This gives a feel for what people were say last night:
“I’d like to ask Metro to please stop wasting our time and money,” Andy Hunt said, adding that Metro has hurt more people in accidents than any terrorist. “If he wants to hurt us, he’s gonna hurt us.”
Dozens of other speakers agreed, castigating the searches as “security theater” that is more likely to heighten fear than safety and rejecting Metro’s position that the searches will deter attackers.
From the other side of the issue:
“Public comment has been very supportive” apart from at the RAC meeting, said Capt. Kevin Gaddis of the Transit Police. “We have had 55 comments from riders regarding this program” and most were positive, he said. “No customers to date have refused to have their bag searched.”
The thing is with this “voluntary” search is that if you refuse you in all likelihood you will be detained for further questioning and not be allowed to board the bus or train. Or if you do board it will be minus your bag. I guess I’m having a problem with Metro’s definition of voluntary.
Here are a couple of definitions I found:
1. Done or undertaken of one’s own free will: a voluntary decision to leave the job.
2. Acting or done willingly and without constraint or expectation of reward: a voluntary hostage; voluntary community
To me under definition number 2, the bad search is anything but voluntary. The constraint that Metro uses in the “voluntary” search is if you don’t give up the bad you don’t get to ride. Once again nothing voluntary about this at all.
But the really absurdity of this “voluntary search” is, according to the story in the Post, only several dozen officers will be doing the inspections. How will they possibly catch anyone? Talk about a needle in a haystack approach. Also what a waste of time and money.
This sums it up the best:
Several speakers urged Metro to focus its resources on other problems and questioned whether transit authorities who appear unable or unwilling to enforce other rules - such as those banning eating and drinking on the system - could effectively prevent terrorist attacks with the searches.
Seems to me this is security theater at its best with little or no return on actual security.