Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Amber argues the other side of my post below.

I don't want transit cops digging through my purse and checking to make sure I don't have C4 hidden under my personal hygiene products. The airport security checks are pretty dire, but at least you choose to go to the airport. This effectively repeals the 4th Amendment for anyone who depends on public transit to get to work. That's the big deal, at least for those of us who care about the law and not just (the appearance of) security.

Majikthise makes a good point that this will only result in aspiring subway bombers strapping belts under their clothes instead. Does Blachman want a quick frisk before hopping on the 4/5? How about a strip search? Does he want to add an hour onto his daily commute so everyone can put their laptops through the metal detectors one by one? Bah.

Fine, I didn't really think this through.

Of course I don't really want a strip search before getting on the subway.

Of course I don't really want a bag check.

Of course it's likely that any aspiring subway bombers can easily figure out a way around this.

But what it comes down to, for me, is that, honestly -- even if this is naive and stupid -- I trust the government. I trust that whoever is making these decisions knows what they're doing. Or at least they know better than I do.

I have no idea how you keep a city as safe as it can reasonably be.

All I know is that since September 11th, New York hasn't had any more bad stuff happen. I certainly don't know if that's just luck, if it's by design to lull us into a false sense of security, or whether there's stuff going on behind the scenes that's really thwarting terror attempts.

But because I don't know, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that whatever they're doing seems like it's working.

I don't think anyone wanted to start randomly checking bags if they didn't think it would be of some benefit. Maybe they're wrong, and maybe the costs are too high for whatever illusory benefit it's providing. But it feels pretty silly for me to presume I know better than the people making these decisions. I don't. So, for now, I trust them.

Yes, it's a slippery slope.

And, yes, maybe the whole war thing should have taught me that I shouldn't actually trust the people making decisions in this country.

I'm not saying I'm making a legitimate or good argument. I'm just saying I don't feel all that burdened by a police officer searching my bag, if the reason they're doing it is a good faith belief that it'll make me safer.