My name is Christopher Der and I am a Metro rider from Alexandria, Virginia. I enjoy using the Metro system, but the recent decision to implement random bag searches sets a bad precedence for safety measures. They lack effectiveness, constitute an extremely poor use of resources, and foster a sense of mistrust and unnecessary fear mongering.
The random bag search process constitutes nothing more than useless security theatrics. If someone is denied entry because they refuse to have their bag searched, this person could simply return later and re-enter the system without being searched. The same person could also turn around and use another entrance or station without bag searches.
The money and manpower dedicated to random bag searches should be dedicated to more effective tactics. Metro Police should focus more of its resources on defeating acts of terrorism in its early stages. Trying to halt an act of terrorism through random bag searches is in essence trying to stop the act very late in the process. Keeping Metro platforms and parking lots safe through the ample and highly visible presence of officers would make me and many other riders feel safer than random bag searches that can easily be beaten.
Finally, random bag searches trigger the worst social responses that a strong-willed and resilient city should display: a false sense of security, unnecessary fear mongering and a big brother mentality. These bag searches are easily defeated, and it is unreasonable to expect the riders to feel safer as a result. I know I don’t. These searches also send a message of fear and distrust. Humans by nature feel anxious and concerned when ineffective safety measures impede their natural routines in life. Yes, the world has changed in the last decade, but we should not live our lives wrapped in fear and suspicion of our fellow neighbors. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to combat acts of terrorism through early investigative processes before the plans have a chance to mature. Random bag searches have no place in this system, and should be removed immediately. Thank you.