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Group Protests Random Bag Checks on the MBTA Saturday

A group called Defend the 4th stopped at Charles MGH Saturday afternoon en route to the State House to protest bag searches on the T.

A pro-4th Amendment coalition with roots in the Occupy movement staged a protest of random bag inspections at T platforms around the city this weekend.

Beginning at Harvard Square, South Station, Lechmere, Kenmore and Ruggles T stops, groups marched to the State House Saturday morning, stopping along the way at other T stops to spread pamphlets and address crowds. Read more about the protests here. 

Matthew February 04, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Mark, So you're saying that this is a black/Hispanic issue? Not a terrorism issue? What I'm taking away from your post is that we should be targeting blacks and hispanics with random searches...which I'm pretty sure is as about as racist as it gets. But this is what you support?
Ben Johnson February 04, 2013 at 06:32 PM
They're not randomly searching civilians, but searching riders of the MBTA (state governement run!) transit system. They're not frisking random people in the street. If you don't want to be searched don't ride the T! It's that simple...
Ben Johnson February 04, 2013 at 06:34 PM
They're not stopping and searching random people, but searching people riding state governemtn run transit. Don't want to be searched, don't ride the T.
Saul Blumenthal February 04, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Ben, the T is a *public* transit system. It belongs to you and I, the people of the Commonwealth. Just like the sidewalk you walk on and the street you drive down are *public* sidewalks and streets. What is the difference between going through a gate to board the T and going through a toll booth on the Pike? I take it then you'd have no problem with a cop pulling you over as you're driving down the street and taking a look in your back seat and trunk, running some swabs over your bags? I mean, if you don't like it, don't drive on the public streets. Right?
Saul Blumenthal February 04, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Ben, see my comment above. How is riding the T any different than walking or driving down a public road? Or do you own the street where you live?
Matthew February 04, 2013 at 06:49 PM
Ok, Ben. Then I support random traffic stops by police and full vehicle searches since you're driving on government run roads. No probable cause. Reason reason to stop and search you other than you're daring to use the roads YOUR TAX DOLLARS PAY FOR. Don't want to be searched, don't drive a car.
Matthew February 04, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Umm...what? I own a car, and I use the T. You make no sense. Absolutely none whatsoever. But, here I am trying ot reason with the guy who advocates targetting blacks and hispanics because "their children are criminals". Whatever that means.
Matthew February 04, 2013 at 07:01 PM
I think it's clear that those who believe that random searches on the T are unconstitutional are the rational, level head ones. After all, look at those who support it. Their reasoning is twisted: target blacks and hispanics, don't ride the T if you don't want to be searched (even though we all use government run roads, and being randomly stopped and searched on the road by a cop with no probable cause is illegal), and people who protest against random searches are protecting the rights of terrorists. Yeah, they're not crazy at all. Gotta love the right wing in this country.
Ben Johnson February 04, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Wrong Saul you don't buy a pass to board the sidewalk. You don't have to ride the T. The T doesn't belong to you and I; its a mass transit system much like Amtrak which is subsidized by the Govt. Going through a toll and boarding a train? Are you serious with that? They're's pretty much no similarity... If I was driving and a cop wanted to take a look in my trunk or glovebox I would have no problem with that; I have nothing to hide.
Ben Johnson February 04, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Matthew and Saul, I have an easy soultions for you guys... stop smoking grass or whatever you're trying to hide from the transit police. The "government" doesn't own roads either and they're not really paid for by you and I unless you're paying excise tax etc. for the most part. Also you don't have a "civil right" to drive or use the T. These are privileges. It's much different than walking down the street. Smarten up guys.
Matthew February 04, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Ben, You are a fascist. I work for a federal law enforcement agency and have been doing so for 12 years. Only a fascist, far right wing maniac uses the "if you have nothing to hide" reasoning to support their love of heavy handed, overreaching police tactics. The government absolutely owns the roads. Who is responsible for maintaining and repairing them? Exactly. Smarten up. We pay for the roads, the T, and yes, the sidewalks. And the fourth ammendment protects us from being detained or searched without probable cause. Do you know what I'm referring to? The constitution? You know, that sacred document the right wing is trying to subvert?
Ben Johnson February 04, 2013 at 08:31 PM
You don't have a "civil right" to drive or use the T. These are privileges. It's much different than walking down the street. Smarten up. If it's unconstitutional to be searched here is it also to be searched boarding a plane?
Matthew February 04, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Ben, You are ignorant. You having nothing to hide is not the point. The 4th ammendment (of the constitution, a document you've obviously never read) protects us from unreasonable search and seizure. So you let any old law enforcement official search your car. They tell you to sit on the curb and stay put. Meanwhile, Mr. Official is corrupt, and plants illegal contraband in your glove box. Have fun in prison contemplating the 4th ammendment and how it protects us.
Saul Blumenthal February 04, 2013 at 08:33 PM
>> If I was driving and a cop wanted to take a look in >> my trunk or glovebox I would have no problem with that A cop knocks on your door and asks whether he can come in to look around as part of an investigation of burglaries in your neighborhood. You would let him in, right, Ben? You just said you have nothing to hide, after all.
Rcari February 04, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Thank you for being out there. History has showed time and time again that goverments that start to limit the ability of the people to move freely, in the name of security, lead the country into a time of oppresion. Although, we in the US like to believe we are free as a people, we too easily allow our freedom to be taken away in the name of security. As Benjamin Franklin famously wrote: "He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither" - after leaving England where freedom of movement was restricted by random searches under order of the King - our founding fathers knew that security measures are only meant as intimidation and do little to provide security and created the Constitution and the 4th amendment to provide us with security in our own person. Let us as a nation stand up for our basic principals of freedom and let history guide us when times like these begin to blur the lines of security and freedom.
Ben Johnson February 04, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Matthew, You don't have a civil right to ride the train, or drive. These are privileges that can be taken away, completely different from a person just walking along the sidewalk being searched. Also you're certainly the "level-headed" one that takes to name calling... Grow up
Saul Blumenthal February 04, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Regarding airports: See US v. Davis (1973). It's the court case that carves out an exception to the Fourth Amendment to permit a limited search of plane passengers for weapons. But comparing airports to the T is silly. Mass transit systems are extensions of the streets and sidewalks, and in the case of buses and the Green Line, you board right from the street. There's no "sterile" area inside the T. These checkpoints exist for at most a few hours at one of the thousands of entrance-points onto the T. It would be like having a checkpoint at only one terminal of one airport for two hours a day, nationwide. Put away the Constitutional issues: These bag checkpoints on the T are a colossal misuse of money that serve no security purpose at all.
Ben Johnson February 04, 2013 at 08:46 PM
They're not randomly searching people on the street. If you don't want your bag searched, turn around and don't ride the train that day. Are they protesting the NSA at the airports too? Don't blame the Govt. blame al qaeda.
Saul Blumenthal February 04, 2013 at 08:58 PM
You're right, Ben. After the 15th time that Al Qaeda bombed a T train, it was finally time to do something. Silly me. Oh, wait. Al Qaeda has never attacked a subway train. So remind me again why we have those searches?
Matthew February 04, 2013 at 08:59 PM
Ben Johnson, To day you say, "If you don't want your bag searched, turn around and don't ride the train that day". Tomorow it's, "If you don't want your bag searched, turn around and don't use the sidewalk that day." Then one day it's, "If you don't want your bag searched, don't leave your house." Then finally, "If you don't want your bag searched...then tough sh--. We're coming in."
Matthew February 04, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Also, do some research on how the Nazis seized power after Hitler's appointment as Chancellor. They burned the Reichstag, blamed communists, and imposed overreaching, heavy handed policies to control the public. And you are advocating the exact same thing by dropping trying to scare people with the terrorism boogey man.
Ben Johnson February 04, 2013 at 09:03 PM
Matthew, Oh and I'm probably going to blow your mind right here, but i voted for Obama
Matthew February 04, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Hey, if the show fits. I'm just calling you what you are. Yes, a driver's license can be taken away. However, without probable cause you ucan not be searched. I'm right and you know it. But, considering the fact that you feel that privacy and individual freedom are myths, then you will refuse to see that I, along with those on the side of freedom, are right.
Saul Blumenthal February 04, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Obama has been no friend to the 4th Amendment. You may recall that in his State of the Union two years ago he joked about airport pat-downs.
Ben Johnson February 04, 2013 at 09:08 PM
Matthew, Comparing having your bag searched when boarding a train to Natzi, Germany... Wow! Trains have been targets of Terrorism, take a look at London a few years ago
Saul Blumenthal February 04, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Ben, do you know where else has been a target of terrorists around the world? Restaurants Department stores Theaters Schools Malls Hotels Clearly we need checkpoints before we go out to eat, go shopping, spend the night in a new city, see a play or take a class. I mean, wouldn't that be the responsible thing to do? I will also point out that both the London and Paris subways were attacked in 1995. in 1994 a crazed guy firebombed a NY subway car. (Keep in mind that this was the same time period as the Oklahoma City and World Trade Center bombings.) So how, just how, did the T manage for over a decade without bag checkpoints when it was clear by the mid-90's that there are crazy people out there willing to kill us?
Matthew February 05, 2013 at 11:49 AM
Wow, you're dense. I was comparing your mentality to that of the mentality of the people who allowed groups like the Nazis to come to power.
Matthew February 05, 2013 at 12:05 PM
Saul, You're pointing out too much logic. In order for heavy handed policing to work, logic and facts must take a back seat to fear.
Matthew February 05, 2013 at 12:05 PM
Don't care. Have a good one.
TheMaskedTruthsayer February 05, 2013 at 01:27 PM
Wrong, my little Droog, YOU are under observation for a state-sponsored "culling" project to eliminate retards who argue on the internet.

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