It was bound to happen, right?
[DC] Metro officials announced today that they will begin randomly inspecting backpacks, gym bags and any other containers that riders carry with them onto the bus and rail system, in an effort to deter possible terrorist attacks.
Beginning today, signs announcing the new program will be posted at each of the rail system's 117 mezzanines, where faregates are located. Officials said Metro's program —announced at a morning news conference—was not begun in response to any specific terrorist threat, but was prompted by continuing concerns about transit security and the upcoming election and inauguration of a new president.
"We realize that all Americans everywhere are at some risk from terrorism, and that those of us who live and work in the region of the nation's capital face increased risks," Metro Transit police chief Michael Taborn said.
The inspections will take place when transit police determine that circumstances—such as an elevated threat level—warrant heightened vigilance. They will not be announced ahead of time. Inspections will be conducted by five to eight specially trained Metro Transit police officers and a police dog trained to sniff for explosives…
And of course, some of their procedures are just for the "appearance" of actually doing something:
In the searches, transit police will choose a random number ahead of time, such as 17. Then they will ask every 17th rider step aside and have his or her bags searched before boarding a bus or entering a rail station.
Overall, the searches don't sound too unreasonable—no confiscation of suspicious luggage and no arrests for non-compliant riders, just denied entrance to the metro—but then there's this part:
If transit police find illegal items such as drugs, the item will be seized and the person will be arrested.
Commenters, feel free to enlighten me as to the correlation between pot and terrorism.
Hat tip to Mike Debonis.