Judge upholds pointless NYC subway searches

On Friday a federal judge upheld New York City’s ridiculous bag searches in the city’s subway system, falling for the scare tactics of the government.

“The risk of a terrorist bombing of New York City’s subway system is real and substantial,” U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman said.

The New York Civil Liberties Union had challenged the searches, arguing that riders were being subjected to a pointless and unprecedented invasion of their privacy.

The judge cited the testimony of police officials who said the search policy might cause terrorists to choose a different target.

“Because the threat of terrorism is great and the consequences of unpreparedness may be catastrophic, it would seem foolish not to rely upon those qualified persons in the best position to know,” Berman said.

Gail Donoghue, a city lawyer, called the searches a “life-and-death” necessity and said the city should not wait for a specific threat or an attack to crack down.

“That kind of complacency is a very dangerous thing,” she said. “The threat is immediate. It is real and of extreme concern to those who run the counterterrorism in this city.”

During the trial, Deputy Police Commissioner David Cohen said the searches keep terrorists guessing.

“Unpredictability is the enemy of terrorists and the ally of those trying to prevent an attack,” said Cohen, who joined the police department after a three-decade career at the CIA analyzing the threat of terrorism. — Associated Press

What the judge either failed to note, or completely ignored, is that how these searches work make them utterly useless in preventing terrorist attacks. Anyone, including a potential suicide bomber, is perfectly free to refuse to be searched, leave the subway, and try to re-enter the system somewhere else.

And while random searching generally provides better security than profiling, as terrorists can learn a profile and try to evade it but can’t so easily evade random searches, these searches do absolutely nothing to prevent terrorist attacks in the subway.

What they do is get people accustomed to being randomly searched for no good reason, while all the while the powers that be claim it’s for their security. It makes people feel safer, but does nothing to mitigate the actual terrorist threat.

What’s worse is police-state apologists masquerading as conservatives are all for this invasion of privacy and erosion of the Fourth Amendment.

No one wants to live in a police state. However, [the] majority of people do not mind being searched if it means they will live another day. . . . The ACLU have twisted a legitimate attempt to protect NY’s citizens into a scare tactic method completely overexaggerated. Why can’t they see what most people can? The threat of being blown up is a greater risk, than the far fetched idea of a police state. — Chris Short

I can’t figure out if Short really believes what he’s saying or is trying to help usher in the police state. If the police state idea were so far fetched, people who really love liberty and the Constitution wouldn’t have to fight so hard against it. Most Americans are all for a police state if it will make them feel safer, whether they actually are safer or not. The ACLU gets a lot of stuff wrong, but they’re on the right side this time.

These searches are completely useless in combating terrorism, as terrorists can easily adapt to and bypass the security. So the searches only affect innocent people. Police state, here we come.

The New York Civil Liberties Union plans to appeal.