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#44568 - 07/22/05 07:33 PM NYC subway and those random bag searches
Craig Offline

Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 1784
Loc: Collegeville, PA, USA
Who among our members has been searched, thinks they will be searched, or hopes they won't be searched?

-- Craig

#44569 - 07/22/05 07:39 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches
Stu Offline
I am not a P.P.o.W.
Old Hand

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 1058
Loc: Finger Lakes of NY State
Well, I always hope I won't be searched. An I going to do anything different because of the searches? Nope
Our most important survival tool is our brain, and for many, that tool is way underused! SBRaider
Head Cat Herder

#44570 - 07/23/05 12:17 AM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches

I take an MTA bus, the subway and a MetroNorth train on the way to work each morning (reverse the order for the trip home) ... and each of those modes of transport is (in principle) subject to search. So I figure it'll happen sooner rather than later.

As a CCMACLU (card-carrying member of the ACLU) and a lawyer, I feel it's my duty to protest searches made without reasonable suspicion. But I also have no objection to showing the innards of my briefcase or handbag to a security guard when I enter a museum, the library, the opera house, etc. So I'd probably permit it, though grudgingly....

#44571 - 07/23/05 02:49 AM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches
Craig Offline

Registered: 11/13/01
Posts: 1784
Loc: Collegeville, PA, USA
I think they're looking for big bad bombs, of course, but they won't turn a blind eye to anything they find that they don't like.

-- Craig

#44572 - 07/23/05 03:40 AM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches

Helen; I am very much of mixed minds about this, myself. As a lawyer and once the ONLY ACLU member in the county in which I lived, I don't have much sense of humor about the 4th or the 5th Amendments.

I was in Europe while the Red Brigade was running amok, right on the heels of the massacre of the Israeli athletes, and while the Turkish -Cypriot incident was going down. In Rome, there seemingly was an APC on every street corner, and there were soldiers with assault rifles on catwalks rigged over the concourse in Fumiccino. In Kusadasi, Turkey yanks (see?) were viewed with great suspicion and mistrust.

And yet, I never heard of a random search. Absent reasonable suspicion or at the very least a colorable Terry scenario, I don't think I would react well to a random stop & frisk in this country.

I do tryly admire the manner in which the British seem to be handling their travails. I suppose 3 million cameras in central London helps. But that's another story for another day. They seem to have struck a reasonable balance between security and personal freedom, if a bit over-regulated.

#44573 - 07/23/05 08:52 AM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches
pteron Offline

Registered: 10/01/01
Posts: 59
Loc: UK
When I was flying to the US a lot, when boarding the plane in Newark, 'random' meant anyone with a foreign passport.

I suspect that on the subway, random will be anything but!

#44574 - 07/23/05 12:41 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches

Sigh, the 5th Amendment ... I find it distressing that as a result of Kelo I agree with JJ. Scalia & Thomas on something. (Am I the only one who keeps hearing Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" -- good's bad today, and black's white today, and day's night today -- in her head these days?)

Anyway, on the 4th I agree with your concerns about how random those "random" searches will be, and wonder why random searches are more acceptable than those based on a Terry or equivalent suspicion. I think someone on the news last night admitted that they'd be focusing more on folks with bigger bags -- as a practical matter that makes sense, but then it's not truly random.... And I don't think the DWI/roadblock system of just searching every third or tenth (or whatever) person would work ... everybody would immediately try to game that system somehow.

#44575 - 07/23/05 02:55 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
Whenever I see/hear the term "random search", my first thought is, "how pointless".

If they're doing one out of ten, and aren't looking for something in particular (big bag, foreign-looking, etc), the odds are excellent that they would MISS any terrorist in the group.

Besides, they wouldn't actually have to do it themselves. All they would need to do is what some drug transporters do: give the "package" to some unsuspecting fool who's willing to take $10 to carry something on board because the terrorist is "overloaded". Just hand the backpack to Mr./Ms. CleanCut Helpful and get it past the inspection point.


#44576 - 07/23/05 03:31 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches

Here in Brazil we get to put up with what they call the "blitz". These are random car stops and searches. They basically set up a roadblock manned by smg armed police and stop whatever car they feel like. The then check your documents, glove compartment, trunk, pockets, bags, whatever they feel like searching. They are also searching for anything and everything that they may have reason to take an intrest in.

On the street we are subject to random stop and searches, anyone walking downtown may be stopped and frisked at any moment.

I would hate to see the US turn into a police state like the one I live under.

What's going to happen when a person on the NY subway is stopped and searched and they turn up a little baggie of pot? Will that be admissible evidence? We stopped student "X" to search for explosives but turned up a bag of weed.

I don't support the smoking of weed but don't think this isn't going to play out before the month is up. How about the kid who turns to run because he has a bag of weed and the police shoot him for trying to blow up a subway car?

I'm sorry. I don't like where this is headed. If they really want to filter out bombers they would use dogs to sniff around looking for explosives. I would say anyone who was a "hit" with the dog should be subject to search. That also removes the racial profiling from the issue, the dog says search and you get searched. Mac

#44577 - 07/23/05 03:49 PM Re: NYC subway and those random bag searches
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA

And of course, if they know the bags will be searched, they'll switch to carrying on their person. Wouldn't be the first time someone has strapped explosives to themselves.

Personally, I am very unhappy about the idea of random searches. I'd much perfer they had explosive sniffing dogs working the lines and searched based on cause.

Obviously, they may not have enough explosive dogs yet, but quite frankly, they could announce the use of the dogs, and they could deploy what they have, explosive dogs, drug dogs, whatever. People would have no way to know that some of them were not explosive dogs or at least which ones. And then, as more explosive dogs are available they could trade out the non-explosive dogs.

I think this would be a larger deterent, and also more effective (once ramped up).

One thing that is very distasteful is that they will ding you for things other than what they are looking for. Personally I make it a policy to only carry what is legal, but I find the whole approach distasteful and an assault on our rights. While it may be legal, I think it breaks the public trust in regard to the government respecting our right to privacy.

This is a slipperly slope IMO. I'd rather live with a bit more risk and retain my freedom.


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