Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Does stringent security make the Sept. 11 memorial safer—or a hassle to visit and an infringement on our civil liberties?
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York is a profound, beautiful monument to the lives lost in the 1993 and 2001 terror attacks at the World Trade Center. But the iron curtain of security surrounding the site forms its own monument: to our successful adaptation to the realities of a post-9/11 world, and perhaps to choices that speak less well of us.
Advance tickets are required to enter this public, outdoor memorial. To book them, you’re obliged to provide your home address, email address, and phone number, and the full names of everyone in your party. It is “strongly recommended” that you print your tickets at home, which is where you must leave explosives, large bags, hand soap, glass bottles, rope, and bubbles. Also, “personal wheeled vehicles” not limited to bicycles, skateboards, and scooters, and anything else deemed inappropriate. Anyone age 13 or older must carry photo ID, to be displayed “when required and/or requested.”
Once at the memorial you must go through a metal detector and your belongings must be X-rayed. Officers will inspect your ticket—that invulnerable document you nearly left on your printer—at least five times. One will draw a blue line on it; 40 yards (and around a dozen security cameras) later, another officer will shout at you if your ticket and its blue line are not visible. Eventually you’ll reach the memorial itself, where there are more officers and no bathrooms. You’re allowed to take photographs anywhere outside the security screening area—in theory if not always in practice.
Eleven years after 9/11 and a year after the memorial opened, it’s time for a freedom-loving people to consider the purpose and impact of such security measures. Let’s ask the experts—and ourselves—three questions. Is enhanced security necessary at the memorial? Are the specific measures in place likely to be effective? And what is their cost to a free society?
Full article: http://www.slate.com … ecurity_.single.html