports.
The terrorists won a long time ago.


If they even catch anyone, and they certainly won't, at rush hours the entrances and areas around turnstiles are so busy they can just detonate right there. It won't stop anyone, and really is theater--theater that infringes on our rights. They just had a reporter on CNN at the 72nd st/B'way station saying the cops there hadn't stopped anyone. What do you want to bet that there's a different story happening in Queens and Brooklyn, where there are more Muslims than the Upper West Side?
posted by amberglow at 5:33 AM on July 22, 2005


Random searches are by default illegal as they unreasonable searches. Random is the polar opposite of probable cause. If there is probable case then its not random any more its specific.

Random means there is a search without reason. You cannot have a reason if you looking in bags willy nilly.
posted by MrLint at 5:47 AM on July 22, 2005


What do you propose to do about it, other than whine about your Constitutional rights?

How about we start by examining the issues that seem to have these people so riled up to begin with?

People don't tend to strap bombs on their back and walk into crowded subways because they're opposed to pet leash laws, you know? Clearly the issue at hand is something a bit more serious, enough for them to think they have no other outlet of expression than destruction.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:58 AM on July 22, 2005


PeterMcDermott writes "Time to start setting a few priorities, IMO, and the War on
"Terrorism strikes me as a tad more worthy than the War
"on Some Drugs."


Of course it is. However, drug-related matters still account for about 80% of all wiretap orders granted in the US. Before the war on terrah, it was... about 80%. The big difference is that it's a lot easier to obtain such orders now because of the PATRIOT ACT. And I certain to the point of betting money that the subway searches will be used to make drug arrests as soon as they begin.
posted by clevershark at 6:00 AM on July 22, 2005


If you want to live in the 18th century, sell your car,

You spineless fucks. The concept that the founding philosophies, including the rights of man, must be set aside in favor of technology is propagated by midwesterners without balls. Your entire world exists between your SUVs and your strip malls, so who can complain that your state sponsored field days in Washington DC haven't yet awakened you to the fact that some parts of the country still harbor thinkers.

I'm in favor of these searches, but the crap you people (jsonic, oaf) are coming up with is distasteful.
posted by nervousfritz at 6:03 AM on July 22, 2005


I live in NY and take the subway everyday. Frankly, I'm glad they're searching bags, it makes me feel more safe as I ride to work. It's not an ideal solution, but it's something, and the part of me dedicated to self-preservation wants to think that maybe they'll think twice and bomb another city's subway system.

If you live in this reality of constant palpable fear, the civil liberties issue seems like a trivial concern. If you have to travel with pot in you backpack, take a damn taxi.
posted by mert at 6:03 AM on July 22, 2005


The concept that the founding philosophies, including the rights of man, must be set aside in favor of technology is propagated by midwesterners without balls.

which is why these searches are happening in new york city, right?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:13 AM on July 22, 2005



If you live in this reality of constant palpable fear, the civil liberties issue seems like a trivial concern.


I take the subway every day too, and the vast vast majority of us don't have constant palpable fear. We'd like to see smart responses to terror threats, and not show business. The increase in visible cops is deterrent enough--we don't need this shit, especially as we're rushing to work.
posted by amberglow at 6:15 AM on July 22, 2005


"The only thing we have to fear is terrorists themselves."
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:16 AM on July 22, 2005


And it's ok to say no, but you can't use that entrance then? That's absurd, and not at all an effective deterrent to terror.

How about we install sensors at the turnstiles? How about putting more cameras in and making it clear that every second you're down there or on a train, you're being watched? That's an invasion of my privacy that makes more sense.
posted by amberglow at 6:17 AM on July 22, 2005


And there would be more than enough money to pay for tech improvements if the insane Homeland Security funding system was fixed. Put the money where the threats are--not in Wyoming or Iowa.
posted by amberglow at 6:19 AM on July 22, 2005


jonmc: These searches are security theater.

That was jsonic, not me, tbm.
posted by jonmc at 6:22 AM on July 22, 2005


I don't think this is illegal or unreasonable. Terry stops require only reasonable suspicion, and once that suspicion is developed, you can be arrested for failing to comply. These searches seem founded more on the "common law right to inquire" which only demands that there not be whim or caprice; the "target" can walk away w/o repercussion. It would be capricious if the police were stopping random people on the street based on the threat to the subways. But if the searches are actually done in the station, in this political climate, I think it passes muster.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:24 AM on July 22, 2005


I don't think this is illegal or unreasonable. Terry stops require only reasonable suspicion, and once that suspicion is developed, you can be arrested for failing to comply. These searches seem founded more on the "common law right to inquire" which only demands that there not be whim or caprice; the "target" can walk away w/o repercussion. It would be capricious if the police were stopping random people on the street based on the threat to the subways. But if the searches are actually done in the station, in this political climate, I think it passes muster.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:25 AM on July 22, 2005


If you live in this reality of constant palpable fear, the civil liberties issue seems like a trivial concern.

That's exactly what your government wants. The minute civil liberties seem trivial you've lost. How can Americans honestly believe they are protecting freedom... I just don't get it.
posted by twistedonion at 6:25 AM on July 22, 2005


Western Infidels, the House-passed version of the bill isn't yet available, but it'll be listed here when it is. In the meantime, you can see how your guys voted.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:35 AM on July 22, 2005


If we had nine Clarence Thomases on the bench, this shit would never fly.
posted by Kwantsar at 6:39 AM on July 22, 2005


That's exactly what your government wants..

Puleeaze...... If you're the mayor of a large city that will probably get bombed, what do you do? A reasonable first step is to institute random searches. It's cheap and easy to effect. I agree with Bloomberg. Perhaps the next step would be do install some sort of detectors at subway entrances, I don't know. Nobody's thinking to themselves, "now we're that much closer to the ideal police state." A colleage of mine was at the the city's disaster preparedness committee yesterday and the order of business is to decide what to do when the number of dead in an attack exceeds our morgue capacity.
posted by mert at 6:40 AM on July 22, 2005


I have to go to GCT after work to go to my mother-in-law's birthday party. Thankfully, I don't have a backpack, but this should be a nuisance anyway.

Random shows of "security," like this don't do much good beyond making it look like something's being done. If someone's determined to commit a terrorist act, they'll find a way. I say we get smart, and using some halway decent intelligence gathering for a change.
posted by jonmc at 6:41 AM on July 22, 2005


Frankly, I'm glad they're searching bags, it makes me feel more safe as I ride to work. It's not an ideal solution, but it's something...
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Benjamin Franklin
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:41 AM on July 22, 2005


Perhaps the next step would be do install some sort of detectors at subway entrances, I don't know.

I don't know the state of the art in explosives-sniffing, but I doubt that the machines are substantially more expensive than the man-hours that this policy requires.
posted by Kwantsar at 6:45 AM on July 22, 2005


In German accent: Show me your papers!
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:46 AM on July 22, 2005


I'd love to hear a good reason for being illegally searched. One idiot I heard on the news said "If it serves a purpose, it's OK."

It's that kind of attitude that makes America suck more every day.
posted by wakko at 6:54 AM on July 22, 2005


it makes me feel more safe as I ride to work

Well, I'm glad you feel safer, but the real question is: does it actually make you safer. The answer is (as I'm sure you already know) "probably not."

What random searches do achieve, however, (aside from the aptly named 'security theatre') are two things, neither of them desirable. The first is that they do, in fact, make you feel safer -- which could be a double edged sword, since if you feel safer then you're somewhat less likely to be as vigilant about your surroundings and so also somewhat less likely to notice anything weird or dangerous that might actually be going on around you once you're underground.

The second is that it does take yet another baby step toward desensitizing you (and me, and everybody) to the acceptance of the loss of our rights. I am not comparing this situation to Nazi Germany, but I do think you'll find that the idea of a gradual loss of rights (such as the way that rights were slowly denied to Jews during the Nazi era) makes things easier to both ignore and accept by everyone, whereas a sudden crackdown would have everyone up in arms (and that's possibly not just a figure of speech).

Your rights are yours only if you protect them and fight for them.
posted by anastasiav at 7:03 AM on July 22, 2005


"When we did it," Mr. Martino said, "we actually had people asking to be screened. It makes them more comfortable knowing that it was being done.

Oh, bullshit. Please mista pleeceman, search my bag, it makes me feel all warm inside.
posted by ook at 7:03 AM on July 22, 2005


"...illegal searches begin tomorrow. And Congress also voted to keep the PATRIOT ACT indefinitely. I can't say I'm not surprised, but I have to say I'm very disappointed."

If we stop the editorializing in FPP, the terrorists have already won.
posted by tpl1212 at 7:08 AM on July 22, 2005


FWIW, I imagine most of the cops would rather be doing something else, too. It's a PR move that works with some, and is backfiring with others.
posted by jonmc at 7:08 AM on July 22, 2005




As a New Yorker, I'm terribly disappointed. There are far more effective mechanisms than throwing a bunch of officers at subways and hoping for the best.

What's worse, this sets a terrible precident. It only goes downhill from here.
posted by nixerman at 7:09 AM on July 22, 2005


I live in New York, and I've lived in Tokyo. Tokyo has had the sarin attacks, and they also had bomb attacks where the bombs were placed in the lockers in the station. Other than clearing out the lockers after 24 hours, there is less overt security in the Tokyo metro - and yet, somehow, I felt safer.

That's because you dont' have many Middle Easterners in your country. And I agree... this is bullshit. Cops don't search cabs at bridges and tunnels, only trucks... a Middle Easterner in a cab would arouse no suspicion by Port Authority cops. Cab trunks are big. Cab backseats are big. Brooklyn bridge is old. Manhattan bridge is ready to fall over by itself..... you do the math.

posted by Debaser626 at 7:14 AM on July 22, 2005


These searches are not illegal. They are not unconstitutional.

You get searched when you go to the airport or in a courthouse. That metal detector is a search. What, did you think that those were "unconstitutional" and "illegal" but no one ever bothered to contest them? Please.

The Supreme Court has consistently held that such searches are valid despite any concerns:
See, e.g., Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U. S. 444 (1990); United States v. Martinez-Fuerte, 428 U. S. 543 (1976); Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives' Assn., 489 U. S. 602 (1989); Camara v. Municipal Court of City and County of San Francisco, 387 U. S. 523 (1967); Delaware v. Prouse, 440 U. S. 648, 663 (1979); Brown v. Texas, 443 U. S. 47, 51 (1979); Scott v. United States, 436 U. S. 128, 136 (1978).

A proper understanding of the Fourth Amendment and the correlative jurisprudence makes it clear that these searches are valid and legal. So to all the people who state that they are not legal: you are clearly wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

And to the people who seem to say that this will be completely ineffective: you are being presumptuous and stating facts which you cannot support. You have no idea how effective this will be; nor does the state of New York. But it might be effective. It might stop one attacker. We don't know, because we only know when its not effective. Regardless, you cannot say on this board that you know with certainty that no attack will be prevented by this. That is just dogmatic sophistry.

I am am surprised (but I guess I shouldn't be) that one of the objections seems to be that this might make drug enforcement more likely. That people's pot will be found, too, seems to be a concern to some people. Tough shit. It's illegal. Whether it should or shouldn't be against the law is irrelevant, it currently is. If you are dumb enough to carry drugs with you and get caught, you deserve to go to jail. The search can be justified for another purpose and be justified when they turn up things other than what it is designed for--- see, Edmond v. Goldsmith, 183 F. 3d 659, 661 (CA7 1999).

And for those of you that think the "Show me your papers" jokes are funny or justified, it only goes to show how little you understand about the face and activities of a truly fascistic government. When you say that, you make yourself look historically ignorant.
posted by dios at 7:15 AM on July 22, 2005


This isn't your granddaddy's America.

No, back then they arrested people for simply being black or a "jap." Where did this bizarre notion that back in the 1880's some guy walking down the street in NYC and stopped by a copper could say, "Huzzah, I say, sir, unhand me, for I have the right against unlawful search and seizure!"

Constitutional law has only started to mean something to the average citizen in the last half of the last century.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:16 AM on July 22, 2005


Nobody's thinking to themselves, "now we're that much closer to the ideal police state."

maybe not those actual words, but do you really believe that there aren't people in very high places that realise that there is alot to be gained by being under a constant threat of war/terror (real or percieved)?

Maybe the past five years have just turned me into a paranoid wreck but I honestly can't believe anything I read or hear anywhere these days and I have a massive mistrust of any of our leaders, especially those that spout ideals, be they ideals of freedom or those of terror'
posted by twistedonion at 7:19 AM on July 22, 2005


>you value "safety more than you value freedom."
Yes I think *I* do, because my safety is real but my "freedom" is relative as it is in any culture, even this one.
They can search my bag if they want, what do I have to hide.
posted by celerystick at 7:22 AM on July 22, 2005


If you are dumb enough to carry drugs with you and get caught, you deserve to go to jail.

Yeah, live-and-let-live is for losers!
posted by Kwantsar at 7:29 AM on July 22, 2005


And again for emphasis :

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Benjamin Franklin
posted by 31d1 at 7:36 AM on July 22, 2005


Kwantsar, my point was that it seems rather insipid to suggest that our attempts at security should be dictated by people who wish to break the law peacefully and without interference. If you want to break the law, fine by me. But don't come whining to me when you get caught. I have said before, half-jokingly, that I am a libertarian-authoritarian as far as criminal law goes. I don't care what we decide as a country to legalize and criminalize, but I support enforcement of those laws. So we can legalize all drugs, for all I care. But wherever we set that line, people cross it at their own risk. When you live in a democracy, I find complaints about the boundaries of the law to be selfish sniveling. And I'm certainly going to ignore it when that sniveling is presented as a reason to avoid protecting me.
posted by dios at 7:38 AM on July 22, 2005


That's because you dont' have many Middle Easterners in your country.

When I lived in Tokyo, I passed the Iran Airlines offices every day on my way to work. There are quite a few middle-easterners in Tokyo, and they get hassled by the police a bit more than other minorites, but the reason is Iranian drug rings, not Iraninan terrorism.

In any event - terrorism in Tokyo is most likely to be perpetrated by Japanese right wing groups or Japanese doomsday cults - not Middle-easterners.

And while they now have the "report suspicious bags" stickers, they still don't feel a need for random searches, or any of the other total non-security-related bullshit we put up with here.

Anyone with a little motivation and money could kill hundreds or thousands of people in NYC, whether or not they needed to show ID to get on the plane, or had their bag searched on the subway.

Here's a scenario I was thinking of on the way to work:
two smallish pleasure boats + a fraction of the missing RDX from Iraq + some explosives know-how = One cruise ship (or commuter ferry) sinking on the way out of NY harbor.
posted by bashos_frog at 7:41 AM on July 22, 2005


They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Benjamin Franklin
posted by 31d1 at 7:36 AM PST on July 22


You know, this is posted in every thread ever about security as if it is the Rule of Reason. It's usually offered by people who aren't willing to put in the effort to make an actual argument. And one is left to wonder if the person offering the quote opposes all attempts at security, or if that person is foolish enough to think that Franklin meant that.

But never does anyone try to argue for the application of Ben's rule. What essential liberty is sacraficed here? Is the "liberty" to enter on to a subway train without being checked a "liberty" at all? What's more, is it an essential liberty?

If the free use of public transportation is to be considered a liberty, how is it given up in this instance and not just slightly encumbered?

And does Ben Franklin cease having an objeciton to the giving up of essential liberty for a lot of temporary safety? Or what about for a little permanent safety?

In other words, it is a pointless quote that, if it is to mean anything, needs to be applied by argument by the person quoting it. Merely throwing it out there means nothing.
posted by dios at 7:45 AM on July 22, 2005


Something like 5 MILLION PEOPLE ride the subway here EVERY DAY. Anyone who seriously thinks that a few random searches is going to stop a determined terrorist effort is unbelieveably naïve.

This would only be slightly less laughable if federal funding for transportation security weren't cut, cut again, then cut some more.
posted by mkultra at 7:46 AM on July 22, 2005


dios:
You have no idea how effective this will be; nor does the state of New York. But it might be effective.


Waving a dead chicken over a photo of Osama Bin Laden might be effective, too - and a whole lot cheaper. Why not do that instead? It is no less likely to work.

And re: prosecuting the owners of nickel bags found in the subway:
De minimis non curat lex (except in times of war against terra)
posted by bashos_frog at 7:50 AM on July 22, 2005


Well, if thats the case mkultra, maybe we should just stop all efforts at security. More people than that fly on airplanes. Since you seem certain that it is impossible to stop terrorists, do you think we should quit trying at all to stop them? Just give up any effort at security?

And if we do, and another attack happens, are you going to blame the administration in charge because they didn't prevent it, even after they listened to the Oracle mkultra who told that security is certainly impossible?
posted by dios at 7:52 AM on July 22, 2005


What essential liberty is sacraficed[sic] here?

none are being sacrificed completely but many are being eroded.

It is no more reasonable to do random searches on the subway than it would be to do random searches at a crowded intersection on the sidewalk. Which may be the next step: All visitors to Times Square are subject to bag searches, or they can just walk around the area.

Also there is no such thing as permanent security - Franklin's point being that ALL security is temporary, and that security in general is worth much less than liberty (except to cowards). Better to die on one's feet than live on one's knees.

I think you'd agree that you'd be quite safe and secure in Guantanamo - can I book you a flight? (You'll need to bring photo ID)
posted by bashos_frog at 7:58 AM on July 22, 2005


And re: prosecuting the owners of nickel bags found in the subway:
De minimis non curat lex


That isn't what that means. De minimus not curat lex, or that the law does not concern itself with trifles, does not apply in the criminal context. Never has. Anything that is criminalized by legislative action is considered more than a trifle and is always enforced since the law is the embodiment of the republic's wishes.

What that maxim means, and the only time is applied in the law, is usally in contract cases where de minimis breaches of the contract are ignored. So, for instance, if there is a $0.33 "breach" in a 100 million dollar stock purchase, the law isn't going to concern itself with that.
posted by dios at 7:59 AM on July 22, 2005


Yes, I know legally it does not apply. But the spirit of the phrase applies. In the face of a 9/11 - style attack, a nickel bag of pot is a trifle, and should be treated as such.
posted by bashos_frog at 8:06 AM on July 22, 2005


I'm in favor of these searches, but the crap you people (jsonic, oaf) are coming up with is distasteful.

This just in: the truth is distasteful. Film at 11.

It is no more reasonable to do random searches on the subway than it would be to do random searches at a crowded intersection on the sidewalk. Which may be the next step: All visitors to Times Square are subject to bag searches, or they can just walk around the area.

Wrong. In general, everyone has the right to enter Times Square. Not everyone has the right to ride the subway.
posted by oaf at 8:13 AM on July 22, 2005


(Entry to the subway is already controlled, people.)
posted by oaf at 8:14 AM on July 22, 2005


I'm glad that security measures in New York should earn such warm endorsement from one who, according to his profile, sits some 1500-2000 miles away.
posted by clevershark at 8:17 AM on July 22, 2005


Osama?
posted by Balisong at 8:17 AM on July 22, 2005


bashos_frog writes "In the face of a 9/11 - style attack, a nickel bag of pot is a trifle, and should be treated as such."

"should be" != "isn't"
posted by clevershark at 8:18 AM on July 22, 2005


(Entry to the subway is already controlled, people.)

Yeah, you have to have two bucks for the fare.
posted by jonmc at 8:24 AM on July 22, 2005


Yeah, you have to have two bucks for the fare.

That's precisely what makes it different from Times Square (not counting New Year's Eves).
posted by oaf at 8:32 AM on July 22, 2005


I don't know if anyone else noticed this, but it seemed to me that the subway was empty this morning at rush hour. Who knew so many people in this city carry contraband on a daily basis?

That said, I'm all for the show of force by the cops. For the time being, I'm willing to trade a little less security in my papers and effects for a bit more security in my person, 4th amendment-wise.
posted by nyterrant at 8:33 AM on July 22, 2005


but it seemed to me that the subway was empty this morning at rush hour.

Really? what line do you ride? The N/W and 1 trains were as crowded as ever.
posted by jonmc at 8:35 AM on July 22, 2005


Uptown F train. The platforms were deserted at 9am between 34th and Rockefeller Center. It was wierd.

Someone I work with said the 1 and 9 trains were pretty empty, but somone else told me the NQR was crowded as hell.
posted by nyterrant at 8:39 AM on July 22, 2005


dios: Good round-up of the applicable Fourth Amendment decisions. There is another consideration, though.

While Supreme Court decisions guarantee the minimum rights of any defendant, state high courts are free to extend additional rights to citizens on trial in their own courts based on their own interpretations of the state constitution.

Thus the NYS Court of Appeals has in the past established greater protection than what the Fourth Amendment requires, see for example, People v. Bigelow, 66 N.Y.2d 417 (1985), the court ruled that a "good faith" exception to the exclusionary rule did not exist in NYS.
posted by mlis at 8:46 AM on July 22, 2005


dios- EVERYONE is checked at the airport. Or do you fly out of Fairlyland Airport, which only asks "randomly selected" passengers to go through the metal detector?

Tell me- what sacrifices have you, specifically, been making to keep America secure? Texas Political Armchair Quarterbacking should be a professional sport.
posted by mkultra at 9:06 AM on July 22, 2005


do you fly out of Fairlyland Airport,

Don't be silly, mkultra. Fairies don't need airports, they have wings.
posted by jonmc at 9:12 AM on July 22, 2005


No one chose [the war]. Ahh, yes, it emerged from the aether, ex nihilo...

Our non-belligerence and altruism earned us the attack on 9/11. We were attacked because we were perceived as weak. Being nice doesn't work. What did Osama say? Was it "You Americans have helped the world too much, I am sick of you - always giving, giving, giving. And you just sit there passively, never starting wars, always so peaceful. For this, you must be destroyed."? Or were he and his ilk upset about something else?

The biggest problem I have with this are the arguements in favor:
it makes me feel more safe
I'm all for the show of force by the cops
it's something
random searches do work occasionally [but] probably won't do any good
the part of me dedicated to self-preservation wants to think that maybe they'll think twice and bomb another city's subway system.
[random searches are] cheap and easy to effect.


That doesn't sound like a well-thought-out and effective plan to me.
posted by nTeleKy at 9:19 AM on July 22, 2005


*grabs dead chicken, waves it over photo of Osama bin Laden*
posted by Uncle Ira at 10:04 AM on July 22, 2005


and you might see me tonight, with an illegal smile, it dont cost very much, but it lasts a long while
posted by Satapher at 10:05 AM on July 22, 2005


Actually waving a shoe or sandal next to Osama's photo would *probably* be more effective in getting the message through. It probably doesn't work everywhere in the ME, but generally it'll be well-understood.
posted by clevershark at 10:11 AM on July 22, 2005


I think the main concern here, before you get into any discussion about rights, is simply the impossibility of ever catching someone with this method.

Imagine two people, A: a terrorist carrying bombs and B: an innocent passenger. Both happen to be stopped, and the police request to search their bags.

Innocent passenger A has nothing to hide, so agrees to be searched. He's inconvenienced, and no crime is prevented. A waste of time.

Terrorist B has a bomb in his bag. Obviously, he is not going to agree to a voluntary search. He refuses the search and leaves. He either returns later or goes to a different station. The chances of being randomly stopped again are virtually nil, so he goes ahead and blows up the subway.

Besides which, in a scenario like the London bombings, with 4 simultaneous bombing attempts, a random screening of 25% of all passengers (even if the searches were mandatory) would only be likely to prevent 1 of the attacks.

Besides which, even if you did mandatory searches on 100% of the people on the subway, the terrorists coule just walk down the street and blow up a bus or a crowded building instead.

Pointless, stupid, and a waste of money. The only terrorists this could catch would have to be brain-dead morons who agree to get caught.
posted by designbot at 10:23 AM on July 22, 2005


nyterrant, lots of people are doing summer Fridays--that might have been it.

A colleage of mine was at the the city's disaster preparedness committee yesterday and the order of business is to decide what to do when the number of dead in an attack exceeds our morgue capacity.

I can't even begin to tell you what's wrong with that statement, and with their focus. The powers that be know for a fact that random bag searches are useless in stopping terrorists or terrorism. And all it does is tell any potential subway bomber to strap it to their body. For all the consulting with Israelis, our Police and Mayor should know that it's encouraging an easier-to-conceal form of bomb.
posted by amberglow at 10:29 AM on July 22, 2005


For the most part, we left them [Muslims] alone. And they still attacked... Being nice doesn't work.

Uh, wow. You just extinguished any credibility you may have had in discussing Palestine-Israel issues, pandaharma. Why don't you do a little research on what the "terrorists" have against the US, okay? If you want only recent history, look into our funding and military support for their treatment at the hands of the Israelis. Your ignorance is massive, dangerous.
posted by squirrel at 10:29 AM on July 22, 2005


Squirrel, you're right about needing to examine recent history, but I think it's a mistake to say that these Islamist terrorists are reacting only to injustices, real or perceived, at the hands of US or Israel.

I think there is some weight to the argument the terrorists represent a new and growing Islamo-fascism that seeks to restore the Caliphate. These guys may be mad at US foreign policy, but they also want to replace governments in the middle east and elsewhere with a theocracy, not to mention overthrow the entire western system. If this is the case, pulling out of the Middle East or changing our stance on the Israeili-Palestinian conflict isn't going to solve the problem of this breed of terrorism. I'm not saying the Islamo-fascist element is the only thing behind the events of this decade. Rather, I think it's probably a complex mix of the two. Ignoring either one may be massive, dangerous.
posted by nyterrant at 11:05 AM on July 22, 2005


massive, dangerous...ignorance, that is.
posted by nyterrant at 11:11 AM on July 22, 2005


My. Life. For. Freedom.
Lives fortunes sacred honor.
The blood of patriots & tyrants - all that.
I don’t expect this kind of talk from Americans. Maybe the Brits or French or whatever, but we’re AMERICANS.
We were raised to hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable [inalienable] Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its Powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

+what designbot (et.al) said.
+ it's "public" transportation. Not a private airline.
+ to reiteraite: why wouldn't joe terrorist simply leave & why wouldn't joe terrorist detonate the bomb in the security line & why wouldn't joe terrorist infiltrate the tunnel & why wouldn't joe terrorist place shaped charges on the elevated supports (etc. etc)?

+ How can anyone respond that you are searched at the airport then assert that no one knows how effective subway random searches will be with the full knowlege of the 9/11 attacks? It’s pretty obvious how effective static defenses are.

+ This legality crap, you can’t just - or shouldn’t be able to - simply stop and search someone going about their lawful business on public property. Hell, slavery was legal. Your mom goes to college

All this aside - They could be doing REAL work to stop terrorism instead of this dog & pony show - it’s your tax money, shouldn’t it be used productively instead of being used for PR and touchey-feeley “security”?
Is it a coincidence that there is a massive loss of talent going on right now in the counterterrorism & intelligence fields? Show up at work every day and listen to someone’s brother in law tell you how to do your job all ass backwards and see how long you last (for example).
The problem isn’t simply that we’re sacrificing freedom for security, it’s that some of you are advocating sacrificing freedoms for the illusion of security. And your leaders are willing to do it because it’s politically expediant.

Fucking cowards. You deserve to live on your knees.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:16 AM on July 22, 2005


note: those '+'s are there because someone already made those arguements, probably better than me, I was just reiterating.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:20 AM on July 22, 2005


Smedleyman, that's cool and all, but what alternative, practical and productive counterterrorism and intelligence measures are you proposing?

Metafilter: Show up every day and listen to someone’s brother in law tell you how to do your job all ass backwards.
posted by nyterrant at 11:27 AM on July 22, 2005


Smedleyman, that's cool and all, but what alternative, practical and productive counterterrorism and intelligence measures are you proposing?

Simply not instituting unconstitutional (in spirit, if not letter) and worthless pseudosecurity measures would be a better alternative.

Taking a course of action without a clear theory of how exactly it is supposed to solve the problem is worse than doing nothing, because all our actions have some costs.

That is not to say that Islamic extremists are not a serious concern. However, USAPATRIOT et. al. do not address that issue, and are not viable strategies for the prevention of terrorism. They are extremely viable strategies if your goal is to futher consolidate power through the legal system.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:37 AM on July 22, 2005


I'll never understand why people believe this reactive response to terror is effective. The only people leading in this kind of feedback loop are the terrorists, and that cannot be a good thing.

Consider:
1. Terrorists use airplanes to destroy buildings.
2. Gov't imposes strict airport security.
3. Terrorists attack buses/subways.
4. Gov't imposes strict bus/subway security.
5. Terrorists attack movie theatres.
6. Gov't imposes strict theatre security.
5. Terrorists attack public libraries.
7. Gov't imposes strict library security.
...
iterate ad nauseum.

Who is winning this scenario? The people are still afraid, wounded or dead, the government spends all it's time and effort looking incompetent, impotent, or worse and the terrorists keep mutating their enemy's society into some warped, bizarro version of itself.
posted by Crosius at 12:31 PM on July 22, 2005


Exactly, Crosius, which is why we can't keep playing defense all the time, because it won't always work. There will always be a way for a terrorist to slip through that we hadn't thought of. And in the mean time, the restrictions we impose make all the non-terrorists miserable and undermine the very freedom that distinguishes our society and culture from theirs.

The thing is, those of us who have advocated playing offense are derided as warmongers...
posted by Asparagirl at 12:55 PM on July 22, 2005


The problem isn’t simply that we’re sacrificing freedom for security, it’s that some of you are advocating sacrificing freedoms for the illusion of security.

Worth repeating.
posted by amberglow at 12:55 PM on July 22, 2005


Aspara: Playing offense does not at all equal invading an unrelated third country that did nothing to us and doesn't supply terrorists like Afghanistan, the Saudis, and Pakistan.
posted by amberglow at 12:56 PM on July 22, 2005


Asparagirl:
I guess that's the other half of it though - how do you make sure your offensive strategy is legitimately proactive, instead of just another reactive response to the terrorists' goad?
posted by Crosius at 1:23 PM on July 22, 2005


Put another way:

Whether a beligerent drunk throws the first punch or gets you to throw the first punch, you're still the sucker.
posted by Crosius at 1:54 PM on July 22, 2005


dios: And to the people who seem to say that this will be completely ineffective: you are being presumptuous and stating facts which you cannot support. You have no idea how effective this will be; nor does the state of New York. But it might be effective. It might stop one attacker.

In which case, I propose that we give every person in New York City a chicken suit, that serves as their pass into the subway system. Because after all, a chicken suit would embarass the heck out of terrorists encouraging them to stay home.

In all seriousness, we can say in advance how effective this will be. We have statistical tools that can look at the rate of false negatives vs. false positives and come up with an estimate of how many blind alleys you have to run down to catch the one in a million terrorist.

Well, if thats the case mkultra, maybe we should just stop all efforts at security. More people than that fly on airplanes. Since you seem certain that it is impossible to stop terrorists, do you think we should quit trying at all to stop them? Just give up any effort at security?

I don't think anyone is suggesting that we should stop trying to stop terrorists or terrorism. I think that what people are saying is that the effectiveness of these kinds of searches don't offer much in the way of security to justify the direct and indirect costs.

As Crosius notes, one of the defining characteristics of terrorism over the last 100 years is that terrorists are adept at discovering the weak points in any culture's security. We saw this after 9/11.When we put in tougher security on airports, terrorists staged successful attacks on tourist hotels.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:11 PM on July 22, 2005


Smedleyman, that's cool and all, but what alternative, practical and productive counterterrorism and intelligence measures are you proposing?

The thing is, the measures right now are alternative.
This Maginot line crap is brand new.
Bombings are extremely hard to prevent. Israel has been putting up with it for how long now?
Governments often put on this 'theater' in order to avoid telling people "we might not be able to stop it."

Robert W. Hahn from CATO:
Fourth, politicians of all stripes have a strong tendency to overreact in the face of crises. Their overreaction is desirable to the extent that their rhetoric has a calming effect. But when their rhetoric yields hastily assembled policies, the results are often less than benign. Thus, policy proposals offered in the heat of the moment should be received with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Terrorism is likely to be with us for the foreseeable future. Moreover, in a more open world, it becomes more difficult to contain. We should zealously attempt to contain it, but we should be wary of giving up our freedom and our time before having a reasonable idea of what we will get in return for these sacrifices.


Consider the most recent bombings in London.

The point of re-bombing is to reinforce the point that there is nothing your government can do to stop them.

Also consider a potential bomber was shot. Quite possibly preventing a bombing.

The difference there is an active defense vs. a passive one. The officer(s) are actively looking for signs of a potential bomber. If they see signs, say the suspect has unsuitable clothes for the climate, bulges, in disguise of some kind, trying to blend in but is nervous, walking slowly & looking around, trying to stay away from the police, if he's got a big bag of some kind and maybe electrical wires or switches or something that can be used as shrapnel, etc etc etc is apparent - you can follow him. If he does something further that's suspicious, you can search him.
There's your probable cause.

The key there is training. You want able police officers doing skilled work. If I lived in New York I wouldn't mind having a dedicated backed counterterrorism department in the NYPD. I wouldn't mind if I'm lugging some old computer hardware in my backpack while wearing a trench coat in July being stopped by one of those officers.
I do object to this "everyone can play" attitude where because Barney Fife carries a pistol, he's suddenly a counterterrorist expert and gets to stand there and randomly search bags in public spaces.

Of course If they're going to have a search, random search is the best because there is no pattern to exploit.
However this is similar to saying the French would have kicked ass if only the Germans had attacked them at the Maginot line.

A lot of the things we need to do are already being done.
(except one big one which I'll get to)
We're freezing assets, we're (on paper at least) cooperating with foreign governments, seizing property, customs is getting a lot more help than it used to, etc. etc.

What you need are operative measures as well as defensive operations and punitive measures.
Cameras, surveillance and other things look like defense, but they're mostly punitive. This is not to say they don't help, but like random searches, they're static. They're on-scene, reactive rather than preventive. (I have no problem of surveillance in crowded public spaces where you have otherwise no expectation of privacy)
Defensive operations aren't simply obstacles to block terrorists, since any obstacle can be overcome, but active measures to disrupt attacks.
So that would mean roving patrols of well trained officers, perhaps the occasional bomb sniffing dog, etc. etc.
Used in conjunction with any intelligence gathered, and you can have force multipliers added to any local operation, perhaps from state or federal troops. (I'm thinking FBI, but I'd allow military intelligence some latitude as long as they're just observing/advising).
This sort of overlapping protection would help on playing defense.
It might tip your hand that to the terrorists that you're on to them, but you're saving lives and prevention is more important that capture for several reasons.
Firstly - your not telling anyone why your there and random drills can be conducted to throw terrorists off. So the extra security today - the officer's constant line would be - is just a drill. You don't tell the public because there really isn't much they can do to help and if the intelligence is leaked,
a terrorist group will examine how the information was leaked and attempt to strengthen its internal network to prevent further leaks.
Or they might change the time or location of the attack.

This current wave of terrorism isn't based on nationalism, but idealism.
The targets are the facilitators not the potential terrorist or terrorist training grounds, etc.
The potential terrorist in this case is only initiated by the spread of certain concepts (can't fight that) and disaffection (we're probably not changing our policies and that's a whole other area) so: where he gets the bombs, the info on how to build them and the organization to do it in concert to conduct surveillance, etc. etc. all the stuff you need to carry out the attack - is what needs to be shut down with ops.
Right now that's not what we're doing. We're still fighting this thing like they're Arab nationalists trying to stop the terrorist himself rather than the facilitators, those who create the groups' operational capability.

Our airlines also have the same mindset as our government in general and New York in this case: they want perceptible showings of security if they're going to spend the money.
El Al has reinforced, locked doors between their airplanes' cockpit and the passenger section and all cargo is put into decompression chambers before takeoff, to trigger bombs set to sense altitude.
Well not only is that expensive, but no one sees it.

But it's the best way to fight them.

Why? Well their bottom line (any terrorist group) lies in making sure any suicide bomber gets some sort of reward, whether material or in the afterlife. Perhaps his family receives status.
The best way to combat these motivational factors is to
help the Muslim world strengthen its opposition to the radicals who generate terrorist motivation and provide funding for education and welfare programs.
(But we just keep ignoring those new fatwas don't we?)

Re: searching vs. shooting people. The aim of counterterrorism is to kill terrorists. The only excuse for capturing a terrorist is to submit him to interrogation to obtain intelligence information about other terrorists or planned future terrorist acts.
Suicide attacks reduce risk.
The group does not have to worry that the attacker will be caught and interrogated.
Nor does the group have to devise a plan for extracting the attacker from the scene of the attack -which is invariably the most difficult element of any operation.

They also use suicide bombers because they can seek out
the most vulnerable target and inflict the most damage possible, not blunder into a random search.
In Israel, suicide bombings represent less than 0.5 percent of all terrorist attacks, but they account for over 50 percent of casualties.
Because even if he doesn't reach the target, he can detonate the bomb when surrounded by security forces.
And generate media coverage that benefits the
terrorist group.

There are two types of reactions to a terrorist incident: rational fear and irrational anxiety.
Rational fear doesn't prevent an individual from going on with their lives. This would include exercising their rights and freedoms.

Irrational anxiety incapacitates an individual to the point where the individual cannot go on with their lives.
This is what the terrorists want.
It is exactly this that is being given to them here.

At the very least I would recommend not giving in to irrational anxiety. We did not have random searches at the subways before the bombings, therefore we shouldn't after.
I favor the expense of actual measures (outlined above) over the perception of security.
One remedies rational fears the other only allays the irrational anxieties.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:44 PM on July 22, 2005


You know, this is posted in every thread ever about security as if it is the Rule of Reason. It's usually offered by people who aren't willing to put in the effort to make an actual argument. And one is left to wonder if the person offering the quote opposes all attempts at security, or if that person is foolish enough to think that Franklin meant that.

The person is foolish enough to believe that Ben Franklin meant that, and that it does NOT mean that one opposes all attempts at security. I can't say I have a problem with explosive-sniffing dogs, for example.

But never does anyone try to argue for the application of Ben's rule. What essential liberty is sacraficed here? Is the "liberty" to enter on to a subway train without being checked a "liberty" at all? What's more, is it an essential liberty?

The application of the rule, in this case, would be to step back from a stupid move such as this. In part, because this wouldn't be an important quote or idea if it was always obvious. There aren't a lot of perfect solutions, and this is a warning to be careful of imperfect ones. The unintended consequences of losing liberty can easily outweigh any other benefits. This is huge. It means that freedom is basically the most important thing we have. I happen to believe that, and that freedom is more than a mouthful of platitudes or some sort of unmitigated good. A free society will ALWAYS be vulnerable to terrorists!

If the free use of public transportation is to be considered a liberty, how is it given up in this instance and not just slightly encumbered?

This has nothing to do with public transportation. It has everything to do with probable cause, which is already almost a joke. The list of things to be suspicious of an airline traveler for is already so long that it could as easy read 1) everyone.

And does Ben Franklin cease having an objeciton to the giving up of essential liberty for a lot of temporary safety? Or what about for a little permanent safety?

I tend to think he would say ANY loss of ANY liberty should NEVER be done without a clear, undebatable threat, and a well formed and communicated system to prevent abuse, if even then. A free society is of paramount importance, and freedoms are so easy to lose. Freedom is the exception to the "rule" of history, does not arise naturally, is ideologically maintained, and must be zealously guarded if we are to have any hope for our great experiment with it.

In addition, permanent safety DOES NOT exist- there will always be flaws and loopholes. Believing that you are so safe as to be immune from harm is ignorant.

In other words, it is a pointless quote that, if it is to mean anything, needs to be applied by argument by the person quoting it. Merely throwing it out there means nothing.

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Benjamin Franklin

Ok, this time I'll add that:


All human situations have their inconveniences. We feel those of the present but neither see nor feel those of the future; and hence we often make troublesome changes without amendment, and frequently for the worse.
- Benjamin Franklin

Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society.
- Benjamin Franklin

And especially for you - you hate-filled, meanspirited person:

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.
- Benjamin Franklin

A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats.
- Benjamin Franklin

posted by 31d1 at 2:52 PM on July 22, 2005


It would be foolish to argue that random bag searches are a foolproof way to catch terrorists. But it is equally foolish to suggest that they are worthless. At the very least, bag checks offer a deterrent and could disrupt the timing of an attack involving multiple bombers. At best, it might cause some bomb-toting lunatic to take off running or do something else suspicious enough to merit police challenging him. The more cops who are around to look out for suspicious activity while I'm on my way to work, the better, as far as I'm concerned. I agree with Smedleyman, anti-terror measures should be as active as possible, and we'll always be on the back foot until we can get past the bombers to the people who are organizing them. But I think an increased police presence and bag searches, however static, also help. You need to defend the front line, as well as go on attack, to uncomfortably stretch the war on terror analogy.

I have trouble understanding the people who are whining about the possiblity of having their bags searched. Come on, people submit to searches for far more specious reasons all the time. At 9 in the morning on a weekday, I have three priorities: 1. get to and from work without getting blown up, 2. avoid sitting near someone with homeless guy BO, and 3. find a subway car where the air conditioning works. The potential that the police might ask to look inside my bag is something I wish I had the luxury of worrying about.
posted by nyterrant at 2:54 PM on July 22, 2005


Helpful reading.

It reads like one of those Mack Bolan novels, bit hyperbolic in places, but some of the ideas are solid and somewhat prophetic considering it was published in 1986. "Rivers" was an SAS agent so it's more gung-ho than cerebral. (My taste, perhaps not yours).

The thing is, those of us who have advocated playing offense are derided as warmongers...
Often. Although I see fewer protests on Afghanistan than Iraq. Noticably it's our taking of prisoners that has gotten us into trouble. I'm against mistreatment, but if we don't need the info, don't bring the body. The big problem is this is being pushed by businessmen and people who polish seats with their asses.
...well, ok, I do that now myself.
Still, I believe many people in civilian government aren't listening to anyone whether it's folks telling them how to go on the offensive or it's the peaceniks.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:58 PM on July 22, 2005


I have trouble understanding the people who are whining about the possiblity of having their bags searched. Come on, people submit to searches for far more specious reasons all the time.

Do you not have any dignity? I am an American citizen and I will not submit to unreasonable search and seizure. Blow it off if you want. Some of us conservatives actually believe in the principles we espouse.
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:01 PM on July 22, 2005


Seriously...

Why not random searches on every bus?
At every cafe?
At every gas station?
Every vehicle?
Every bar or hotel?
Every mall, church, restaurant /wherever else large numbers of people gather?

We can move the searching wherever we want, but the bombers will just move targets.

As for "Damned Constitutional originalists" (TBM): You know, you're right... How about we start coming up to speed with the 21st Century by rescinding the Second Amendment... It's so 18th century.

I'd be curious to see who starts "whining about their Constitutional rights" then.
posted by numlok at 3:10 PM on July 22, 2005


But I think an increased police presence and bag searches, however static, also help
Indeed. They help the terrorists know where to strike.
/facetious

Security officers are stationed in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other cities to search bus stops and buses for suspicious people and objects. Sometimes they use dogs to detect explosives.
The security officers have been trained to spot suicide attackers.


But yeah, even though they've prevented a lot of bombings they're real safe in Israel. Sounds like the kind of place I want to live.
/facetious
Do not, under any circumstances, discuss politics to anyone at any time.
tourists should not even consider visiting this area.

Walk in preference to taking an urban bus
Etc.

There are measures that should be priority and those that shouldn't. That aside, we're not Israel. This is America. We've had terrorism in the past, but this kind of reaction to it is over the top.
Although perhaps I shoudn't be surprised.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:11 PM on July 22, 2005


...on the other hand I'm heartened by many of the comments here.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:12 PM on July 22, 2005


BTW, we apparently need to monitor/restrict sales of cologne now as well.
All in the name of "security" you know...
posted by numlok at 3:36 PM on July 22, 2005


Oh, and another BTW: New backpacks for all my NYer friends!
posted by numlok at 3:42 PM on July 22, 2005


i just have to say, Smedley--i wish you were in charge of our counterterror stuff here instead of Krapola Kelly, and Billionaire Bloomberg.
posted by amberglow at 3:55 PM on July 22, 2005


There's actually people in the justice system looking at whether police should be able to ask people if they can search their car, like at a traffic stop.

Why? Because there are so many cases where people will cheerfully consent to having their trunk searched, and then there's a corpse, or 500 pounds of weed in it. Given that people do not generally happily incriminate themselves, this sort of behavior indicates that people do not feel like they actually have a choice, and therefore the police should maybe be prohibited from asking.

I was surprised as anyone to hear (through a well regarded criminologist) that this was seriously being considered. However this was a bit before the big thing happened, and I would be surprised if anyone has time to deal with thinking about this kind of crazy stuff.
posted by 31d1 at 3:57 PM on July 22, 2005


Well, in the huge gap between a stack of legal papers, and 500 lbs of weed, there are a number of things that can be interpreted as iffy in the eyes of an officer looking to make an issue or hoping for an arrest. I may have a prescription for that bottle of painkiller, or the bag of hypodermic needles, but ironing that out might require a bit of explaining. The boxcutter in my pocket may be a weapon, or it may just be a careless afterthought of my grocery job.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:13 PM on July 22, 2005


what smedleyman said. just for the record, boston is currently NOT randomly searching bags on public transportation. it's probably a moot point as i predict boston will do (soon, i bet) what new york is doing, as usual.
posted by brandz at 5:51 PM on July 22, 2005


The problem isn’t simply that we’re sacrificing freedom for security, it’s that some of you are advocating sacrificing freedoms for the illusion of security. And your leaders are willing to do it because it’s politically expediant.

Fucking cowards. You deserve to live on your knees.


No Shit, Smed. I'm with you.

If I'm asked to be searched in a Public venue like a subway station I am going to absolutely and loudly refuse. Fuck them. Let them arrest me. It's absurd.
posted by tkchrist at 6:37 PM on July 22, 2005


Do you not have any dignity? I am an American citizen and I will not submit to unreasonable search and seizure.

All I'm saying is, I'm willing to put the principle of not having my bag searched ahead of the practical matter of not getting blown up.

Call me crazy, but I'm willing to give up a bit of my right to be secure in my papers and effects in exchange for a marginal improvement in my right to be secure in my person. It's a tradeoff. A suicide bomber trying to kill people on the subway is simply a much greater threat to my constitutional rights than the fuzz looking through bags. There is no free lunch.
posted by nyterrant at 6:37 PM on July 22, 2005


Sorry, make that NOT willing...
posted by nyterrant at 6:38 PM on July 22, 2005


Er, nevermind that last one. The original stands. Also, I am drunk. Ok, talk to you later.
posted by nyterrant at 6:41 PM on July 22, 2005


in exchange for a marginal improvement in my right to be secure in my person

As it has already been said, numerous times by numerous people, you are not gaining any extra safety. If someone wants you dead, and is willing to die in the process, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.

The sooner people grasp this very simple concept (along with the very simple concept that you don't need an organization or any funding greater than a day's work at McDonalds to build yourself a bomb) the sooner we can start to address the real problems.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:05 PM on July 22, 2005


I'm as concerned as everyone else, but in terms of legality (and I'm not talking about prudence, or morality, or precedent), I believe that all the cops need these days is 'reasonable suspicion.' Well, on the subway today in NYC, what they announced over the intercom is that they would search suspicious bags. Sure, they'll define it how they want, and the whole thing calls into question quite explicitly how easy it is to deconstruct (or construct) the meaning of 'suspicious,' but there it is.
posted by bingo at 7:39 PM on July 22, 2005


The legal arguments for such searches are weak in comparison to case precident.

In Michigan State Police Dept v. Sitz, the Court noted that "no one can seriously dispute the magnitude of the drunken driving problem or the States' interest in eradicating it." and that "the weight bearing on the other scale--the measure of the intrusion on motorists stopped briefly at sobriety checkpoints--is slight." The Court also found that empirical evidence supported the effectiveness of the program.

In this case, though, the magnitude of the terrorist bomber problem in subways is slight, relative to the tens of thousands who die every year due to drunk drivers. Likewise, there is no empirical evidence suggesting that random or even probable cause bag searches in the U.S. have ever stopped a terrorist attack. There are no special extenuating circumstances that would make regular random searches a daily necessity, nor is there anything particular about searching baggage at a subway that would be any different than randomly searching cars for explosives.

When you stop cars for sobriety checkpoints, the timing and location is generally specific to those times most frequented by drunk drivers, and maybe 100 people are minorly inconvenienced to find one DUI, What New York is suggesting, however, is inconveniencing hundreds of thousands to find no terrorists.

Based on average fatalities and chance of finding a perpetrator, they would have more of a legal argument to establish random drug / gun search checkpoints than to establish random searches for terrorists.

As for Terry v. State of Ohio, Terry was searched as an individual, not screened randomly, and was specifically searched because an officer suspected he was going to commit a crime. Under such legal precident, there would be nothing wrong with searching a suspicious individual, but that is not what is being suggested here.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:39 PM on July 22, 2005


In other words, if you buy NYC's legal argument, then all of these potential suicide bombers should be stripsearched.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:46 PM on July 22, 2005


Human beings in free societies do nasty things.

Either accept the fact that life is an inherently dangerous activity, or relegate your freedom to the whims of state.
posted by Freen at 11:22 PM on July 22, 2005


Nicely said, i_lj.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:52 AM on July 23, 2005


This sounds perfectly legal, minimal and reasonable, given the time and place and opt-out option. What, are searches when entering government buildings also outrageous?
posted by ParisParamus at 5:11 AM on July 23, 2005


Tough shit. It's illegal.

In NYC carrying a small amount of pot and not engaging in an observed transaction buying or selling it will get you, at most, a desk appearance ticket, not worse than a traffic ticket. Many NYC cops will probably ignore pot if they see it in your bag. Or take it from you and smoke it themselves. This city is basically very cool about pot. But don't drink from an open container. That said, you should probably carry the stash in your pocket.
posted by realcountrymusic at 3:37 PM on July 23, 2005


Good on ya for your fun-lovin' and laid-back cops there, *ahem*, but the suggestion of (possible) selective enforcement of possession laws doesn't make accepting random public searches any more acceptable. Perhaps it would go down easier if there were a regulation on the books, that prevented cops (even good-time-Charlies like those in NYC) from using these searches for anything other than looking for explosives. I'm not conforted by any wink-nudge assurance that any cops anywhere are "cool" as regards law enforcement.
posted by squirrel at 12:06 AM on July 24, 2005


Good on ya for your fun-lovin' and laid-back cops there, *ahem*, but the suggestion of (possible) selective enforcement of possession laws doesn't make random public searches any more acceptable. Perhaps it would go down easier if there were a regulation on the books, that prevented cops (even good-time-Charlies like those in NYC) from using these searches for anything other than looking for explosives. I'm not conforted by any wink-nudge assurance that any cops anywhere are "cool" as regards law enforcement.
posted by squirrel at 12:06 AM on July 24, 2005


Oops!
posted by squirrel at 12:07 AM on July 24, 2005




Don't know if anyone is still following this thread, but NY Daily News has an interesting report from a test they did (sending 5 reporters into the subways with large bags).
Enjoy,
num-
posted by numlok at 11:14 AM on July 25, 2005


« Older Adorned in titanium, latex, silicone, and...   |   Protestors Finished in Under a Minute Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post