But Metro’s announcement of random bag searches definitely got my attention. There has to be more going on than what we've been told.
I typically don't mind searches, as long as they're not onerous or silly. Airports can run me and mine through as many machines as they could ever want. In Bogota, I would be searched an average of five times before I could board a plane (and that's with a diplomatic passport). A man with an Uzi would root through my handbag every time I went shopping at Andino Mall, and men were patted down before we could enter a club. But that’s just part of life in a country that’s been at war for generations.
But America isn’t Colombia. And this bag search policy is laughably ineffective. You can refuse to be searched, leave, and walk the two blocks to a different entrance. The random search policy is all for show, and the show itself is going to cause rubbernecking, anxiety, and delays.
And I haven’t even gotten to the real meat of it: random searches are an affront to who we are, our Constitution, and our culture. If I’m just trying to get to work, what law have I broken? Why are my movements being restricted? Where’s the probable cause? I refuse to play a role in the dissolution of my right, as a citizen, to go wherever the hell I want for whatever reason I see fit. Moreover, I refuse to turn the most ordinary part of my day, my ride to work, into a security theater freakshow.
I understand that terrorism is a very real risk. I've lived in Washington for long enough, and read enough newspapers, to be highly aware of that fact. But that's the risk we run as members of a free society. I'd rather take that one-in-a-million-billion-whatever chance of getting blown to bits than the sure odds of seeing my normal, workaday life irrevocably altered by the infringements of a police state.
So what will I do if I get pulled aside for searching? Simple. Politely refuse, hand over a printout of the Fourth Amendment, and leave. I can always walk, use another station, or take a cab. Inconvenience is a small price to pay for freedom, and I'll put in my buck-oh-five.
For those of you who don’t remember Civics class, I've included a copy of the Fourth Amendment. Print it, carry it, hand it over to the Metro goons, and walk the extra blocks. It’s good for the body, and even better for the soul.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
What will YOU do if you get pulled aside for a search?