Commuters in MASS to be Subjected to Random Searches


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Gump
June 8, 2004, 10:23 AM
http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/local/B44709/




BOSTON -- The public transportation system in Boston will institute next month a random stop-and-search of bags and packages procedure on subway and commuter trains, a move largely prompted by the March 11 train bombings that killed 191 people in Spain, officials said.

The new policy, which will include explosive-sniffing dogs and all 247 uniformed Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police officers, is set to be in place for July's Democratic National Convention, MBTA Police Chief Joseph Carter told The Boston Globe.

"I have no trepidation about being first (in the country with such a transit-security policy)," Carter said Monday. "I don't want to be the first to do an interview about having a serious incident that may have some terrorist indications to it. I want to be in a position to prevent and detect and apprehend someone prior to them causing damage. We want to do this to encourage people to feel safe on the MBTA, to utilize public transportation."

Carter said MBTA has not announced the new policy formally because officials still are working out the details on how to balance security and privacy concerns.

Carter said the policy is being developed in coordination with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration and with several other transit agencies in the United States and abroad. He said it is not yet fully developed.

Last month, MBTA police announced the entire force has been receiving counterterrorism training that includes spotting suspicious behavior. MBTA police already can request to see the identification of passengers they perceive to be acting suspiciously.

Last month, the TSA unveiled a pilot program to screen the bags of all passengers at a single Maryland Rail Commuter station in suburban New Carrollton.

MBTA Deputy Police Chief John Martino, who is overseeing the development and implementation of the search policy, said police, sometimes accompanied by explosive-sniffing dogs, will randomly pick out riders for inspection throughout the transit system daily. He said the number of inspections would increase dramatically during the convention July 26-29.

Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, said that while she understands the need for security, the MBTA plan is deeply flawed and may violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on unreasonable search and seizure.

"The Fourth Amendment doesn't stop at your wrist when you carry a briefcase; it includes your bag," Rose said. "It either has to be truly random, or it has to have a root in a reasonable basis of suspicion."

Pamela Pratt, 46, a hospital supervisor from Randolph, told a Globe reporter, "We all know who will be stopped -- black people like me or my brothers."

"It's a gray area," said Caleb Charland, 23, a photographer from the city's Dorchester neighborhood. "I don't want people searching my bags, but if it increases safety, I understand." (AP)





Is this legal?

So what happens whenn they search some one legally carrying?

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fish2xs
June 8, 2004, 10:56 AM
I do not know for sure, but I believe handguns are mostly banned in Boston except for
police, military....

(and I think for the most part the military is banned from Boston as well:scrutiny: )

Gump
June 8, 2004, 10:59 AM
Hand guns are not banned as far as I know. Hi cap mags are though. I will look now....

Ex-MA Hole
June 8, 2004, 11:01 AM
To be honest, I don't know how I feel about this. It's against the Constitution, but not against common sense. Hmmm......Wow. Gut is to follow the Consitiution, but, what happens if you see a group of 10-15 people carrying large suitcases/ trunks/ bags? Then what? What if they are "acting suspicious" (whatever that means) I don't know...


BTW- Guns are not illegal in Boston (if you have Lic).

Gump
June 8, 2004, 11:11 AM
I understand that the theory is for overall safety, but it could be abused.
There was a quote in the article from an ACLU spokesperson saying that it would have to be completely random or done under specific suspicion so that would cover the groud of people with suitcase acting suspiciously I guess.

I was just wondering what they'd say about a legal firearm?

Devonai
June 8, 2004, 11:20 AM
Pamela Pratt, 46, a hospital supervisor from Randolph, told a Globe reporter, "We all know who will be stopped -- black people like me or my brothers."

Yeah, 'cause black people flew airplanes into buildings on 9/11/01.

:rolleyes:

shermacman
June 8, 2004, 11:48 AM
Hand guns are not illegal in Boston. There are several points to remember, though. Boston will not give CCW permits to the common people. But they can not prohibit those of us from outside of the city from carrying as long as we are legal in our own town, no magazines over 10 rounds, no evil looking assault rifles.

Outrigger
June 8, 2004, 11:56 AM
First it's the bag or the briefcase, next it's the car at the toll booth, then it's the closets in your home.

Once you start......:(

Gump
June 8, 2004, 11:58 AM
Outrigger, how are the realestate prices near you? :)

Ex-MA Hole
June 8, 2004, 12:05 PM
Outrigger, how are the realestate prices near you?

For whatever it's worth, I'm in NH (Concord area)- I can tell you that I just moved here from South Shore MA (my name give that away?)- I went from 900+ Square foot 25 year old house on .15 acres to a BRAND NEW house on 5 acres, 2,000+ square feet FOR LESS MONEY and LESS crime. How can you go wrong?

Gray Peterson
June 8, 2004, 12:08 PM
Hand guns are not illegal in Boston. There are several points to remember, though. Boston will not give CCW permits to the common people. But they can not prohibit those of us from outside of the city from carrying as long as we are legal in our own town, no magazines over 10 rounds, no evil looking assault rifles.

I think it's a common misperception that Boston has a "no mags over 10 rounds" law on the books that affects handguns. They don't. I often suggest to people who may have to move to Boston area from out of state is to look at the MBTA's commuter rail maps, look at all the cities that the commuter rail serves, and find out which ones are easy to get Class A LTC for All Lawful Purposes.

If for some reason it does turn up that you have a gun, and you have a Class A LTC ALP, you should be fine. Though I can't seem to find out about the "rules" of MBTA anywhere on their website.

Lone_Gunman
June 8, 2004, 12:09 PM
I think they are just talking about bomb-sniffing dogs, and not stopping people for physical searches.

They already do this in airports don't they?

Gump
June 8, 2004, 12:14 PM
I could certainly see my self retiring to NH, VT or Southern Maine. Or even buying land on a lake or something if I found enough at the right price.

Gump
June 8, 2004, 12:20 PM
Lonnie Wilson:

I found nothing on the MBTA website about the restriction of firearms. I searched under Fire arms, guns, weapons, homocidal death devices, and turned up nothing. I have also never seen any signs or heard any annoucements regarding firearms ont MBTA property

L_G From the article: "BOSTON -- The public transportation system in Boston will institute next month a random stop-and-search of bags and packages procedure on subway and commuter trains, a move largely prompted by the March 11 train bombings that killed 191 people in Spain, officials said."

nero45acp
June 8, 2004, 01:06 PM
Baaaahhhhhhh, Baaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!:rolleyes:



This country's looking more and more like a B grade WW2 movie with the nazi bad-guys checking everyone's papers.:uhoh:




nero

Sean Cloherty
June 8, 2004, 02:03 PM
Check this regarding AMTR*K

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29498&highlight=AMTRAK

Gump
June 8, 2004, 02:09 PM
Amtrak doesn't run the MBTA any more AFAIK:confused:

Ben Shepherd
June 8, 2004, 02:17 PM
So, not only are the boots on, they're being used!

Something about the line in the sand.............

M1911Owner
June 8, 2004, 02:38 PM
Beyond the question of whether this and airline searches are constitutional, there is a big difference between this and airline searches. Both are clearly in violation of the 4th Amendment. But with airline searches, you can at least argue necessity--airliners are highly-mobile "flying bombs" that can be directed anywhere as "weapons of mass destruction." The same is not true for railroads--they only go where the tracks go. Yes, you can kill a few dozen people by blowing up a bomb in close quarters in a train, but you can do that in any crowded place--a ball game, Disneyland, a bus, a lecture hall, the Walmart checkout lines, etc., etc., etc. Any argument you can make for random searches on a train would be equally applicable to random searches anywhere.

I see this as a de facto total revocation of the 4th Amendment. :scrutiny: :uhoh: :mad:

M1911Owner
June 8, 2004, 02:42 PM
"I don't want people searching my bags, but if it increases safety, I understand."Why do I find myself thinking about the quote that goes something like, "Those who are willing to give up a little bit of freedom to gain a little bit of safety, will have neither."?



(BTW, does anyone have the accurate quote, and who said it?)

dshimm
June 8, 2004, 02:49 PM
I think they are just talking about bomb-sniffing dogs, and not stopping people for physical searches.[/i/

I don't think so:
MBTA Deputy Police Chief John Martino, who is overseeing the development and implementation of the search policy, said police, sometimes accompanied by explosive-sniffing dogs, will randomly pick out riders for inspection throughout the transit system daily.


[i]what happens if you see a group of 10-15 people carrying large suitcases/ trunks/ bags? Then what? What if they are "acting suspicious"

That wouldn't be a random search

While there is a poetic justice in seeing the anti-gun blue state Bostonians subjected to the sort of harrassment gun owners take for granted, my rational side bemoans that even the ACLU now accepts random searches ("your papers, please"), provided they are "truly random."

What makes more sense is to concentrate limited police resources where they are likely to yield the most return. This means focusing on suspicious individuals and groups, and yes, it means profiling. Get over it.

M1911Owner
June 8, 2004, 02:52 PM
... and yes, it means profiling...which is sometimes also known as "probable cause"...

"Your honor, we stopped the suspect because he was a bearded, middle-eastern Arab who appeared to be carrying a bomb..."

Sean Cloherty
June 8, 2004, 02:56 PM
But Amtrak does run the Commuter Rail business for the T.

R.H. Lee
June 8, 2004, 02:59 PM
Mental image immediately comes to mind. Colonel Klink at the train station, wearing a long leather coat and a monocle, overseeing his team, asking "Your papers, vere are your papers, please.........??"

WonderNine
June 8, 2004, 03:00 PM
To be honest, I don't know how I feel about this. It's against the Constitution, but not against common sense. Hmmm......Wow. Gut is to follow the Consitiution

Trust your gut instead of Mike Savage mentality. You'll sleep better at night too. :)

Gump
June 8, 2004, 03:04 PM
Sean, Pretty certain they lost the contract about a year and a half ago.

Mr. Kook
June 8, 2004, 03:44 PM
Flagrantly unconstitutional.

I expect to see a supreme court case on this soon. If it is ruled that police can randomly stop people walking through a train terminal what's to say they can't randomly stop people walking down the street.

Once we allow searches of this sort we take the step down the road to a police state.

Last I checked there were still people in this country who valued personal privacy and freedom.

With regards to the comments about CCW in Boston and how they would handle that. Remember, gun owners aren't the only ones who have something to hide and may be carrying something that though legal could be embarrassing.

The ACLU will have a fit over this when someone's personal possessions are spilled on the floor of a train station for all the world to see and that someone just happens to be returning from an adult bookstore carefully concealing their purchases from the prying eyes of their fellow commuters.

Gump
June 8, 2004, 03:58 PM
The right to keep an bear arms.......and marital aides:D

shermacman
June 8, 2004, 04:07 PM
Mr. Kook is absolutely right. Sadly, this police state intrusion will only be challenged when the cops search the luggage of two trans-gendered, homosexual men who are dressed up as women on their way to a sex change operation to be followed up with a gay marriage ceremony with a vegan voodoo cult priestess in the hospital recovery room.
Their rights will have been violated!
Then there will be an outcry of support from the sheeple!:evil:

Mr. Kook
June 8, 2004, 04:15 PM
guns, marital aides... now that I put more thought into it it goes even deeper.

A person with HIV/AIDS carrying their medicine home.

A man with a piece of jewelry for his spouse, after being searched by the police causing his possession of the expensive gift to the public is robbed and possibly injured or killed.

In the presence of his/her coworkers a person is detained by the police. They make an assumption, rumors spread, and suddenly the detained person is without a job.

A person posing as a police officer under the guise of a random search detains a woman for a search (which she would acquiesce to believing it was the law), rapes and murders her.

A person is detained for a search enroute to a job interview, shows up late and is promptly turned down.

A search reveals a person has a large amount of cash on them. The person is later robbed.

These are just concerns based on honest policeman doing the job as it is written. If corrupt cops wind up doing the searches things would get a lot worse.

jfh
June 8, 2004, 04:18 PM
has just been moved up from "low" to "simmer." At simmer, the pot is just full enough so that the water will eventually boil--but will the frogs notice the very-slowly-increasing temperature? It's also a bit like adding 1% sawdust to the sausage stuffings--nobody notices--but when do they/will they notice: when the sawdust is up to 5%? 10%...?

If the BOR is a set of absolutes, then we have, in the course of building case law for two-hundred-plus years, modified it to make it 'work better.'


We need to make a concerted effort against fearmongering, of all sorts--whether it's the blissninnies just wanting their life to go on unchanged, Ted and JK wanting us to be safe from ourselves, or the commuters wanting security and privacy.

I don't have an answer, personally--but I suspect that if there were less people afraid of 'unknown', we could be a safer place without forgoing so many personal liberties.

PUMC_TomG
June 8, 2004, 04:21 PM
Wow - I just saw this on CNN and hopped on THR to see what the consensus was... not as if I needed any hints.

I figured most people would be as outraged as I was.... First it is nail cllippers on airplanes, next it is passengers on public transit...

What's next? Random pullover-searches of vehicles on public roads??? :cuss:

This is becoming absolutely ridiculous! When are people going to realize that these "inconveniences" for their "safety" are nothing more than almost irreversible restrictions on their liberty? :banghead:

Granted - this is happening in Boston... it's like **********'s east coast branch... My family from Boston is, in the words of my "democratic" mom, "to the left of Mao." I can't say I disagree...


I wonder what I should do next time in Boston? Should I take the train and hope I get searched so as to inconvenience the process as much as possible???

Or should I not ride the T at all....

Ex-MA Hole
June 8, 2004, 04:29 PM
For the sake of arguement-

Let's say (please don't ban me for this, I just asking, as I'm not sure how I feel, and I am not racist) a group of Arab men are walking around with large bags. Do we detain them? Or not? Since the major terrorist crimes are committed by people that fit this description, what do we do? According to what I'm reading (or maybe how I'm interpreting it), we can't do anything, as it's against the Constitution. We need to wait for them to do something "questionable", for lack of a better word. Will it then be too late? Are we better off being "Proactive". Where do we draw the line?

I'm being honest- I'm on the fence, just as I was this morning when I posted. If you want to flame, go ahead. I'm looking for ADULT imput.

R.H. Lee
June 8, 2004, 04:33 PM
Let's say (please don't ban me for this, I just asking, as I'm not sure how I feel, and I am not racist) a group of Arab men are walking around with large bags. Do we detain them? Or not?

No, under current anti profiling policies. Of course, they could be detained and searched in a "random" check, provided the requisite number of Irish nuns and old Jewish ladies had also been searched.:rolleyes:

TimRB
June 8, 2004, 04:34 PM
In California they used to do "random" vehicle safety inspections but stopped when a court challenge was upheld. It would seem that the police must stop everybody or nobody. That is, I presume, why the airport searches are allowed; *everybody* who wants to fly is searched, at least to some extent.

Tim

Ex-MA Hole
June 8, 2004, 04:36 PM
they could be detained and searched in a "random" check

But, is this "Random" search legal? Right? Smart? That is what I am trying to decide.

El Tejon
June 8, 2004, 04:36 PM
Headed out there in a couple of weeks riding the T a lot to skul. We'll see how it goes.

Having been to Boston a few times, I'm sure it would be hard for BPD to have a cop that could catch me.:D

Gump
June 8, 2004, 04:38 PM
What school?

flatrock
June 8, 2004, 05:00 PM
Let's say (please don't ban me for this, I just asking, as I'm not sure how I feel, and I am not racist) a group of Arab men are walking around with large bags. Do we detain them? Or not? Since the major terrorist crimes are committed by people that fit this description, what do we do?

That doesn't seem like enough to justify probabal cause. If they are acting suspicious, and the bags our noticably out of place for some reason, then there might be probable cause to search them.

Sean Cloherty
June 8, 2004, 05:26 PM
GUMP:

I think you might be mistaken with the near bankruptcy a year ago.

The conductors and the rails are AMTRAK - says so on the maint. trucks, the conductor uniforms, etc.

Gump
June 8, 2004, 05:34 PM
http://www.mbcr.net/


Mass Bay Commuter Rail Company took over the CR services last summer. That is probably why none of the trains have gone flying off into the Atlantic Ocean:D

Standing Wolf
June 8, 2004, 07:13 PM
Carter said MBTA has not announced the new policy formally because officials still are working out the details on how to balance security and privacy concerns.

Privacy concerns in leftist extremist Taxachussets? That's a good one! Tell me another joke, please.

geekWithA.45
June 8, 2004, 07:20 PM
The "random" thing is a read herring, an operational ploy designed to interact with judicial doctrines foriegn to the Constitution.

They want people to buy into the notion that "as long as it's random, (ie, not targeted at minorities of any persuasion) it's OK".

IT IS NOT :cuss:ing OK.

The 4th amendment doesn't have a random clause, it has a search warrant supported by oath or affirmation clause. It has a reasonable clause, which means it's reasonable to search the bags of the guy who lights up the geiger counter.

This is one of those things were people have to politely, and firmly resist en-masse by refusing permission to search, so as to rule out the possibility of it being ruled a "consent" search. If the people ACCEPT this, they will CEDE yet another big chunk of terroritoy to the statists.


I think Boston just created another big flashpoint.


Everybody, all together, as one voice:

"Officer, I OBJECT. You may NOT search my bags or my person. There is no presence of reasonableness nor a search warrant supported by oath or affidavit. You are hereby given constructive notice that according the the USC chapter 18, the violation of civil rights under the color of law is a felony, and having given you this notice, you may be held personally and directly liable to criminal and civil charges."

Vermonter
June 8, 2004, 07:42 PM
Disgusting.

As far as VT real estate prices go - they're ridiculously high, thanks to the greenies creating regulations that dramtically slow or stop any new buildings, combined will all the flatlanders moving here.

AZLibertarian
June 8, 2004, 11:56 PM
Why am I not surprised that they're starting to boil the frog in Ted Kennedy's home state?

Yeah, its unconstitutional. But I am not so certain that a court will throw it out before a train attack, and I'm damned near certain, that after a successful train attack on our soil, it will be a rare court who won't roll over and permit this infringement.

I guess I'm a little cynical tonight. Maybe I'll go join the wife in front of her reality TV.

Art Eatman
June 9, 2004, 09:16 AM
AZL, a hypothet: The LEOs catch a terrorist. In the course of interrogation, he states that his group had planned to blow up a train but the security measures made them decide to try elsewhere.

Now, I don't really know about the constitutionality or lack thereof for the Boston searches. To some extent, it seems like a situation of, "If you want to use this facility, these are the rules. If you don't like them, find another game."

Questions: Is there any duty on the part of government to protect anybody from anything? If not, how is there justification for any government at all? If there is such a duty, what are the limits? In a democratic system, does not the majority decide?

Sorta separately, I don't see anything in our Constitutional system that's really prepared to deal with Bad Guys whose criterion of "enemy" is "not us" and are willing to die killing enemies.

With my usual "Damfino",

Art

Baba Louie
June 9, 2004, 09:36 AM
Sorta separately, I don't see anything in our Constitutional system that's really prepared to deal with Bad Guys whose criterion of "enemy" is "not us" and are willing to die killing enemies. Art, what did the early Americans do when the natives were restless and acting up?

jamz
June 9, 2004, 10:58 AM
The T people are simply covering their a$$. They figure if an attack does happen, they will need to have been seen to "do something" rather than just "let it happen" in a case of "criminal negligence". (I bet you anything that this is what the general public would say).

I'm sure none of them want the hassle of randomly searching people. I would hope that they are actually hoping for it to go in front of the courts, be declared unconstitutional, and have to stop doing it. Then they would be covered, they tried to do something but were made to stop, and they woudn't have to do the work.

Their butts are covered. Optomism, I know. :p

That being said, I personally prefer freedom with risk than limited freedom with limited risk.

Plus, can you imagine a worse place to look for arabic looking people? With all the schools in teh Boston area, a huge percentage of people would be ripe for profiling. Simply huge.

-James

Don Gwinn
June 9, 2004, 11:22 AM
Art brings up a good point, because there are going to be a lot of people acting outraged about this in Boston, but the reason they'll get away with doing this is that not enough will take the one step that would truly make a difference--boycott the mass transit. They don't care that much.

Because of that, people can argue all they want that the restriction is unreasonable (and I believe it is) but the majority will have made it clear by their actions that it's acceptable to them.

You don't make a difference by complaining. You make a difference by doing. There will be very few actually doing anything about this.

Sleeping Dog
June 9, 2004, 01:43 PM
This search will be ok by me, as long as it's limited to searching the bags of little blue-haired old ladies, and soldiers on leave.

If they search any bearded arab guys, that would be racial profiling and would cause much outrage in the democratic ranks. Unacceptable.

:rolleyes:

Regards.

Augustwest
June 9, 2004, 01:55 PM
"It's a gray area," said Caleb Charland, 23, a photographer from the city's Dorchester neighborhood. "I don't want people searching my bags, but if it increases safety, I understand."

Why don't we just cacoon Caleb in bubblewrap and feed him via IV from now on. That'll be safer still.

:fire:

spartacus2002
June 9, 2004, 06:33 PM
What's next? Random pullover-searches of vehicles on public roads???

This is becoming absolutely ridiculous! When are people going to realize that these "inconveniences" for their "safety" are nothing more than almost irreversible restrictions on their liberty?



you guys have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how many lawyers think "gee, if it's random, doesn't that make it ok?" I am constantly disappointed by how my legal brethren haven't the faintest clue about how this is all leading us to a police state.

(ok, well maybe you do have an idea, but I meant it as poetic license...)

I am constantly shocked at the "masters and peasants" attitude I see from the bureaucrats I work with. Order and discipline and the GWOT are the only things they care about.

Logistics
June 10, 2004, 05:46 PM
>>>leading us to a police state.<<<

Leading us??? You are kidding correct??? We are there if not already.

We are a nation of snitches and eavesdroppers......A nation of men (and women) of VERY little character that will do ANYTHING for the state to keep a little 'warm puddin' in their tummies even if it means violating lil ole ma and pa and every last bit of our constitution.

Does any of this truly suprise you???

Old Samuel Adams was right.......many many years ago........

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty"

Unto the police state we go.....for the children of course. Teddy Kennedy would have it no diffrently........


:barf: :barf: :barf:

Art Eatman
June 10, 2004, 06:11 PM
Baba Louie, ain't it really a helluva note when the natives think they're just as good as the intruders?

The problem arises in the definition of "acting up", which has led to a lot of dead bodies who weren't particularly doing much of anything at all beyond resenting being thrown off their hunting grounds, their source of food. Well, maybe making the mistake that they, themselves, were free.

One problem with the idea of "sanctity" and "original intent" as to our Constitution is that it started out mostly as a way of protection against abuse of state power--but only for land-owning white guys. Didn't do much for Indians, Negroes and Women.

You know how much I really hate it to have to point that out. :D:D:D

Hey, change one part, and don't we here talk about "slippery slope" and changes to other parts?

Art

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