Friday, July 22, 2005

NYC spends millions to search every fifth passenger

[Corrected and expanded post]

Well this was inevitable I suppose but it's one of those 2 million dollar boondoggles. That's what it cost a week just since 7/7, when they doubled the police force in response to the London bombings. Yesterday's overtime salaries will only add another set of zeros to that account. Money that would be much better spent on simply improving security on the platforms and maybe in the tunnels. I mean for God's sake, aren't there homeless people living under Grand Central. You think a terrorist is going to even bother going through the gates?

But then the transit authority doesn't appear to care about spending its money wisely. They had 600 million to spend on security improvements. Only 30 million of that was used in real services. The rest was spent on studies and consultants.

As it stands, the searching of one in five people in random stations gives the illusion of increasing safety but accomplishes virtually nothing in terms of actually preventing a London style attack on our mass transit systems. It's unlikely that the other four they miss couldn't someday be carrying a bomb. It is likely to catch quite a few drug possessors though and no doubt will cut down on say, marijuana dealers use of the subway. Guess it will balance out for the cab driver's though - I expect they might see more business out of this. Glad that someone will see a silver lining out of it.

Today NYC is doing random checks at mass transit stations. Other large cities are expected to follow suit once they see whether the constitutional challenges that are sure to be mounted, hold up or not. At this rate, you won't be able to go to the corner store for a soda without being searched and the irony is you still won't be any safer from terrorists but you just became a whole lot less safe from your own government.

And they wonder why I've started to believe in conspiracy theories. Looks like a shorter walk to the police state long desired by the Bushites every day.


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