Federal Stimulus of Disrespect for Fourth Amendment

Chicago’s new policy, that is useless security theater against terrorism, but reduces the impact of the Fourth Amendment, is the result of Federal stimulus.

You don’t even need to dig for the sources of this news summary from Newser.com. The entire training program to make the Fourth Amendment less relevant to the populace can be seen in all its glory.

Chicago police will screen the bags of passengers getting on the city’s CTA trains in what the department calls a “proactive, protective measure,” the Chicago Tribune reports. “We know that surface transportation has been targeted in other places in the past”—places like Madrid and New York—and police “want to take whatever precautions possible,” says a spokesman. A few days a week, passengers at a single station will be randomly selected to have their bags swabbed, but not opened, in a check for explosives.

The police do not “want to take whatever precautions possible.” That is a lie. Why wouldn’t they swab all bags at all stations all the time?

None of this was brought about by local police, reading about (very few) attacks elsewhere, and deciding to implement new safeguards for the sake of public safety. That portrayal is completely false.

[See also, “TSA Defies Audit and Expands Program.”]

Yes, in theory, one could justify a needed intervention for public safety like we have done with metal detectors. But that would need to be a real safety issue that was perceived as such by the populace. This is nothing of the kind. It is pure pretense:

If passengers refuse the test, they’ll be required to leave the station, but they can get on the train elsewhere—unless police have “probable cause” to question them, the spokesman says.

Oh, right. Good thing no terrorist would ever think of that. I’m sure the police will stop and capture every one because they always voluntarily submit to checkpoints.

Sarcasm aside, this is pure security theater. It won’t protect us from anything. Good thing the chances of a terrorist attack are so low, or this would be worrisome.

But I predict, while no more terrorists will be apprehended by Chicago PD than have been caught by the TSA (that’s zero, if you didn’t know), we will see stories about others who get caught with contraband because they “looked nervous” during the random swabs. At least the police will claim they looked nervous.

Why would the police devote time and manpower to this new practice? Because the Federal government is paying them to do so!

The program, funded using a portion of a federal anti-terror grant, has some riders questioning its usefulness.

Well, those riders aren’t thinking straight. This Federally-stimulated new policy will not protect anyone from terrorism but it will train people to get used to being stopped and searched by police. Thus, the Federal government finds this entirely useful and worthy of “stimulating” with taxpayer money and/or taxpayer-backed debt.

And what do the police want in this scenario? To keep people safe? No they want Federal dollars. The police themselves are now being trained by Federal stimulus.

Let me remind you of how perverse this is:

chicago crime numbers

The Chicago PD has much more pressing issues they need to be addressing, like rampant homicides, but they are instead adding useless security theater.

And yet the news summary takes it all seriously. It questions the usefulness of the policy as if it is an issue for debate, but it never makes the most obvious deductions that its own reported facts should lead any intelligent reader to figure out.

This is tyranny stimulus.