Since the two day stretch of terror connected to the shooting on the New York subway last week, there have been a lot of concerns echoed about safety on the city’s train system. Never mind the fact that most of the city’s safety pushes achieved very close to absolutely nothing when push came to shove. This week, a new strategy has been unveiled by Eric Adams and hoo boy, is it stupid, bordering on outlandish. It’s the kind of proposition that flies past adjectives like “unwieldy” and “expensive” straight into the territory of “good luck with that.”

Gothamist reports that the mayor is moving forward with the addition of metal detectors to the New York Subway. Metal detectors do indeed detect metal, and guns are made of metal. This all can’t be argued. However, metal detectors are usually well-suited for important buildings that have only a handful of entrances. Trying to put a metal detector on every entrance in the New York City subway system is like trying to cover every hole on a whack-a-mole machine.

Before his election, questions were raised about how much time Eric Adams actually spent in New York City. So it does make a certain amount of sense that he would then recommend a plan that suggests he has never actually been in a subway station. Of which there are four hundred and seventy-two. Four hundred and seventy two stations, each with a minimum of two separate entrances, though those in heavy traffic areas usually have more. We are talking about an amount of points of ingress that, even at a count so conservative as to be wildly inaccurate, counts over 1000. The daily ridership of the subway system, even after the pandemic cut it in half, is estimated at 3 million.

Very crowded subway station

Blacren

Hey! Hey, everybody come back! One of you has some metal on you! C'mon guys!

And your plan is to have all those people start walking through a metal detector? Multiple times a day? With all due respect, were you in some kind of brain accident? This plan is about as plausible as an elementary schooler promising soda in the water fountains in a student body president election. Anyone who thinks this plan would achieve anything of positive substance has the foresight of a charcoal briquet.

Just play this out in your mind for one singular second. OK, so New York turns their pockets out, probably cuts a bunch of public school arts programs or whatever, in order to buy multiple thousands of fancy new metal detectors from whatever ex-CIA security firm makes the best bid. One of the frontrunners is reportedly Evolv’s metal detectors, which can immediately recognize not just metal but particular shapes and issue a green “go-ahead” or red “stop” signal. Will there be a police officer at every entrance in order to further screen everyone who sets it off? Is one officer enough to do that? How sensitive are the machines? After all, the public transit in New York is the majority of the population’s main method of travel, often with full backpacks, luggage, even toolboxes and work gear. Are we getting false negatives?

This isn’t a question of overzealous policing or surveillance state leanings, though it certainly could be. It’s a simple question of how someone that purportedly lives in New York could ever send this proposed solution through their gray matter for review and have it spit out anything besides a laugh of disbelief.

Top Image: Public Domain/Pixabay

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