Another right surrendered for safety

Another right surrendered for safety.

Ever since the New York Police Department announced the beginning of random baggage screening in the subway system,
I've had a hard time putting my finger on exactly what rankles me so
much about the idea. Having anonymously ridden the subways of NYC for
twelve years, the whole invasion of privacy aspect definitely gets to
me… but each time I think of that, I remember that I basically submit
to the possibility of a cavity search every time I walk into an
airport. There's my gut telling me I'd be naive to think that the
searches will actually be executed in a random way, but it's hard for
me to hold a suspicion against the entirety of New York's finest. Then,
there's the fact that the
police have acknowledged that they'll arrest people in whose bags they
find things illegal but entirely unrelated to terrorism
(i.e., drugs); there's no “but” to this one, since blind searches resulting in incriminating evidence would assuredly
be illegal if it weren't for the overwhelming fear of terrorism
gripping America, a fear that's been magnified in the weeks following
the bombs in London.

Tonight, I think I figured out the specific concern I have: every
rationale that's been given for why the searches are necessary is a
reason that would equally apply to a plan for random baggage screens anywhere
in New York City — on the streets, in Central Park, anywhere at all.
The threat of terrorism applies equally to the subway system as it does
to the Great Lawn, Times Square, and the sidewalk in front of the Today
Show studio, and if we accept the idea that vague threats of insane
actions justify the intrusion into our possessions without any warrants
or suspicions, then we also might have to accept that that intrusion
might have to occur wherever we might find ourselves, be it on the
Westside IRT or strolling around Bethesda Fountain. I'm fairly certain
that, as a nation, we wouldn't accept an intrusion into our privacy
that broad and baseless — which makes me wonder whether we should
accept one that might be narrower in its geographical focus, but
equally broad in its application, and equally baseless.  [Q Daily News]

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