Statement by Thomas Nephew at bag search press conference, 3/3/11

My friends have been polite.  I don’t need to be.  I’m just a citizen.  I will be blunt.

The random, suspicionless bag search program Chief Taborn and GM Sarles are conducting isn’t just unconstitutional — it’s stupid.  And it’s not just stupid — it’s stupid by definition.  The Fourth Amendment is not an inconvenience or a luxury to law enforcement — it is wisdom itself.  What unconstitutional program of picking a few people out at random for no reason — no. reason. — from tens of thousands of riders will ever, ever work?  Why would that ever be better than insisting on police having a reason to search a bag?

We want police work — not guess work.  We’re not against security — we’re against pretend security.  When police stop wasting their time with toys and make believe, we will be safer.

Yet as stupid as this program is, it’s worse to stand aside and ignore your duty to stop it.  A few weeks ago, I watched several new WMATA board members sworn in.  To my surprise, it turned out that they swear  an oath to the Constitution.  Yet a few weeks later, the very person who swore them in — and who considers himself a civil liberties supporter — declared that though he believed the bag searches were unconstitutional, he would not oppose them.  This was considered thoughtful and eloquent.

It was neither.  It was and is a dereliction of duty for the WMATA board of directors to let this program stand.  But if they will not end it, we must.

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5 Responses to Statement by Thomas Nephew at bag search press conference, 3/3/11

  1. Pingback: Bag search opposition press conference at WMATA building | Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition

  2. Burlyman78 says:

    Totally agree.

    “It was and is a dereliction of duty for the WMATA board of directors to let this program stand.  But if they will not end it, we must.”

    Like

  3. Lisa Simeone says:

    Thomas,

    Thank you for keeping us up to date on this. And thank you for calling a spade a spade.

    I, too, have tried, repeatedly, to raise the alarm about this, and about the other boneheaded, abusive procedures being perpetrated on us by the DHS and TSA. And what I’m getting mostly, other than indifference, is anger. Shoot the Messenger — it’s a time-honored practice.

    I, too, am sick of being reasonable to unreasonable people. The evidence is abundant — no, it’s overwhelming: these so-called security procedures are a farce, are a sham. They do nothing to protect us. They do everything to try to control and subdue us. And people who aren’t willing to stand up to them barely merit the name “citizen.”

    In a democracy, people get the government they deserve.

    Like

  4. Thanks, both of you! A few things everyone can do:

    1) Tweet this post: See the Share this:” button with the blue cross on it? Click that, tweet this using your Twitter account. Replace WMATA with #WMATA, “Bag Search” with #BagSearch.
    2) Sign the ACLU-NCA petition
    3) Like our coalition Facebook pages:
    Stop Random Bag Searches on Metro
    Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition
    4) Subscribe to our announcement-only and discussion listservs.
    5) Click the “Notify me of site updates” check box below the “Post Comment” button to get an email message whenever we add a blog post here.

    Like

  5. Pingback: WMATA: come clean about bag searches, comply with MCCRC records request | Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition

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