Friday, October 5, 2007

Searched on the T?

In keeping with the surveillance themes of the Pet Shop Boys and Integral, this morning I found myself being randomly searched on the T. Yes, you read that right - the T. Not a strip search, alas - the officers were kind of hot - but just the standard, low-level harassment of having my bag searched. I missed my train, yes - but it wasn't the inconvenience that bothered me; it was the sense of an interfering, malignant government once again making its presence known in my life and sewing a general level of fear in its subjects. "Has there been a recent terrorism incident on the T?" I asked the passive accomplices of this policy, but they said they had no idea. "Has there been any terrorism on the T, ever?" I continued. "Has there been 'back chatter' in Pakistan about the Blue Line?" I wondered, but didn't say aloud. Frankly, I was afraid to poke the officers too hard; I was well aware that we have no more civil liberties in this country and that at any time, for any reason, I could vanish down a rabbit hole into the security apparatus. They could only hand me a card which said, "See something? Say something," with a number attached.

Well, I had seen something, so I called the number. There was no answer. I tried again. Ditto. (In the meantime, of course, the escalator could have exploded.) On the third try, I got through, but the sweet-but-bored woman at the end of the line couldn't answer my complaint; when I explained to her that I wasn't citing my treatment by any specific officer, but wanted to complain about the entire policy, she was at something of a loss; who was at the top of the command chain? Finally she gave me the "general" number for the "See Something? Say Something" program, which, of course, ended in a recorded option tree ("Press 1 for Dick Cheney, etc."); I decided on "Complaints about MBTA Service." There was no answer there, either. No doubt they were out torturing some poor Iraqi.


  1. When people believe they don't dare object to a search because they might be carried away and never seen again, then Bush has won. The stated purpose of the search is to make the T unpredictable enough that terrorists will just give up -- as if a 1 in 2000 chance of being searched will dissuade someone who's willing to die to commit murder. The real purpose is to get us used to submitting passively to the government and accepting abuse as the norm.

  2. You're quite right. Bush AND the terrorists of won - they're essentially two sides of the same T token. (That is, if we still had T tokens.) But what can one do but count the days till the end of this administration (there are 453 to go, btw - that is, if we really do have an election in November)?