In all the years I lived in Boston and commuted to Government Center, an area next to city hall, an FBI building, and multiple tourist attractions, I was randomly stopped once by police so they could check my backpack for bomb-making residue. I’m not saying they should have checked me (or anyone else) more often but even as a casual observer, these random searches didn’t seem like a great deterrent for would-be bombers. Anyone trying to plot something could easily spot the folding table with uniformed officers standing behind it and turn around. The police weren’t there all day, every day.
I don’t have a better solution but that’s also not really my expertise.
Fast-forward to a recent Tuesday night in Manhattan. It was late and, despite being the “city that never sleeps,” there wasn’t very many people in the Herald Square subway station. A police officer walked up to me and, by his own body language, regretfully pulled me aside. “Sorry, we just need to check your bag,” he said.
I walked up to their examination table. “Oh yeah, this is the one,” the other police officer sarcastically remarked. I opened up my backpack and showed the officer my laptop, dirty yoga clothes, and sneakers. He sarcastically explained, “These sneakers, that’s where the bomb is!”
I was allowed to leave.
Two things came to mind as I carried on. First of all, the “Shoe Bomber” is a highly publicized thing that happened. He attempted to blow up his shoes on a place before the passengers stopped him. It’s why Americans still kind of, sometimes, have to take off their shoes before entering a terminal. Secondly, if police think this whole thing is a joke, then what does that say for even having these checks at all? Perhaps this was a ruse to see if I’d let it slip that I was secretly a terrorist but I doubt it. Earlier I mentioned the idea of walking up to a station, seeing the police and turning around. I want to believe that there are plain-clothes cops hanging outside subway stations that can spot people who turn around because of a police presence. That’s how I like to think stadium and concert security works, too. I guess that isn’t happening and it’s just a sham.
Today I tackled the question of:
“If you could only listen to the comedy albums of one stand-up, who would that be and why? Who make the cut of your top