Friday, August 05, 2005

New Security Measures Apparently Not Everyone's Bag

Amtrak police (with bomb-sniffing dog in tow)
at New York's Penn Station

It has been barely two weeks since the newly instituted random bag searches for NYC subways riders and already a few civil liberties hackles have been raised, as was pretty much expected. And certainly, with policies such as this, and racial targeting an extremely tender topic that dates back to the infamous New Jersey Turnpike traffic pullovers in the 1990s for DWB, more commonly known as Driving While Black (yes, it WAS true—and yes, it DID happen), things will certainly continue to go a bit awry along the lines of ethnic "profiling." However, again regarding this new price we've all been unfortunately made to pay for living in the overall free society that we live in, the simplest recourse would be to adopt an "all bags searched" policy such as those at airports and state and federal court buildings, where everyone's belongings are subject to be searched--no matter who you are. Sound good? Okay. But that would undoubtedly also mean that we ALL would then have to roll our little keisters out of bed at least an hour earlier each morning to beat the inevitable morning backup of the "everybody gets their bag searched no matter who you are" rush to get to work.

Still sound good? No? Those extra few precious moments of sleep mean more to you, do they? Okay, then how about this: The safety measure of random bag checking presently in force here in NYC, which unfortunately targets only a few (but many times those of a wide range of skin colors because I've seen this for myself)--is ultimately for the safety of us ALL. Besides which, if you've nothing to hide anyway, what's the real problem with this, as opposed to running the risk of coming face to face in a crowded subway car with an exploding backpack or JC Penney's tote bag? A backpack or tote bag being carried by someone who *also* bitterly complained that his or her civil liberties were being infringed upon through this kind of a security rule. Clearly, to make things a bit easier--just individually picture yourself serving jury duty here in NY, and that should help, i.e, metal detector, bag search, in some cases even a pat-down, etc., etc. It happens everyday.

And would you believe just about a month or so ago, the polls were indicating that not enough was being done to protect the public against terrorism here in NYC? Wow.

Anyway, before I leave, I promised to mention fellow writer, Marianne Mancusi, author of the novel, A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur's Court. Unfortunately, Marianne just lost her house and all her possessions to a freak lightning strike. The blogging/writing community-at-large, is therefore gearing up to help her out.

You can donate books to Marianne's library (a writer's library is very vital) but even more importantly, a gift certificate to someplace like Target would be very much appreciated as well. Bearing in mind, of course, that she has lost EVERYTHING with her house completely burned to the ground. There's also an online auction going on to help raise some funds for her. So go to Literary Chicks to find out more. In addition, there will be critiques from industry professionals such as Chris Keesler, of the Deidre Knight Agency, Beth de Guzman, Stephanie Kip Rostan, Steve Axelrod, and more. Authors critiquing include Jennifer Crusie, Allison Rushby, Bev Katz Rosenbaum, Dianna Love Snell, Wendy Roberts, all three Literary Chicks and more. There are also loads of signed books, plus a tremendous basket full of books and goodies donated by up and coming Warner Forever author Kelley St. John. So do keep all of those good things coming on Marianne's behalf.

Well, it's August and summer's just about gone. Sadly (or not) I no longer have a bored child at home climbing the walls around this time of year, who I cannot wait for the school doors to open and suck him right back into the arms of primary academia. So all I'll say is enjoy what's left of the summer as much as you can--and especially your weekends. Make 'em safe, make 'em fun. Have a good one, all. Peace.

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