A Question About Bus,Plane, Train Searches etc....


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cslinger
July 12, 2004, 10:19 AM
We all tend to get a little miffed about these things and I am no exception but I have an observation or question.

If the bus company, airline or train company decide they wish to have certain rules before you can use their products isn't that just like me saying I don't want you in my house or car if you smoke, are drunk, are carrying a gun........? It is my property and I have a right to restrict or bar as I please. So in theory shouldn't the above have the same rights even if they are on a bit of a larger scale?

Again I am really asking a question or looking for insight I am not saying I fall on one side or the other I just got to thinking about this and I don't know if I really can argue with them because by God if I decide I want to search your luggage before you come into my house then I should be able to do so or bar you entry.......not that I would do this unless you had some really good stuff. :D

Please don't flame me as I am really looking for people to debate this or show me the error of my ways.

Now random searches of my car, house etc. are another story but like I said as soon as I use or enter another's property I abide by their rules and if I cannot do so I don't enter their property.

Chris

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triggertime
July 12, 2004, 11:35 AM
As I see it, people have a right to their privacy regardless whether they are on public or private property.

Simply assuming that you have the right to search someone, who is not guilty or suspected of any wrong doing, just for the sake of searching them and peaking your curiousity, is wrong.

In this country, people are innocent until proven guilty. So until you have reason to search them, leave them alone. Their privacy is none of your business, period.

Lone_Gunman
July 12, 2004, 11:52 AM
It is their property, and as far as I am concerned they can thus make the rules.

If I don't like it, I don't have to use their product.

People have a right to privacy. That right is just voluntarily surrendered as a condition to use the service.

So no ones rights are violated. The whole thing is voluntary.

Ransom
July 12, 2004, 11:59 AM
As I see it, people have a right to their privacy regardless whether they are on public or private property.

Simply assuming that you have the right to search someone, who is not guilty or suspected of any wrong doing, just for the sake of searching them and peaking your curiousity, is wrong.

In this country, people are innocent until proven guilty. So until you have reason to search them, leave them alone. Their privacy is none of your business, period.

If you wanted to enter my house and I have every right to ask to look in your bag. Property owners can set whatever rules they wish on private property. You arent being forced to stay in my home.

The same with airlines. They can ask to search your bag and if you dont like it you can fly another airline.

Lone_Gunman
July 12, 2004, 12:05 PM
They can ask to search your bag and if you dont like it you can fly another airline.

Well you can't do that because all the airlines will want to search your bag. You can drive, walk, bicycle, or whatever.

Pilgrim
July 12, 2004, 12:07 PM
If the bus company, airline or train company decide they wish to have certain rules before you can use their products isn't that just like me saying I don't want you in my house or car if you smoke, are drunk, are carrying a gun........? It is my property and I have a right to restrict or bar as I please. So in theory shouldn't the above have the same rights even if they are on a bit of a larger scale?

The power to search passengers' luggage and persons for airline travel has pretty much been established by federal legislation and FAA regulation. What is disturbing is that searches of train and bus passengers has been accepted as derived from airline search procedures without any public debate or legislation.

If the train or bus company wants to see what is in their passengers' luggage, they certainly can do so under their ability to provide service or refuse service to customers who refuse to cooperate. My big problem is the train or bus company is not doing the searches, they are inviting the police in to do the searches for them.

There is established case law that a landlord or innkeeper cannot grant police access and permission to search a tenant's or guest's room and luggage. There is also established case law that the police cannot go through a boarded bus and ask to search passenger's luggage unless the police can show that the consent was truly voluntary. How is it that a bus or train operator can invite the police to rifle through their customers' belongings?

For those who argue in favor of these searches as a logical extension of airline searches, I ask just what is the relative danger of a hijacked train or bus compared to an airliner? A hijacked train or bus is much more easily controlled than an airliner. The train can be shunted onto a siding. A bus can be easily disabled by an armor piercing projectile to the engine compartment. There is no concern of where the train or bus will end up if disabled compared to what happens to the hijacked airliner shot down by an AIM-9 Sidewinder over Washington, D.C. or New York City.

As for the safety of the passengers, we have already accepted that the passengers of a hijacked airliner are expendable when faced with that aircraft being crashed into a building or community of great importance. If we accept the fact that the passengers of a hijacked train or bus are dead anyway, then we can deal with their hijacking in a rational and sensible manner. If they can be rescued, then that is a plus.

My belief is that if the public becomes accustomed to being searched and their belongings examined in all means of public conveyance, it is just a matter of time before we will be subjected to roadblocks and random searches on the sidewalk.

Pilgrim

Ransom
July 12, 2004, 12:08 PM
Well you can't do that because all the airlines will want to search your bag. You can drive, walk, bicycle, or whatever.

Nonsense. Just go to your local airport and find the shady looking guy in the airport bar and slip him a fifty and he'll fly you in his single engine anywhere you want. But you have to stop in mexico first. Oh and I hope you arent real attached to one of your kidneys.

gunsmith
July 12, 2004, 01:15 PM
:rolleyes: :cool:

atk
July 12, 2004, 04:00 PM
cslinger,

You're mixing two separate issues together:

1. The rights of a property owner with access to their property
2. The powers of the government vs. the rights of the individual.



In the first one, yes, a private company can make whatever rules it wants for you to use their services. They have the right to controll access to their services. For example, a movie theatre may require all potential moviegoers to strip naked if they wish to enter. The individuals then have the right to refuse to use the services.


In the second case, the government is requiring individuals to undergo search. The fourth ammendment reads,


he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


So the question, here, is, "Is this search reasonable?". It is my understanding that for a search to be reasonable, there must be some solid reason for that search to take place. Blanket searches "because it might find something" are not reasonable. A search, based on some good, solid reason to suspect that a specific something exists is a valid reason for the government to engage in a search. Airport security is a blanket search, because it might find something. I do not believe this to be a reasonable search.

Perhaps one of our more legally knowledgable forum members can point out any case law that agrees or disagrees with this?

Sean Cloherty
July 13, 2004, 01:46 PM
Please note that most trains and busses that are in MA are not private, but public which makes the standard different.

Also, what is the fetish with the LEO leadership thinking that random searches are somehow legal and that searches based on articulable suspicions would not be? Kind of turns the 4th on its head. :fire:

Blackhawk 6
July 13, 2004, 01:51 PM
It seems to me that the condition the bus/train companies have established is that in order to use their service you must subject to a search by the police. As has been previously mentioned, if you do not wish to be searched seek an alternate mode of transportation.

atk
July 14, 2004, 12:34 AM
Blackhawk 6,

Perhaps it was due to you starting your post as Sean Cloherty finished his, but you must not have noticed: The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) is a governmental organization that runs most public transit in the boston area (including busses, subway, and trains). This is not a private organization, so I can't agree with your argument :)

--
atk

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