Friday, October 06, 2006

So Much For "Bring a Bomb To Work Day"

T to start random searches for bombs

Starting as soon as next week, the MBTA will become only the second transit system in the nation to conduct regular, random searches of passenger bags and packages for explosives, Governor Mitt Romney announced yesterday.

MBTA Transit Police -- deployed throughout the system on commuter trains, subways, buses, and commuter boats -- will randomly choose riders and use a chemically treated piece of cloth to swab the zippers, bottom, or handles of their carry-ons.

Officers will place the swab in a portable machine that can detect explosives residue. The process will take less than a minute per passenger. If there is probable cause, officers will ask passengers to open bags and packages.

Passengers who refuse the search won't be allowed into the transit system, and any person refusing to leave could be arrested.


Romney said he did not order the move in response to a specific terrorist threat, though he did cite attacks on rail targets in Madrid, London, and Mumbai, India, since 2004 that have killed more than 400 commuters.

"We are fighting a war against people that have as their objective mass murder and mayhem," the governor said at a morning press conference. "Given a very different threat, we need different tactics."

Actually, we are fighting a war against radical Islamic fundamentalists "that have as their objective mass murder and mayhem". Yet, according to our fearless leader, Mitt Romney, the solution lies in randomly searching the bags of ordinary citizens who don't even come close to fitting the profile of the perpetrators of 99.24% of all the world's terrorist activity.

And, yeah, I pulled that number out of my ass. So what? What are you going to do, start screaming "What about Timothy McVeigh?"? Here,I'll save you the trouble, and tell you what about Timothy McVeigh.

He was a deranged scumbag who killed a lot of innocent people. Soon after, his entire organization was neutralized - all two of them. Now, if evidence were to surface that he was part of some worldwide Disgruntled White Guy Jihadist movement, then perhaps I'd lend a tad more credence to the worn-out "What about Timothy McVeigh?" argument.

That said, would I suggest searching the bags of every Middle Eastern-looking male boarding a train or a bus?


But, how difficult would it be for a terrorist organization, intent on blowing up a subway train, to circumvent this random screening process?

Hint: Rhymes with "Not very".

And, not that I want to give the terrorist scumbag population any pointers, but what would happen if they were to send two would-be train bombers down into the station at Park Street, one right after the other, with each of them strapped to a 30-pound bomb?

You want the best case scenario?

One of the bombers, we'll call him Terrorist Scumbag #1, is selected for random screening (can't screen them both, that would be profiling, and that would make Jesse Jackson angry) and chooses to leave the station, instead of consenting to a search. His accomplice, that would be Terrorist Scumbag #2, then boards a Green Line train, unmolested by the authorities, preparing his backpack for detonation at Government Center, while the MBTA police are busy swabbing the bags of a 58-year-old receptionist from Malden.

Of course, while all that is going on, Terrorist Scumbag #1 - you remember him - is settling down at the McDonald's across the street, enjoying a hot McGriddle sandwich, watching the girls walking down Tremont Street, and waiting for just the right time to flip the switch and go supernova in the name of Allah, killing 1,000 or so innocent Bostonians in the process.

So, if anyone can explain to me how random bag searches are going to deter an enemy, intent on committing mass murder and mayhem in the name of Allah (not to mention suicide) from carrying out their evil plans, I am all ears.

As we've seen recently, with the string of tragic school shootings, even deranged, murderous whackjobs are smart enough to realize that their chances of success increase dramatically with the selection of soft targets. There's a reason cops don't get mugged more often. More police on the T would likely only serve to drive the bad guys elsewhere.

Then, of course, we'd need more police, and random screenings of people's bags at every shopping mall in the state. And then, movie theaters, sporting arenas, outdoor farmer's markets, restaurants, etc.

Hell, let's just ban the public carrying of bags. Problem solved!

Here's the money quote from the Globe article, that highlights the biggest "glitch" in this whole random screening strategy, that I haven't heard anyone talking about.

Passengers who refuse the search won't be allowed into the transit system...

Sorry, kids, but if a terrorist with a 30-pound bomb strapped to his back can make it to the turnstiles, it's game over, man.