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Monday, July 25, 2005

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Hey, anyone know the number of a good tour bus company?

It was a tense weekend here in the Baked Apple. In the wake of a second bomb attack on London's transit system last week, fear became fashionable again here in Gotham. After the news Friday that the NYPD would begin randomly searching straphanger bags and backpacks, an already nervous citizenry had its jitter level raised a few more notches after two high-profile security scares on Sunday. Thankfully, both incidents proved to be false alarms.

In the first, a tour bus approaching Times Square was halted, cordoned off and its riders searched after suspicions were raised by one of the passengers, undoubtedly some nervous Kansan who freaked when he saw his first-ever "brown-skinned" person. Turns out, the 'suspicious characters' didn't even have backpacks on. After an hour-long ordeal, the Daily News reports that the inconvenienced tourists were treated to lunch at Applebees. Excuse me? Applebees? I'm sorry, but if a squadron of New York's finest turn their sniper rifles on me in the middle of my tour, I expect something more than a plate of Riblets. At least take me to Ruby Foo's or something.

About an hour later and 15 blocks further south, some jackass at Penn Station, unhappy with an unhelpful ticket agent, decided to channel his frustration into a severely ill-advised 'I have a bomb in my bag' comment. Yeah, good thinking knucklehead. Within minutes, the station was cleared, thousands of passengers were inconvenienced and said jackass was apprehended. The security paranoia continued this morning when the Borough Hall subway station in Brooklyn was evacuated due to a bomb scare, about 5 minutes after I passed through it in fact. And no, I didn't have anything to do with it.

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Understandably, we're all a bit unnerved by the recent uptick in terror attacks. I do wonder however about the logic of the NYPD's decision to conduct random bag searches on the subways. First off, if someone is willing to blow themselves up are they really going to be deterred by a potential frisking? Secondly, if commuters are given the option to simply refuse the search, won't a bomber just leave that entrance and find another one? Or simply blow himself up on the sidewalk? Thirdly, how the hell is my dealer supposed to get to me now? Dammit.

Seriously though, this is nothing more than a reactive policy, something to give the "appearance" of heightened security to make us feel safer, not to mention a potential violation of the 4th amendment. What was it that Ben Franklin said? "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." Exactly. All I'm saying is let's not get carried away. Let's not let terrorism get the best of us. We can't let fear and paranoia impair our judgment to the point where we begin pumping bullets into innocent Brazilians and launching unjust, poorly planned, bullshit wars against random nations for no good reason.

Oh shit, too late.

I Am F'ing Terrified

Gawker: Fear Is Back!
Missoulian: Loss of Liberty Can't Buy Safety
VV: 'I Do Not Consent'
CafePress: Get the T-shirt!

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So true, so true. My sister was searched while I was away with you, drinking in your therapeutic ales.

She and my niece were walking into the subway, at Penn Station, and she was asked to open her bag. My 2 year old niece began crying since three policemen apporached her rather aggressively. They asked to open her diaper bag, and found something more dangerous than a dirty bomb - unclean diapers......

God bless the city and its lack of constitutionality....
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