johnsu01 (johnsu01) wrote,

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Security on the MBTA

I was just handed a flyer in Harvard Station about security on the MBTA. I've been designing flyers at work for the last week or so, so the first thing I did was critique the design and note the numerous grammatical and stylistic errors. But that stuff isn't interesting, except for the fact that the flyer is in red, white and blue, which I find tremendously annoying. What does staying safe on the subway have to do with the US American flag again?


(I tried to take this brochure photo against the backdrop of the bus seat, but someone sat on it, so I had take it on my lap.)

I've judged the "See something? Say something." campaign already. No need to rehash the basics. But I did give the whole project some more thought the other day when I was on the bus and a guy in a full-body black apron got on, pushing people out of the way and saying, "I'll kill you" alternated with "Turn your world to darkness." I thought this guy seemed pretty damn suspicious. He made a funny scene juxtaposed against the sign urging citizen vigilance. I didn't report him, though, because he also just seemed fucking crazy. A full body black apron? The guy might have just finished busing Lucifer's restaurant for all I knew. If that was Osama, I'm afraid I let him go.

So, some highlights from the pamphlet. In general, it is interesting to note how many of these directives apply to homeless people. I'm on the bus right now, so I have some good perspective.

Basically, we are supposed to report the following things:

"A passenger behaving oddly." Foucault is turning in his grave, but we don't even need to go there. This criterion applies to approximately 25% of Boston commuters, including me as I sit here typing with my thumbs on an odd-looking electronic device.

"A group operating in an orchestrated or rehearsed manner." What the hell are they talking about? Doesn't it matter what the people are DOING in an orchestrated manner? I will say this, though---this one does not apply to the vast majority of Boston riders.

"A suspicious cloud, mist, gas, vapor, odor or seeping fluid." I experience most of these things on the bus every day.

"People showing visible signs of nervousness, such as excessive perspiration." Are they referring to the guy rocking back and forth muttering to himself, or the fat man with sweat circles under his arms the size and shape of Africa? Can't blame him, perspiration on a city bus is anything but unusual. Air conditioning might help reduce false positives.

"Those wearing excessively baggy clothing or clothes that are inappropriate for warm weather." Tipping their hand here. They claim that this is not about the Convention. Um, then why does your pamphlet refer to warm weather? Will there be a December update? Baggy clothing? Youth of Boston, and the homeless, beware.

What do we do when we see something?

"In the event of an unaccompanied bag or package, do not use your cellular phone until you are a safe distance away. " Guess I can't blog it until I get home. What is a safe distance? The other side of the bus?

"Notify the T Police via the motorman..." Ok, stop there. Who the hell is the Motorman? Is that the bus driver? The train operator? Or one of WWE's finest. The person driving this bus is not a man. I'm troubled by the logistics of reporting anything to the bus driver of a crowded bus. "Next stop please!" often fails to get through, so I'm not sure how...

If they really gave a crap about security, they'd be hiring officers and response people. And they would resolve things like, um, police officers without a contract. We'll see.

Look forward to plenty more convention irritation.
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