Martial law is the new reality.
According to NBC News, “Heavily Armed Anti-Terror Police to Guard Times Square on New Year’s.”
Nearly 6,000 police officers — hundreds of them with long guns, radiation detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs — will be guarding New York’s Times Square as a year punctuated by terrorist attacks draws to a close, officials said Tuesday.
The NYPD and the FBI unveiled plans to protect the more than 1 million people who will throng to the Crossroads of the World on New Year’s Eve — including multilayered checkpoints and a new 500-member Critical Response Command of elite counterterrorism cops launched two months ago.
“We are very very confident that New Year’s Eve in New York City will be the safest place in the world to be,” said Chief James Waters, who is in charge of counterterrorism operations for the police department.
Now, New York is a big city and attracts a large number of visitors as well. Obviously, it must always have a greater police presence than many other places in the U.S. The city government is responsible for security and they must not be negligent.
But I worry. They have no credible threat that Time’s Square will be targeted yet they have put up these many layers of armed guards.
Waters said that as crowds enter a frozen zone at 14 points, uniformed officers will inspect bodies and bags with magnetometers and hand wands. Counterterrorism officers with chemical and radiation detectors will be standing by, and a long gun team will be stationed 50 yards away “In case anyone tries to breach the entry point.”
After getting through that screening, people will be re-screened when they get to one of 65 massive spectator pens, Waters said. Around them, they will see K-9 cops, heavy weapons teams and emergency service officers “capable of responding within seconds.”
The force will also include 1,200 probationary police officers working their first New Year’s in uniform and plainclothes police who will work the crowds looking for anything suspicious.
Nearly 1,000 cameras will be transmitting images throughout the night.
Is this the new normal?
From video of statements by Mayor Bill de Blasio, accompanying the story, I get the impression that the Paris attacks made the city leadership unwilling to assume that their record of safety would continue. I think they did the right thing. But I don’t understand the horde of party-goers in pens relying only on an army of general and special police, and submitting to their searches, constraints, and orders. Why not stay home and invite friends over. That way you will be less likely to be attacked, and you won’t be under guard.
There was a telling admission tucked near the end of the story.
Asked whether all the attention on Times Square would leave lower-profile targets vulnerable, [Police Commissioner Bill] Bratton said police working overtime would be covering the rest of the city but added that “the ability to protect everything all the time is not possible anywhere.”
I commend Bratton for his honesty. That’s why the Second Amendment should be the primary strategy for national security.