Can I claim a pretty good forecasting record?
One week after the NYPD began random searches of subway (and commuter train) passengers' bags and backpacks, I predicted, among other things, that the searches will do nothing while drawing police away from other duties. I was right.
As part of my regular commute home, I took the subway shuttle from Times Square to Grand Central Terminal. Right at the turnstiles was a punk puffing away on a cigarette. It's unlikely that those few breaths of acrid tar-filled smoke will give me cancer, but it's a noxious odor that people shouldn't have to put up with in a public transportation terminal, and it's the law in New York State that you can't smoke in public places. (I won't get into too much detail, but I hold that restaurants and bars should be able to set their own smoking policies because they're "public places" but still privately owned.)
"Cop," I thought. "Never a blasted cop when you need one."
I headed for the MTA police kiosk not too far outside the subway entrance/exit doors. Before the random searches, there was always an MTA policeman there (and often a National Guardsman wielding an assault rifle). Ever since the MTA police and NYPD got tied up doing searches, I've yet to see anyone at the booth.
Even in the main part of Grand Central, I saw no police like there used to be. Usually a couple with a bomb-sniffing dog would hang around the escalators, but not today. Finally I spotted an MTA police officer at the tourist information window. She thanked me for alerting her to the smoker and sauntered off, but I doubt she got there in time.
Good job, Mayor Mike. The searches still can't protect New Yorkers from the threat, and while your police are busy ignoring innocent people's rights as specified in the Fourth Amendment, petty thugs can flaunt the anti-smoking law.
NYPD to commence random searches of bags and backpacks (original)
The failure of random searching (follow-up)
So I'm now a "socialist whore for terror" (follow-up)
It's about time (follow-up)