Ever since the July 7 London bombings, the MTA began to conduct random bag searches on commuters as a safety measure against terrorism.
In its beginnings, the random searches helped to calm commuter paranoia. At a time like this, New Yorkers were too paranoid and scared to really think about their civil liberties. Safety was all that mattered.
But as months passed and fear subsided, these random bag checks became more of a hassle than a welcomed precaution. Many, including St John’s students, began to question the necessity of these random bag checks.
At St John’s, the majority of the students are commuters, many of which ride the subway. Many St. John’s students who regularly ride the subway have been subject to these random searches.
Junior Adrien Sanders stated that he has actually been checked 10 times on the subway since the bag checks began. “I feel that the bag checks are racially motivated,” Sanders said. “I do not think they are necessary. No one has been caught yet. I truly believe that it is a waste of our money and resources.”
Senior Kumar Lall said that the subway searches are like looking for a ghost. “It is going to be counterproductive,” Lall said. “Yet, I do believe that it is a deterrent. But when dealing with terrorists, who knows.”
Should these bag searches continue?
These searches have been going on since July. Has anyone been caught? No.
There have been many false alarms from a few paranoid people who have seen a stranded brown paper bag, but this is New York City. Brown paper bags float everywhere.
This strategy has outlasted its welcome. Yes, the bag searches are a deterrent in the sense that terrorists are less likely to use the subways.
The reality here is that this is the world we live in- a world where you get searched everywhere you go. A world where our so called civil liberties have to be compromised for the greater good. It is a hassle, but it’s our reality.
Random searches are going to be around for awhile, so in the name of safety, let every citizen be the victim (and benefactor) of search and seizure.