SF Muni spends anti-terror money on fare evaders because it's a gateway to terrorism




It’s a turnstile drug.


Frankly it sounds like a better use than any of the bullshit stuff terror funds normally get spent on. I’d rather they buy this than arm Muni cops with MRAPs or grenade launchers.


Can I just mention that the typography in the examiner article is really quite shitty looking on my mac…


“Fare evasion … the gateway crime”

In an attempt to be serious, no terrorist will evade fares, or commit any of a hundred other minor offenses like jaywalking, They will do everything they can to avoid attracting attention.


Absolutely: people coming up with “Because Terrah!” excuses for spending money on things that actually matter is probably the only reason government functions anymore.

I observe that this Boing Boing post has quietly vanished down the memory hole. I wonder why.


It’s free money–all we have to do is pretend.


Can’t they have both? Nothing deturs gate hopping like a m203 grenade to the midsection.


And think of all the janitorial jobs that will create!


The Marx Brothers could run the SF Muni better, and think of the laughs…


“In an attempt to be serious, no terrorist will evade fares, or commit any of a hundred other minor offenses like jaywalking, They will do everything they can to avoid attracting attention.”

Like driving without a license plate. Wait. Crap. That’s how McVeigh got arrested.

And I’m not saying this will catch terrorists, but terrorists have been known to test security to guage reactions. Stopping them in a dry run for seemingly bs stuff might pay off every once in a while.


The stuff about ‘terrorists’ is complete nonsense, for the reason you point out(as well as the relatively tiny number of available terrorists); but I suspect that the “Fare evasion is the nexus by which we make those initial contacts [with criminals]” claim logic is much more plausible, quite possibly to the point where it actually makes good cover for the sort of policing that might otherwise get you in trouble.

I’d be surprised if the evidence linking fare evasion to other crimes is particularly impressive; but I’d be much less surprised if hunting fare evaders provides you with a steady stream of impecunious undesirables and punk kids with bad attitudes that you are now legally free and clear to frisk, run through the system for any outstanding warrants, tickets, parole conditions, etc. and establish a record for your future repeat customer, if he doesn’t already have one.

Doesn’t give you quite the same latitude as ‘stop and frisk’, since there is the risk that somebody you really want to work over will pay the fare; but it probably provides much of the same effect with substantially better legal cover.


Are there any known examples of this having happened?


That’s Marxism. Republicans won’t agree with that.


How will the Security Forces recognize a potential terror test run from a rank-and-file low-level rule-skirting we all do en-masse?


It’s referred to as a “pretext stop.” Stopping someone who has broken a minor law to see if they are committing a more serious one. Courts have upheld that its legit so long as the pretext is a legit law violation, even if the intent is to see if you are doing something else, carrying an illegal weapon for example.


Cross referencing of other incidents or associates usually. You get stopped hopping a turnstile and your roomate was interviewed after snapping photos of train infrastructure, and a tip says your brother recently bought 100 gallons of peroxide…


I would have to research actual in the act dry runs, but I remember a couple incidents of people caught with video of targets they were “casing.” I know of one example where people were “training” at a paintball range. Again, which were AQ style operators vs small time goofs, I’d need to do more research, but the possibility is there based on prior tactics used or endorsed by the big boys.

I really do feel sorry for the Islamic Youth Paintball Enthusiasts League, because they will get harrased as often as the Arabic Architectural Photographers Association.


Reminds me of living in NYC during the Giulliani administration. Suddenly people were getting tickets for jay walking and sitting on stoops and other traditional NYC activities on the premise that the more people the police made “contact” with, the more bigger busts they’d make. And they were right, they busted a lot more people for goofy things like having joints in their pockets and whatnot, but I’d argue that the cost to the sanity of the city was far greater than the impact of their petty busts.

And I think that’s the logic the Muni cops are using here, except they’re substituting “terrorist” for “garden variety law breaker” to make their mission sound more noble. And as has been pointed out, someone breaking a big law like terrorism is extremely unlikely to draw attention to themselves by hopping a turnstile…


Why not drop the pretense and just ask “Papers please!”