A couple of days ago, the New York Police Department started conducting random searches of people entering the subway. With the bombings in London, it was quite understandable that the authorities would start employing new ways and means to counteract terrorist attempts to sow terror in the big apple once again. Not everyone is being searched, though, perhaps owing to the traffic of people going into the various subway stations of New York. There is also the matter of controlling the ingress and egress of people, being searched or not, from the turnstiles.
As someone who lived in Manila until June 2000, I’m used to entering buildings with my bags being checked. It had become such part and parcel of our everyday lives that we’ve come to expect it, opening our bags as we enter malls, hotels, and other public places. So when I saw them starting to implement a similar security measure here, I welcomed it as it made me feel more secure. After all, as a regular commuter on the subway, I think about something untoward happening in the subway at least once during the days when I take the 7 train to and from work.
There has been some public outcry against the searches because of the aversion to profiling here, but to aver that there is no profiling taking place would be a lie since not all bags are being searched. And in the war on terrorism, we cannot help but target specific ethnicities — more so when we come to the subject matter of suicide bombers. Profiling has been a very big issue here in New York. There was an outcry against the profiling of African Americans who were singled out in random searches. After 9/11, Middle Easterners were singled out and the main protest against the random searches is the possibility of more profiling.
Yet when you look at the nature of the threat, you cannot help but be inclined to indulge in some profiling of people you would suspect of being possible perpetrators if a threat were carried out. My response to this new move of the police here in New York is simple — it’s long overdue and much needed during this day and time when bombs are exploding in the UK, and the threats continue unabated.
So go search me!