This from the Bottleneck Blog at the LA Times:
There's more if you're interested.
Random searches of passengers and their belongings will begin next week on Metrolink commuter trains, the agency announced Thursday. Passengers got the news via a flier left on train seats.
Sheriff's deputies will be setting up random screening stations at random times. "Access to the station platform will be restricted; passengers must pass through the checkpoint to gain access to the station platform," stated the flier.
The release goes on to say that some passengers will be selected from those lines and have their baggage searched. Anyone who refuses to be searched won't be allowed to get on the train. Deputies are looking for "explosives" or other "dangerous items."
Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell told me this morning that the searches are not in response to any threats that have been made against trains.
"It's more in response to what has become standard procedure at other commuter rail agencies across the country," she said. "We were one of the few who wasn't doing this, and we thought it would be a good idea to step up the security a little bit."
She said police are primarily looking for explosives, but won't turn a blind eye to other issues. "They are police officers," Tyrrell added. "If you have a half a pound of hash in your book bag, they are going to arrest you. I would suggest if that's the case you are one of the people that wants to walk away."
Not happy. No US passenger train has been a successful target of terrorists. It's election season. LA is pretty much border country. There's a war on brown people. Privatized prisons need prisoners to make a profit, and there's just no telling what can turn up in a random search. WHOOOHOOOO!!
You say, "Yes, but just because they haven't blown up a train doesn't mean they won't"?
Yes, and just because they haven't used a yacht to blow up a harbor doesn't mean they won't. Let's randomly detain and sweep yachts, what say!
I doubt this is about security. I think this is one more goose step toward a fascist police state. We'll kvetch and argue, and the Fearful will support it because, "You know, it COULD happen here! I mean it DID happen in Madrid!" And while we're busily selling out, random searches and seizures on subways will be added to spying on our emails, letters, parcels, and phone calls. Just in case.
What's next? Random house searches? Well, why not? Exactly where's the logical distinction between private homes and private backpacks in the "Well it Could Happen" school of constitutional law?
This makes me angry. I strongly suspect that this is Joe Arpaio-style intimidation aimed at the LA immigrant population. This is about undocumented workers. Any number of them--Latino, Chinese, African, and others--ride the LA tube. It will mean that many won't take the subway, won't make it to work, and then won't have a job. Some who lose their already all-too-insecure jobs will lose their homes. So, once again in the USA, while we're having our pedicures and Jiffy Lubing the Beemer, human beings will be turned into hungry, frightened prey. And once again, the cover of dealing with "illegal immigration" will blind us to how smoothly we're simultaneously being habituated to life in a police state.
Conservatives who think this incrementalism is just hunky-dory as long as we're talking "terrorism" seem to have forgotten core conservative principles like the sanctity of private property and "reasonable suspicion." But this is only to be expected from the party of idiots like Newt Gingrich and Pat Buchanan. They're denouncing (!) the Supreme Court for upholding habeas corpus!
You just have to wonder. As many have observed, detention and imprisonment are government's most terrifying power, short of outright assassination. But habeas corpus is one of the few thin walls standing between you and that government out of control. You'd think a conservative would get that, wouldn't you?
I think they do get that, when it comes to yachts and white people. When it comes to the rest, all I can think is that they're vanguard soldiers in the police state or stockholders in the Corrections Corporation of America. Or both.
For seven years, our government has only had to whisper "terrorism" to stampede us from defending the world's noblest experiment in democracy. We celebrate racist campaigns not seen since WWII. We welcome violations of the Constitution and make laws to protect the perpetrators. We just don't get it that when we strip the rights from some of us, we strip the rights from all. It's inevitable.
I have just one question: Why are we such pathetic, sell-out losers?