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The Weekend Desk Report

By Steve Rhodes / Posted on October 25, 2014

"The newest Chicago Police counterterrorism effort will involve assigning officers to high-traffic CTA train stations to randomly check riders' bags for explosives," the Sun-Times reports.

"Starting the week of Nov. 3, officers will ask 'randomly selected' individuals if they are willing to have their bags screened before they pay to enter a station, police said in a statement Friday. If someone declines the screening, they will not be allowed to ride the train."

First, by "randomly selected," officials mean profiled. After all, officers will be deciding on their own who looks "suspicious" and pulling them aside, right? Selection will be anything but random.

Second, if you refuse to "willingly" allow such a screening, you won't be allowed to ride the train. So now allowing such screenings, which might otherwise be described as "searches," are a condition of using public transportation.

Third, there is no reason to believe this is anything but a waste of time, energy and money.

"While there are no credible threats to Chicago or to the region's public transportation facilities, Chicago is taking this step, as other major cities in the United States and around the world have already done, to ensure the safety of residents and passengers," police chief Garry McCarthy said in a statement.

The statement wasn't available to answer questions, but one that comes to mind is this: Why take this step if there are no credible threats?

Another is this: Why stop there? Why not "random" baggage checks along, say, Michigan Avenue or at Navy Pier or the Willis Tower observatory deck?

("Random" checks already take place in their own fashion in our city's poorest districts.)

Also, if I refuse to submit to a check, am I permanently banned from the whole of the CTA, or just the trains, or just that train right then and there? In other words, what's to prevent me from boarding the train with an unswabbed bag at a different station or taking a bus?

See what I mean? It's ridiculous. Part of me wonders if this isn't just a scare tactic - after all, they're only starting at one station (a leisurely pace which also tells me they aren't all that worried about CTA bombers), like when police departments announce increased DUI patrols that are often meant to scare drivers into carefulness and often don't actually come with increased patrols.

Still, we don't really know what the CPD has in mind. We just know it's a further encroachment on our civil liberties. I, forone, don't want the CPD "randomly" swabbing and rummaging through my stuff or anyone else's. That's the definition of a police state. Chicago is already the most surveilled city in the world, and now we know that, thanks to the NSA, America is the most surveilled country in the world. When do we start standing for freedom again?

Score another one for the terrorists, who continue to enjoy watching us destroy ourselves from within.

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Programming Notes

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #29 is in production! ETA: late Saturday afternoon/early evening. I'll pick up from where I left off last week about the twin and tied Sun-Times campaign controversies.

* The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #23: It's All Cutler's Fault.

You can't keep going back to him thinking he's gonna change, honey. And no, you can't fix him. It's time to move on.

Plus: Dennis Rodman Was Drunk All The Time; Worst World Series Ever; Joakim Knee-Ah; Taking The Blackhawks For Granted; Little Big Ten; and Cubs Prepare To Block Their Own Views.

* The Week In Chicago Rock.

Featuring: Eddie and the Hot Rods, B-Real, King Diamond, Sha'Miracle, Gone Hawking, The White Buffalo, Anberlin, and Makaya McCraven.

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Petitioning Ferro
Jim Kirk has a lot to answer for too. He's both the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sun-Times. (Has he made the proper arrangements to wall himself off from conflicts of interest with himself?)

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The Sound Opinions Weekend Listening Report: "Jim and Greg celebrate Halloween by dabbling in the dark arts with Peter Bebergal, author of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll. Later they review a new release from Fleetwood Mac enchantress Stevie Nicks."

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The CAN TV Weekend Viewing Report: 3rd Annual Walk Against Domestic Violence.

"Women and activists share stories of domestic violence, honor survivors and encourage victims to seek help at this event hosted by Stand Up & Speak Out."

Sunday at 12:30 p.m. on CAN TV21.

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TweetWood

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The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Bar none.

Permalink


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Paul Lynde vs. Halloween.
POLITICS - Beachwood Radio: The Sun-Times Is A Hot Mess.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: It's All Cutler's Fault.

BOOKS - The Onion vs. Gone Girl.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Skully Bungalow.


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