Thursday, August 10, 2006

How safe are we on BART?

A bit of a more serious thought today. Since news of the liquid gel explosive broke, I've been doing a lot of thinking and questioning.

The BART Police were doing random train walk-throughs today with bomb sniffing dogs, causing the trains to pause for at least 3-5 minutes. I was glad to hear that and didn't mind the delay, but is that enough to protect everyone should there be a plot to attack the system? And why does it always take a scare to get everyone (internationally, not just here) back to the level of awareness that we should constantly have? Are we being too reactive? Do we need more "events" to realize terrorism is not a traditional enemy? (**Please, this is not meant to stir a political debate at all. These are just some thoughts and questions that came to mind**)

BART passengers see signs around the station and trains asking us to stay alert and watch out for suspicious packages, but can we count on self-enforcement to keep us from danger? What exactly makes a bag suspicious? What if the source of harm is not actually left unattended but being carried onto the train by a paying passenger?

I'm not sure how much more BART can do to protect passengers. They could install detectors at the entrance, but can they detect explosives? Don't think so. Or, BART Police (with trained canines) can stand by the entrance to randomly inspect passengers, but that could lead to a whole new debate about privacy infringement and racial profiling in this politically charged SF Bay Area.

I don't expect there to be any new initiatives to protect BART passengers beyond what is already being done because the politics make everything reactive around here.

I am not fearful on BART and have not felt unsafe as a passneger (well, not due to terrorism at least, but have definitely felt unsafe due to homeless and drunks). These are just some thoughts on my mind.

4 comments:

ConcordCommuter said...

I for one feel perfectly safe on BART, considering that the risk of being the victim of a terrorist attack on BART is statistically so much lower than the risk of so many other potentially deadly happenings (such as getting into a car accident driving to BART, having a heart attack, etc). I refuse to live my life in fear.

Our way of life has already been compromised in so many ways because of fear of crime/terrorism/etc, and nearly all of this fear is irrational.

Of course I keep my eye out for shady and/or suspicious characters on BART, unattended bags, etc.. I think that is just common sense.

Anonymous said...

Simple things keep us safe..

You see something that your gut tells you is just not right, report it.

If you see something that looks like it was hidden on purpose, or something thats not typical for that location. Report it.

Introduce yourself or just say hello to the person next to you on the train, does quite a bit to help.

David MR said...

It's all a facade.

They delay the trains a few minutes so the dog can check it out. But it's not every train.

They use see-through trash cans yet you could put a device in a brown paper bag and effectively defeat the purpose of a see-through trash can.

They close the underground restrooms in the name of security. How does that help keep BART secure?

Anonymous said...

Closing BART UNDERGROUND TOILETS IS TOTALLY UNNECESSARY AND IRRATIONAL. I TAKE MEDICATION AND NATURE'S CALL FOR ME IS ABOUT EVERY HOUR, AND FINDING AN UNDERGROUND LOCKED UP TOILET IS A PUNISHING THING FOR ME.