I am here today to deplore the random, suspicionless bag searches currently being conducted on the DC metro system. Though two minutes is insufficient time to provide a thorough analysis of the relevant issues at bar, I highlight for this council the three principle basis of my consternation.
I. Metro Police’s Argument is Inherently Flawed
DC metro police argues that these measures are necessary for security. However, when asked for specific details about why they are necessary, they respond that specifics are impossible for reasons of security. This argument is logically fallacious both because it is an appeal to authority and because it is the quintessential definition of a circular argument. “It’s true because it’s true” is not logical reasoning.
II. Random, Suspicionless Bag Searches are Security Theater
The program is security theater because a person can conduct penetration testing without consequence. If a person with a bomb comes to a metro station without security, they can carry on without any problem. If security is present, the can simply decline the search and either try a different station or a different day. Or, they can detonate the bomb at the security check point, killing everyone who going through the station at that time.
The entire basis for the program assumes that a person with a bomb will consent to a search, so evidence of their nefarious intent can be discovered. The essential premise of the metro police is palpably absurd.
III. Random, Suspicionless Bag Searches Represent a Permanent Violation of Liberty with no Benefit in Return.
When the New York program was instituted in 2005, the New York police made a similarly vague argument that it was all in the name of “security”. However, I have yet to hear announced on the news about how the random, suspicionless bag searches in New York has stopped terrorism. Yet, the program continues unabated. If this program goes into effect in DC, we should have no expectation that it will ever stop.
This quotation, is inscribed on a plaque in the stairwell of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Those words were spoken by Ben Franklin over 200 years ago, and they remains as true today.
This program represents another battle in the never ending war for liberty. The war for liberty has been a real, ongoing war for hundreds of years, and we should not allow the would-be doppelganger of the faux war on terrorism to obscure this struggle. Our national concept of liberty is in as much threat as any vague, undefended “threat” posed by terrorism.
I ask that the council will decide to end this invasive program. I thank the council for their time and attention to this matter.