Hit & Run

The Security Paradox


One of the half-dozen main storylines in the convention pre-coverage has been Boston?s increased security measures. This is no doubt true in terms of dollars and manpower, but the actual going-through-metal-detectors bit is far and away less tense and time-consuming than the 2000 Democratic Convention in Los Angeles. There is no gauntlet of bitter, screeching protesters (these appear to be scattered in small groups all over town -- the Boston Commons, the utterly absurd ?Protest Cage,? various bars); the line so far has averaged about 60 seconds, and no one has asked for anything even resembling a photo ID. In L.A., where then-mayor Richard Riordan had prepared for a Seattle-style bloodbath, brought on by ?international anarchists [who] have attended training camps where they have learned strategies of destruction and guerilla tactics,? cops ran scary-looking military maneuvers in the streets, shot peaceful protesters with beanbag guns, clubbed journalists and then lied about it, and so on. Granted, there is a world of difference between Boston cops and the LAPD, and now the Enemy is one of them and not one of us, but the difference is remarkable. And, as much as I probably shouldn?t point it out, all it would take is a little deft handiwork at the surrounding bars for a clever stranger to swipe a press pass and waltz on in.