Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Feb/10

1

Have the terrorists won?

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No wonder AG Holder caved in to pressure and moved the KSM trial.  Here are the security measures that New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly had announced for the trial, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars:

inner and outer perimeters, unannounced vehicle checkpoints, countersniper teams on rooftops, and hazardous-materials and bomb squad personnel ready to respond.

Is there any  chance that this is overkill?  If Islamic  terrorists are already here and capable of pulling off such mayhem so as to require that degree of precaution, wouldn’t we have seen at least a few such attacks over the last ten years?  Or is the thought that the terrorists would suddenly sneak into the country as the trial approached?  But if they can get into the country so easily, why wouldn’t they have done so up to now?  And why haven’t other terrorist trials elicited like attacks?  I understand that this trial is a much bigger deal, but still, I would have thought that if the capacity requiring WMD squads and countersnipers really was there, it would have been used in some fashion or another before now.   Do we ever get to ratchet down our assessment of risk? 

Commissioner Kelly every day sends out hundreds of police officers in a convoy through the streets of New York in a show of force against “the terrorists.”   These are cops that arguably could be better put to use patrolling in high crime areas, especially in light of departmental budget cuts.  Commissioner Kelly, in other words, is not one to underplay the terrorist threat, understandably loathe as he is to have an attack happen on his watch.  But with all due respect, it just may be that he—and he has plenty of like-minded allies in this disposition–is overplaying the threat as well.

3 comments

  • Susan · February 1, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    They may be overplaying it because they feel that the administration is underplaying it.

  • Jeff Rogers · February 1, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    I doubt it has anything to do with the administration. Look at the city wide lock-down during the Republican convention. I was in NYC on vacation with my wife and I thought it was a giant armed camp as “Flying corps” of huge black SUVs raced around in a show of force and totally obvious snipers with big ugly guns lined the rooftops. It was fascistic, but it was cool to watch. I would have loved to drive in that column of dark-windowed SUVs and the armor plated police buses. While intellectually disapproving, of course.

    To me, I figure this is two things:
    1. CYA as Kelly will be pilloried if anything does happen.
    2. Carte blanche to put on a really cool “power show” and get use all the new tools and stuff that we boys traditionally love.

    I really feel that power and testosterone cannot be overlooked as a cause for this kind of over-reaction. And there is NO POLITICAL DOWNSIDE!

    Except for the police-state effect.

  • Wade Nichols · February 2, 2010 at 11:01 am

    These are cops that arguably could be better put to use patrolling in high crime areas, especially in light of departmental budget cuts.

    Indeed. I see the “SWAT team” type cops every so often when I get off the subway in the morning, and they basically seem like they’re standing around posing and making a show of themselves with their military helmets, bullet proof vests, German shepherds, and AR-15 rifles with telescoping stock.

    And why are these guys paid to stand around and annoy people like me when I get on the train, and search my bag? Is my lunch pail reall that interesting? The book that I’ve checked out from the NYPL is that important to them? Another near useless waste of police resources. The only thing they’ve probably achieved is arresting some knuckleheads carrying a small bag of weed – hardly an existential threat to the City.

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