Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our evolving police state

For those who love a police state, you're in luck!

The Washington DC Metro is about to start conducting random bag checks!  Huzzah!

Because the authorities are certain to forestall terrorism in the Metro (which hasn't been hit once in the nine years since 9/11) by searching the bags of random riders.  Oh, and it's not mandatory, so if you don't want to have your civil rights violated you don't have to submit, but you can't bring your bag with you.  Nice.  What kind of moronic terrorist would get caught in such a situation?  None, you say?  That's why this whole thing is stupid.

The fact is that this policy will do nothing to stop an attack on the Metro.  Any terrorist could just enter the system at a different station.  Or postpone the attack until the random search is over.  Or send a friend ahead to see if they're checking bags.  Or go into the nearest shopping mall instead.  Or get on a bus.

This is security theater at it's best.  The point is to look like you're doing something so the Republicans can't say you're weak on terror while doing nothing to actually improve safety.

What these searches will do is piss off a lot of riders, make the police look fascist and ineffective, and reduce all our freedoms.  Once we start allowing this, what's next?  How about TSA-like pat-downs?  How about x-ray machines?  You think your commute takes a long time now, wait until the next security measure comes up.

Living in constant fear is killing America.  We're relinquishing our freedoms year after year to stop a small, poorly organized enemy who can't really hurt us.  Sure, they might be able to damage our property and take some lives (though they've been pretty unsuccessful since 9/11).  But they can't change our nature.  They can't bring down America.  Only we can do that.

Every step down this road takes us further away from our ideals and the Constitution.  (Ironically, those on the right who are harping about the phantom menace of socialism and "getting back to our Constitution" are ignoring the real losses of civil liberties we've been losing over the last decade.)

As far as I can see, the 9/11 attack was far more successful than Bin Laden could have dreamed.  In some very real ways, that attack did destroy America.  The question is whether or not we can put aside the fear and bring America back.


Eric Haas said...

Actually, I’m surprised they weren’t already doing bag checks.

Ipecac said...

They announced they would start two years ago but backed down. They started this morning. I feel safer already.