July 21, 2005
Unfortunately, there seems to be only one logical next step in London, and perhaps everywhere else, in response to the second wave of attempted attacks on buses and the Underground:
Either NO bags allowed on trains and buses, or ALL bags searched prior to boarding.
This may seem impossible, impractical, hugely expensive, and time consuming, but it also seems inevitable and very necessary.
Prohibiting or searching bags might not prevent someone from strapping explosives to their body, but if police officers or security guards are checking what people are carrying, they're much more likely to notice someone wearing a bomb vest or belt.
For buses, it would be simple. Instead of just a driver, each bus would carry a security guard, who would step off at each stop and quickly check each passenger and their bags before allowing them to board. The cost of the ride would have to go up to cover the security expense, but most riders would probably agree it's worth it.
At train and subway stations, lines would be longer as each rider passed through some sort of checkpoint, but things could be done to streamline the process. People would adjust to the changes, as they have at airports here in the states. For example, fewer commuters would carry bags to avoid the hassle, perhaps leaving things at the office they normally carry back and forth.
It’s awful that a small group of radical scumbags could force these kinds of costly changes, but at this point it seems irresponsible not to react with measures that would realistically prevent, or greatly reduce, the risk of future attacks. Of course, to be protected as strongly as possible, these precautions may have to be extended to restaurants, movie theatres, shopping malls, and anywhere else crowds gather. It's already happening in Israel. Soon, it could be the norm worldwide.