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A little less than a happy high
The view from here
So far, it seems that the hype over the DNC has been a great deal of sound and fury signifying nothing. The commute is actually lighter than normal, likely because so many people got scared into taking vacations or radically altering their schedules. A third of our staff is out, and fully half of those who stayed have switched to a 6-2 workday. The biggest problems seem to be for folks who usually come through North Station and those who ride the Orange Line (more on that soon.)

"Random" bag searches don’t appear to be happening. There are heavily armed T Police (and the occasional National Guard MP) at key points on the Red Line, but they seem to be largely content with standing around gabbing. True to expectations, their distribution is not terribly consistent. While there are guards stationed on each level at Park Street, there’s no one at Boylston, all of 1/4 mile away. Basically, if you did get turned away at Park, you could walk a block and then wave at the guards from your seat on the train.

This is not to say that bag searches aren't happening, though. Orange Line trains are being stopped and everyone’s bag is being searched. The Orange Line is the "ghetto" train, so I guess it's not that surprising that they’d be looking for malcontents there. The key thing here is that they’re not being searched as they board, so again, while the Convention itself is being protected, there's nothing preventing determined individuals from blowing up trains full of commuters. The only bag searches on the Red Line that I've heard about have involved sketchy hippie-looking types with duffles, a practice which really looks more like harassment than the random searches promised.

For the record, I'm really not liking the overwhelming presence of various flavors of security. It's actively creeped me out at a couple of points, most notably on Monday when I was passed on the Commons by a fleet of slow moving motorcycle cops, and yesterday when cadre of identical black SUVs with Maryland plates drove quickly down Washington Street. I've learned that while mounted police from Providence appear to have no problem whatsoever with having their pictures taken, the T Police and the National Guard MPs are significantly less amenable. Yesterday, both groups used passive intimidation tactics (such as having one of their number walking purposefully in your direction, or shifting positions so the back of a head always seemed to be filling your frame) to get photographers to move on. Nothing explicit was said, but it was clear we were not welcome.

Final words for today? I didn’t score a pass into the DNC, so Jesse Jackson didn’t step on my foot. The MBTA still hasn’t gotten back to me about my photo permit, and at some point yesterday, I lost my NLG "No Search" button.
15 comments or Leave a comment
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komos From: komos Date: July 28th, 2004 09:19 am (UTC) (Link)
That's just the thing... there's simply no way to secure against every contingency. I have serious problems with the powers that be telling us that all of this is to keep us safe, when really it has nothing at all to do with our safety. It's the duct tape/plastic sheeting thing all over again.

If you are taking extraordinary measures to protect the people who may be able to engineer getting the reckless frat boy who's pretending to be a world leader out of office, then tell me so. Do not tell me that it's for my benefit. I'm smart enough to know the difference.
(Deleted comment)
komos From: komos Date: July 28th, 2004 09:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, it's because I'm a freedom-hating liberal I hate America I'm not a dumbass.
(Deleted comment)
komos From: komos Date: July 28th, 2004 10:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Or at least a user icon.
(Deleted comment)
_meej_ From: _meej_ Date: July 29th, 2004 02:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

What, this on a T-Shirt?


Hope it comes out well...
thedeadfisharmy From: thedeadfisharmy Date: July 28th, 2004 08:25 am (UTC) (Link)
It really looks like a police state up here, not only becuase I'm an Orange-liner, but because of all these damned metal barriers going up along the streets, and the stupid concrete barriers so we can only cross the stree between traffic islands. I can't even enter through the front door of my building.

I wonder, though, what they know because they didn't search bags until the commute home last night, and they did it again this morning.

Around here, it seems like everyone has decided from two days of no problems was enough of a test and they're trying to get to work today. It looks almost like a real commute. That is, of course, until you get close to the Fleet center. It's still basically a ghost town around, and you see all these people with badges and you want to throttle them for being somewhat responsible for not being able to use doors or cross streets.
komos From: komos Date: July 28th, 2004 09:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I haven't yet been to that part of town, though I may try to soon. How close can you get without getting turned away?
thedeadfisharmy From: thedeadfisharmy Date: July 28th, 2004 09:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, I haven't tried yet, though I keep meaning to. The two barricades I walk past are at the head of Causeway and the end of... okay, well, not even yahoo maps has the street labelled, but it runs between Causeway and Merrimack.
grashupfer From: grashupfer Date: July 28th, 2004 08:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I wonder which hand of the MPs would be easier to steal from... the one holding the machine gun or the one holding the Dunkin Donuts coffee...
komos From: komos Date: July 28th, 2004 09:07 am (UTC) (Link)
That's a tough call. It really depends on which item is considered more mission critical.
wildflowersoul From: wildflowersoul Date: July 28th, 2004 09:57 am (UTC) (Link)
There are men with very large machine guns and not-friendly puppies stationed next door to my work. Fun times walking to get lunch.
komos From: komos Date: July 28th, 2004 10:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, but you could totally play the ingenue and get them to give you stuff like pepper spray and secret plans. ;)
wildflowersoul From: wildflowersoul Date: July 28th, 2004 10:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooh, I do like secret plans!
komos From: komos Date: July 28th, 2004 11:01 am (UTC) (Link)
And who doesn't? I mean, seriously...
wisdom_seeker From: wisdom_seeker Date: July 28th, 2004 10:58 am (UTC) (Link)
That reminds me of my trip to France in High School. We were at Mont-St-Michel when paratroopers came in on a practice run. One of my friends spent an hour+ trying to convince one to give her his beret. She failed, but it was certainly fun to watch :-)
komos From: komos Date: July 28th, 2004 11:02 am (UTC) (Link)
See, if she had asked for secret plans, she would have been all set. It's just too hard to explain part of your uniform being missing.
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